Feather SS?

Discussion in 'Straight Razors' started by wquiles, Jan 21, 2013.

  1. wquiles

    wquiles Active Member

    I started this wonderful journey with wet shaving last year (2012) in August, with the hope to minimize/eliminate in-grown hairs and to get lower skin irritation. I was using an electric shaver before, and although the shave was very close (BBS), I had in-grown hairs. In-grown hairs disappeared once I started with a DE, BUT the trade-off is that now I have to shave every day, and by end of day I have a little bit of the "shadow". I am perfectly OK almost-needing-a-shave at the end of the day, since that means to me no in-grown hairs. I recently posted about my Futur being put together wrong from the factory, and although those were very close (BBS) shaves, my face was on fire from the razor burn, and in fact, the shave was too good in terms of closeness - I got 1-2 in-grown hairs right after!. My point in sharing this, I don't want/need a closer shave than what I get today with my DE's. I still rather not have in-grown hairs and the problems that come with that.

    With my DE's I got down the preparation, lathering, after-the-shave, etc., and I basically get a DFS every single day, with no nicks/cuts except once or twice a week I might get a tiny cut near the tricky areas (around lip, under nose, etc.). Except for a 37C which sees some use now and then, I only use adjustable DE's today: 1965 Slim, Progress, Futur. I use the adjustable on a higher (more aggressive setting) for the first two passes, and a lower setting for the ATG - doing this minimizes razor burn for me, and minimizes cuts/nicks on the ATG pass. Out of my adjustables I prefer the Slim and Progress as they can get very mild on the ATG pass, compared to the Futur which even on the lowest setting is still a tad too aggressive for me for the ATG pass. I should point/add that I have used/tried the DE Feather blades several times, and they are just too aggressive on my skin - I almost always get razor burn when using the Feather blades, but not with Gillette Blacks, PolSilver SI's, etc..

    I always have been interested/fascinated with str8 razors, but don't have the time to learn how to hone the blade, not the time to strop after every use. I know that is a big/significant part of using a str8, but that is exactly why I started with a DE instead of trying a str8 to start with - I don't want to have to deal/worry about honing/stropping. BUT, even though I am happy/content with my DE's, I am still intrigued about using a str8.

    For the last couple of months I have been reading/studying options, and I briefly considered a shavette or clone like the Parker, which typically use a 1/2 DE blade, but they all are very light, and in my own experience shaving, I prefer a heavier razor since that helps in lowering pressure while shaving, which leads to less irritation. So for the last couple of weeks, my option right now has been to get a new Feather SS folding razor, for which I can try both Feather and Kai blades.

    I have watched a lot of videos, and I am totally OK starting with the easy areas (and not even consider ATF!), and finishing with a DE while I get the hang of it. Why I am still hesitating about the Feather SS? Because most all reviewers point out that in contrast with a "real" str8 (no offense intended), the Feather str8 blades are sharper than a hone/stropped real str8, and (more importantly) the Feather/blade combo are actually less forgiving and harder to learn with than with a real str8. The idea of starting with something "less forgiving" is what worries me about the Feather SS, since I don't even like using a Feather DE blade in my DE razors. I know both Feather and Kai sell the blades with a "guard", but I don't know if even that will be too sharp to start with.

    So, given that:
    1) Do you guys (and gals!) would still recommend I try a str8?

    2) Would the Feather SS be a good candidate given my preferences/comments above?

    3) Any other advice/suggestions?

  2. thevez2

    thevez2 uses Gillette's new Tarantula Razor - 8 blades!!

    Try a straight or a shavette style razor, whatever you want or feel comfortable with.

    I have the Feather SS and it is great, I love it. It is a great choice.

    My other suggestion is a vintage Weck or a modern hair shaper. A Weck Sextoblade feels exactly like a true straight, and the shave is pretty close too. Much better than a half DE shavette and much cheaper than the feather.

    But if you can afford it, the feather gives great shaves.
    PLANofMAN likes this.
  3. wquiles

    wquiles Active Member

    Thanks. Most feedback points to the SS being a good shaver, so I will go ahead and try the SS ;)
  4. nathan

    nathan Active Member

    I have the feather ss I went straight from a bic one blade disposable piece of junk that I have always used. to the ss. I have had no probs what so ever I watched plenty of you tube and just went for it. I went straight for the pro blades not the guarded ones. I started end of Nov and haven't looked back I use it every/ every other day. Love it. Go for it what's the worst that can happen. Lol.
  5. wquiles

    wquiles Active Member

    I got enough feedback here and in the "other" forum to go ahead and try it, so the SS should be arriving today. I have been watching a lot of videos on youtube, and I have even been practicing stretching my skin while I shave with my Futur, which is giving me better/closer shaves with the Futur.

    I have ordered 3-4 different blades (Feather and Kai) for the SS, so I will just have to patiently try them out and see what works better for me.
    PLANofMAN likes this.
  6. wquiles

    wquiles Active Member

    Well, the Feather SS arrived today. I am still waiting to receive two more blade types, but I hope to start this weekend with this:

    I am probably trying the proguard first:

    When you look at a close-up, the ProGuard does not look comfortable at all:

    I will report back how it goes this weekend!

    I need to remind myself two things:
    - stretch skin, and
    - no pressure, no pressure, no pressure .............

  7. oldtrout

    oldtrout Well-Known Member

    Advice: No pressure, think "negative" pressure. I received a wonderful razor burn my first AC shave.
    The Artist Club is a lot of fun, enjoy!

    PS Great close up pic of the pro guard blade!
  8. possumbelly

    possumbelly Well-Known Member

    Great pics. I have the SS AC high on my wish list. Waiting for my birthday before I take the plunge as I've accumulated several SE and DE razors in the last few months including an R41, vintage gillettes, gems, valets. Keen to hear how you get on.
  9. wquiles

    wquiles Active Member

    Thank you guys. I will be extra careful and report back ;)
  10. nathan

    nathan Active Member

    Don't panic too much buddy you will be fine. Slow and steady wins the race.
  11. wquiles

    wquiles Active Member

    Tried my new SS this morning - feedback from the first shave:
    - I did 3x passes but I cheated a little and did not do ATG everywhere.

    - Very little bleeding. I got one very small nick, in between the left edge of the lip and my chin (for me a trouble area with my DE), and a second small one on my adam's apple. The first one was just poor maneuvering on my part (not being totally comfortable how to approach/handle the str8 razor) - the second was just me being a total idiot forgetting that I also cut myself there with my DE if I forget the move the skin first to the left and then to the right (my adam's apple is very pointy!).

    - Somebody above said something about "cleaning/picking/scooping up the lather", and that is how it felt - it was very easy to actually gut the stubble, without actually trying hard at it.

    - I am extremely left handed. I can't do anything with the right hand that requires fine motor control, so I used my left handed exclusively for both sides of my face (same as with my DE's). This is of course a self-impose challenge, but I will manage as I get more comfortable holding a str8 razor.

    - I have not tried any other str8, but the SS was very forgiving on finding the angle from gliding between cutting and actually cutting. In fact it reminded me a mild DE in that regard.

    - The SS gave me a lot of "felt" feedback, as well as a good amount of auditory feedback. I could easily tell if the angle was right or not, and I was able to tell when I was shaving or just scooping lather.

    - I had a DE "loaded" just in case (Merkur Futur, with a Gillette Black), but things went so well that I did not have to use it. I never got in "trouble" to warrant using the DE.

    - For the last two weeks I have been practicing with my Future more and more the concept of no pressure, and my shaves with the Futur actually improved. So then I used the SS this morning, I did the same, and it worked great.

    - I had no trouble finding the angle to cut, BUT, the biggest trouble I found, and what took the most time, was trying to figure out how to hold the SS to maneuver around my face. Being my first time, holding the SS felt awkward - it was hard to figure out how to adjust the scales up, down, straight, where/how to put my fingers, etc., depending on where I was cutting. No mater how many videos I watched, this is a "hands-on only" lesson - clearly learning how to handle a str8 razor and changing the grip/angle as I go around my face will take me more a "lot" more time.

    - Like most men, the stubble on my chin is harder/stiffer, so that took the most work/time. I got a DFN everywhere but there, but I did not want to push my luck, so I called a day. Yes, I could have touched up that small area with the DE, but it was more than good enough to head out (today was my son's first Pine Wood Derby - he won 1st place in his age group!).

    - In these 5 months I have gotten very proficient with my DE, but I found today that a str8 is even more versatile. I loved with the str8 that I can just use the tip of the razor to get exactly where I need to go. You just can't do the same with a DE. I am totally sold on using the SS from now on.

    - Since I had watched so many videos and mentally went through the steps I was going to follow, my first shave (including lathering and after shave) was about 20 minutes, which is longer than my typical 12-15 minutes with the DE. As I practice more, I expect that the overall time for 3x passes should be about the same.

    - I only had two small areas where I had a little bit of razor rash, and it was only those areas near the chin where I was trying to get that DFS results I get with the DE. Still, that was far better than I expected. I honestly expected that shaving with a str8 would have been worst.

    - I felt a little bit of tugging with these ProGuard blades, but being my first ever shave, it totally could have been my newbie handling of the SS. I will have to try a lot more shaves, and then compare to other blades before I can say anything good/bad about the ProGuard blades. I need to keep practicing with this blade while I learn to handle the SS better, before I will able to tell differences between blades.

    - I was surprised how easily (sharp?) stubble is cut with the SS, even with so little pressure applied. To me the SS felt sharper than my DE's, and I feel that it was actually easier to shave with the SS than it has been with my various DE's over the last 5 months. But in my humble opinion, I would still not recommend starting with a str8 - the techniques, preparation, lathering, etc., are best learned with an easier razor (like a DE) so that one can concentrate on fewer variables.

    - It is of course very early, but I can see how/why folks would use a str8 every single day. It was fun, more engaging, and I loved actually being able to literally see where the blade was cutting, unlike with a DE where the razor completely hides the area being shaved. With the str8 I can see, feel, and adjust accordingly. In fact those two small cuts I got, I got right during my first pass WTG - on the second pass (XTG) and last pass (ATG) I did not get any nicks/cuts (although as I said I did get a little razor burn).

    - I was very worried about cutting myself under the nose, but I got a good shave there and on my upper lip with no cuts/nicks. However, I was not confident enough to try a pass ATG there. I also did not try a pass ATG right at the two joints between the upper and lower lip (leftmost and rightmost ends of the lips). Maybe later when I am more confident.

    - Going ATG (up towards the nose) right under the lower lip was very easy with the SS.

    I know it was just one shave, but I really loved it. I am most definitely, positively "hooked" on using a str8 [​IMG]

    I am looking forward to trying it again tomorrow [​IMG]

  12. oscar11

    oscar11 Well-Known Member

    Congrats, sounds like a decent first shave. It won't take long to learn how to navigate your face, it's just part of the learning curve.
  13. possumbelly

    possumbelly Well-Known Member

    Congrats on going straight. Great detailed account. Thanks!
  14. wquiles

    wquiles Active Member

    Thanks. First shave with a str8 was OK. I need lots more practice learning to hold/moving, but the fundamentals things that I learned from starting with a DE helped a lot ;)
  15. wquiles

    wquiles Active Member

    Well, my shave today was OK, but still needs lots more work. I still got a few small nicks, and still have some razor burn (actually, a little bit more razor burn than yesterday) - I need concentrate more on zero pressure and let the SS do its job. The awkwardness of holding the SS was less today, but I am still trying to figure out how to hold for each side/part of my face. I did 3x passes today but only on the easy areas, and the save took longer, about 30 minutes or so. The ProGuard still felt sharp as before, but still not ultra-smooth gliding-wise.

    Still need lots more practice, but I noted a few things when comparing with my DE shaves:
    - easier around the jaw line with the SS
    - less razor burn with the SS on the neck area, but more around the chin, and edge of the lips
    - it is awesome to "see" the stubble that was cut, as it is being cut on the SS.
    - the "guard" on the SS definitely works great for a str8 newbie such as myself:

  16. wquiles

    wquiles Active Member

    I shaved with the SS this morning, but only attempted a two-pass shave, being extra careful with the pressure, and although not as close a shave as with the 3x pass, my face feels a "lot" better today, and got no cuts/nicks. I think that for now on, I will stick to the two-pass shaves until I get more experience - I think it was foolish of me to try the 3x pass to start with. Lesson learned :cool:
    PLANofMAN likes this.
  17. oldtrout

    oldtrout Well-Known Member

    Excellent job. You will master the Feather in no time.
    I still only use my Feather SS on the weekend as I take quite a long time being especially careful.
    I should add a day midweek and see how it goes.
  18. wquiles

    wquiles Active Member

    Thanks man. I am not good at using a str8 yet, but I am enjoying the learning process and I am very happy with the great encouragement I am getting :D
  19. wquiles

    wquiles Active Member

    After 4x days with the Feather ProGuard blade, today I decided to try a different blade. I just received a PIF package with a couple of blades to try, so I tried a Feather "Light" blade for today's shave. Not a great fist impression on me. Since the blade exposure is so small, and since the SS has that "lip" or "guard" at the edge, in order to get the blade to cut, I had to significantly increase the angle, which made it harder to shave with. Of course very sharp, but the increased angle actually made the SS to feel more "aggressive" with the "Light" blade, which is the complete opposite of what I would have expected from using a "light" blade.

    Of course, just day one with blade, and I will try it again tomorrow, but so far I liked the ProGuard blade better on my SS. In the PIF there was also a Feather Pro, and a Dorco, so if tomorrow's shave feels about the same as today, I will try one of the other blades.
  20. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Eccentric Razor Collector Staff Member

    Moderator Article Team
    One thing that I have always heard about the Feather SS's was that the optimal shave angle was to put the entire "blade" against the face, then raise it just enough that the spine was not touching your face. (a hair less and it would "stick" to your face as you shaved)

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