The End of Summer! But not of great shaves!! The Cartel welcomes you to the September 2019 edition of the 30 Day Rule and Focus thread. August was a lot of fun as usual, and we saw a number of new members join our little band to begin their evolution into experts! We also set a new record for the number of posts in a month!!!! Over 400 pages! No wonder it seems busy. I appreciate everyone who shares their knowledge and experience and helps make this the most welcoming, knowledgeable, and definitely entertaining group on the web. But school’s back, the days are noticeably shorter and, well, it’s September. That means Labor Day weekend right on top of us, then settling into the routine of autumn. It also means it’s SEptember!!! Single Edge September has arrived and it’s the month we dig into our dens for the Gems, Schicks and all other single edge razors in the collection. Of course, shavettes would qualify as well along with Artist Club and…..the original single edge…..those traditional straights!! For those of you who don’t own a single edge razor now’s the time to find your first! Or, just grab whatever razor you want to get better with and run that Rule or Focus! In addition to the SE razor theme, it’s also Stirling September! Pair those SE razors with your favorite Stirling soaps, aftershaves etc. to make it an even more enjoyable month. Never tried Stirling soaps? Now’s the time. It’s a great month to get some samples and figure out a new favorite or two, whether you’re new to Stirling or an old confirmed Stirling lover! Of course and as always, themes are suggestions only and are NOT required as part of the month’s festivities. You’re totally free to grab whatever you want and join in. We’re focused on improving technique first of all, and all the rest is just added pleasure. If you're new to traditional shaving, or to TSD, WELCOME!!! Jump in and let the friendliest and most knowledgeable bunch of people you'll ever meet help you along. Ask questions, show us your gear. There's nothing about shaving we don't like to see and hear. Even if you are just starting with a VDH razor and soap, we value you along with everyone else and we want you to become a part of this great community. It won't take long for the enablers within each of us to have you loaded down with razors, soaps, cremes, brushes and enough blades to sink the Titanic. Including the chunk of wood that Leo could have fit on with Rose. As one of the charter members of this thread, from January 2015, I can attest to the ability of the 30 Day Rule to build basic technique that provides the basis for the use of the 30 Day Focus to sharpen skills and develop new skills altogether. Our quest is, as always, to be able to develop technique so solid and strong that we can overcome any tools that may be at hand. The great overarching philosophy is "Technique Trumps Tools." The only caveat....."unless the tools are defective." One can't use a broken blade or a razor that won't lock the blade down and expect success. My personal mission has always been to push the limits of the tools, and my skills, to find out what, if anything, is defective. Most of you have remained sane and found instead new and wonderful ways to shave. Some, perhaps unfortunately, have followed my lead lately, but hey, no pain no gain. At the same time, practice makes perfect, and we have already learned how bad equipment can be and still produce a great shave with proper technique. Now, on to the facts in the words of the one, the only, @Bama Samurai : (Please rise) (Take off your hats) (Seriously, do I have to mention pay attention?) (Ok, be good and we’ll hand out extra cookies) The 30 Day Rule (designed to build solid technique or learn new technique) 1 brush, 1 soap, 1 brand of blades, 1 razor, 30 Days. The rule is really that simple. It seems boring, but this is probably the most straightforward way to learn for a brand new shaver. This is the exercise that really allowed me to clearly see the interplay between the four elements. It is highly recommended for newly converted shavers and more experienced shavers who have a problem that defies resolution. This exercise eliminates variables and will likely solve any problem you may have, with a strict scientific approach.Any thing that strays from these simple guidelines is not a rule, but rather a focus (not that there's anything wrong with that!) The 30 Day Focus (more flexible, for exploring and comparing) This is a less rigorous exercise, designed for exploration and comparison of gear and technique. This is the most common exercise on the thread. Generally the elements are rotated one by one to allow clear observation. Examples of focus areas include brush types, blades, soaps, razor variants, or technique foci as a standalone. These are the suggested guidelines, and serve as a starting point for the discussion each month. Any thematic elements are up to each individual. We believe that if you've ever sought a great shave, you have something to offer. And if you're searching for great shaves, we will definitely try to help. If you are new to TSD, I believe you've landed in a great place. Everyone here participating would love to answer your questions and help you get the most from your shaving. We are very glad you're here! So, if you're new, stop in for a cookie and meet the crew. If this is old hat, welcome back, and let's rock another month out. Rules are the same people. 1. New Members always welcome. Start anytime. 2. Old Members always welcome. (Maybe I should phrase that “experienced” members) 3. Respect everyone 4. Follow the rules of the forum 5. All razor types and styles welcome 6. You may not say anything negative about Russian blades, especially Voskhod. The Cartel is listening. 7. Don't think we don't hear when you badmouth Rapira either. We're vodka loving wannabe Russians, not blithering idiots. Well, ok so sometimes.....and Ivan.....well you get the idea. Let's have some great shaves people! Welcome to Stirling SEptember! So first things first.....group hug………and off we go!