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PostPosted: Sat Feb 03, 2018 1:15 am 
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Thought I'd pass along my experience with my new safety razor and the cost savings vs a cartridge:

I bought a "Vikings Blade" "Vulcan" butterfly safety razor on Amazon, it's called a butterfly razor because if you twist the base of it the head opens up like a butterfly and you can just drop a blade in. I bought it because it had the best review ratings, it was $46. I also bought 100 replacement razors for 11 bucks - 11 cents a blade.

My normal razor is a Gillette mach3 and they last about 3 months shaving every-other-day with my heavy coarse beard, and I've always thought that was pretty good. Online I can find branded M3 cartridges for about $1.85 a cartridge when I buy in bulk, the best I can find in my local stores is 28 bucks for 12 which is $2.33 a cartridge. It works out to 2.2 cents a day @ 2 bucks a cartridge.

The first couple days is a bit of a learning curve but I've shaved with it for a month on one of the blades it came with, and for about a week with a "Lord Platinum" blade. The Lord blades shave better but only by a bit. That works out to 0.36 cents a day and the Lord blades are reputed to be more durable than the blades it came with.

The safety razor does give me a slightly better shave than my trusty Mach3, however I also bleed more and my face has sore spots even with one month of practice. With my M3 I almost never bleed or get a sore spot. This is using the same shaving cream I always use - Edge gel for sensitive skin, and like I always shave - in the tub after soaking my face underwater for a few seconds. Keep in mind I have HEAVY coarse beard, think "Bluto" from the Popeye cartoons.

Having said the above it's not that big of a deal, I get a couple of nicks that bleed for a min or so and a couple of sore spots. If its all I had to use I wouldnt mind it, but I can see why cartridge razors quickly replaced safety razors when they came out. The shaves are comparable, but the cartridge razor is more comfortable.

So, prepping, if you wanted to stock up on cartridges it'll cost you at least six times the amount in blades, and you'll need to buy spare razor bodies since they're not designed to last decades, the Titan razor I bought will outlast my grandchildren.

So I'm happy with my safety razor as a prep, I even bought a cheap Weishi butterfly razor for 12 bucks as a spare, and it shaves about the same. Since my initial purchase I've bought 300 more blades, at one blade a month I've got enough to shave for the next 33 years for just over 40 bucks. It might even be more depending on how long this Lord blade lasts.

BTW, you can sharpen safety razor blades by putting them in a straight-sided water glass and rolling it back-and-forth for a few mins, flipping the blade and doing it again. I did it and it works, but I tossed the blade anyway because I wanted to start using the Lord blade to compare them.

When I do find out how long the Lord blade lasts I'll be switching back to my Mach3 razor and using it as my daily driver, I have over 30 of the cartridges on hand and it's just more comfortable.

In my soap making experiments my soap always comes out like thick softsoap, with a lot of glycerin at the bottom so in a PAW situation I'll just do a half-soap-half-glycerin mix as my shaving soap, the glycerin is pretty slick stuff and should make a pretty good shaving lubricant.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 03, 2018 2:05 pm 
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My wife bought me a safety razor to try out years ago, at my request. Both that razor and the brush it came with wore out in a couple of years: the hair fell out of the brush, and the threads that held the razor together wore out because they were just chrome plated brass.

In 2015, I bought the cheapest Feather (made in Japan, all stainless-steel parts) brand safety razor, which was $165 on sale. I also bought a 100 pack of the Feather brand blades for about $25; I had previously bought a sample pack of different brands of blades and Feather felt the best on my face/lasted the longest.

Add in a new brush, and I basically spent $200 on shaving supplies, which I realize is ridiculous. That being said, given that I can get months and months out of a blade (I only shave about once a week), this is at least 25 years worth of shaving. I will just need to buy or make more shaving soap or some substitute every few years. I do think I will eventually save money since I used to spend maybe $50 a year on disposable razors. It also seems more environmentally friendly than throwing out a disposable razor every few weeks. And, I have the peace of mind that if the world ends, I can still shave for a long, long time. I know people say it get's better after a while, but I once tried for almost 8 weeks to grow facial hair, and it just kept getting worse until I wanted to rip the skin off my face. So, having shaving supplies is a priority for me.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 03, 2018 3:50 pm 
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Good review, this mirrors the feedback I've heard from other users. My brother went a similar route but ended up just going back to trimmers as he works a blue-collar job and just lives with stubble all the time.

My M3 blades last months as I only shave my cheeks and neck about once a week, and I'd probably just let it go if I ran out. Gas mask seal is the only thing that keeps me watching shaving supplies but I've mostly just written that off at this point.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 03, 2018 4:34 pm 
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Anyone considering a straight or "cutthroat" razor? Imagine you could keep them sharp for a long time and start a side biz bleeding the sick in a ZPAW.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 03, 2018 5:57 pm 
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About 8 years ago I decided to explore 'alternative' shaving solutions, not particularly for the savings benefit, but mostly to satisfy my curiosity and taste for more 'manual' and 'old-fashioned' things*. The savings are a good bonus, though.

My situation: I gave up my beard about 4 years past to conform to appearances for my job (I have no strong feelings either way), and I typically shave every other day, being fortunate enough to not have wolfman-like beard growth rate that daily shaving is required. Usually a disposable razor or safety razor will last about 1-2 weeks, depending on how dull I let it get.

I've been using a relatively inexpensive chrome-plated brass butterfly safety razor (Parker 99R) for at least 4 years. I started off with a variety pack of blades (as recommended by some to try out what feels best for your face), but I found decent results with nearly all of them, as long as I swapped them out when they started to get dull. Various blades seemed to last longer than others, but I've settled on Feather blades, though I could probably put up with even cheaper ones. Again, even 'pricey' safety razor blades cost me about half as much as I would be spending on bulk disposables.

The 'gap' between the blade edge and the safe edge that rides on your face is typically larger on most safety razors than multi-bladed disposable/cartridge razors. I believe this is a quality, along with the blade angle, that contributes to the 'aggressiveness' of a particular safety razor design. Some safety razors are more aggressive than others, and how you hold it also contributes to how 'aggressive' it will feel. Generally, I think safety razors are more likely to cut you than modern razors, because of a comparably more aggressive gapping between blades. When I travel by airplane and have to use disposable razors, I feel they are much easier to use and much less likely to cut. It is a nice feeling, but at home I still stick with my safety razor.

Actually prior to using a safety razor, I started off on 'hard mode' and took a few hours sharpening and stropping a spare paring knife to try my hand at straight razor shaving. I used that straight razor for daily shaving off-and-on for about a year before I grew out my beard, but I still used it for clean-up around the edges after that. Two things about straight razor shaving:
1. You will absolutely cut yourself. Even as you get better, expect to nick yourself once in a while. But it isn't that bad - with such a sharp razor, you'll hardly notice until it starts bleeding a few seconds later.
2. This is not an activity you do while in a rush. Relax, take the time to prepare your face and blade, and settle in for at least 15-20 minutes of careful work. The consequences of attempting to rush straight razor shaving will become self-evident should you try.

My biggest takeaway from trying different methods of shaving should be obvious, given its commonality with other kinds of blades: sharpness matters. Nearly any safety razor blade you buy will be plenty sharp enough out of the package, but depending on the quality and your stubble situation, it will become dull sooner or later. When it is dull, your face will let you know. Don't put up with a dull razor. Either freshen it up by sharpening it, or just toss it and enjoy the fact that it is still costing you way less than cartridge razors would.

*Aside: Among other things, I cut my grass with a modern reel mower and grass sickle, and grind and brew my coffee with a hand-mill and french press. While I'm able, I don't mind putting in a little extra effort in a world otherwise dominated by convenience. :P

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 03, 2018 9:36 pm 
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:words:
I mostly use a straight razor, while keeping a gotee just to reduce mowing real estate. From dollar store single blades to mach 17 with powered whatzit and afterburners - I have yet to find a disposable or cartridge that will get me more than 5 or 6 shaves and frequently less. I have a very course beard and my 5 oclock shadow shows up around 2. I keep a handfull of mach 3's for travel and touch up purposes, but I consider those single trip items.
A straight razor will teach you patience although contrary to popular belief they do not last forever - you lose a bit of steel with every sharpening and will eventually have to reprofile it. I keep several in rotation, stropped between uses and honed as a group as needed.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 03, 2018 11:28 pm 
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Just looked at Amazon, the cheapest safety razor is $3 w/ prime shipping, there are a few more up to $5, some are butterfly razors but at that price point you'd be better off sticking with the 2 or 3 piece screw-down razors for durability.

It occurs to me that if somebody wanted to stock up on trade goods you could do worse than safety razors. In a PAW situation I'd think shaving equipment would be rare as hens teeth and people would pay/trade quite a lot for it.

For a couple hundred bucks you could have one hell of a stock of razors and blades - and it wouldnt take up much room either.


Edit for spelling

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Last edited by Maast on Sun Feb 04, 2018 7:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 04, 2018 2:37 am 
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Been using saftey razors since 2014. Would never go back. Got a kit as a birthday present and I find the razors last a long time.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 04, 2018 7:08 pm 
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Maast wrote:
BTW, you can sharpen safety razor blades by putting them in a straight-sided water glass and rolling it back-and-forth for a few mins, flipping the blade and doing it again. I did it and it works, but I tossed the blade anyway because I wanted to start using the Lord blade to compare them


I've been using a safety razor for years, and this is the first I've heard of this. Can you explain it a little more?

Once you go over to a safety razor, you're never going to go back. They're inexpensive, pretty easy to master, and once you figure it out, shaving is really satisfying.

For the record, and since nobody asked, I use the Personna Reds from Israel in an Edwin Jagger twist-on.

Every once in a while, I'll use a puck of shaving soap in a mug with a badger brush. In the words of Ron Swanson;

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 05, 2018 2:56 am 
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echo83 wrote:
I've been using a safety razor for years, and this is the first I've heard of this. Can you explain it a little more?


Use a smooth straight sided drinking glass or a coffee mug, put the blade in the glass and push down until the blade is 3/4s or so of the way to being flat against the glass, then roll the glass back and forth 20ish times, flip the blade and do it again. You have to figure out how much to press down depending on how steep the curve of the glass is.

To finish put the blade back in the razor body and strop the blade backwards against denim or other dense cloth - the opposite of the motion you'd use to shave with. Paper might work too.

From what I've read stropping alone does a pretty good job of sharpening up a razor blade.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 06, 2018 5:24 pm 
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To shine a bit more light (maybe): http://blog.modernmechanix.com/delusions-about-shaving/

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 8:32 am 
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Bought my husband a Edwin Jagger safety razor and badger brush about 3 years ago. He has a very coarse, dense beard which he likes to keep short with his neck/underside of jaw shaved (it tends to just get bushier instead of longer if he lets it grow out). Since he has a giant, square superhero jaw and most of his neck grows beard, it is still a lot of real estate to mow. He actually finds that he gets fewer nicks and sore spots with it than when he was using his M3 and thought the learning curve was pretty easy. He has really sensitive skin, so I was a little surprised by some of the comments about extra sore spots. Maybe the type of safety razor you are using?

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 4:45 pm 
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I don't know bout y'all... but I've gone all electric. Far less irritation and far quicker.

Of course, my far-north-euro-genetics require that I only need to shave every 1 or 2 weeks to keep my stubble beard in check.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 11:14 pm 
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From reading reviews and playing around with a variety pack - it isnt the razor so much that gives you a good or bad shave, it's the blades. For example the blades I started with were considered "aggressive" blades because they're both sharp as hell and they're a little wider (thousandths of an inch) so more of the blade protrudes from the razor body. The Lord blades I mentioned earlier are considered "mild" which means they dont stick out quite so far and/or they're not as sharp.

A couple weeks with the Lord Platinum blades and I havent been getting nearly as many nicks or any sore spots - but I do have to make more passes with the razor to get a babies butt shave.

From what I understand Astra blades are similar.

I got a variety pack and have been playing around with them, personally I dont like the "holy shit" sharp blades.

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Last edited by Maast on Sun Feb 18, 2018 2:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 2:22 pm 
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FYI, on the trade goods idea; I just bought 1000 Dorco ST301s on Amazon for $13.99

Reading the reviews on them they're meh blades, but decent enough - and they're a fifth the price of the closest inexpensive blades. Made in Korea, I'm shopping around on Alibaba for cheap two or three piece razors and I'll pick up 100 or so.

Edit:

I've been shaving with the Dorcos for over a month now, they're better blades than the Lords - actually they're pretty good overall.

Also, I tried sharpening the old Lord blade by pressing it down in the glass and it really made it dull, lessons learned: dont press down just let it slide a bit and then strop it.

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