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Author Topic: Victorian Shaving... yes, some of us still shave with a naked blade..  (Read 34786 times)
Mr Mockett
Guest
« Reply #75 on: January 03, 2008, 03:58:04 pm »

I use the Merkur Progress (DE) and have to say that I would never go back to a safety razor.

You mean cartridge, I assume.  DEs are safety razors.  Wink
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boss tweed
Gunner
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Brazil Brazil



« Reply #76 on: January 04, 2008, 02:17:47 am »

I recently found the funds to purchase a nice wester brothers razor from a private party. It is a wonderful shave if you're looking for a closer shave, and of course if you can get over the cold steel on your skin.
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Alexander Edmund Clough
Guest
« Reply #77 on: January 04, 2008, 11:42:05 pm »

Well, my straight razor has arrived. At least I think it has. I'll find out tomorrow when I go and collect the parcel that was "too large to fit through letter box" according to the card the postman left. *bounces excitedly*

In other news, my enthusiasm for old fashioned shaving appears to have rubbed off on the beloved, who returned home from work with a Wilkinson Sword "Classic" DE safety razor and a pack of blades.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

She's just done her legs and armpits and has proclaimed it "best shave EVER" - and I must say they are mighty smooth  Cheesy

(pauses to kiss her all over  Kiss Kiss Kiss)

I (two and a half days of beard growth, Oh dearie me  Embarrassed) promptly gave in and borrowed it from her - WITHOUT changing the blade (God help me if I tried that with a cartridge blade). I couldn't help myself m'lud. I just had to sample that vintage shaving goodness for myself!  Grin

Two cycles of lather, shave and rinse later I've got a decent shave with less irritation (a little at the base of my neck) and nicks than I would have got with a SINGLE shave from a cartridge razor. I do still have some slightly rough bits as I couldn't face a third go over as I was starting to feel a little sore in the neck region.

I am so looking forward to finishing off with the straight razor!

Will report on progress with pics once that's done Smiley
« Last Edit: January 04, 2008, 11:57:38 pm by Alexander Edmund Clough » Logged
Jemima Annabelle Clough
Rogue Ætherlord
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United Kingdom United Kingdom


When you're tired of tea, you're tired of life


« Reply #78 on: January 04, 2008, 11:53:49 pm »

On another note, it's a shame there aren't better shaving options for a lady's needs. Shaving with drugstore razors (no matter HOW much one spends) leads hair to grow back quickly (or can give bumps, in more delicate areas) and waxing a) hurts, I presume and b) is pricey.
Have you tried a safety razor? I can't comment on the growback because I've only just had my first shave with one, but it was remarkably painless and easy - far more pleasant than with a cartridge razor. This was a cheapo Wilkinson Sword beastie - the razor plus 10 extra blades all came to under a UK tenner.

Hair removal cream is a lot less painful than wax (unless you're allergic to the chemicals), but it stinks, and I find it a bit hit and miss. And epilators just seem to yank the hair out  Shocked
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Jemima Annabelle Clough
Rogue Ætherlord
*
United Kingdom United Kingdom


When you're tired of tea, you're tired of life


« Reply #79 on: January 05, 2008, 12:05:26 am »

In other news, my enthusiasm for old fashioned shaving appears to have rubbed off on the beloved, who returned home from work with a Wilkinson Sword "Classic" DE safety razor and a pack of blades.
And I would like to thank the person who mentioned a certain high street chemist chain sold safety razors for under a fiver. If I could find the thread and post again, I'd do it there. But I can't, so I'm doing it here. Smiley
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Alexander Edmund Clough
Guest
« Reply #80 on: January 05, 2008, 02:01:29 pm »

Well, my straight razor has arrived, along with the strop etc. Unfortunately it is nowhere near "shaving sharp" (it fails the hanging hair test) so I'm busy stropping it to see if it'll get there!

Mind you, the razor was cheap (it's completely unbranded and the scales are black cheap plastic) and I therefore wasn't expecting Dovo quality... that said, I wasn't expecting it to be blunter than my swiss-army knife.  Shocked

Although I have to say, sitting and stropping a straight razor is a rather peaceful experience. (I'm using a strop that's mounted on a wooden paddle, wetstone on the other side). I think I might have to hone this thing though. Stropping is helping, but it's still nowhere near sharp enough to split hairs.

Thank god for this thread and reading up on stropping & honing - if I'd tried shaving with it as it arrived I'd probably have thrown it in the sink in disgust and been put off straight razors for life!
« Last Edit: January 05, 2008, 05:08:45 pm by Alexander Edmund Clough » Logged
boss tweed
Gunner
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Brazil Brazil



« Reply #81 on: January 05, 2008, 05:50:46 pm »

let me tell you sir that if you are planning on honing it yourself, you are in for a frustrating experience that will end in your blade most likely being in worse shape, or potentially damaged unless you have sufficient experience in honing a straight razor. It is not at all like honing a knife. I am going through the same problem myself. You would do well to find someone who can hone it for you.
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HAC
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HAC_N800
« Reply #82 on: January 05, 2008, 06:23:47 pm »

A good razor will not need stropping from the factory.
You should get between 5 and 12 shaves without needing to strop. As far as honing, if you don't have the right stones, you will literally destroy the edge. I have a pair of 4000x and 8000x waterstones. I don't need to hone all that often. Those stones are used for nothing else. My strop is a hanging style..

Advice... get someone to teach you how to use a razro, there will be less pain and bleeding that way. If you don;t hlod it at the correct angle while shaving, you will rip more than cut your stubble. If you have any lumps or bumps on your face, don't learn in those areas, unless you realy want to remove said bumps.
 You WILL cut yourself, learing to shave with a straight razor, trust me, you WILL cut yourself.

Some REALLY good information here:

http://www.knifecenter.com/knifecenter/sharpen/instrazor.html

Cheers
Harold
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Alexander Edmund Clough
Guest
« Reply #83 on: January 05, 2008, 08:53:20 pm »

Thank you sirs for your kind words and good advice.

Boss Tweed - thank you for your warning! Seeing as this razor only cost me GBP 10 I'm inclined to now consider it simply a "practice sharpening it" razor and not try shaving with it because I'm having to sharpen the damned thing straight from the shop (it's brand new, not an antique)...

Harold - I already have that link bookmarked!  Cheesy Unfortunately, I know no-one who uses a straight-razor who can pass on their skills directly, so I must rely on information from the aetherweb. I have been doing a lot of reading and have also located a few very useful instructional videos on youtube. Well prepared that I will cut myself - I've done an audit of lumps and bumps to avoid! Smiley

http://www.executive-shaving.co.uk/shaving/leather-strops/leather-hone-hand-strop-2055.php that's my combined hone / strop (although it was not purchased from them). I have a hanging strop on the way, but it has not yet arrived so I'm not using abrasive honing paste at the present time - just the bare leather with the yellow Dovo paste rubbed well in.

I agree entirely with your statement that a good razor will not need stropping from the factory. Unfortunately, it would seem that this is NOT a good razor. I was reluctant to spend a large amount on my first straight razor in case I really didn't get on with it; but it now looks like I shall have to "bite the bullet" and get myself a Dovo. Serves me right for going for an exceptionally cheap straight razor - it would really appear to be the case that "you get what you pay for".

Once again, than you both for your kind words.   Smiley
« Last Edit: January 05, 2008, 11:08:10 pm by Alexander Edmund Clough » Logged
Alexander Edmund Clough
Guest
« Reply #84 on: January 06, 2008, 01:08:37 am »

Finally got the damned thing pretty much "shaving sharp" and all I have to say is "OH MY GOD. WHAT A SHAVE!!!" (I didn't get it sharp enough though I think because there were a couple of bits with longer hairs where it was noticeably "tugging" so I did them with the DE)

Three slow passes of shave oil, soap, shave, rinse (with the grain, across the grain and finally against the grain)
ONE nick
LESS irritation than with a cartridge.

I had to finish off with the DE safety for top lip, bottom lip and chin because I couldn't work out how the heck to do all of those bits with the straight razor (tried on first pass, nicked myself on the underside of my chin (just a small nick) and said "sod it, I'll finish those with the DE")

Nicked myself once with the DE as well on my top lip (I admit that there are a couple of small patches of very short fuzz left, but they're from areas I finished with the DE - one at each corner of my lower lip.)

Finished off with a wet alum block (got to the nicks and AIEEEE IT STINGS IT STINGS) and a splash of "simple for men" aftershave balm and the beloved has said she's never seen me so well shaved!!!

And best of all, IT WAS ENJOYABLE instead of being a chore.  Smiley

Right. I'm off to order myself a decent DOVO razor now Grin (the cheap one is going to be reserved for honing practice from now on!)
« Last Edit: January 06, 2008, 02:28:40 am by Alexander Edmund Clough » Logged
groomporter
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HMA Todd, Combined Highland Expeditionary Force


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« Reply #85 on: January 06, 2008, 02:26:35 am »

I normally shave with a modern razor, and haven't used an electric in years. So when we camp at reenactment events over long weekends I've often thought it would feel nice to have a shave to clean up at least if there was no access to showers, so I picked up an old straight razor in an antique store, but for the life of me I can't get it sharp enough to cut whiskers. I've tried a strop with honing powder and more recently I tried a set of three progressively finer diamond knife sharpeners and I can get it to shave hairs from my wrist, but it just pulls and scrapes on my face. If I'm going to try it should I just find a new razor with a old look to it, or is there something I'm missing?

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Alexander Edmund Clough
Guest
« Reply #86 on: January 06, 2008, 02:32:31 am »

I managed to get my cheap one sharp enough to shave hairs off my wrist, and almost sharp enough to shave with (although as it turned out not 100% sharp enough)

Here's three excellent Youtube videos I found on the topic of honing straight razors:

Part 1


Part 2


Part 3


Here's one on stropping:


and here's how to tell if your razor is sharp enough!


Hope they help folks!
« Last Edit: January 06, 2008, 02:35:53 am by Alexander Edmund Clough » Logged
HAC
Steam Theologian
Zeppelin Overlord
*******
Canada Canada


HAC_N800
« Reply #87 on: January 06, 2008, 02:37:14 am »

I normally shave with a modern razor, and haven't used an electric in years. So when we camp at reenactment events over long weekends I've often thought it would feel nice to have a shave to clean up at least if there was no access to showers, so I picked up an old straight razor in an antique store, but for the life of me I can't get it sharp enough to cut whiskers. I've tried a strop with honing powder and more recently I tried a set of three progressively finer diamond knife sharpeners and I can get it to shave hairs from my wrist, but it just pulls and scrapes on my face. If I'm going to try it should I just find a new razor with a old look to it, or is there something I'm missing?


Knife sharpeners will not work, the angle is all wrong. You need a flat honing stone. The back of the razor provides the correct angle, and you NEVER put any pressure on it while honing, The weight fo the razor is rpessure enough.

Cheers
Harold
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groomporter
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HMA Todd, Combined Highland Expeditionary Force


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« Reply #88 on: January 06, 2008, 02:58:25 am »

Knife sharpeners will not work, the angle is all wrong. You need a flat honing stone. The back of the razor provides the correct angle, and you NEVER put any pressure on it while honing, The weight fo the razor is rpessure enough.


The diamond blade sharpeners/stones are just flat surfaces so I would think they should work. They are similar to these http://woodcraft.com/family.aspx?familyid=3574

The pressure makes sense now that you mention it. Too much pressure might tend to bend the very fine edge of the blade creating a burr rather than honing that edge, I'll try again with a more delicate touch Thanks!
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Mr Mockett
Guest
« Reply #89 on: January 09, 2008, 07:53:17 pm »

Ok.  I just shaved this morning for the first time with real shaving soap (Mama Bear's glycerin soap, Sandalwood Vanilla).  All I have to say is, WOW.  Best shave I've ever had, and this was with my standard M3 razor.  Can't wait to try my safety razor.  Really, if all you ever do is switch from a canned lather to a cream/soap/etc?  You'll do yourself and your face a favor.
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Alexander Edmund Clough
Guest
« Reply #90 on: January 09, 2008, 11:28:04 pm »

Ok.  I just shaved this morning for the first time with real shaving soap (Mama Bear's glycerin soap, Sandalwood Vanilla).  All I have to say is, WOW.  Best shave I've ever had, and this was with my standard M3 razor.  Can't wait to try my safety razor.  Really, if all you ever do is switch from a canned lather to a cream/soap/etc?  You'll do yourself and your face a favor.

I must agree wholeheartedly with Mr Mockett. Real shaving soap and a badger brush beats canned foam anyday!
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Alexander Edmund Clough
Guest
« Reply #91 on: January 09, 2008, 11:56:06 pm »

Victorian Shaving.

-OR-

The most frightening thing I've done in a bathroom. EVER.

-OR-
The Face of BLOOD

A tale not for those of a weak disposition

Price: 1d.



It was an ordinary day when the fine courier of Her Majesty's Royal Mail delivered a parcel into my hands. It was neatly wrapped in brown paper and within was a box fashioned from cardboard. I unwrapped it with feverish fingers, could it be items I had recently ordered from "The Gentleman's Shop"?

Contained within were two boxes..



and


Huzzah! My new decent quality straight razor and safety razor have arrived!

First, the straight razor. Nervously I opened the blue case to reveal:

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Then the brown case:

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Upon returning home from work I decided to treat myself to a leisurely shave. Plenty of preparation. Hot towel, shaving oil, lather.

I reached for the straight razor.

Then I paused.

Was I ready to ply this wickedly sharp blade over my face?

I steadied my hands and began.

PUTTING A NEW "PERFECTLY RAZOR SHARP" BLADE TO MY FACE, AND THEN PULLING IT DOWNWARDS TO SHAVE OFF HAIRS RANKS ON THE LIST OF THE MOST TERRIFYING THINGS I'VE EVER DONE. I knew that if I was careless, I could do myself some serious damage.

Sharp? Before this (I realised) I didn't know the meaning of that word. I could hear the individual hairs popping as the blade stroked over them. No tugging or pulling, just pop-pop-pop-pop-pop as it smoothly removed hair (and not skin! Huzzah!)

I shaved my cheeks and my neck.

Then moved onto my jawline.

One cut. Didn't even feel it or notice until I saw the pink in the lather (I flinched as I was about to start a tricky bit under my jaw)

Started doing my chin and I wimped out.

So, I switched to the safety razor, and whistling a merry tune out of relief that I was no longer waving a straight razor around my face, began shaving my chin and around my mouth as if I was using a cartridge razor. Not stretching the skin, trying to take all the hair off in one pass instead of thinning it out then re-lathering and shaving clean on the second (or third) shave. BIG MISTAKE!


Shave
shave
shave

Bleed
bleed
bleed

WHOOPS, I was safer with the cut throat than the safety!!!

I stopped. Rinsed off the remaining bits of soap. Surveyed the damage.

Blood is freely trickling down my chin.

Carefully re-soaped the remaining chin & lip areas  that I hadn't done, and did them PROPERLY

I counted 8 different nicks that I made with the safety razor by the time I finished shaving.

Time to apply some Alum.

*blasphemous cries and howls of agony issue forth, causing local dogs to cover their ears with their paws and whimper*

DAMN ME, THAT STINGS!!!!!!

Now for the soothing aftershave balm...

Compared to the alum block, the aftershave merely tingled a little (alcohol free moisturiser).

Lesson learned?

I must treat the Safety Razor (despite it's name) with the same care and attention as the straight razor.
I must treat the Safety Razor (despite it's name) with the same care and attention as the straight razor.
I must treat the Safety Razor (despite it's name) with the same care and attention as the straight razor.
I must treat the Safety Razor (despite it's name) with the same care and attention as the straight razor.
I must treat the Safety Razor (despite it's name) with the same care and attention as the straight razor.
I must treat the Safety Razor (despite it's name) with the same care and attention as the straight razor.
I must treat the Safety Razor (despite it's name) with the same care and attention as the straight razor.
I must treat the Safety Razor (despite it's name) with the same care and attention as the straight razor.
I must treat the Safety Razor (despite it's name) with the same care and attention as the straight razor.
I must treat the Safety Razor (despite it's name) with the same care and attention as the straight razor.

Quality of shave?

I don't think I've been so smooth since before I didn't need to shave! Although I must admit that my cheeks do feel a little smoother than my chin
(unlike with my first attempt with the cheap straight razor, where the quality of the shave was probably more down to finishing off with the saftey razor).

Will I be doing this again?

YES.

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

P.S. Fortunately, the cuts healed quickly thanks to the Alum block.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2008, 12:40:13 am by Alexander Edmund Clough » Logged
Mr Mockett
Guest
« Reply #92 on: January 10, 2008, 05:15:32 am »

I wasn't even as brave a soul as you Alexander, my first shave with badger and soap was with my old M3.  I just cleaned up my Schick Injector E series tonight, will have a nice leisurely shave Saturday morning. 

I'm also getting a dozen safety razors from a friend whose mother "collected" them and now wants them out of the house.  I am so happy!
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Phineas Grey
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« Reply #93 on: January 10, 2008, 10:46:02 am »

Well, after reading some of the previous posts I am interested in getting a straight razor. How cheap is too cheap however? I don't have the money for a Dovo, maybe a 75pound one. How about a; Cyril R Salter
Black Open Razor 3800. Cyril Salter's own branded, Solingen quality, carbon steel 5/8 inch blade. It's 37pounds from The Gentleman's Shop.

http://www.gentlemans-shop.com/acatalog/cyril-salter-open-razor.html#a64

Have any of you gentlemen had experiance with Cyril Salter's razors? How well would it shave gents?

Thankyou,
Yours Sincerly,
Mr Ashton
« Last Edit: January 10, 2008, 10:47:49 am by Mr. Stuart Ashton » Logged

"Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society."
  -- Mark Twain
Mr Mockett
Guest
« Reply #94 on: January 10, 2008, 02:28:15 pm »

I couldn't say anything about straight-razors, but the cost of getting into DE shaving is significantly lower, in general, than straights. 
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Alexander Edmund Clough
Guest
« Reply #95 on: January 10, 2008, 10:57:56 pm »

Well, after reading some of the previous posts I am interested in getting a straight razor. How cheap is too cheap however? I don't have the money for a Dovo, maybe a 75pound one. How about a; Cyril R Salter
Black Open Razor 3800. Cyril Salter's own branded, Solingen quality, carbon steel 5/8 inch blade. It's 37pounds from The Gentleman's Shop.

http://www.gentlemans-shop.com/acatalog/cyril-salter-open-razor.html#a64

Have any of you gentlemen had experiance with Cyril Salter's razors? How well would it shave gents?

Thankyou,
Yours Sincerly,
Mr Ashton



"too cheap" would be the £9.99 (inc VAT) one that I purchased from another "shaving supplies" store on the 'net. I went that cheap because I didn't want to risk even £37 on a straight razor in case I didn't like it, but to be honest I would have been better getting the Cyril Salter one - it would have probably at least been sharp enough!

If you're going to spend that little on a straight razor, get one of the ones where you replace the blade with a DE razor blade rather than a "proper" one - at least that way you can guarantee the blade will be sharp!!

That Cyril Salter one looks a perfectly reasonable quality razor to me. Cyril Salter are the UK wholesalers for a lot of traditional shaving related products (including the Dovo range), so I would guess that's an "own brand" razor aimed at newcomers who don't want to spend too much and has plastic or resin scales and no engraving / gold leaf in order to keep the cost down.

My Dovo one set me back £75 inc VAT from the fine people at Gentleman's Shop, and I can certainly vouch for it's quality and sharpness.

You could always go for a vintage one that has been re-honed and sharpened. I can't vouch for the quality of this guy, but I was SORELY tempted by some of his antiques that he has cleaned and sharpened - he guarantee's they are "shave ready" http://www.theinvisibleedge.co.uk/shavereadyrazors.html but I decided that I didn't want to risk disappointment again and went for a new razor.  And they are MUCH cheaper than you might think. (one for instance, made between 1880 and 1900 is only £28.95!!)

I may treat myself to an antique one at some point in the future.

Hope that helps.

PS - Facial fuzz status report: 24 hours after shaving, I have about the same amount of fuzz on my cheeks that I would normally have about 12 hours after a shave with a cartridge razor (or straight after an electric shave), and my chin and 'tache area (which were only shaved with the DE safety) are only slightly fuzzier.

If I was to shave fully with the straight razor, I reckon I could easily skip a day an no-one would notice.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2008, 01:57:24 am by Alexander Edmund Clough » Logged
Alexander Edmund Clough
Guest
« Reply #96 on: January 11, 2008, 01:56:13 am »

To my fellow neophyte Victorian Straight Razor Shavers - Courage mes Amis!

It is possible, even for us beginners to this black art, to shave chin and top lip without slicing flesh!

I summoned my reserves, and remembering the mantra "SHORT SMALL STROKES to make the curvy bit you're shaving as 'flat' as you can. And remember to keep stretching the skin" I was able to conquer my fear of doing chin and top lip with straight razor. NO CUTS!  Grin

Had to tidy up with safety razor for the bit right below my nose, and I duly nicked my top lip  *sigh* Roll Eyes

Oh, and GET AN ALUM BLOCK. Worth every penny. Quickly stops cuts and also soothes any irritation from the shave. Even if the damned stuff stings like hell. Your face will thank you for it once the stinging stops!
« Last Edit: January 11, 2008, 02:04:53 am by Alexander Edmund Clough » Logged
Alexander Edmund Clough
Guest
« Reply #97 on: January 11, 2008, 02:03:22 am »

I wasn't even as brave a soul as you Alexander, my first shave with badger and soap was with my old M3.  I just cleaned up my Schick Injector E series tonight, will have a nice leisurely shave Saturday morning. 

I'm also getting a dozen safety razors from a friend whose mother "collected" them and now wants them out of the house.  I am so happy!

Good luck with the Schick! Do write and let us know how you get on with it!
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Sir Nikolas of Vendigroth
Guest
« Reply #98 on: January 11, 2008, 12:27:29 pm »

From a nepohyte hobbyist bladesmith's point of view.....Razors are barely tempered, aren't they? Careful with that edge, gentlemen, it'll chip in an instantif you don't treat it well.
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Mr Mockett
Guest
« Reply #99 on: January 11, 2008, 07:08:48 pm »

Good luck with the Schick! Do write and let us know how you get on with it!

I had my first shave with it this morning, and while my technique requires a lot of work it was a decent shave.  I had a question about blade angle, which was duly answered over at Badger and Blade.  I may chance to shave again tomorrow just to try it out and practice my lather technique as well.
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