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#1
I'm getting older and slowing down.....slowing down with my 'serial obsessions' (as my wife calls them). Shaving is/was one of those serial obsessions.

From what I've read on the various forums I've belonged to over the years, I started into traditional wetshaving for reasons shared by a majority of members - overpriced multi-blade cartridges, sub-par shaves, ingrown hairs, etc. I wanted to save money on shaving  Big Grin. We all know how that played out.

After several years of various AD's (I managed to avoid AS-AD), I had spent several thousand dollars on shaving stuff. I had a custom Zowada straight that remains my most expensive shaving purchase. I spent hundreds of dollars on a Somerset Manchurian Chubby 3, and I got in on the Cobra Classic craze before they had any real demand. I tried more razors, brushes, and blades than I can remember.

The shaves did improve steadily for a while --- and then they stopped improving.

I'm a slow learner, or rather I tried to avoid for as long as possible the lesson that was becoming obvious. I reluctantly learned that by-and-large the tools were not really what determined the quality of the shave....rather it was me and my technique (or lack thereof) that was the prime determining factor in whether the shave was going to be good or not.

I know now that with proper technique, prep and an understanding of my tools an Arko stick, a GEM MM with a GEM blade, an Omega Boar and a Pinaud AS will give me a great shaving experience. Every time.

That's not to say that I don't still have a large collection of stuff or that I use the above combo all, or even most of the time. I like variation and I still have several dozen DE's and SE's and straights. I don't know how many soaps/creams I have. I've cut my brushes down to about a dozen.

What has changed is that while i used to obsess about each aspect of the shave, now I just shave. If I feel like using something that smells like marzipan, I use P160, if I want menthol I use Proraso, or PC soaps or whatever. I know they'll each perform well - regardless of the brush I use, or the razor, or the blade.

I have realized that price of the item is not going to determine how much I'll like it. I've seen a plethora of new shaving implements reach the market over the last few years and that's exciting, but I usually have little desire to try them out because I know that they all will eventually shave me the same. At some point, no razor can take off more stubble without taking off some skin. I can get there without any real effort with pretty much any razor I currently have. Some get there sooner, some take more passes, but they all take close to the same amount of time since each pass is pretty short.

No! I'm not saying that YOU shouldn't try out new things or get excited about the latest razor made of Titanium, or whatever. Everyone should have fun with this hobby in their own way.

Basically, I find that I've reached a level of contentment now. The drive to buy more is pretty much gone. Every now and then I get curious about something and I may or may not try it.

If I buy a Wolfman razor it will be because I have determined that I really want one - not because I expect it to shave me better than my Merkur Progress. I may like some aspect of the Wolfman better than the Merkur, but the shave will be equally close when I'm done, and I will enjoy the shave equally. My skill will even out the experience. If I have a sub-par shave, I know it's because I did not build a good lather, not because the soap sucked. Or maybe it was because I tried to squeeze one shave too many from a blade, not because the razor sucked. I may look at a razor or a brush and say, 'Wow! This is a work of art!', but as a tool a work of art will probably shave me as well as a plain-Jane Gillette.

So I shave, and enjoy my shaves. I read the forums and enjoy seeing what's new. I don't spend my time wanting stuff and that's only improved my satisfaction with this hobby.

And that's what it's all about (not the hokey-pokey). Big Grin

Michael P, Standard, iamsms and 18 others like this post
- Yohann
#2

Member
Seattle
(08-13-2018, 03:25 AM)yohannrjm Wrote: I'm getting older and slowing down.....slowing down with my 'serial obsessions' (as my wife calls them). Shaving is/was one of those serial obsessions.

From what I've read on the various forums I've belonged to over the years, I started into traditional wetshaving for reasons shared by a majority of members - overpriced multi-blade cartridges, sub-par shaves, ingrown hairs, etc. I wanted to save money on shaving  Big Grin. We all know how that played out.

After several years of various AD's (I managed to avoid AS-AD), I had spent several thousand dollars on shaving stuff. I had a custom Zowada straight that remains my most expensive shaving purchase. I spent hundreds of dollars on a Somerset Manchurian Chubby 3, and I got in on the Cobra Classic craze before they had any real demand. I tried more razors, brushes, and blades than I can remember.

The shaves did improve steadily for a while --- and then they stopped improving.

I'm a slow learner, or rather I tried to avoid for as long as possible the lesson that was becoming obvious. I reluctantly learned that by-and-large the tools were not really what determined the quality of the shave....rather it was me and my technique (or lack thereof) that was the prime determining factor in whether the shave was going to be good or not.

I know now that with proper technique, prep and an understanding of my tools an Arko stick, a GEM MM with a GEM blade, an Omega Boar and a Pinaud AS will give me a great shaving experience. Every time.

That's not to say that I don't still have a large collection of stuff or that I use the above combo all, or even most of the time. I like variation and I still have several dozen DE's and SE's and straights. I don't know how many soaps/creams I have. I've cut my brushes down to about a dozen.

What has changed is that while i used to obsess about each aspect of the shave, now I just shave. If I feel like using something that smells like marzipan, I use P160, if I want menthol I use Proraso, or PC soaps or whatever. I know they'll each perform well - regardless of the brush I use, or the razor, or the blade.

I have realized that price of the item is not going to determine how much I'll like it. I've seen a plethora of new shaving implements reach the market over the last few years and that's exciting, but I usually have little desire to try them out because I know that they all will eventually shave me the same. At some point, no razor can take off more stubble without taking off some skin. I can get there without any real effort with pretty much any razor I currently have. Some get there sooner, some take more passes, but they all take close to the same amount of time since each pass is pretty short.

No! I'm not saying that YOU shouldn't try out new things or get excited about the latest razor made of Titanium, or whatever. Everyone should have fun with this hobby in their own way.

Basically, I find that I've reached a level of contentment now. The drive to buy more is pretty much gone. Every now and then I get curious about something and I may or may not try it.

If I buy a Wolfman razor it will be because I have determined that I really want one - not because I expect it to shave me better than my Merkur Progress. I may like some aspect of the Wolfman better than the Merkur, but the shave will be equally close when I'm done, and I will enjoy the shave equally. My skill will even out the experience. If I have a sub-par shave, I know it's because I did not build a good lather, not because the soap sucked. Or maybe it was because I tried to squeeze one shave too many from a blade, not because the razor sucked. I may look at a razor or a brush and say, 'Wow! This is a work of art!', but as a tool a work of art will probably shave me as well as a plain-Jane Gillette.

So I shave, and enjoy my shaves. I read the forums and enjoy seeing what's new. I don't spend my time wanting stuff and that's only improved my satisfaction with this hobby.

And that's what it's all about (not the hokey-pokey). Big Grin

I get this Yohann, and generally agree with you. Where we differ (and it may be because my skills aren't as developed), is that there are a few razors that give me a marginally closer shave than others, and a few that I just can't maneuver into giving me an acceptably close shave--despite my concerted efforts to become one who can get a great shave regardless of the razor. Outside of razors, there are no products that can affect the quality of the shave itself--blades, brushes, soaps, creams, aftershaves, etc.

But I also have slowed down the rate of my acquisitions, significantly, and expect the pace of the slowdown to increase. I've got enough of everything not to get bored, and I've got things I've not yet tried. It's past time for me to smell the roses (or other scents) with each shave without thinking about what I might be missing.

stuartganis74, yohannrjm, Blade4vor and 5 others like this post
--Scott
#3
(08-13-2018, 03:25 AM)yohannrjm Wrote: I'm getting older and slowing down.....slowing down with my 'serial obsessions' (as my wife calls them). Shaving is/was one of those serial obsessions.

From what I've read on the various forums I've belonged to over the years, I started into traditional wetshaving for reasons shared by a majority of members - overpriced multi-blade cartridges, sub-par shaves, ingrown hairs, etc. I wanted to save money on shaving  Big Grin. We all know how that played out.

After several years of various AD's (I managed to avoid AS-AD), I had spent several thousand dollars on shaving stuff. I had a custom Zowada straight that remains my most expensive shaving purchase. I spent hundreds of dollars on a Somerset Manchurian Chubby 3, and I got in on the Cobra Classic craze before they had any real demand. I tried more razors, brushes, and blades than I can remember.

The shaves did improve steadily for a while --- and then they stopped improving.

I'm a slow learner, or rather I tried to avoid for as long as possible the lesson that was becoming obvious. I reluctantly learned that by-and-large the tools were not really what determined the quality of the shave....rather it was me and my technique (or lack thereof) that was the prime determining factor in whether the shave was going to be good or not.

I know now that with proper technique, prep and an understanding of my tools an Arko stick, a GEM MM with a GEM blade, an Omega Boar and a Pinaud AS will give me a great shaving experience. Every time.

That's not to say that I don't still have a large collection of stuff or that I use the above combo all, or even most of the time. I like variation and I still have several dozen DE's and SE's and straights. I don't know how many soaps/creams I have. I've cut my brushes down to about a dozen.

What has changed is that while i used to obsess about each aspect of the shave, now I just shave. If I feel like using something that smells like marzipan, I use P160, if I want menthol I use Proraso, or PC soaps or whatever. I know they'll each perform well - regardless of the brush I use, or the razor, or the blade.

I have realized that price of the item is not going to determine how much I'll like it. I've seen a plethora of new shaving implements reach the market over the last few years and that's exciting, but I usually have little desire to try them out because I know that they all will eventually shave me the same. At some point, no razor can take off more stubble without taking off some skin. I can get there without any real effort with pretty much any razor I currently have. Some get there sooner, some take more passes, but they all take close to the same amount of time since each pass is pretty short.

No! I'm not saying that YOU shouldn't try out new things or get excited about the latest razor made of Titanium, or whatever. Everyone should have fun with this hobby in their own way.

Basically, I find that I've reached a level of contentment now. The drive to buy more is pretty much gone. Every now and then I get curious about something and I may or may not try it.

If I buy a Wolfman razor it will be because I have determined that I really want one - not because I expect it to shave me better than my Merkur Progress. I may like some aspect of the Wolfman better than the Merkur, but the shave will be equally close when I'm done, and I will enjoy the shave equally. My skill will even out the experience. If I have a sub-par shave, I know it's because I did not build a good lather, not because the soap sucked. Or maybe it was because I tried to squeeze one shave too many from a blade, not because the razor sucked. I may look at a razor or a brush and say, 'Wow! This is a work of art!', but as a tool a work of art will probably shave me as well as a plain-Jane Gillette.

So I shave, and enjoy my shaves. I read the forums and enjoy seeing what's new. I don't spend my time wanting stuff and that's only improved my satisfaction with this hobby.

And that's what it's all about (not the hokey-pokey). Big Grin
Getting older and slowing down.... Know that feeling, if I make it to next Sunday I will be 76.
What you wrote I have to agree 100%. It's amazing how many things a person goes through in their life.
There was a time it was mustangs, at least this shaving thing is not that expensive. Time to check my shaving gear, make sure nobody moved anything. Take care and keep writing, Stuartg.

Sent from my QTAQZ3 using Tapatalk

Matsilainen, yohannrjm, HighSpeed and 5 others like this post
#4
(08-13-2018, 03:43 AM)CCity Wrote: I get this Yohann, and generally agree with you. Where we differ (and it may be because my skills aren't as developed), is that there are a few razors that give me a marginally closer shave than others, and a few that I just can't maneuver into giving me an acceptably close shave--despite my concerted efforts to become one who can get a great shave regardless of the razor. Outside of razors, there are no products that can affect the quality of the shave itself--blades, brushes, soaps, creams, aftershaves, etc.

But I also have slowed down the rate of my acquisitions, significantly, and expect the pace of the slowdown to increase. I've got enough of everything not to get bored, and I've got things I've not yet tried. It's past time for me to smell the roses (or other scents) with each shave without thinking about what I might be missing.

You're right, of course. Over the years, the razors that just didn't work for me have been got rid of. The ones I've retained are ones that I've learned to use well.

I keep razors that are mild (Gillette Tech, Feather Portable), and aggressive (Muhle R41) and everything in between. I have worked out how to get good shaves from the whole range. That being said, if I skip shaving for a day or two, I will not reach for a Tech; I'll use a straight instead.

And I agree about not being bored. What I have already provides enough variation to stave off boredom.

HoosierShave, Blade4vor, Michael P and 4 others like this post
- Yohann
#5
Nice post, Yohann and I hope you are doing well, neighbour. Smile

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Celestino
Love, Laughter & Shaving  Heart
#6
I'm doing really well, Celestino. Just like you: Love, laughter and shaving (with some hiking and bike riding thrown in). The Pacific Northwest suits me perfectly. Hope you're doing well, my friend.

Rebus Knebus likes this post
- Yohann
#7

Vintage Razor Fan
Southwestern NY
(This post was last modified: 08-13-2018, 08:35 AM by Blade4vor.)
Great thread, Yohann yohannrjm! It really is wonderful to hear that you've achieved some contentment in shaving!

It's also good to hear that there may be a light at the end of the tunnel. I went through a period of time about a year or so ago that I was trying things at an insane pace. I think I needed to do that in order to realize a little bit of what you are saying. It has a lot more to do with the shaver than the shave loot. My rate of acquisitions has dropped to a crawl compared to where it was before. I may pick up something here and there, but I no longer have a package per day arriving anymore. And, I still enjoy my shaves!

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-Rob
#8
(08-13-2018, 08:34 AM)Blade4vor Wrote: Great thread, Yohann yohannrjm!  It really is wonderful to hear that you've achieved some contentment in shaving!

It's also good to hear that there may be a light at the end of the tunnel.  I went through a period of time about a year or so ago that I was trying things at an insane pace.  I think I needed to do that in order to realize a little bit of what you are saying.  It has a lot more to do with the shaver than the shave loot.  My rate of acquisitions has dropped to a crawl compared to where it was before.  I may pick up something here and there, but I no longer have a package per day arriving anymore.  And, I still enjoy my shaves!

I remember those days well. Smile I too went through a period of rapid-fire purchasing and trying out items. I do not regret it; rather, I accept it as a part of the process of getting excited by a new hobby, and the realization that shaving doesn't have to suck. It was just so refreshing to really enjoy something that I did everyday. Of course, the shoppers-high was nice too.

I do think that there were serious drawbacks to my approach to the hobby at the beginning. I did not really try and learn how to properly use the razors I bought. I'd try something and blame it for my inability to properly use it. Then I'd read about something else on the forums and buy that. I missed out on some positive experiences that way.

My change in approach over the last few years has been to acknowledge that the tools will work - I just have to learn how to make them work. This way I get a much more objectively accurate experience with them. And I realized that I cannot buy a good shave - throwing more money at this hobby doesn't guarantee a good shave, rather learning what my preferences are and finding tools to match them is what leads to a positive shaving experience.

Rebus Knebus, Matsilainen, Freddy and 1 others like this post
- Yohann
#9
Very cool thread yohannrjm! I am still in the midst of the purchasing phase of this hobby. Although the SAD and SBAD seem to have dwindled, the RAD is still there.

(08-13-2018, 02:29 PM)yohannrjm Wrote: My change in approach over the last few years has been to acknowledge that the tools will work - I just have to learn how to make them work.

Just out of curiosity, have there been any "tools" that you weren't able to make work after making this realization?

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#10
(08-13-2018, 02:35 PM)HoosierShave Wrote: Just out of curiosity, have there been any "tools" that you weren't able to make work after making this realization?

Two items come to mind:

I never learned to like the Feather Artist Club type razors. I tried them all - the AC series, the SS, the Kai, even the Chinese knock-offs. I always found them to be much more unusable than even a cheap GD straight (properly honed). It was probably me more than the razor, but I could never get a good ATG pass with them.

Second is the OneBlade Core. I was really curious about it, and finally bought one (this is my most recent razor purchase). It actually does what it says it will do - allow a comfortable shave with almost no chance of nicking yourself. However, since I get no feedback when I shave (especially in the throat area), it's hard to tell if I'm making any headway. I'm only a couple of weeks into using this razor, so maybe my experience will improve, but I like feedback so maybe this will just not match my preferences.

One razor I didn't really care for, but haven't tried recently is the 2011 Muhle R41. I found that the blade exposure was too much for me. Something about my hair, my technique and the razor caused the exposed portion of the blade to vibrate, meaning that I had to be very tentative while shaving because even a slight deviation from the perfect shaving angle would result in razor-burn. The 2013 R41 addressed these issues and I never looked back - that's one of my favourite razors of all time. I can't say how I would respond to the 2011 R41 now, and I don't really have any desire to try it again.

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- Yohann


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