Feather Razors And Blades – A Contrast

feather

Feather shaving products have a bit of a schizophrenic feel [EDIT: maybe 'multiple personalities' would be a more appropriate description].  They have products at both ends of the scale: very high-end, precisely-engineered products and products that are economical, but nothing in between.  Let me show you what I mean.

Feather Blades

feather blades

Arguably the best known Feather product (for wet shavers anyway) is the legendary Feather “New Hi Stainless” razor blade.  It is known far-and-wide in the wet shaving world as one of the “sharpest” (if not THE sharpest) double edge (DE) razor blades for shaving on the market.  Using Leisurguy’s proposed terminology this extremely “efficient” (though some would also say somewhat “harsh” depending on the razor it’s used with) blade demands respect from the shaver.  A lapse of attention will almost certainly result in a nick or cut and I generally recommend that new shavers get a handle on their technique before trying this blade.

There is some confusion about the different types of containers Feather DE blades are found in.  There is the “yellow” pack and the less common “black” pack.  While there is some evidence to suggest they were made to (slightly) different specifications a few years ago, they are now the same blade.  The only difference is the number of blades per pack: “yellow” packs contain ten blades, while “black” packs contain five blades.  Feather DE blades are at the upper-end of the price range compared to other DE blades (though still far less expensive than most multi-blade razor cartridges on the market).

Feather “Professional Series” blades may be a little less well-known: they’re made for “no-sharpen straight razors” that use replaceable blades (more on those razors below) and in Classic Shaving’s “Cobra” razor line.  These blades also have an interesting little quirk: if one end is cut down slightly they work well in vintage Schick Injector-style razors.  Back in the day it was quite the rage but interest has largely faded away.

Feather Razors

All Stainless (AS-D2)

feather as-d2

I think the Feather “All Stainless” razor was the first “high dollar” razor, at least in the contemporary sense.  There are a number of all-stainless steel razors now (Above The Tie, Tradere, iKon, etc.) but Feather paved the way.  When the Feather All Stainless was released there was a “sticker shock” reaction from much of the traditional wet shaving community (myself included) but high-end razors have carved out a niche’ for themselves with their reputation for better engineering and manufacturing, and the “luxury” cache’ it brings.

The Feather All Stainless is in it’s second generation now (model AS-D2).  I got my sample from Merz/Smallflower (thanks AQ!) but of course there are a number of other vendors (West Coast Shaving, Classic Shaving, Straight Razor Designs, and even Amazon).  You may find a range of prices for the AS-D2.  This is partly because there are slight variations in the “kit”–some include a custom stand or a special gift package for example–so be sure you’re comparing applies-to-apples when shopping.

As for the shave, the Feather All Stainless has a reputation for being a very gentle razor.  I agree with that view: getting the best possible shave using the “typical” DE blade will take more work than usual.  However I have found it matches perfectly with a Feather Hi Stainless blade!  The combination of the razor’s small blade gap and the blade’s highly efficient edge gives me the feeling that I’m hardly shaving at all–it’s probably the most “comfortable” shave I have ever had.  But the results are excellent for me: a near “baby’s butt smooth” shave with very little effort.

Popular (and Portable)

At the other end of the scale is the Feather Popular DE razor.  This lightweight, plastic-and-metal razor goes for under $20 (U.S.).  Honestly, I don’t think there is much to distinguish this razor other than it’s low cost though–it is pretty representative of inexpensive razors in most respects  It has a more typical blade gap and is usable with a wider variety of blade brands but it may not be as comfortable to shave with compared to other razors in the price range.

A Feather razor that has been discontinued but I think deserves a mention anyway is the Feather Portable razor.  Here is a forum post from a few years ago that has some good pictures of it.  This little three piece all-metal razor had it’s fans, who praised it for it’s construction, decent shaving characteristics, and reasonable price.  One will occasionally pop up on the buy/sell/trade areas of shaving forums and internet auction sites.  I think they are worth a look if the price is right.

Artist Club Series

Swinging back up to the higher end of the price scale is the Feather Artist Club series.  Artist Club razors look like straight razors but use replaceable blades (sometimes you’ll see these kinds of razors generically referred to as a “Shavette”).  They are available in the traditional Western folding style or the traditional Eastern “Kamisori” style.  I think Artist Club razors behave more closely to a real straight razor than Shavette’s that use DE blades cut in half because the blades are longer and stiffer.  Prices for Artist Club razors rival regular straight razors.

Other Feather Products

Feather makes other types of blade-related products, including beauty shopmedical and industrial applications.

Availability

Feather products are pretty widely available.  Reliable sources include Amazon, West Coast Shaving, Classic Shaving, Straight Razor Designs, RoyalShave.com, and many others.

Related Posts:

Four Facts For Feather Fans

Five Essential Websites For Japenese Wetshavers

Classic Shaving’s King Cobra Razor

Do you use Feather products?  What do you think of them?  Comment below!

 

 

mantic59 mantic59 (531 Posts)

also known as "Mantic59." Shave tutor and sharpologist.


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Comments

  1. Mantic, I think you’re being a tad harsh on the Feather Popular. I use one often and for me it is as close to perfect as can be. I get the same excellent shave you mention getting with their AS-D2, albeit not BBS, but a DFS nonetheless and w/o ingrown hairs as a result. One of the best blades I have found for it is the super smooth Gillette Silver Blue which feels like shaving a window pane with motor oil on it!! It’s just that smooth. The secret to the Popular is a sharp & smooth blade, be it the aforementioned Silver Blue, Polsilver, Israeli Red, Derby, etc.

  2. The article is spot on, for me. I’ve three razors in my rotation, my first ever DE razor, an Edwin Jagger DE 89, a Birth Year Gillette Flare Tip (Z3), and my Feather AS-D2. All give me great shaves, but the Feather is my “go to” razor when I’m trying a new soap. With a new or near-new Feather blade, the shave has always been smooth and nick-free. The razor is well-crafted, simple in design, and trouble-free. If I had to pick one razor, the Feather would be it, though the other two are not far behind — and the Gillette has certainly passed the test of time.

  3. Featherman says:

    The Fearher ASD2 hits the face at a steep blade angle similar to the cartridges. That makes it safe and effective.

  4. Interesting article to read about, I know about Feather from the Feather DE blades but I always got the feeling they are really overrated.

  5. Patrick K says:

    I’m a big fan of my Feather blades. While they work well enough in the Merkur HD, I’ve found pairing it to the Weber is the best shave I’ve experienced.

  6. I grew up in the sixties shaving with a Gillette slim adjustable. Way back then, I preferred the Blue blade to the stainless. I gave up wet shaving somewhere in Vietnam.
    Recently, I found myself disgusted with the cost of multi-edged blades of what ever stipe. I did a ton of research about DE razors, vintage and new, and blades.
    I finally jumped back into the wet shaving with the purchase of a Feather stainless AS-D2, a Muhle R89 head, and a Weber stainless. I tried Borzano, Red Personna’s, Feather Hi Stainless, and Personna “lab” blues and Med preps. Oh, yes, and I picked up a Feather Popular along the way.
    My bread is thick blond; my face a bit sensitive. I tried a bunch of creams and soaps. Here is where I landed, knowing full well that each shaver’s experience is different.
    The Feather Stainless AS-D2 with Personna “lab” blues gives me a very close, uniform BBS shave without irritation, though I get a weeper every now and then.
    I found The Real Shaving Company Shave 2 cream and Post Shave Balm to be both effective and cost effective and available at my local Rite Aid. I apply a shave oil I mix myself of 1/2 Jojoba 1/2 Almond oil with each pass.
    I agree that the Feather Hi-Stainless blade indeed must be respected, but that overall they gave me irritation as well as cuts. I will try them again when I am fully confident of my technique. The Feather Popular is a little harsher than I prefer, as were the Weber and Muhle heads. The Weber classic handle is very nice, though, and helps the Feather AS-D2 sing even better. I do prefer the Weber head to the Muhle, nice piece of engineering that Weber. For a person with different facial conditions, harder hair less sensitive skin, it would be perfect.
    For me, the Feather AS-D2 give the closest, best shave of my life.

  7. I swear by the Feather Blades, I’ve always gotten them in the yellow packs, since both my local shop, and where I’ve ordered them in bulk on-line carry those ones. I’ve tried many blades (merkur, Derby, Wilkinson Sword, Dorco, etc.) but nothing has given me the shave I get with Feathers. I’ve never tried their razors, since you’d have to pry my Merkur Futur from my cold dead hands to get me to switch razors….

  8. The Dean says:

    Very nice article, Mark.

    I like the Feather blade in all of my razors (though better in some than in others) and have never found them harsh. Clearly they aren’t quite as smooth as some other blades, though.

    One small correction: Yellow Feather packs can contain either 5 or 10 blades. I have 20 packs of 5 blades with the yellow label. I’m thinking they may be phasing out the black label. Just a guess, though.

  9. Excellent review. I am unfamiliar with their razors, the use of their blades in a mild razor like Weishi, Newer super speed or Merkur 33c yield spectacular shaves. No one ever said they were a comfortable blades though.

  10. Thanks for the nice piece. Here are a few personal impressions:
    – The AS-D1 was pretty and well-made but too mild for me.
    – The AS-D2 is mild too, but it’s within normal range. To me, it’s more efficient than the Tech or the R89, and it’s much more refined and pleasanter to use. The weight (light for a SS razor with a long handle), balance and proportions are perfect. The AS-D2 works beautifully with Gillette Silver Blues, Gillette Blacks, Polsilvers and Rapiras as well as with Feather blades.
    – If you have any “stroke” with Feather, ask them to add an OC model. I’ll buy one.
    – The Feather Travel razor was ordinary in every way. For a similar low price, I’d just buy a Tech in good condition.

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