Archive for the ‘Shaving’ Category
Extremely nice shave today, and now I’m confused. The Shavecraft slant seemed to be a little less than the iKon stainless slant yesterday (though noticeably better than the Walbusch bakelite slant), and yet today it seems on a par with the Stealth, which is very close to the iKon stainless. The very slight difference—the Shavecraft really did a fine job today, partly because I’m becoming accustomed to the stubby handle, which I now sort of like—could be attributable to the Shavecraft’s blade being newer. I have to call it a tie, overall, and I would bet that all three razors are within margin of shaver error.
But first the prep: I got a fine lather from the R&B Omega brush and La Père Lucien shaving soap—and the lather lasted easily through the shave, so the R&B now supports lather well.
Three passes: WTG with both, XTG mostly the Stealth, ATG the Shavecraft. Fine shave, and both razors are very fine. I’m returning the Shavecraft now, but I will buy one when they’re released.
A good splash of Fine’s Clean Vetiver, and we approach the weekend.
What is the biggest surprise in switching from cartridge razors + canned foam to DE razors + true lather?
I asked the question on Wicked_Edge, and got some interesting answers.
Update: Link fixed.
An extremely nice shave today. I originally was going to compare the two slants shown—the iKon stainless slant and the Walbusch bakelite slant—but then as I got into the shave I brought out the Shavecraft #102 as well.
First, of course, the prep. Today I used the sample of Wickham’s English Rose, a very nice fragrance for a very nice soap. The Wee Scot did a fine job, with excellent lather for all three passes.
The initial pass produced one small nick on the chin, the only wound of the shave. It was immediately evident that the iKon slant is indeed a cut above the Walbusch, cutting more easily and more smoothly. Factors that might contribute: the greater mass of the iKon is probably some help, and the twisted blade in the iKon might present the edge better than does the Walbusch’s simple bend in the blade. But clearly the iKon beat the pants off the Walbusch, and the Walbusch is quite good.
So I had to bring out the Shavecraft #102. It turns out to be not quite so good as the iKon stainless slant, but definitely better than the Walbusch: it just felt more precise, seemed to cut easier, and the heft in the hand was quite nice.
A rinse, a good splash of Bulgarian Rose, and then a quite dab of My Nik Is Sealed, and all looks good. Very nice BBS result.
First a comment on the razor: it’s the iKon Shavecraft #102 slant, and it’s a loaner: iKon sent me a copy before the razor’s been released (and perhaps while they are still tinkering with production issues), and I will be returning it.
I will say it arrived very well packaged indeed: every part was in a separate plastic bag, mostly small zip-lock bags enclosed in bigger plastic bags.
But let’s start with my new Wickham shaving soap, the Garden Mint fragrance. This is a soft mint fragrance, rather than a sharp peppermint. The Wife said it reminded her of the fragrance of Butter Cream Mints. I ordered this from the UK, unaware at the time that BullgooseShaving.com carries Wickham shaving soap. The soap is relatively soft, and the large-diameter puck make loading my Rod Neep brush a breeze. (The brush is a one-off, and I had him embed in the base of the handle a coin minted in my birth year.) Shown in the photo is the very nice thank-you note that came with the order.
The lather was thick, creamy, luxurious, and fragrant. This is a top-drawer soap, and it sells at quite a modest price for a soap of this quality. Highly recommended.
I washed my beard with my mix of Dr. Bronner’s Rose Castile soap and emu oil, then applied the lather and picked up the Shavecraft slant, loaded with a new Personna Lab Blue blade. The handle is somewhat short, but this is a three-piece razor, so you can swap in a longer handle if you want. (BTW, those who complain that their hands cramp if the handle’s short: the problem is not the length of the handle but the tightness of the grip: if you grip too tightly, your hand will indeed cramp, whether you’re gripping a razor or a pencil (writer’s cramp) or the handle of a sword. My fencing instructor told us to hold the sword as we would hold a bird: firmly enough that it doesn’t escape, but not so firmly we would injure the bird. Same with razors.)
The iKon slant (the taller one shown in the photos below) twists the blade in two directions, and thus the alignment studs must allow a certain amount of play because the blade moves as it’s twisted. This means that you should load the razor carefully (as shown in this video) and also verify that the cutting edge is parallel to the cap’s edge.
The Shavecraft #102, however, bends the blade in the same way a regular straight-bar razor does: bending it over the hump in the baseplate to make it rigid (cf. how a metal tape measure has a bend to give it rigidity). Thus the alignment studs do not allow the same amount of play. The #102 is a humpback slant, like the Walbusch slant shown in these photos from an earlier SOTD. The humpback design means that the cap has a “right” and a “wrong” orientation, similar to the Merkur Progress, and like the Progress, one end of the cap and one end of the baseplate are marked: the two marks match in the correct orientation:
One effect of the “no-twist” blade mounting is that, unlike slants that twist the blade, the Shavecraft slants one direction on one side:
And in the opposite direction on the other side:
This is the same on the Walbusch already mentioned. Before I tried this kind of asymmetrical slant, I thought it would feel odd and perhaps make sideburn trimming difficult. Once again I learned that expectations are not a reliable guide: in fact, humpbacked razors work quite well and I cannot tell, as I shave, which direction the slant is going—and my sideburns are trimmed square.
As to the shave itself: perfection. Very smooth, very easy, no nicks, no burn, and I like the razor a lot. I’ll probably buy one later on. (Shameless plug of blog.) I also think I’ll probably use it with a different handle, somewhat longer, though the current handle was not a problem.
Fit, finish, and workmanship were excellent. The razor should become popular, especially if men heed my advice to get a slant for their second razor.
Three passes—WTG, XTG, ATG—a final rinse, dry, and a good splash of Saint Charles Shave’s Very V aftershave, one that I like a lot. It doesn’t have a heavy fragrance, but occasionally during the day you’ll catch a whiff of the fragrance: extremely pleasant.
Thäter brushes—at least the two I have—are wonderful, and I got a very fine lather from La Toja shaving soap in the hollowed wooden trunk or branch that serves as a container.
I don’t know the make of the vintage German slant, but it’s a good razor despite today’s two nicks. They may be from the Treat Super Stainless Platinum blade giving up the ghost—I’ll change blades just as a precaution.
A good splash of La Toja aftershave, and the week is launched.
How I shave when you’re not watching: I was finishing my shower, planning not to shave, when I remembered that The Wife and I are celebrating our wedding anniversary by going out to dinner, and I didn’t want to look scruffy—so I launched into a shave: Mr. Pomp, the Striped Brush; Organic Asses’-Milk shaving soap from Paris, the Stealth slant, and D.R. Harris After Shaving Milk. Extremely nice shave.
The Wee Scot, turned so you can see Alexander Simpson’s signature, made a fine lather from the Klar Seifen shaving soap. Then the Pils—it’s stainless, but I had it gold plated some years back by Razor Emporium—did a very fine job with an Astra Superior Platinum blade. A splash of Klar Seifen’s aftershave, and the weekend is underway.
Sorry for orienting the Wee Scot so that Alexander Simpson’s signature is hidden. However, you’ll see it again soon. It’s on a top shelf with several other tiny brushes, so I tend to forget about it, but it’s really an excellent daily-use brush.
I was asked about Pré de Provence shaving soap yesterday, so I went looking for my tin. It’s a very nice soap that produces quite a good lather. In a way it reminds me of the shaving soap sold under the names Dovo, Rivivage, or Gold Dachs: a soap that provides an excellent lather but avoids competing on fragrance. The fragrance of both soaps is pleasant, clean, and fitting, but nothing unusual or challenging. Still, for a workaday soap, it’s quite good.
Three passes with the Feather AS-D1 left a BBS face, and then a splash of D.R. Harris Pink After Shave finished the job. Like the D.R. Harris After Shaving Milk, the Pink has a good, masculine fragrance—despite the color, it is not a rose fragrance (which I also like).
We are now in the foyer of the weekend.
Another BBS shave, though not totally unexpected, given the razor. In the foreground of the photo is a little 3-LED flashlight on a keychain: quite bright and a freebie included with my latest order from BullgooseShaving.com—the order that brought me the After Shaving Milk.
But to begin: Mr. Pomp turns out to be a very good brush indeed, and with Dr. Selby’s 3x Concentrated Shaving Cream—as solid as most soaps—I got an extremely good lather with no effort. Three passes of the iKon slant holding a Personna Lab Blue blade (a brand I favor for this razor) left my face perfectly smooth—total BBS—and with nary a nick.
A small dab of After Shaving Milk—and I do like the fragrance—and we cautiously approach the weekend.
A wonderfully comfortable BBS result today. apfpilot on Wicked Edge asked me about some shaving soaps this morning, includign Tabac, and I realized that it’s been a while. I have Tabac in the bowl, but this morning decided to use the shave stick. I had forgotten what a very fine lather it produces (though in the winter some find it drying). The Rod Neep brush shown has a large and somewhat lofty knot—a brush that’s soft and would undoubtedly be called “floppy” by some. It quickly worked up the lather and did a very fine job—loads of lather after working it up and adding a driblet of water. It’s interesting how the brush seemed to keep the lather near the top of the knot, easy to apply.
The ATT razor with the R baseplate truly resides among the “mild-aggressive” razors: total comfort, yet immediate and complete stubble removal: BBS after 3 passes. A good splash of Tabac aftershave and today we get over the hump of the week.
A very fine BBS result today. I had so wanted to try Père Lucien shaving soap, but I had no idea how to order it from France. And then I discovered that BullgooseShaving.com carries it. (They also offer the unscented version.) The fragrance of the scented version is extremely nice, and the lather is outstanding: easily created with the little Omega boar brush: abundant and lasting.
Three easy passes with an iKon open-comb—the one with the alignment ridge like that in the Gillette NEW—left my face BBS. I do not know how iKon manages to hit the sweet spot of extreme mildness (gentle on the face) and aggressive effect (on the stubble), but all of their razors seem to fall into the mild-aggressive category, and this wonderful open-comb is no exception: much more comfortable than the Fatip (and much, much, much more comfortable than the Mühle R41), it nevertheless left much of my face BBS after the second pass.
Finished, I applied some D.R. Harris After Shaving Milk. In aftershaves, a “milk” is a balm’s idea of a splash: thinner than a balm, but thicker and more moisturizing than a splash. The fragrance of the D.R. Harris milk is quite bracing and manly. I like this one a lot.
All to the good, and the week is going well so far.
Mr. Pomp (the brush) made a great lather quite easily from HTGAM’s Chocolate Bourbon shaving soap, and the razor stealthily removed every trace of stubble, easily and with no sign of a nick. A good splash of Stirling Vetiver aftershave—as you see, this aftershave is witch hazel and aloe vera, very nice—finished the job and started the week in fine style.
I chose the R&B brush and MWF based on Gavin Groom’s difficulties with the brush. I was able to get a good (and persistent) lather, using the wet-brush method. However, with this brush, I think next time I’ll give it a shake: I think the lather might be even better with a somewhat drier brush. But I had ample lather, enough left at the end for another full shave, and the lather maintained a good structure—i.e., it did not become thin.
I am not sure what the source of the problem is. Oil can be quite lathercidal, and if he’s using a shaving oil, the brush may have picked up enough oil to create problems with the lather. I suggest that cleaning the brush is worth a try in any event. It might help. (And, of course, be sure the water’s soft: MWF is sensitive to hard water. It might be worthwhile to try dissolving a pinch of citric acid in the shaving water to see the effect of that.)
Having a good lather, the next step is to tackle the stubble. I discovered how to unscrew the little double-threaded shaft in the Standard, and then screw that little piece into the cap so that any handle can be used, and today I chose one of my UFO handles.
The shave was very nice indeed, and the added heft is pleasant. Three passes to BBS, a good splash of D.R. Harris Pink Aftershave (not a rose fragrance) made a good start to the weekend.
When I used my DLC iKon slant most recently, I was surprised to find the blade misaligned. (I felt it first, then looked and saw that the blade’s edge was not parallel to the edge of the cap: one corner on each side stuck out a bit.)
It was easy to fix: I loosened the head and used my thumbnail (a Q-Tip may be a better idea) to push the blade’s corner back to put the blade’s edge parallel to the edge of the cap. But it made me think: instead of two alignment studs, why not use a ridge alignment, like one of the iKon open comb razors or the Gillette NEW? So of course I wrote to Gregory Kahn to suggest that.
His reply was interesting:
This design [the two current iKon slants - LG] requires the blade to really torque in two different directions due tothe extreme curvature of the top cap and base plate, so a bit of play is needed on the top cap to allow this action. If we locked the blade in tight it would not flex properly.
To complement the current [slant] design we are soon releasing our ShaveCraft Model #102. That is another Slant having a more traditional blade lock with no play.
And he provided a link to this useful video:
The notes on the video read:
Disassemble razor – Place the blade in the top cap, grasp as shown with the blade centered and connect the base plate , then screw down that 2 part head assembly into the handle , if it seems slightly off – flip the top in the other direction on the base plate and screw that down into the handle and you will have it seated properly.
The center post on the top cap holds the blade firmly , the 2 exterior posts need to allow the blade to flex & contort slightly in opposite directions creating the intended slant angle and curvature that allows for such a smooth and effective shave this razor offers.
Apologies for the dim photo. I’m sure it’s the light reflecting from the ring of exposed metal in the lid that did this. I’ll reprise the shave tomorrow so you can get a better view.
I got a terrific lather with the Omega 11047 boar+badger brush, a doughty little guy that really delivers. And it was nice to get a lather without labor, immediate, thick, and fragrant. (I’m still of two minds about Stirling, as you see.)
The Mulcuto did a fine job, though it does not feel quite so slanted as some of my other slants. BBS in three passes, followed by a good splash of Ogallala’s Bay Rum + Sandalwood.
I do like the Stirling soap fragrances, but I’m still not totally successful in lathering them. I carefully followed the minimalisto tutorial and got much the same wonderful lather as when I first tried the tutorial—a really fine lather. But by the third pass it was well past it’s prime. First pass was like a tree in July, third pass like a tree in late October: still some leaves attached, but most branches bare.
I do not understand why this soap is so difficult for me. It is frustrating. I shall continue to work at it, though.
The Axwell razor is a cute razor. I got a good shave, but I think the Gillette Thin blade was past its useful life because I had to work at it more than I should. One guy on Wicked_Edge didn’t care for this razor because (he said) it’s made of plastic. I strongly suspect he in fact never used the razor, because if you hold it in your hand, it’s perfectly clear that it’s made of metal—plastic coated, no doubt, but the handle and head are definitely metal. Indeed, if you look into the handle’s threads, the metal’s silvery color is plainly seen, and the thinness of the (coated) head strongly suggest that steel was used—certainly not pot metal: much too thin to have strength if it were.
I think it’s a good shaver, but I want to try it with a different blade before making a stand. Still, today’s shave wasn’t bad.
I’m continuing with the balms but starting to run out: I tilt strongly toward splashes. Today’s Institut Karité 25% shea butter aftershave balm is a standard recommendation: it’s quite good and costs around $30, just like l’Occitane’s Cade balm and Alt-Innsbruck’s Pre- and Post-Shave Balm, both of which are also good. But IK comes in a 250ml container, and for the same price l’Occitane and Alt-Innsbruck containers hold 100ml, 40% as much.
A really first-rate shave today. Yesterday I watch this excellent tutorial by minimalisto on how to lather Stirling shaving soaps, and I made a practice lather with the first method (dry-brush, palm-lathering) and I was blown away by the improvement in the lather. Highly recommended—indeed, for those trying Stirling shaving soap, required viewing, IMO.
I got a great Port-au-Prince lather with the Vie-Long horsehair shaving brush, and then set to work with the Progress. Now that I have more firmly in mind the four razor categories I’ve come up with (bad, mild, aggressive, and mild-aggressive), I immediately could tell that the Progress is definitely in the mild-aggressive category: gentle on the face, death to stubble.
I took out the Progress because I had sort of slammed Merkur in this thread, and I thought I should recognize the excellence of their better razors—and the Progress is, I would say, the best of the Merkur line. It’s really a remarkably good razor and should get more recognition. And the 37C is quite good as well.
I went with Eau d’Orange Verte again because it is so very nice indeed. A good candidate for your gift list.
Fantastic shave, and also a learning shave.
To begin with the lather: superb, again. My Rooney butterscotch Emilion did its usual superb job, and the HTGAM soap did as well, with the result being a wonderful lather with the homey aroma of pumpkin pie.
The first pass with the iKon DLC slant showed me that one side of the razor felt a little harsh at one end. I stopped, looked, and lo! the blade was indeed more exposed (in terms of looking at the alignment of blade-edge and razor-cap: they should be parallel). One end of the blade was further from the cap than the other. I loosened the head a bit, used my thumbnail to gently nudge the blade into proper alignment, and re-tightened the handle, checking then to see that the alignment was good.
The rest of the shave was uneventful, and in particular I avoid a problem I’ve occasionally had with the iKon slants: a couple of small nicks on my upper lip in the XTG pass. I wonder whether those happened due to improper blade alignment.
I’ve been told of this problem, but had not really noticed, but this morning I did. So from now on I’ll check to make sure the blade’s edge parallels the edge of the cap.
Perfect BBS, and a splash of Geo. F. Trumper’s Coral Skin Food to finish thejob.
The other learning experience was watching the dry-brush tutorial by minimmalisto (or at least most of it) for lathering Stirling shaving soap. I made a practice lather this morning, and minimalisto’s method works exactly as described. I can’t wait to shave with Stirling soap now, and on playing with the lather I think it’s going to be a favorite soap now that I understand how to make lather with it. The tutorial is quite long (25 minutes), but it’s also very clear. After watching most of it, I had no trouble replicating the excellent lather he made.
A very nice shave today. I used the Omega boar brush shown, a very nice brush moving along in its break-in. Creed Green Irish Tweed shaving soap is remarkably good, as well it should be, and I had a fine lather immediately. The Fatip is a very nice little razor. I know little about the maker, but it’s made of brass and is coated—very nice heft—and belongs to the “aggressive” family. No problems at all during the shave, which left me BBS, but it does not strike one as noticeably comfortable. Still, an excellent razor.
In keeping with the balm theme, I used Hermès Eau d’Orange Verte, a very nice moisturizer that works well as an aftershave balm. A tiny dot of it has a wonderful fragrance and spreads easily across your shaved face.