Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Spencer & Devon

with 8 comments

SOTD 3 Jan 2013

Totally wonderful shave. A reader suggested I try Spencer & Devon shaving cream. I chose the Spice fragrance and used it this morning with the Mühle silvertip brush shown. The cream has a very nice fragrance and is of the soft variety: wet brush well, shake it out well, and twirl the tips to coat them with cream. Brush that on your (wet, washed) beard to coat the entire beard, then run a driblet of hot water into the center of the brush and work up the lather, adding additional water as needed.

This is a premium (read: expensive) shaving cream and contains shea butter, which doubtless increases the moisturizing properties. Shea butter is a favored ingredient in many shaving products: from l’Occitane, Insitut Karité (of course), Shea Moisture Three Butters Lotion, and quite a few of the artisanal shaving soaps and creams (e.g.,, Strop Shoppe, and others). Not to put too fine a point on it, you can get the benefits of shea butter at a lower price. Still, this is an excellent shaving cream.

The lather comes up quite readily—the sort of lather that really doesn’t give the shaver much to do, unlike soap lather (which is perhaps why I prefer lather from soaps: I feel then as though I contributed). It feels nice and shaves well, this morning with the bakelite slant (treasured now all the more since the supply is exhausted), holding a Gillette 7 O’Clock SharpEdge blade.

I realized recently why some don’t like this razor (without trying it that is: a dislike similar to those who say they dislike a food they’ve never tasted): their criteria include the material of which the razor is made (i.e., the criterion is “metal”) rather than the characteristics of the material of which the razor is made (i.e., the criteria used to define the material that will be used). The former is more like a marketing criterion, the latter more like a materials engineering set of criteria.

For example, looking at the criteria for the material to be used, one thinks of things like:

  • Stable over time and in the special environment of shaving (e.g., it must withstand constant exposure to water and humidity, be unaffected by alcohol and relatively high temperatures (as high as the boiling point of water));
  • Light in weight (a significant advantage for a slant, whereas for a straight-bar razor this criterion would be the opposite: a massive head aids a straight-bar’s chopping action);
  • Rigid;
  • Low heat conduction (several have commented how nice it is to rinse the razor under very hot water and then touch it to their cheek and not feel heat-burn);
  • Amenable to molding and mass production; and
  • Ideally, inexpensive (i.e., cost-effective: getting the biggest bang for the buck).

Using these criteria, stainless steel fails easy molding, low heat conduction, and inexpensive. Regular steel fails badly in stable in the shaving environment. Brass plated with some other material (nickel, gold, rhodium) fails only heat conductivity and (relative) cost.

I did not start out with these criteria, but rather came up with them after discovering what a superb razor this is and got to wondering why they decided to make it from Bakelite. That made me think of the criteria one would use to select the material from which to make a slant-bar razor. As I thought about the criteria, I realized that Bakelite really is an optimal solution.

In any event, I enjoyed an excellent shave, followed by a splash of Pashana so I will be in top form for the dentist this morning.

Written by LeisureGuy

3 January 2013 at 9:11 am

Posted in Shaving

8 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Hey leisureguy, my Castle Forbes lavender is running low and I need to order something as a replacement. As a professional recommendation would you suggest the Stroppe Shop Special Edition non-tallow over the Spencer & Devon? Thanks in advance.

    Also, you scared me a while back when you stopped posting SOTD’s. If you need to take a week or two off to hide in a cave for a while to contemplate and re-envision what you doing, by all means do so. If anything you will come back stronger and reassured.

    J Dogg

    3 January 2013 at 12:05 pm

  2. The move was overwhelming in prospect but in the event turned out to be not all that difficult, though many steps were involved. I seem to be doing fine in the new environment, along with Megs, and The Wife and Molly have adjusted well to our presence.

    I would go with the Strop Shoppe for a couple of reasons: small vendor, very interesting ingredients, and I’m soap oriented—plus a very good price: $16 for more than half a pound. In absolute performance I would say that it’s quite on a part with the Spencer & Devon, which is also good.


    3 January 2013 at 12:34 pm

  3. Thanks again. I’ll be placing an order from the Strop Shoppe Special Edition Rosemary Mint primarily because I’m value conscious. I just placed an order for 100 Lord Platinum blades for $10 from west coast shaving for that reason. I even threw in a $1 blade bank and all the blades will last me longer than a year and I’m supporting the Egyptian economy through their difficult time. Great bang for your buck blade at 10c each IMO.

    I don’t like the extra sharp blades such as feathers or 7’Oclock blacks because they cause me ingrowns in my trouble spots. Lord Platinum is an excellent sharp yet not too sharp blade.

    J Dogg

    3 January 2013 at 1:35 pm

  4. Yeah, finding the brand that works best for one’s beard and skin and razor and technique takes time, but in the end is richly rewarding. I pay only a little less for Astra Superior Platinums, which work well for me: 9¢/blade instead of 10¢, but I had to buy 1100 to get the price break. Currently Amazon sells ASPs for about $10/100.


    3 January 2013 at 1:50 pm

  5. Yup, I also use Astra Superior Platinums, I buy them @ @8.49$ per 100. Free shipping on orders over 50$. And we all know, 50$ is so easily reachable in shaving world 🙂


    3 January 2013 at 1:56 pm

  6. That’s for sure.


    3 January 2013 at 2:03 pm

  7. Michael, how do you handle the glue/ wax spots on blades? Do you clean them before insertion into the razor, or do you not worry about it?

    Ryan Tucker

    3 January 2013 at 3:30 pm

  8. I don’t worry about it. I’d rather that they didn’t do that, but since they do, I just ignore them.


    3 January 2013 at 5:06 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.