Later On

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

Watching the angle

with 2 comments

SOTD 13 Mar 2013

Because of yesterday’s shave with the Guard, whose pivoted (single-blade) cartridge head always keeps the same angle automatically, I was particularly conscious of angle in today’s shaving, using an Edwin Jagger head on a UFO handle (and a Blue Lab Personna blade).

I naturally prepped first, using my Omega Pro 48 (model 10048) boar brush, which I allowed to sit soaking wet while I showered. I got a very nice lather from Bathhouse Soapery’s Tobacco & Rum shaving soap. I didn’t notice those particular fragrances, but the soap definitely had a very pleasant and masculine fragrance. The lather was creamy and abundant and easily lasted for three passes. The Pro 48 does not have capacity problems.

In watching angle, I noticed that I definitely vary the angle depending on the pass and the part of my face I’m shaving. I first coined the “manual vs. automatic transmission” to explain how the DE razor, like a car with a manual transmission, requires learning and practice, and you have to pay close attention to what you’re doing, but (also like a car with a manual transmission), once you do master it, you can get better performance with it than with the automatic.

Now that may no longer be true of cars—modern computer-driven automatic transmissions may well be better than an experienced driver with a manual transmission—but it is certainly still true of razors: no computer-driven angle control, just a simple pivot that, idiot-like, maintains exactly the same angle at all times everywhere regardless of which pass.

I noticed it with the Guard yesterday when I automatically tried to steepen the angle in spots and times where I’ve discovered that works best, and I couldn’t do it. Today, when I hit those spots, I easily altered the angle slightly and as a result I have a better shave than yesterday’s.

The beginner should definitely focus on maintaining a shallow angle (with light pressure) and focus on keeping the cap of the razor touching the skin. Judicious experimentation with angle, using the auditory feedback from the stubble’s being cut, will in time develop your sense of the best angle.

At any rate, a great shave, and the Avocado Oil Balm from Saint Charles Shave was a fine finish. I like that fragrance and feel.

Written by LeisureGuy

13 March 2013 at 9:41 am

Posted in Shaving

2 Responses

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  1. Michael-
    Phew! I was worried. With yesterday’s comments on the Guard, I was fearful you were heading to the dark side :).


    13 March 2013 at 3:52 pm

  2. Not by a long shot. I didn’t even approach the key criterion: the degree to which you actually enjoy shaving. That the final result be BBS without a nick or any trace of razorburn is taken for granted: that goes without saying. A shave that doesn’t produce that isn’t even worth considering. Then, among the various means that will achieve the desired final outcome, which do you actually enjoy using? For me, the answer is clear.

    But what I was taken by is how the automatic pivot idea exactly replicates the automatic transmission’s advantage: make it easier for the novice. But then also how with experience one can get sustained better performance from the manual method rather than the automated. It was clear immediately that I wasn’t getting as good a shave as usual in that jawline spot because I could feel trying to get the best angle for that spot, which is a bit steeper, and of course I couldn’t do it with the Guard’s pivoting head: it blindly went ahead with the same consistent angle, even at a spot that requires a slightly different angle.


    13 March 2013 at 4:04 pm

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