Later On

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

iKon Shavecraft #102 Slant and Wickham Shaving Soap (and Rod Neep brush)

with 7 comments

SOTD 19 Aug 201

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 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:

Shavecraft side

One effect of the “no-twist” blade mounting is that, unlike slants that twist the blade, the Shavecraft slants one direction on one side:

iKon slants front

And in the opposite direction on the other side:

iKon slants back

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.

Written by LeisureGuy

19 August 2014 at 8:36 am

Posted in Shaving

7 Responses

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  1. Thanks, you’ve done it again! Just when I’d cleared some space on the soaps shelf in the bathroom another is winging it’s way in the post.
    The tin reminds me of HTGAM, does it match the quality?
    Oh and The Wife says to pass on her thanks as well, although there may have been more than a touch of sarcasm in her voice!

    Tony The Blade

    19 August 2014 at 9:16 am

  2. It is of top-notch quality, like the HTGAM soap, but Wickham soap is softer, more along the lines of La Père Lucien, for example, whereas HTGAM is more along the lines of Martin de Candre—i.e., harder to the touch, but equally easy to lather.


    19 August 2014 at 9:23 am

  3. Hello. I am relatively new to DE shaving, but have wet shaved off and on for 35 years. I really enjoy your blog! I recently bought a Standard Razors “Black”, largely based on your fondness of it. It is indeed a very good razor! How would you compare this new slant razor to the “Black”, with respect to efficiency/smoothness/closeness of shave?


    20 August 2014 at 3:25 pm

  4. A slant will regularly beat a straight-bar safety razor if the slant’s any good at all: the mechanical advantage of slanting the blade is just an enormous head start. The Shavecraft is quite well made and would be comparable to the Standard in terms of quality, and it will shave a little easier. I myself would replace the current handle with one that’s longer. It will be interesting to see how the Shavecraft and the Stealth will compare in price. Tomorrow I’m doing a 2-razor shave, Stealth and Shavecraft.


    20 August 2014 at 4:41 pm

  5. Thanks for the quick reply! I look forward to reading your 2-razor comparison. I will certainly need to try a slant or two, and will likely go with your favorite(s), so choose well!!


    21 August 2014 at 4:18 am

  6. Thanks for the review. I purchased a Merkur slant based on your recommendation – and it was one of my best wet-shaving purchases. Could you please compare the Merkur 37c with the Ikon 102 please?


    6 January 2015 at 11:39 am

  7. Sure. I discuss them at some length in this article, and as I note there the #102 is noticeably better (for me) than the 37C: more comfortable, equally efficient, and more interesting looking. I do recommend the Bulldog handle, though: the Tuckaway handle is just too stubby. I have been strongly recommending the Parker 26C as a first razor—a razor that’s in the mild-aggressive category—and I tried that handle with the #102 head. It works pretty well, but I personally prefer the Bulldog handle. One of the blog readers commented, though, that the #102 works quite well with the OSS handle.


    6 January 2015 at 11:55 am

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