Later On

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

Tuesday’s shave and today’s

with 2 comments

I am embarrassed that I forgot to post Tuesday’s shave, which was quite good:

SOTD 18 Nov 2014

The shave above was done on Tusday. Sweet Gale has a wonderful fragrance, exactly like a Rusty Nail cocktail. And I got a fine lather, using the Rooney Victorian brush shown.

The razor is the Utopia Care, which sells for $11 on Amazon: a great bargain for a pretty good razor—and since it’s a three-piece design, the handle (plated brass, good heft) can be used with other heads. (I’ve been recommending this handle for the iKon Shavecraft #102 slant head: it’s a good match in terms of weight and balance, and you can’t beat the price. Solid stainless handles of that design are somewhat crisper, but cost twice as much.) The blade was a Personna Lab Blue.

Very smooth and pleasant finish, and a little D.R. Harris After Shaving Milk finished the shave.

Today’s shave:

SOTD 20 Nov 2014

The brush is by New Forest, a UK maker of artisanal brushes of traditional design. It’s a very nice little brush, with a feel somewhat like a Simpson Chubby, though the knot is more dome-shaped.

Catie’s Bubbles is one of the soaps that fill their containers, but I’ve learned that about 80% of shavers prefer soaps that fill only half the container. I’m surprised by the strong preference—and certainly many fine soaps are sold in full containers (e.g., Al’s, Catie’s Bubbles, D.R. Harris, Dr. Selby’s 3x Concentrated, Geo. F. Trumper, La Père Lucien, Martin de Candres, Strop Shoppe, TOBS, Truefitt & Hill, Wickham’s).

Still, as has been pointed out to me, soapmakers do spend a fair amount of time thinking about the best presentation and the actual use—and also face the challenge of finding decently made containers of the right size and shape. So the choice to use a container and fill it but half-way is a deliberate one. The idea, I’m told is that the higher walls around the soap prevent the water from spilling away.

The problem is, that for most soaps one wants the excess water to spill away, and by holding the container on its side over the sink, the spillage isn’t messy: excess water and loose, sloppy lather just drops away.

But I’m still exploring this, and since this morning I picked a soap sold in full containers, I observed what it is I now do. I realized that now I no longer use a truly dripping-wet brush, so in fact I don’t have a lot of excess water. In fact, I seem to have gradually learned (unconsciously) about how much water is needed, and although I help the Catie’s Bubbles on its side, there was nothing to spill away: I had the right amount of water in the brush (I had unconsciously given it a small shake), and as I loaded the brush, the lathered soap went directly into the brush. No excess on the side, no need to rinse anything.

I did note that as I worked up the lather on my beard, I did add one driblet of water to the brush and worked that in, but nothing more. OTOH, Catie’s Bubbles is a very high quality soap, easy to lather, and this particular soap is not very thirsty. (I don’t wish to imply that thirsty soaps are of any less quality: indeed, some thirsty soaps are absolute first rate: they simply require me to add a driblet or two of water as I load the brush—and perhaps that’s where the high walls are useful: by using a wetter brush and keeping the water on the soap until it’s all worked into the lather.

More experimentation is required, but it was interesting to note how my brush wetting/loading process has somewhat shifted without my realizing. I’ll be paying attention to that for a while.

In the meantime, some soaps that are not thirsty also have high-walled containers: e.g., Maggard’s, Seifenglatt, Mickey Lee Soapworks. Those could readily be sold in full containers (if containers of the right size and shape can be found), since they do not require extra water.

Somewhat asked about the Apollo Mikron, so I posted a link to photos on my site, and I was embarrassed to see how much the razor needed cleaning. So yesterday I got out my ultrasonic cleaner and cleaned up the Mikron shown above along with a couple of other razors. The ultrasonic cleaner does a good job.

The Mikron left a BBS result in three pleasant passes, using a SuperMax Platinum blade. A small dab of D.R. Harris After Shaving Milk, and the day begiins.

Written by LeisureGuy

20 November 2014 at 8:11 am

Posted in Shaving

2 Responses

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  1. Michael,
    When we tried different jars and fill lines, overwhelmingly 3/4 filled jar won every time. For us it was about 1% that wanted a full jar and 99% liked the extra brush room. That said, our jar still has 6+ ounces of soap in it, so way more than average soap size.


    20 November 2014 at 9:26 am

  2. Yeah, it’s becoming clear that I’m a bit of an outlier on this issue, though certainly the list of soaps that fill to brim includes some popular, good soaps—that is, they don’t seem held back by the fact that they sell full containers.

    I’m starting to think now in terms of the distance between top of soap and brim of container. My own view is that anything more than 1/2″ is excessive, and 1/4″ is about right: some room to help those who hold the tub upright as they load, but no so much room that it looks as though the container is half empty.. A container with soap that comes closer to the top will (probably subliminally) strike people as “full measure,” even though clearly the weight of the soap does not depend on the size of the container.


    20 November 2014 at 10:29 am

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