Later On

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

A shaving tale of redemption

with 11 comments

On Friday I sold my pen collection to a local dealer, who came with her pen technician to inspect the collection. I noticed that he shaved and, naturally enough, in the course of conversation I asked him whether he enjoyed shaving. I received the response I have come to expect: “I hate it!” He said that shaving was physically painful and he dreaded shaving. He uses a Gillette Mach 3 and changes the cartridge every 2-3 days. (A Mach 3 cartridge runs $2. Assuming a change every 2.5 days on average, that’s 146 cartridges a year, or $292 per year. Compare that to the $5 per year I spend: he’s spending about 60 times as much (6000%) for a shave that’s painful.)

I had to act. I have taken an oath to fight painful shaving everywhere, and so I gave him my Omega S10005 brush, a tub of Tim’s Soaps Wood and Roses shaving soap, a new Dorco PL602 from the stash I keep on hand for situations exactly like this, and five packs of different brands of blades.

A brief tutorial followed. I made some lather, showing him how to load the brush and warning about how synthetic brushes tend to hoard water, so it’s necessary to give the brush a good shake or two. I explained about pressure (very light) and the angle (handle away from the face). The dealer pointed out that this is exactly like fountain pens: use very light pressure and experiment with angle to find the sweet spot.

This morning I got an email from the dealer:

He is really raving about the awesome shaving experience this morning. I thought he’d be bloody and covered with bits of toilet paper, but he’s saying it is the best shave he’s ever had. No nicks at all. He tells me for the first time in his life he’s looking forward to shaving.  I think you have made a convert. 🙂

And she said she’s ordered a copy of the Guide for him.

That has already made this a very nice week (probably for him as well as for me). I pointed out some musings on shaving that I made in this article from a little over five years ago.

Written by LeisureGuy

10 July 2017 at 9:38 am

Posted in Shaving

11 Responses

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  1. Good job!

    Mike

    10 July 2017 at 1:53 pm

  2. Good job on the new recruit.

    So why did you sell your pen collection? I (and a lot of other people I know) enjoy both traditional wet shaving and fountain pens. There seems to be a common interest in using traditional tools for everyday tasks. Plus vintage razors and vintage fountain pens both look amazing!

    Snargle (@Elgrans)

    13 July 2017 at 1:34 pm

  3. And they both require light pressure and some experimenting to find the optimal angle (as the pen dealer noted). I have a family tremor which has somewhat undermined my writing, and I simply no longer do much handwriting, now that letters have gone out of fashion. I also got rid of my collection of handmade stationery.

    I just didn’t want the pens sitting in the cabinet until I died, and then my widow having to take on the task of disposing of them. But I did make sure that family members who wanted a pen got one. One daughter (who is a writer and teacher) got the Montblanc Agatha Christie, for example. And my musician one-time stepdaughter got three pens with music nibs (Platinum makes those).

    Still, it was with a bit of a pang, and I did keep photos.

    Pens without boxes: http://imgur.com/a/KK1Ne
    Pens with boxes: http://imgur.com/a/8YmJl
    Pen cabinet (sold separately): http://imgur.com/a/51eOa

    Naturally, the pens I gave to family are not shown, so you don’t see the Agatha Christie. I sort of wish I had kept the Proust, though…

    LeisureGuy

    13 July 2017 at 2:32 pm

  4. Wow, not an insignificant collection. My humble accumulation pales in comparison.

    That cabinet is drop-dead gorgeous. I love beautiful wood and fine craftsmanship. That has both.

    I can understand your need/desire to get rid of the pen collection. I have an unrelated collection that has been dormant for years that really needs to be cleared out. I’m procrastinating because of the time and effort needed to get it ready for sale, but it’s not going to get easier. If I leave it until after I’m gone, it’ll probably just get dumped or sold off for a fraction of its value. After the years of time and money invested in it, I don’t want that to happen.

    Snargle (@Elgrans)

    14 July 2017 at 7:12 am

  5. It took me three or four days, once I actually decided it was time to move on it, to figure out the approach. I kept shuffling pens around, and boxes, and didn’t know how to start. Finally I put into boxes most of the pens for which I had boxes, then arranged the pens together (more or less) by make, removing pens not worth selling, and photographed, tray by tray, the pens without boxes for one album, then the pens with boxes for another, and then the cabinet itself. Imgur allows you to arrange the sequence of photos in an album, so I did that until I had the sequence I wanted.

    Once I had the albums, it was pretty easy to go through the photos and add the comments and descriptions. And once I had that, it was easy to make a spreadsheet, switching between spreadsheet window and the photograph window. I estimated what I thought the pen could sell for and asked for a percentage of that.

    Then I sent links to the three albums to five dealers, and the one who responded most positively got the spreadsheet.

    Once I figured out the approach and got going, it was fairly easy. The procrastination and initial difficulties were because I didn’t know how to approach it.

    LeisureGuy

    14 July 2017 at 8:34 am

  6. You seriously keep all that in stock to donate to suffering men??? If that’s the case, I’m *erm* _suffering_ due to a substandard brush 😉

    malaverdiere

    31 July 2017 at 11:58 am

  7. 🙂 I’ve been trimming down the collection preparation for a move this fall, and in fact I unloaded quite a few brushes (on eBay) just recently. This was sort of a one-off. I keep some razors on hand to give away (Dorco PL602 razors) and a good variety of blades and a couple of soaps, but I was running out of candidate brushes. However the Omega S10005 was a good candidate for a gift: very nice little brush and easily replaced at low cost. (It runs around $8.)

    LeisureGuy

    31 July 2017 at 3:27 pm

  8. Hi LG,

    For what it’s worth, I shave with a Mach 3 Turbo, which I get through Gillette’s subscription plan for $1.95 a blade. I change the blade weekly (seven shaves) and could likely get more shaves. Still doesn’t come close to your five bucks a year, but I am comfortable with this. Several years ago, I toyed with trying a DE and you were very helpful and encouraging. I never made the switch, remembering how my dad looked like a character from HALLOWEEN when he shaved. I was always grateful for your kindness. I use Maggards and Razorock’s synthetic brushes (and Stirlings) with AOS Lavender, Maca Root, and have just discovered TOBS wonderful lavender cream. All the best.

    Karl Helicher

    1 August 2017 at 1:19 pm

  9. Delighted to be of help. I’m sorry that your dad had such problems, and at this remove it’s impossible to know the reason, but it was probably some combination of a bad razor, bad blade for him, inadequate prep, and bad technique. Shaving with a good razor, a good blade for you in that razor, good prep (which you seem to be doing), and good technique makes shaving a total pleasure.

    The Baili BR171 is a very good razor that costs $6 at the link, so if you switched to DE blades you’d save in a month the cost of the razor. I would encourage you to give it a go just from curiosity. The Guide offers good guidance, but this detailed answer on Quora certainly covers the basics.

    The recommended razor is comfortable and very disinclined to nick, especially if you follow the pointers in the Guide or at the link. The idea is not so much to save money but to see what the experience is like and whether you prefer it after a few shaves. Shave with the DE a week, then a week with the Mach 3, and then another week with the DE, and then decide.

    The DE shaves will be slow at first, since you’re having to keep a lot in mind, but with practice and experience the shaves take less and less clock time (though the subjective time does change: you shave, paying close attention, until you’re done, and thus lose track of time). The full shave now takes me 5 minutes.

    Other really excellent razors can be found in this post, including the Dorco PL602 which costs even less than the Baili.

    LeisureGuy

    1 August 2017 at 1:36 pm

  10. Thanks, LG., always appreciate you good advice. I started shaving the mid-1960s, so my dad started shaving in the late 1930s. He was born in 1920, so he was brought up to believe shaving was a necessity, not a luxury. I don’t think he ever changed his view. All my best.

    Karl Helicher

    1 August 2017 at 1:48 pm

  11. I started in the mid-1950s. And shaving in my young life certainly seemed a necessity and not in the least a luxury. And then when I got to college, it stopped being a necessity. 🙂 I was inordinately pleased to find that it could be a pleasure.

    LeisureGuy

    1 August 2017 at 3:10 pm


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