Later On

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

Vie-Long ambiguous brush with Dapper Doc CK-6 and the OneBlade

with 11 comments

I’ve never been able to decide whether this Vie-Long brush is horsehair or a fine variety of boar bristles. The hairs seem too fine for boar, but about right for horse, but it was sold at the time as boar. In any event, it’s a fine little brush with an octagonal handle I like a lot. And it made a terrific lather from Dapper Doc’s Lilac & Fig shaving soap in the CK-6 formulation.

The OneBlade did an okay job, but I had to work a bit to get an okay shave. Perhaps this is the second shave on the blade. I removed the blade from the razor so that I will know next time the blade is new (because I will load the razor immediately before the shave). On the whole, I still prefer a good DE razor.

Three passes, and then a splash of Dapper Doc aftershave.

This shave finishes the natural brushes in the first rack. Tomorrow I begin the second (and final) rack.

 

 

Written by LeisureGuy

21 November 2019 at 8:37 am

Posted in Shaving

11 Responses

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  1. Based on your mixed experiences with the OneBlade razor, Michael, I continue to be baffled by its apparent popularity in the shaving community, or am I overestimating the popularity?

    I can’t imagine a “one shave blade” system selling and being viable. It seems horrendously wasteful and expensive. Even with my tough old man whiskers I get 5 quality shaves from a SE razor, 7 quality shaves from a DE razor, and 14 quality shaves from an injector razor, as conservative minimums.

    BTW this week I’m shaving with my beloved Apollo Mikron razor. I was surprised when you sold yours after having a love affair with it for quite awhile. In your book you mentioned it took awhile to find the “sweet spot” angle with the Apollo Mikron, but you didn’t describe the angle. I find the optimum angle to be slightly narrow in range, and slightly riding the cap. Was that your finding too?

    Steve Riehle

    21 November 2019 at 9:12 am

  2. When I finish my Kokum Butter Dapper Doc soap, I will replace it with the CK-6 varietal to see what the hubbub is about. The Kokum butter variety is a damn fine soap on its own IMO

    Larry

    21 November 2019 at 9:31 am

  3. @ Steve: I had no problem with the Treet Black Beauty carbon-steel blades being one-shave blades, but they were a dime each. At $1 each, one shave per blade is much less attractive, I agree.

    In general, when using a double-edge razor, I recommend focusing on keeping the cap in contact with the skin and ignoring the guard. In the Guide, I write:

    The correct cutting angle is different for different razors, and you determine the correct angle through feel and the sound the blade makes as you shave. Don’t over-rely on feel: a double-edged blade is sharp enough so that you don’t always feel any damage. Keep a close watch, and listen to the blade.

    When I use my Gillette Super Speed, it’s held flatter to the face than the Merkur Futur, for example. And with the Schick Injector and the Gem G-Bar, the cutting angle is when the razor’s head is flat against the skin. You’ll have to experiment to find the right cutting angle for each of your razors (just as you must experiment to find the best brand of blade for each razor). As a rule of thumb, hold the razor so that the edge of the cap, which lies just behind the cutting edge of the blade, stays in contact with the skin. Don’t pay attention to the guard; the correct angle can be found by keeping the edge of the cap touching the skin. Think of the blade as sliding over a layer of lather, not quite touching the skin.

    @ Larry: I do like the CK-6 formula, but I agree: the kokum butter formula is excellent. In fact, all the Phoenix Artisan soaps are quite good.

    LeisureGuy

    21 November 2019 at 10:38 am

  4. I purchased the Vie-Long you used today, quite some time ago, after you used it. It is .difficult to id the bristles. Whatever it is, it is a great brush!

    I agree all PA soaps are great.

    Michael Napier

    21 November 2019 at 11:59 am

  5. Excellent advice on razor angles! I’m not sure razor manufacturers mention this in their instructions as often as they should.

    Many of the bigger names in the shaving community tend to hold the handle of the razor too low, sometimes way too low, in their online instructional videos. I’m not sure it it’s ignorance, or is it succumbing to gravity. Maybe it’s some of each.

    There is merit in a periodic review of the basic skills of any activity. Our memories are in constant competition with many distractions, and our knowledge can dim with the passage of time.

    Steve Riehle

    21 November 2019 at 12:24 pm

  6. Hello Michael, your comments re the One Blade are similar to mine. My first shave was uncomfortable and
    not “the best shave of your life after three passes” as One Blade quote on their instruction sheet. The second shave was better, but there were areas the blade just wouldn’t cleanly shave even after five attempts; at which time I gave up and used my SE with a Schick Proline blade to get my usual BB result. IMO the ‘one size suits all’ blade is highly questionable. After shaving neigh on 60 odd years I’ve tried
    most. At least the price was not too high and the packaging great. Better the devil you know etc.

    Chris R

    21 November 2019 at 4:14 pm

  7. There seem to be two schools in regard to angle:

    1. Hold the razor so that the cap is in contact with the face, the handle near horizontal, and move the hand down until you feel the cutting edge of the blade (perhaps what some call “ride the cap”).

    or

    2. Hold the razor so that the guard is in contact with the face, the handle near vertical, and move the hand up until you feel the cutting edge of the blade.

    Through trial and error and despite opinions and theories I find that, for the most part, I prefer the second way.

    John

    21 November 2019 at 6:55 pm

  8. I’m pretty firmly in the camp of the first method. The second method starts by placing the cutting edge of the blade at a steep angle to the skin, which greatly increases the likelihood of being cut. In the Guide I wrote:

    Try this: put the top of the razor’s cap against your cheek, the handle perpendicular to the cheek and parallel to the floor. Gradually bring the handle down toward the face as you make a shaving stroke, pulling the handle to drag the head down your cheek. When the handle drops enough from perpendicular, the blade’s edge will engage the stubble as you pull the razor. You’ll feel and (in a silent bathroom) hear when that happens.

    That’s the angle (more or less). The idea is that the edge of the blade is cutting through the whiskers, not scraping over them. If the room is quiet, you can clearly hear when the razor starts cutting the whiskers. Think of the blade as being almost parallel to the skin, cutting the stubble at almost a right angle.

    In the left photo, the razor is held at too shallow an angle, and the blade is not cutting. In the center photo, the blade (bent over the hump of the platform) is close to parallel to the skin and is cutting through stubble. In the right photo, the handle is too low, so the blade is at too steep an angle and is scraping across the skin, producing razor burn. [photos omitted here.]

    Another image: think of the razor as a saw and the stubble as thin saplings. You don’t want to dig the saw into the ground (your skin), and you want to saw through the saplings (stubble) more or less at right angles, close to the ground (skin).

    As the skin on your face curves this way and that—over the jawline, around the chin, and so on—you continually adjust the razor’s angle by moving the handle to keep the blade almost parallel to the skin being shaved.

    Using short strokes enables you to focus on blade angle (and pressure) for the entire stroke—and for a short stroke the angle is likely to be constant. Try locking fingers and wrist, using your arm to move the razor: this makes it easier to maintain a constant angle. As you gain experience and skill, the strokes will naturally become longer, but when you start, short strokes are very helpful. It’s similar to how you learn to play a passage on the violin or piano: at first you go slowly, note by note. But as you learn the passage through repeated practice, you can play it at speed and with expression. After much practice in shaving your face, you can take longer strokes, moving the handle as you go to keep the correct angle. This may take a few years: don’t rush it. Slow and steady is best.

    The correct cutting angle is different for different razors, and you determine the correct angle through feel and the sound the blade makes as you shave. Don’t over-rely on feel: a double-edged blade is sharp enough so that you don’t always feel any damage. Keep a close watch, and listen to the blade.

    When I use my Gillette Super Speed, it’s held flatter to the face than the Merkur Futur, for example. And with the Schick Injector and the Gem G-Bar, the cutting angle is when the razor’s head is flat against the skin. You’ll have to experiment to find the right cutting angle for each of your razors (just as you must experiment to find the best brand of blade for each razor). As a rule of thumb, hold the razor so that the edge of the cap, which lies just behind the cutting edge of the blade, stays in contact with the skin. Don’t pay attention to the guard; the correct angle can be found by keeping the edge of the cap touching the skin. Think of the blade as sliding over a layer of lather, not quite touching the skin. [emphasis added – LG]

    One shaver has pointed out that the correct angle is extremely important. Use as little pressure as you like, but if the angle is too steep, the blade will dig in and cut. He said that none of the instructions on the Internet emphasize this point sufficiently. Consider it emphasized.

    LeisureGuy

    21 November 2019 at 7:14 pm

  9. I was just thinking: you should get the CK-6 version before you’ve quite finished the current tub so that you can do a side-by-side comparison, which I will be very interested in hearing about.

    LeisureGuy

    23 November 2019 at 10:22 am

  10. Not that this type of experimentation would necessarily be worth the trouble for you, given the amount of perfectly good DE razors you already have to enjoy, but for what it’s worth: https://sharpologist.com/2017/12/oneblade-blade-experimentation.html

    Damon

    25 November 2019 at 4:38 pm

  11. Extremely interesting article, and thanks for pointing it out. I had not known the DIY approach of stripping the spine off GEM blades. Very clever.

    But you’re right: the shave is just not good enough for me to go to the effort. I’ll run through the blades on hand, one shave per blade, and call it a day.

    LeisureGuy

    25 November 2019 at 5:47 pm


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