Friday, 31 August 2012

Shave of the day 31st August

Pre-shave: Pure glycerine soap
Lather: C&E Sandlewood
Brush: Turkish No6
Razors: Parker 22R with "Wilkinson Sword" and Merkur 985C with "Lord Platinium"
Post-shave: Cold water rinse, alum block and Proraso Liquid After Shave balm

Shaved in the afternoon, since I overslept this morning. Still a nice shave though...

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Review of Omega 10048 boar brush

The Omega 10048 - aka the Omega 48, Omega Pro, and/or Pro 48 - was the first "real" shaving brush I was exposed to after using an old Body Shop brush for a decade. The one I got was part of a Starter Kit I bought from Barbershop.no, and the box it came it was branded Proraso. The brush itself bears no re-branding, but proudly proclaimed itself to be an Omega boar brush.

The brush is of good quality manufacture, and should last a lifetime if properly looked after. I have no idea what grade of boar it is - I'm really not all that knowledgeable when it comes to boar brushes. What I can tell is that it looks like the hairs have been bleached, the knot has plenty of backbone and is not all that scratchy. It is also a big knot - the biggest in my small rotation - and a big handle... almost too big for my hand.

The knot is, as mentioned, bleached boar bristles. It's a 28mm knot with a 70mm loft, but thanks to the solid backbone it's not in the least bit floppy. The handle is chromed plastic and fairly light - meaning the balance of the brush is firmly towards the knot end of things. And speaking of the handle, I was expecting the chromed plastic to be pretty slippery, but to my pleasant surprise I have found that I can get a great grip on the brush even with wet fingers.

Various places online touts the Omega 48 as the preferred brush of professional barbers in Italy; and as much lather it'll hold I can easily see why. At the same time the things that makes this an excellent brush for lathering someone else makes it - for me at least - a less perfect brush for shaving one self. The sheer size makes it somewhat awkward to use - I feel like I am applying lather with a straight elbow - and the balance makes it less optimal for applying lather. The size also means I can't use it for making lather in my favorite Turkish copper bowl, but luckily I have a back up in the cereal bowl from IKEA The size of it also means I simply can't face lather with it; my goatee gets in the way.

The Omega 48 isn't a bad brush, far from it. It'll whip anything you'll throw at it into lather, be it a soft cream or a rock hard soap. But it is a BIG brush; from base to tip it clocks in at 133mm. If you're in the marked for a boar brush and you like 'em big, the Omega 48 will get you lots of brush at a reasonable price.

As an aside, I see that Omega also sells the 10049 - an ever so slightly smaller brush than the 10048 but with a handle that's coloured either red, black or white. It might be an option for those who find the chrome to be a little too much.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Shave of the day 29th August

Pre-shave: Dr Bronners Magic Soap, Liquid Peppermint
Lather: RazoRock XXX
Brush: TSN 2012 LE badger-boar
Razors: Parker 22R with "Wilkinson Sword" and Merkur 25C with "Shark Super Chrome"
Post-shave: Cold water rinse, alum block and Krampert's Finest Bay Rum

Another DFS - the TSN 2012 LE seems to be less of a lather hog with soft soaps than with hard ones... so plenty of lather so spare.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

More gear on the way

Shave A Buck, a webshop based in the US, has brought out a new line of razors from India that looks pretty nice. And since I like open comb razors, and one of the open combs got a good review... well, I just had to pick one up for myself.

And as always when I'm shopping online, I tend to spot things I just have to have - this time it was some alum that could survive in my GoBag and a stick of Lea shaving soap which I haven't tried before. The Lea have gotten a lot of mixed reviews online, but so has the Arko stick... If I like it it'll end up in my GoBag as well, which means the only liquid left in there will be my beloved Krampert's Finest and the small tube of toothpaste.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Shave of the day 27th August

Pre-shave: Dr Bronners Magic Soap, Liquid Orange
Lather: Proraso Menthol & Eucalyptus Cream
Brush: Omega 10048 boar
Razors: Merkur 985CL with a "Lord Platinum", Yuma with a "Zorrik Super Stainless"
Post-shave: Cold water rinse, alum block and Krampert's Finest Prototype Menthol

Another DFS - the Yuma is an extremely good razor considering the price, and Krampert's Menthol is a cold blast that chases the last vestiges of sleep away.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Shave of the day 24th August

Pre-shave: Dr Bronners Magic Soap, Liquid Lavender
Lather: Mike's Lavender & Eucalyptus Soap
Brush: Semogue TSN 2012 LE
Razors: Merkur 985CL with a "Lord Platinum", Yuma with a "Zorrik Super Stainless"
Post-shave: Cold water rinse, alum block and Krampert's Finest bay Rum

Yet another DFS - the LE brush is shaping up very nicely indeed.


Thursday, 23 August 2012

Really vintage razors

Since roughly the time we came down from the trees, humans have been worried about how other people see them - in short, how well groomed we are. And while the standards we been holding each other to in regards to hair care and general hygiene have fluctuated over the ages, it seems that the desire men have to scrape the beard off is timeless.

Perhaps it has to do with perceived status - by taking the time to trim your beard you showed everyone who saw you that you had an excess off time; which presumably translated into having an excess of resources in general. And since fashions spread quickly, soon everyone was wanting to take their beard off - creating a market for clam shells, finely made obsidian blades and some time later metal blades made expressly for dragging across downy cheeks.
A early bronze razor from the Hallstatt culture which seems to me to be modeled on a flint blade with a handle - a wonderful piece of craftsmanship

Presumably the first metal razors were status objects by themselves; it seems several of them had holes so they could hang on a string or necklace. The proles still probably used flint blades or went unshaven... possible either complaining loudly or claiming just as loudly that the ones who could afford to shave were a bunch of pansies. Human nature change very little...
Later, as razors got more common they also got more utilitarian. If everyone own s one there is no need to flaunt the fact, so it seems to me that razors got reduced to the bare essentials; a half moon shaped blade:

A more utilitarian bronze razor (and nail trimmer) from the Hallstatt culture.

Slightly more fancy half moon razors - Italy, 8-7 century BC

Or more fancy axe shaped ones - like this ancient Egyptian razor from the Harageh tomb 661, dating to the First Intermediate Period - approx 2181 to 2055 BC

The shave of a Pharaoh - an evolved axe shaped bronze razor from the time of Amenophis II or III - approx   1426 to 1353 BC

How about a Scandivian bronze razor from the 2 century BC - the depicted ship on it a clear predecessor to the Viking longships?

As metallurgy progressed we got the steel razors, then the cut throat razor and finally the modern safety razor... but I still can't help to wonder what it would be to pick up an bronze instrument like one of these to get the stubble of my face.

I wonder if anyone sells working replicas... ?

This post contains pictures from Wikipedia and other online sources.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Shave of the day 22nd August

Pre-shave: Dr Bronners Magic Soap, Liquid Orange
Lather: Arko Cool Mint shave cream
Brush: Turkish No6
Razors: Racer Razor with a "Racer Super Stainless", Yuma with a "Zorrik Super Stainless" - both fresh blades
Post-shave: Cold water rinse, alum block and Proraso Liquid Cream

The cheap gear gives a shave that's just as good - the one nick was the cat's fault for slipping into the bathroom at the wrong time.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Review of the Merkur 25C

I might as well admit to it; I like the Merkur Open Comb head. Which is why I got two of them; the 985CL travel razor and the long handled 25C.

Go ahead - guess which is which...
Having two razors - or three, when I assemble the Franken-nought-four - with the same head gives me an opportunity to compare how the other part of the razor affects the shave. And once I know how the handle affects the shave, it gives me the insight I need to know how the head affects the shave... so it's a win-win, really.

Speaking of the head; Back when I first created the Franken-nought-four I was researching the Merkur 41C, aka 1904, and found something interesting and/or scary... the Merkur Open Com heads were actually intended to be adjustable... by loosening the handle 1/8 to 1/4 turn you can adjust the blade angle and gap, while the springiness of the blade should keep the mechanism tight. While it might work it sounds kinda dicey - and since you're adjusting both the gap and the angle at the same time it'll be hard to predict just how much more aggressive it'll be.

If used tightened all the way - as I do - the Merkur 25C is a mild and efficient open comb razor. It's milder and more manoeuvrable than the 985CL, but at the same time it has a harder time getting a BBS on my neck. Odd how things works out...

It is overall a solid razor, with a handle that's somewhat thicker than your average pencil but not by much. The balance is good in my opinion, but YMMV depending on your taste.

If you're in the market for a relatively mild long handled open comb, you can do a lot worse than picking up a Merkur 25C.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Shave of the day 20th August

Pre-shave: Dr Bronners Magic Soap, Liquid Peppermint
Lather: Mama Bear's Awakening
Brush: Vie-Long 14033 mixed horse-badger
Razors: Merkur 25C with a "Treet Platinum Super Stainless", Merkur 958CL with a "Lord Platinum"
Post-shave: Cold water rinse, alum block and Krampert's Finest Experimental Menthol

Comparing two razors which shares the head but have very different handles - and a DFS with a menthol blast on a gray Monday morning.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Shave of the day 17th august

Pre-shave: Pure glycerine soap
Lather: Arko stick
Brush: Semogue TSN 2012 LE Brush 17/100 mixed badger/boar
Razors: Merkur 39C slant and Parker 22R, both with a "Wilkinson Sword" blade
Post-shave: Cold water rinse, alum block and Krampert's Finest Experimental Menthol

A pretty good shave - WTG and XTG on my cheeks, 2 times WTG on my neck, since I gotten a couple of angry bumps.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Review of Turkish copper bowl

One thing I can hardly do without when I wetshave is a good bowl to build the lather in... some people face lather (which I do as well when using the Arko stick), some swear at scuttles - I prefer a decent bowl that fits my hand.

I started out with a simple plastic snack bowl "borrowed" from the kitchen cabinet, then switched to a larger cereal bowl from Ikea (which I still use at times) before one of the old-timers at my favorite shaving forum showed off something he had dubbed "the fairy tale bowl".

It is funny how fast ones Acquisition Disorders can go from dormant to "shut up and take my money" mode...

Short story even shorter; once I learned that the bowl had come from bestshave.net and was pretty damn cheap, I placed an order for it as well as a few other odds and ends - funny how you tend to spot something you suddenly need. Shipping was prompt - as usual - and as soon as I unpacked the bowl I knew I was going to like it:



The bowl is beaten out of pretty thin copper sheet, which makes it lightweight and easy to hold in my paws - the downside is that my lather gets cold pretty fast. The dimpled inner surface helps in building the lather, much like the spiral grove you often see in the bottom of scuttles. The reasonable small size of the bowl - 11.7 cm (~4.5") wide and 4.9 cm (~2") deep - means it's best suited for smallish brushes; since most of my brushes have a loft around 5.0 cm (~2") it suits me fine. My Omega 48, with it's significantly higher loft, do not like my copper bowl much...

Overall I can recommend the Turkish copper bowl if you like bowl lathering, like short lofted brushes and are in the marked for a shiny, lightweight bowl.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Shave of the day 15th August

Pre-shave: Dr Bronners Magic Soap, Liquid Lavendel
Lather: Mike's Pine & Cedarwood Soap
Brush: Semogue TSN 2012 LE Brush 17/100 mixed badger/boar
Razors: Merkur 39C slant with a "Wilkinson Sword" blade, and Merkur 25C with a "Treet Platinum Super Stainless" blade
Post-shave: Cold water rinse, alum block and Krampert's Finest Bay Rum

Another DFS - the TSN LE brush is breaking in nicely.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Quick review of Col Conk's Bay Rum

Col Conk's Bay Rum was my first exposure to bay rum - and it's very, very different than the scent of Krampert's Bay Rum... not to put too fine a point to it, the scent is markedly inferior to Brian's wonderful aftershave. It is not that Col Conk smells bad - far from it - it's just that Krampert's smells better...

That aside, the soap is pretty good for being a glycerin based soap - it lathers easily and abundantly, the lather has decent slip and cushion, and the lather don't collapse before I'm done shaving. The soap seems reasonable indifferent as to the brush I'm using, even if I find I have to load a soft brush for longer than a stiff brush - that probably holds true for all hard soaps though.

I have come to expect that glycerin soaps don't give as much moisture to the skin as tallow based soaps do, and Col Conk is no exception to that rule - use of a moisturizing aftershave afterwards is a must for me, even if your mileage may vary on that. As several of you already knows, my aftershave of preference is Krampert's finest - and after using Col Conk's Bay Run what better way to round off the shave than some of Krampert's bay rum?

Overall I can recommend Col Cok if you're in the marked for a glycerin based soap that gives a smooth shave - but look to the tallow based soaps if you're after something that don't leave your skin feeling dry afterwards.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Shave of the day 13th August

Pre-shave: Dr Bronners Magic Soap, Liquid Peppermint
Lather: Proraso Eucalyptus & Menthol Soap
Brush: Semogue TSN 2012 LE Brush 17/100 mixed badger/boar
Razors: Merkur 39C slant with a "Wilkinson Sword" blade, and Merkur 25C with a "Treet Platinum Super Stainless" blade
Post-shave: Cold water rinse, alum block and Krampert's Finest Experimental Menthol

A bit of a mentholated kick to start the week, and also using the TSN LE brush on my face for the first time. It has gotten three test lathers so far; one with pure glycerine soap, one with Mike's Unscented and one with Col Conks Bay Rum.

The TSN LE brush is... <drumroll> ...very nice. A bit of a lather-hog, and needs more breaking in - but I can see it'll blossom into a great brush after a few more shaves, as long as I load it heavily.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Shave of the day 10th August


Pre-shave: Dr Bronners Magic Soap, Liquid Peppermint
Lather: Mike's Peppermint & Rosemary Soap
Brush: Omega 10048 Boar Brush
Razors: Merkur 25C with a "Treet Platinum Super Stainless" blade, and 1958 Gillette TV Special with a "Astra Superior Platinum" blade
Post-shave: Cold water rinse and Alum block

Yet another DFS with the TV Special.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

1958 Gillette TV Special

My latest acquisition on the razor front is my second oldest... a 1958 Gillette TTO known as the "TV Special". A fellow shaver over at The Shave Nook decided it was better to sell it than having it sit unused in his rack, so I got the opportunity to snap it up for a little less than twenty dollars - which was a steal, really. Apparently the razor was advertised during the 1958 broadcasts of "Gillette Cavalcade of Sports" and it's notorious online for being a great shaver.

The new beuty - a short handled TTO vintage razor
Head on with the head open - note slight loss of plating on three spots along the right bar

As for the shave, I can best describe it as mild and effective. This isn't a harsh razor by a long stretch - in fact, some might find it to be too mild. So far I've only taken it for a spin with an Astra Superior Platinum blade, but I can't imagine it'll behave significantly worse with another blade... unless it's a bad blade off course.

Despite being a short handled razor, it's remarkable comfortable to hold. The slight flare near the base helps, as do the knurling. The balance is pretty good too, even if I find it slightly top heavy - either the head could have been slightly lighter, or the handle slightly heavier. It's no worse than most of my other razors - I've yet to find a razor with absolutely perfect balance.

I've only had it for about a week so far, and used it a couple of times, but the 1958 Gillette TV Special has gained a slot in my rotation. If you're in the marked for a vintage Twist To Open razor, and like 'em mild... well, you could do a lot worse than picking up one of these babies - even if they can be hard to find at a reasonable price.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Shave of the day 8th August


Pre-shave: Pure glycerine soap
Lather: Mike's Barbershop
Brush: Vie-long 14033
Razors: Merkur 25C with a "Treet Platinum Super Stainless" blade, and 1958 Gillette TV Special with a "Astra Superior Platinum" blade
Post-shave: Cold water rinse, Alum block and Krampert's Finest Bay Rum

Yet another DFS. The Gillette TV Special is shaping up to be a mighty fine shaver.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Review of Proraso Eucalyptus and Menthol cream

Apart from the Maca Cream from Body Shop, the Proraso Eucalyptus and Menthol Cream was my first foray into the wonderful world of shaving creams and soaps that don't come in a pressurized can. I received it as part of a traditional wetshaving starting kit, and it went with me on a 12 month deployment with the UN to South Sudan.

A little beat up, but still good

I must say that for a newbie in traditional wetshaving the Proraso Cream is a very good choice. It lathers well with little water, lots of water, hard water, soft water... and with any brush I've tried it with so far. Granted, you won't always get good lather until you learn how to make it, but it's great for giving you plenty of play for experimenting with until you learn. It is also good for shaving with - which is nice since it is in fact a shaving cream.

I used it exclusivity for the year I was in Sudan, along with a Body Shop synthetic brush. After a month or so I was able to make consistently good lather, and started to appreciate just how good the slip, glide and cushion of the Proraso Eucalyptus and Menthol Cream was compared to anything that squirt out of a can. The mentholation of this cream is not as strong as some of my other soaps - Mama Bear's Awakeing take the top spot in that regard - but still enough to be noticeable and appreciated on a warm day... as all the days in South Sudan was. I should probably use this cream more often, but I have so many other great soaps and cream to shave with that I cannot stay with one product for any stretch of time.

If you're in the marked for a cream in a tube, and you like menthol, you cannot go wrong with the Proraso Eucalyptus and Menthol Cream.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Shave of the day 6th August

Pre-shave: Dr Bronners Magic Soap, Peppermint
Lather: Proraso Eucalyptus and Menthol soap
Brush: Turkish No6
Razors: Merkur 25C with a "Treet Platinum Super Stainless" blade, and 1958 Gillette TV Special with a fresh "Astra Superior Platinum" blade
Post-shave: Cold water rinse, Alum block and Krampert's Finest Exp. Menthol

A DFS and a good way to start the week with a new-to-me razor.


Friday, 3 August 2012

Shave of the day 3rd August


Pre-shave: Dr Bronners Magic Soap, Peppermint
Lather: Crabtree & Evelyn Sandalwood Soap
Brush: Turkish No7
Razors: Merkur 39C slant and Parker 22R, both with "Wilkinson Sword" blades
Post-shave: Cold water rinse, Alum block and Krampert's Finest Bay Rum

A nice shave on a wet morning.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Review of Krampert's Finest Menthol

First a warning: This stuff isn't for sale - at least not yet. Which means that the first thing you need to do to get hold of it is to ask Krampert to start producing it... which takes money, so perhaps the very first thing you should do is to buy a bottle or two of his Finest Bay Rum... don't worry, it's well worth the asking price.

In short, everthing I like about the healing and moisturising properties of Krampert's Bay Rum is present in his experimental menthol as well - and just like his Bay Rum this is some seriously good aftershave. And just like the Bay Rum, I found myself putting some on even if I havn't shaved just to enjoy the moisturising properties and great scent.

The major difference is off course the menthol. It is refreshingly cooling on muggy mornings, and if I havn't woken up before putting it on I sure am awake afterwards - even more so on the days I gotten a minor nick or two.

This is a seriously good aftershave - if you enjoyed Krampert's Bay Rum, you'll enjoy his Menthol if (when) it'll be available.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Shave of the day 1st August

Pre-shave: Dr Bronners Magic Soap, Liquid Orange
Lather: Mike's Orange, Cedarwood and Black Pepper Soap
Brush:Vie-Long mixed horse/badger #14033
Razors: Merkur 39C slant and Parker 22R, both with "Wilkinson Sword" blades
Post-shave: Cold water rinse, Alum block and Krampert's Finest Experimental Menthol

Yet another DFS - most of the cartridge generation don't know what they are missing out on.