Friday, 28 November 2014

Shave of the day 28th November

Pre-shave: Dr Bronner's Liquid Peppermint
Lather: Lea Shave Stick
Brush: Omega #50014 travel boar
Razor: Merkur 985CL Open Comb travel razor with Treet blade
Post-shave: Cool water rinse, alum, and Krampert's Finest Bay Rum


Thursday, 27 November 2014

Warm razor for cold days

Is your bathroom chilly in winter? The the patented invention of Mr M M Gravin would be just the thing for you, despite the fact that the purpose of the invention was to provide for a more even shave.
It is a well-known fact in having with a razor that the heating of a razor blade, makes the razor blade out just that much better in shaving the beard. For this reason it is a frequent practice to dip the razor whether open edge or safety razor into hot water before the user shaves. The lather on the face cools the razor and lessen; the efficiency with which it cuts. This makes it necessary to frequently dip the razor in hot Water as the shaving progresses and makes the shaving uneven.
It's not a well known fact any longer, so I'm not sure if this claim was pure hogwash or if it actually did make a difference with carbon steel blades.
Mr Gravin also took care to make sure the handle didn't get too hot, by providing an air gap and suggesting using an insulating material for the handle. What he didn't say anything about was how he intended to avoid corrosion to cause a short in the heating element - leaving the shaver with a potential electrical short right next to their face...

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Shave of the day 26th November

Pre-shave: Dr Bronner's Liquid Peppermint
Lather: Lea Shave Stick
Brush: Omega #50014 travel boar
Razor: Merkur 985CL Open Comb travel razor with Treet blade
Post-shave: Cool water rinse, alum, and Krampert's Finest Bay Rum


Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Irritation of the skin - it's cause and prevention

Again, Shaving Made Easy:
Some men almost always experience burning and irritation of the skin after shaving. To such, we wish to offer some suggestions, which we hope will greatly benefit, if not entirely prevent the trouble.
The most common cause of irritation is undoubtedly a dull razor. If the razor is keen and sharp, the hairs will yield readily to the blade and no irritation will be produced. But if the blade is dull, instead of cutting the hairs easily, it passes over some, slices other lengthwise, and pulls and strains at the roots of all. This necessitates scraping the face over and over again, in order to get a clean shave, and the result is an irritation that perhaps continues until you are ready to shave again. Thus the tender parts of the skin are kept in a state of continual irritation. The remedy is of course, to see that the razor is always keen and sharp.
Another cause that may be mentioned, is chafing of the neck by the collar. If the edge of the collar is worn and rough, and comes in contact with the tender skin, it is sure to make it sore.
Too close shaving is a frequent cause, and those who are troubled in this way will do well to shave over the face but once.
Some of the cheap toilet waters are adulterated, and contain ingredients which undoubtedly produce a bad effect on the skin. In using bay rum or other face lotions, use only the best. If much trouble is experienced, we should advise the use of pure distilled witch hazel, which may be obtained at any drug store. This is soothing to the face and allays the burning.
Sometimes the trouble is due to an excess of alkali or potash in the soap. The best shaving soaps are especially prepared and have antiseptic and demulcent properties, which render them practically non-irritating. After shaving, take care to remove all the soap from the face; for during the process, the lather has been worked into the pores of the skin, and only by means of a thorough washing can it all be removed.
Irritations resulting from constitutional disease, or impurity of the blood, should, of course, be treated by a physician.
Some men are more subject to irritation of the skin than others. Those who have a thin and tender skin and a heavy and stiff beard, are especially liable, but with care, even these may prevent most of the trouble.
Just as true today as it was 110 years ago.. a few observations and comments:

  • A dull razor is something we who uses SE and DE can easily avoid - the cartridge user too, if he changes carts often. For those who wield the straight it's avoidable too, it just is a little more work to hone a razor than the change a blade.
  • Chaffing can be as much of a problem today as it was back then, but at least we can be well dressed without having to put on a tall, cardboard stiff detachable collar.
  • Too close a shave... yes, we have all been there, chasing the BBS. Most of us learn not to do fifteen passes after a while.
  • Substandard aftershaves and soaps are hopefully less of an issue today than a century ago, since consumer protection has come a long way since then. But if you're getting irritated skin and nothing else helps, try changing the products you use.
  • Tender skin and stiff beards can be cured with due care and diligence - pre- and postshave treatment is the key there.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Shave of the day 24th November

Pre-shave: Dr Bronner's Liquid Peppermint
Lather: Lea Shave Stick
Brush: Omega #50014 travel boar
Razor: Merkur 985CL Open Comb travel razor with Treet blade
Post-shave: Cool water rinse, alum, and Krampert's Finest Bay Rum


Friday, 21 November 2014

Shave of the day 21st November

Pre-shave: Dr Bronner's Liquid Peppermint
Lather: Lea Shave Stick
Brush: Omega #50014 travel boar
Razor: Merkur 985CL Open Comb travel razor with Treet blade
Post-shave: Cool water rinse, alum, and Krampert's Finest Bay Rum


Thursday, 20 November 2014

Semi-disposable injector razor

An injector is one of those things I want to try at some point, but it seems that they are harder and more expensive to get hold of than good old DE's or even out of production SE's... but if Mr A F Terenzi's invention had taken off back in '58, they might have been a lot more common these days.

Taking advantage of the tab that sticks out the side of a dispenser of injector blades, he came up with a simple, seemingly easy to manufacture injector head that allowed the shaver to use the dispenser as a handle.
In the inventors own words, this addressed
the need for an economical razor to take the place of one forgotten or lost in transit or while travelling or when needed, particularly when unexpectedly called away from home or for use in guest rooms, hotels, motels or the like.
 In addition, the inventor pointed out that such a razor head would be semi-disposable:
...an improved, simplified razor blade holder utilizing injector type blades which are currently available and sold in injector blade dispensers, and which according to this invention the blade dispenser may be readily used in conjunction with the improved holder to provide a handle means therefore. As the improved holder of this invention can be economically manufactured, each injector blade dispenser may be provided with a novel holder of this invention so that a user may be provided with a fresh, clean razor with every purchase of such blades, and thereafter the holder may be discarded along with the blade dispenser upon exhaustion of the blade supply.
It is a shame this invention didn't take off... I would much rather have found something like this in my hotel room than a cheap, plastic disposable, and it would have made a handy, compact travel razor.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Shave of the day 19th November

Pre-shave: Dr Bronner's Liquid Peppermint
Lather: Lea Shave Stick
Brush: Omega #50014 travel boar
Razor: Merkur 985CL Open Comb travel razor with Treet blade
Post-shave: Cool water rinse, alum, and Krampert's Finest Bay Rum


Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Mirrors, shirts and collars.

I keep coming back to the free book Shaving Made Easy, since it's both a fun read in it's old fashioned way and I learn something new.

Today I was looking up what the author had to say about mirrors;
Position of the Mirror.
The mirror should hang between two windows if possible, so that when you look into it the light will fall directly upon both sides of your face. You will then be able to get a good reflection of either side. Remove the collar. To prevent soiling the shirt, place a towel around the neck in an easy, comfortable manner, pinning it at the side.
 The importance of good light aside... remove the collar?

Turns out that a well dressed gentleman a century ago not just shaved in his shirt, but said shirt had a detachable collar like this one:
The upside was that the collar could be kept clean and well starched, which apparently was the Done Thing for a respectable gentleman at the time... so well starched in fact that the Norwegian (as well as Danish and German) term for a detachable collar was "Father murderer" - the idea being that the stiff edge could slit your throat if you turned your head around.

While we might still slit our throats with out razors, at least our shirts aren't going to be the end of us these days...

Monday, 17 November 2014

Shave of the day 17th November

Pre-shave: Dr Bronner's Liquid Peppermint
Lather: Lea Shave Stick
Brush: Omega #50014 travel boar
Razor: Merkur 985CL Open Comb travel razor with Treet blade
Post-shave: Cool water rinse, alum, and Krampert's Finest Bay Rum


Friday, 14 November 2014

Shave of the day 14th November

Pre-shave: Dr Bronner's Liquid Orange
Lather: Mike's Natural Orange, Pepper & Cedarwood Shave Stick
Brush: Semogue TSN 2012 LE mixed badger/boar
Razor: (Probably) Merkur Bakelite slant with a Treet Platinum blade
Post-shave: Cool water rinse, alum, and Krampert's Finest Bay Rum


Thursday, 13 November 2014

Quad Edge razor - when Double Edge isn't enough

More is better, right? And before we had razors with multiple blades, we had razor blades with multiple edges... and if two edges (DE) is good, then three or four edges must be better!

I suspect that was the line of logic Mr J K Waterman followed in 1909 when he applied for a US patent. In is own words, the object of his invention was to provide to the public:
...a safety razor which will be adaptable to all portions of the face, and which will have a great extent of cutting edge, and withal will' be simple of construction and convenient of manipulation in assembling and separating its parts...
The actual design don't look too bad, even if getting the curvature right on the head must have been tricky - a regular DE is a two dimensional curve (yes, even a slant), whereas Mr Waterman's invention required a head curved in three dimensions.

The sticking point with this razor is the blades though... as can be seen in the drawing, they have the shape of a Maltese cross, and would be much costlier and more difficult to manufacture than regular DE blades. Shame really, because the idea of four edges is oddly tempting.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Shave of the day 12th November

Pre-shave: Dr Bronner's Liquid Lavender
Lather: MIke's Natural Coconut (sample)
Brush: Vie Long 14033 mixed horse/badger
Razor: (Probably) Merkur Bakelite slant with a Treet Platinum blade
Post-shave: Cool water rinse, alum, and Proraso Liquid After Shave Cream

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Reasons for cuts while shaving

Shaving made easy is a book from 1904 that I have mentioned before on my blog.. it's an interesting read and it's free (as in beer), so why not download it and give it a read? Even if it's 110 years since the book was printed, the advice given is just as valid.

On my latest read through of it, I spotted the following sage advice:
If a man cuts himself while shaving, it is usually due to certain causes that are easily avoidable. The principal causes are six in number:
  • First—Attempting to shave with a dull razor.
  • Second—Using a sharp pointed razor.
  • Third—Shaving with a razor that is too hollow ground, so that the edge springs and bends on the face.
  • Fourth—Holding the razor improperly.
  • Fifth—Shaving upward against the growth of the beard.
  • Sixth—Shaving in too great a hurry.
If you will avoid these mistakes and exercise proper care, you will seldom cut yourself. But when you do, it will be well to know how to treat the wound. If it be slight, the bleeding may sometimes be checked by using pressure. Covering the fingers with a towel, simply press the cut together. If this does not stop the flow, use an astringent. The styptic pencils, made especially for this purpose, are the best, and may be obtained at any store where barbers’ supplies are kept. In case you should not have the pencils, alum may be used. In any event do not be discouraged, for such accidents sometimes happen to the best barbers.
I suspect the second and third reasons don't quite apply to those of us using a DE or SE, but the other four holds true.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Shave of the day 10th November

Pre-shave: Dr Bronner's Liquid Peppermint
Lather: Mama Bear's Awakening
Brush: Vie Long 13051M pure unbleached horse
Razor: (Probably) Merkur Bakelite slant with a fresh Treet Platinum blade
Post-shave: Cool water rinse, alum, and Krampert's Finest 80 Below

Friday, 7 November 2014

Shave of the day 7th November

Pre-shave: Dr Bronner's Liquid Orange
Lather: Orange EO Shave Soap
Brush: Turkish No6 horse (?)
Razor: Merkur 37C slant with a Wilkinson blade
Post-shave: Cool water rinse, alum, and Proraso Liquid Cream After Shave

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Pseudo-scientific razor

Magnets, how do they work? Apparently well enough to sharpen razor blades...

Mr J A Nones was granted a patent for a self sharpening razor in 1933 that employed the power of magnets to keep the blade sharp and the razor head clunky...

In the inventors own words from the patent description:
...a safety razor with means for automatically sharpening or readjusting the minute particles of the functional or executive edges of the blade...
... a safety razor of the type noted with a magnetic means by which the edges of the wafer-blade may be reconditioned or sharpened...
According to my invention, the extremities of the pole portions of the magnet are inwardly curved toward the guard fingers 10 and terminate midway the length of the downwardly extending portions of said fingers; and said terminal portions or poles of the magnet are spaced apart from but are close to the line of guard fingers from end-to-end of the razor. The pole terminals of the magnet are also arranged sufficiently close to the cutting edges of the razor blade to exercise the necessary magnetic attraction for the minute deflected portions, produced during the course of shaving or while the blade is in use. It is this forceful attraction which reconditions the edges of the blade and sharpens the same, and restores the so-called teeth of said razor blade'edges to the normal plane of the blade-body.
It is my belief that the huge success of Mr Nones' razor in the marked place clearly shows how effective magnets are for keeping your razorblades sharp. If you put this invention in a pyramid - which as we all know keeps milk fresh and razors sharp - it is quite possible you'll end up going back in time... or just look like a fool.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Shave of the day 5th November

Pre-shave: Dr Bronner's Liquid Peppermint
Lather: Arko shave stick
Brush: BodyShop synthetic
Razor: Merkur 37C slant with a Wilkinson blade
Post-shave: Cool water rinse, alum, and BodyShop Maca Root Face Protector

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Shake it sharp!

Yet another razor oddity I have dug up some information on, courtesy of a chance remark over on my favourite shave forum: the Shape Sharp Razor!

The basic idea is interesting, and ties into the razor blade sharpeners I blogged about last month: Keep your razor blades sharp, and keep them longer. Made a lot more sense of the old carbon blades than it do for modern stainless ones, since they cost more (relatively speaking) and dulled quicker.
At a glance, it looks like a SE razor with a wicked blade exposure and an oversized head... but there is a reason for that: the head contains a hone, and holds a regular DE blade. The idea is/was that the user shake the razor back and forth to keep the edge honed during shaving, thus having a perfectly honed blade at all time for the best possible shave... at least, that is what the pamphlet says.
According to the information I found online, the construction is a combination of cast zinc and stamped brass, and possibly steel - although I've also spotted references to Shake Sharps with bakelite handles.
Since only one edge was exposed at any given time, the shaver had to open the razor and flip the blade around when he wanted to use the second edge. If the honing feature worked - and I have no reason to believe otherwise after looking at the patents online - you would only have to do that after wearing one edge out completely.
Personally I'm not convinced that shaking a razor back and forth with wet hands is the best idea in the world, but this razor do provide the SE experience while using DE blades... I guess just for that it ought to get a free pass.
I'm not sure how well the Shake Sharp sold in it's heyday - it was only in production for about a decade - but since it died off it is clear that the shavers of the day preferred a simpler, cheaper razor at the cost of using more blades. Which funnily enough is just what King Gillette hoped for when he came up with the idea of selling the razors cheap and make his profit on blades, and just what the big multinationals are doing with cartridge razors to this day. The more things change and so on I guess...

Monday, 3 November 2014

Shave of the day 3rd November

Pre-shave: Dr Bronner's Liquid Peppermint
Lather: Mike's Natural Pine&Cedarwood Soap
Brush: Semogue TSN 2012 LE mixed badger/boar
Razor: Merkur 37C slant with a fresh Wilkinson blade
Post-shave: Cool water rinse, alum, and BodyShop Maca Root Face Protector