Friday, 16 November 2018

Shave of the day 16th November

Razor: Phillips Philite
Blade: Persona Platinum
Brush: Brush, Experimental, version Alpha
Lather: Pereira Shavery Orange Blossom w/ activated charcoal
Aftershave: Barber No3 Marmara
Additional Care: Alum Block, Gentlemen of Sweden Original Beard Oil, & Pereira Shavery Boomerang Beard Comb

Experimenting with handle shapes part III - knotted

As discussed in part I and part II, I've been playing on the lathe and experimenting with shapes for shaving brush handles. This morning I testfitted a knot in them - the same knot as I use in my "Brush, Experimental, version Alpha" - and they do look quite different with a head of hair on top.
These are presented in the order I turned them. I find it hard to pick favourites - they all sit quite nice in my hand - so I'm unsure which one will be officially dubbed the "Bravo", if any of these.
Any thoughts, Ladies and Gents?

Thursday, 15 November 2018

Another improvement in shaving mugs

Don't you hate it when you're emptying your shaving mug of water and your soap falls out? Well, me neither, but just in case you do Philip Schauble and Louis Dohm, of Elizabeth, Union county, New Jersey have you covered. Or had you covered, back in 1875 when they patented an improvement in shaving mugs.
To understand why an improvement was needed, one have to recall that while a lot of us today will soak the brush, load the soap of the puck, then use a separate bowl or mug to make lather they did it differently back on the day. The soap puck was kept in the shaving mug, water was added on top, lather made on top of the puck and water then poured out... sometimes along with the soap.
Our bold inventors came up with a solution to this problem, as they stated in the very beginning of the patent letter;
Our invention consists of a shaving-cup having means for securing the soap, so that the cup may be turned upside down, for pouring out the water for cleaning it, without the loss of the soap, and without the necessity of holding it by the brush or by the hand, as is now necessary when cleaning the cup, thus saving considerable trouble and greatly facilitating the work.
In hindsight the solution Philip and Louis came up with is obvious when you read about it, but it does actually require a bit of lateral thinking. In short... who says a mug have to be smooth on the inside? What if the bottom of the mug had a screw thread mounded to the inside, like a nut that goes on the end of a bolt? And if the soap also had screw threads, like the aforementioned bolt, and could be screwed down into the mug?
As explained in the patent:
The plan which we have adopted in this case consists of screw-threads in the bottom or lower part of the cup, with corresponding threads molded in the soap, to screw it into the cup by a little forked'key or other suitable instrument...
They also outline an alternate, by having a screw that comes up through the bottom of the mug, but point out this is a much less ideal solution.
A solution they don't touch upon in their patent might be more obvious to us today; simply have circular ridges along the inside of the mug and cast the soap in situ (i.e.:directly into the shaving mug). The downside of that solution is, off course, that soaps cannot easily be replaced.
I have no idea if this invention was ever put into production, and the patent have long since lapsed... but if any artisan or small scale manufacturer of soaps and shaving accoutrements put something like this on the market today, I would be sorely tempted. Perhaps a standard diameter and screw pitch could be agreed upon by a group of loosely organised artisans so we could choose between several of our favourite soaps... but I'm daydreaming. I guess I'll continue to soak my brush, load from the puck and lather in a separate mug of scuttle.

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Shave of the day 14th November

The last few days have been busy and stressful for me, so today I decided to go to the barber at my almost-local mall for a shave and pampering. Definitely worth it, both for the shave and the de-stressing.
If you're ever in my corner of the world, you should seriously consider a visit to them; they do great work for a fair price.

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

A 1964 disposable plastic double edged razor

While I personally find disposable razors to be - at best - an unavoidable evil I occasionally must deal with, it can still be interesting to look at old patents for them.
Case in point; Mr Leonard W Sachs' patent for a disposable razor with a priority date of 1964-10-26. While modern plastic disposables makes every effort to look and handle like a modern cartridge razor, his design looked very much like any other DE safety razor.
That is, off course, because it IS a fairly standard DE razor, made out of thermoplastic and heat welded together. In the words of Mr Sachs:
The head and guard members and pins are formed of an inexpensive disposable thermoplastic material deformable by the application of heat and pressure, and the pins have deformed enlarged ends to permanently secure the assembly together. A handle is secured to and projects from the guard member.
The patents states outright that the object of the invention was to make a razor cheap enough to be thrown away after one or two uses, yet good enough to provide a smooth shave. Judging by the drawings and description this was achieved. I'm not sure if Mr Sachs ever got his razor into production, but the method of construction looks remarkable similar to some of the medical prep razors you can buy all over the internet today.

Friday, 9 November 2018

Shave of the day 9th November

Razor: GEM 1912
Blade: GEM Single Edge Stainless
Brush: Vie-Long #13051M
Lather: Dr Selby Lavender
Aftershave: Barber No3 Marmara
Additional Care: Alum Block, Gentlemen of Sweden Original Beard Oil, Pereira Shavery Boomerang Beard Comb

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Experimenting with handle shapes - part II

Two weeks ago I posted about me experimenting with handle shapes... and despite the last few weeks being busy, I've now used up the rest of my prepared blanks. It helps that turning a handle, sanding and finishing it with mineral oil and CA-glue only takes half an hour or so when working from a prepared blank.. and that includes time to sip coffee, thinking about the shapes, touching up the edge of my cutters and petting the friendly neighbourhood cat.
 The previously shown handles in the back, new one in front. 
 A bit of a closeup - click to make 'em bigger, as usual.
 Even something as pedestrian as Norwegian spruce construction lumber can give rise to some pretty interesting patterns around knots in the wood.
I also think the symmetry on this one turned out pretty good.
I still need to finish of the bases of these - I need to change the face plates of the chuck so I can mount the handles the other way - as well as a few bits and bobs... but what are your thoughts ladies and gents?

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Shave of the day 7th November

Razor: GEM 1912
Blade: GEM Single Edge Stainless
Brush: Omega #10048
Lather: Proraso Menthol & Eucalyptus
Aftershave: Proraso Liquid Cream After Shave
Additional Care: Alum Block, Gentlemen of Sweden Original Beard Oil, & Pereira Shavery Boomerang Beard Comb
PS: Remember the unbreakable bowl from Pereira I reviewed a little while ago? It's now available via Indiegogo, for a quite reasonable price too. And there is a limited number of them available with free shipping too!

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Improvement in shaving-mugs

Shaving mugs comes in all shapes and sizes, from a re-purposed plastic cup to intricate scuttles... but in this day and age you don't often see something as complicated as the useful improvement in shaving cups that was patented by Andrew J. Fuer and Walter C. Knaus in late 1873.
It has to be remembered that this was well before hot water taps were a common fixture... I mean, as far as I know even having running water inside would be on the bleeding edge of technology, and keeping your lather warm must been a lot harder back then.
A scuttle that was simple in construction and convenient to use must have been seen as a gift from the heavens for the serious shaver, and looking through the patent shows a design that at the very least fulfils the first of those two things;
A is a cylinder made of sheet metal, and provided at its lower end with a base, B. In the lower end of the cylinder A is fitted a small lamp, C, in which may be burned kerosene, alcohol, or other burning-liquid. To the opposite sides of the lamp C are attached pins, which enter bayonet-slots in the lower end of the cylinder A, so that the lamp can be conveniently attached and detached when desired. In the lower part of the cylinder A is formed a row of holes a little below the burner of the lamp C to allow the air to pass in freely to support combustion. In the upper part of the cylinder A is formed a cup or receptacle, D, to contain water. In the side of the cylinder A, a little above the bottom of the cup D, is formed  a hole leading into a small chamber, E, attached to the, side of the upper part of the cylinder A, and which should be of` sufficient size to allow the shaving-brush to be inserted. In the other side of the upper part of the cylinder A, just below the bottom of the cup D, is formed a` hole leading into the pipe F, attached to the side of the cylinder A, to serve as a chimney or line to carry off the heated air and the gaseous products of combustion, and to form a draft to promote combustion. In the upper end of the cylinder A is fitted a small cup, G, in which the soap is placed, and in which the lather is made. The cup G has a flange formed around its upper edge to rest upon the upper edge of the cylinder A, and `the said cup G should be such a depth as to extend down into the water in the cup D, so that the lather .may be kept warm.
A fairly straight forward and easy to understand description, especially for a patent. And if that was hard to follow, the drawing is also a model of clarity compared to some other patents I've had a look at lately.
There are a couple features of this patent that shows me that Mr Fuer and Mr Knaus at the very least had thought thigns through before applying for the patent: The bayonet-lock that makes sure the heat source stays in place, and the wide base that prevents the improved shaving mug from falling over spilling hot water and possible being a fire risk.
The only downside I see with this patent in light of when it was applied for and granted is the fact that the burner will heat up your bathroom, summer and winter - a small price to pay for hot lather.
I have no idea if this improved shaving mug ever went into production... it would be a shame if it wasn't put on the market.