Wishlist for 2013

We’re getting up on a new year, and it’s time to take stock of the gear in my den to see what ‘holes’ that ‘needs’ filling.

I didn’t find a lot of gaps, really.

I got my eye on one or two new brushes; a Omega 343167 synthetic and a Vie-Long 14033M unbleached horse.I would love to get my hands on an affordable and agreeable open comb twist to open razor – not to mention an affordable and agreeable open comb slant. Apart from that… nothing, with the exception of soaps and creams.

At least until my ADs starts playing up again…

Shave of the day 26th December

Pre-shave: Dr Bronner’s liquid Orange
Lather: Mike’s Orange, Cedarwood and Black Pepper
Brush: Vie Long 14033 mixed badger-horse brush
Razors: Bakelite slant and ’58 TV Special, both with Gillette 7 O’Clock
Post-shave: Cool water rinse, alum, and Kramperts Finest Bay Rum

A decent shave, although the yellow 7O’Clock don’t quite agree with my Bakelite slant. Works wonderfully in my TV Special though.

Flashback time!

I was gong through the blog I wrote while I was deployed to southern Sudan / South Sudan, and found the first public thing I wrote about the joys of traditional shaving:

I wrote:

It is something very satisfying to whip up your own lather before shaving… to see a tiny bit of shaving cream and a few drops of water turn into a nice, thick, rich and nice smelling lather. The slightly cool feel as the eucalyptus and menthol lather first touches, and then covers, most of the face – and then taking it off with long, controlled strokes with my old fashioned safety razor. A quick splash of water, and then the sting of the alum as it finds the small nicks and scratches that I couldn’t see in the mirror.

It don’t matter if the lather cup I use is a bright pink snack bow from Ikea. It don’t matter if my brush is a reasonably cheap one from Body Shop. It don’t even matter that my bathroom is a ‘three toilets, three showers’ shared ablution container that – frankly – is a bit run down. What matters is that it’s five minutes of ManTime, and a link to my more or less daily routine at home. Try that with a spray can full of foam and plastic razors with five blades…

I might be a couple of years older by now, my skills honed somewhat, and my ‘nook might be at home with a significantly larger stash of gear… but I still like my ManTime.

Shave of the day 24th December

Pre-shave: Dr Bronner’s liquid Lavender
Lather: Mike’s Lavender & Eucalyptus soap
Brush: Semogue TSN 2012 LE mixed badger-boar brush
Razors: Bakelite slant and ’58 TV Special, both with fresh Gillette 7 O’Clock (yellow)
Post-shave: Warm water rinse, Witch Hazel, and Kramperts Finest 80° Below

A lovely Christmas shave with a frozen finish – wonderful.

My axes – one line on each razor I got so far

Just for fun, I summarised all my razors:

  • Ever-Ready 1914 vintage SE; Used to belong to an old friend of the family. Lovely razor, but don’t work all that well on my neck. Not given up on it yet..
  • Cadet TP-01; Three piece open comb. More aggressive and less mild than my Merkur OCs – efficient, comfortable, inexpensive and well made razor.
  • Cadet TTO-13; Twist To Open safety bar. Reasonable flat blade angle and medium blade gap makes for an efficient and aggressive razor. Fairly heavy.
  • Feather Popular; Mild Twist To Open of mixed construction. A good razors for beginners and shavers wanting a mild razor – PIFed mine away and misses it.
  • Gillette 1958 TV Special; Vintage Twist To Open short handled razor. Shaves great, fairly mild. Worth it if you can find one in good condition.
  • Merkur 25C; Long handled three piece Open Comb. Mild yet efficient, one of my favourite razors.
  • Merkur 39C: The AXE of my collection. Heavy, slanted and somewhat aggressive, this three piece razor will take a weeks growth off in one pass. Highly recommended.
  • Merkur 985CL; Short handled open comb travel razor. As mild and efficient as the 25C, but half the weight and a shorter handle.
  • Parker 22R; My very first DE, and you’ll have to take it from my cold, dead hands. reasonable mild, somewhat unforgiving to user errors. I would recommend it, but be aware that Parker has somewhat of a reputation of poor quality control.
  • Racer razor; Cheap and cheerful mixed construction two piece. Flat blade and largish blade gap makes for an aggressive but not very harsh shave. Cap covers ends of blades, good for travelling and people wanting a cheap razor.
  • Wilkinson Classic; Solid two piece razor of mixed construction. Middle of the road razor as far as aggressiveness goes, good razor for beginners in my opinion.
  • Unknown German Bakelite Slant; Possible made by Merkur, short handled three piece slant. Very light weight and surprisingly mild, it comes highly recommended.
  • Yuma safety razor; Three piece pot metal razor. Feels harsh but gives a smooth shave, very loud due to hollow handle. Not for beginners, but recommended if you want a fun and slightly scary razor.

Links to reviews on this page of my blog.

Pleased and a little horrified

I was out shopping the other day, when I stumbled over something in the non-food section of my local grocery store:

Pleased because even if all they have is canned goo and multi blade horrors, they do now have shaving brushes. A little horrified because frankly… how good can a no-brand brush that cost 49.90 (approx 8.50USD) be, considering that that’s ever so slightly more than you’ll pay for a Big Mac?

Still, they offer a “quality guarantee” for it, so it can’t be half bad… no listing on the back as to the materials used in it, so it’s anyone’s guess as to what the hairs are – cheap boar, nylon, leftover paintbrushes… Still, it’s on the shelf now – so that’s an improvement. All they need to do now is to start stocking proper shaving soap or cream, as well as some proper safety razors and blades.

Suggestions from my favourite shaving forum  points towards this being a re-badged Marvy brush – or both Pfeilring and Marvy get it from the same third-party supplier – if so it might be a pretty scratchy boar brush. I might just have to give it a try… or maybe not.