Shave Library – a straight razor wiki

Shave Library is a new wiki dedicated to shaving with a straight, tied to the Sharp Razor Palace forum. There is a lot of good information available on the wiki already, but like all good wikis it has room to grow.

A wiki is – as I’m sure most people know – a hypertext publication collaboratively edited and managed by its users. In other words, it’s a fountain of shave gear knowledge everyone can add to.

The site focuses almost exclusively the classic straight, and while shavettes are mentioned there is little to nothing on Gillette style razors to be found. For those of us who prefers shaving with a safety razor, there is still good reads on the site. In particular I’ve enjoyed the DIY-section, since I like to tinker.

I learned about the Shave Library through ShaveFan, who I’ve written a post about before. And now that you learned about it through me, perhaps you should go have a look at Shave Library?

Home made roller sharpener for safety razor blades

The internet archive has a lot of odd stuff. One of the things I’ve found is a copy of Hobbies Weekly from 20th March 1934. And as I was idly flipping through, I spotted this:

The design is simple, as benefits a tool made from odds and ends. Some pieces of wood, some spare leather – as we all have laying around – and a fe hours of tinkering. No gears, the two rollers were close enough to drive eachother by friction.

I’m half tempted to make this at some point.. not for using, but for the tinkering.

Another use for a razor blade

Glancing into my sharps container, I was pondering what I could reuse the blades for. After all the mantra reduce-reuse-recycle makes a lot of sense. I have already reduced the amount of waste from my shaving by shifting to traditional wetshaving. I will recycle a lot of steel when my sharps container is full and I dump the metal. And while I could – in theory – reuse the blades by sharpening them, that is not terrible tempting.

But there is one other use for razor blades, common among soldiers in the past. I am, of course, talking about the so called fox-hole radio.

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Small homemade spruce shaving bowl

An hour on the lathe to get out of the way yielded a small spruce shaving bowl. Started with some leftover 2×4, finished with mineral oil and two coats of superglue finish.

It’s tested and working well for lathering. It’s admittedly a bit on the tiny side, but when you start with a 2×4 it’s a limit to how wide it can be without spending the time to glue up a blank.

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?

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?

Brush, Experimental, version Alpha

Allow me to present the “Brush, Experimental, version Alpha” – or “X-A” for short.

The knot is inexpensive Chinese badger from source who seems to mostly sell budget make up brushes and wigs. The handle is a piece of two-by-two construction lumber, good Norwegian spruce most likely, that have been ageing in my shed for a few years now. The finish is a mineral oil and CA glue finish, which – if my sources online can be trusted – should be at least somewhat water resistant.

It’s a 19mm knot with a “free loft” (above the handle) of approximately 55mm. The handle itself is about 45mm tall and 40mm in diameter… perhaps a little chubby, but the main objective with “Brush, Experimental, version Alpha” is to see how the knot works. Since I fully expect and even plans to de-knot it at some point and transfer the knot to a future “X-B”, the knot is set in place with bathroom caulk as suggested in a thread on the Shave Nook.

Finishing the handle took quite some time – not because it was particularly hard to turn, but I had to procure some Forstner Bits, thin CA glue, and not at least find the time in between everything else that have been going on.

Used my punch set to stamp an A on the bottom. What I’ll do when I have not just made versions Alpha, Bravo, Charlie and so on, but also versions Ærlig, Østen og Åse… well.. I guess I have to get some punches with numbers on. Or a laser engraver… either way it’ll be a long time before that point is reached.

The actual knot itself is fairly soft, with a bit of backbone and a pretty decent face feel for not having been broken in. It honestly feels better than my Wilkinson Sword Badger did before I broke it in… but miles away from the lovely Artisania Romera Manchurian Badger that I got from Phil at BullGoose Shaving. To me it’s a pretty decent little lathererer, good for an inexpensive brush or for a beginner wetshaver who don’t want to sink too much money into a new hobby. It’ll be fun to see how the knot develops, in this handle and the ones that are sure to follow.

Gents… I’ve taken the first step on a new shaving related journey… I have NO idea where I will end up 😀

Slumming it – experiments with various types of soaps and no brush

Last week I was running a little experiments; lathering soap without the benefit of a brush, as well as trying more common soaps – basically just put soap on face, rub to lather and shave with a BiC disposable. This was in part inspired be a comment someone made a few weeks ago on my favorite shave forum, partly inspired by curiosity (the things I do sometimes…).

First I tried with my trusty Arko Shavestick; result were a very thin layer of lather little less cushioning than when I use it with a brush, but quite acceptable – if you’re used to canned goo at least.

Second out was using Prairie Creations’ Goat Soap hand soap. Results were… okay, if you’re not used to proper shaving. Thin and patchy, didn’t want to stay put on my face. Glide but no cushioning at all. Something like a cream soap might have yielded better results, but I used the bar I had handy.

Last out was my regular shower gel… and I have to admit, the shave was slightly better than the hand soap, and almost on level with one of my brushless creams; glide but no cushion, and no post shave effect at all. I know people who shave in the shower with shower gel, and after giving it a go I pity them.

As to summarise… well, apart from the “what am I doing?”, it shows that you can shave with virtually any soap… it just wont be as good as a proper shave.
If you’re going on an extended hike and can’t find the space to pack a brush, a stick of Arko can suffice to give you a half decent shave while doubling as a general soap – while a general soap likely wont do double duty as a shave soap. But if you’re that hard up for space, why bring a razor?