ShaveFan.com

ShaveFan is a a shaving-focused link aggregation and discussion web site. In other words a place where interesting links from all over the shaving world ends up, so you don’t have to visit several blogs, forums and sosial media daily. In a way it’s like fark.com,1 but with more focus and less snark. ShaveFan uses tags to allow for easy filtering and searching.

It’s possible to use it just as a visitor, but to gain the full benefit you ought to sign up. As a full member you can submit and vote on links. You also need to be a member if you want to comment on any links listed. For the time being at least you have to have an invite, more on that later.

I’ve been a member on ShaveFan for a while now, and I find it useful both for finding out what is going on in the world of shavers, as well as – being honest here – promoting some of the more interesting things I write about on my blog. With more members I can see ShaveFan becoming an even more useful addition to the shave world.

Interested in joining ShaveFan? Ask either ShaveFan himself (he’s also active on Twitter) or me about an invite. Reach me through my contact form, on twitter, or via PM on my favourite shave forum.

  1. Fark.com is a news aggregator and an edited social networking news site – a decent place if you want to know what is going on without having to visit several dozen news sites.

Comitting a book

When I asked a few months back on my favourite shave forum if I should “comitt” a book, the responce was positive… but there was also suggestions for not just making an annotated and commented version of the book I had in mind, but also to publish a collection of my posts discussing and snarking on old patents – solutions in search of a problems, blind roads on the road to the modern shave, but also good idea that simply failed to gain traction for one reason or another.

This is taking shape as a semi-curated selection of important, interesting, inessential, and plain odd shaving related patents – a somewhat serious, somewhat humorous little rump through the patent history of razor and other shaving related accoutrement, and lavishly illustrated with the original drawings from the patent applications and a handful of other pictures used to highlight points being discussed.

The proof copies of “70 razor and shaving patents” have now reached me. This means that if I don’t spot any typos, printing errors or other flaws, it’ll probably be released for sale before Easter.

It will be availabe for Kindle and as a print-on-demand paperback from Amazon. Prices are yet to be finalized… in part because I’m not sure what a good price would be for a 220 page, lavishly illustrated book.

What did you get for Christmas almost eleven years ago?

The use of customer reviews and letters of  recommendation do – possible to the surprise of people who have grown up since online shopping became a huge thing – go back decades, if not centuries. During my meandering online wanderings I’ve found this example from a century ago.

As far as a little searching can tell me, Ralph V. Hinkle was no one special… not famous, at least not outside his immediate area. An Every-man, if you prefer that term, someone other customers could relate to.
There is off course the possibility of the letter being fake, written by the Rubberset marketing department, but would that be any different than today?
As an aside my oldest brush still in rotation is about a decade old too; an Omega 10048 – it shed a few hairs the first year or so, but is otherwise even better now than when I took it out of the box.

…attaching and connecting parts

Wetshaving requires water, and water means pipes and valves. And all that means that somewhere there has to be a water shut off valve, so I can shut off the water whenever a packing or O-ring needs replacing in a tap. Thus the main water shut off valve can be considered an “attaching and connecting part” of my shave

In my case, the shut off valve have – as I discovered a little while ago – corroded to the point of not shutting the water off. And since a water shut of valve that isn’t shutting the water off kind of negates the whole point (not to mention means that I can’t change the O-ring in the tap that drips), it was time to call in the professionals; i.e.: the plumber.
So out with the old:

And in with the new:

Whole thing done in less than an hour, including small talk and paperwork. And yes, it does shut off completely, allowing me to replace O-rings in peace…

Selecting the Shaving Outfit – 1905 vs 2019

The public domain book “Shaving made Easy” (link in my sidebar) have a short chapter on selecting your shaving outfit. This is the original text and my annotations and comments:

First-class tools are necessary at the very outset. No matter how skillfully one may handle inferior tools, they will invariably produce poor results.
Probably as many failures have resulted from the use of poor razors, strops, or soap as from the lack of knowledge how to use them. In order that the best possible results may be attained, good tools and skill in using them should go hand in hand.

When I was young I was told repeatedly that good tools are half the work, and that holds true when it comes to tools for shaving as well. A poor razor or a bad lather will not give a good shave, no matter how well the tools are wielded. On the other hand, not even the best razor, the fanciest brush or the most exquisite shave soap will yield the desired result if not used with the necessary skill. Good tools and the skills to use them should still go hand in hand.

The shaving outfit should consist of one or two good razors, a first-class strop, a mirror, a cup, a brush, a cake of shaving soap, and a bottle of either bay rum, witch hazel, or some other good face lotion. These constitute what may be considered the necessary articles, and to these may be added a number of others, such as a good hone, magnesia or talcum powder, astringent or styptic pencils, antiseptic lotions, etc. which, while not absolutely requisite, will nevertheless add much to the convenience, comfort and luxury of the shave.

The shaving outfit recommended in 1905 would serve just as well today, although since the modern shaver is more likely to use a safety razor or even cartridge razor instead of a straight razor, I would recommend investing in a single good razor instead of two – at least until the desire to buy more raises its head. Using a safety razor also means that the modern razor will not have to worry about buying a strop and hone. The money saved can be invested in a second brush, or a small selection of soaps and post-shave products.

I’m wondering if I should commit a book…

…well… not a whole book per see, but an annotated and commented version of the classic “Shaving Made Easy – What the Man Who Shaves Ought to Know”.

The original is from 1905, and is still a decent read (link in the sidebar of my blog, if interested – or find a copy on Wikisource, archive.org or Project Gutenberg) but for obvious reasons don’t do much to cover some of the things a modern wetshaver needs to know.
I’m looking for either encouragement or discouragement… pros and cons.
If I do go ahead, finishing it will take time since it’ll be done in between everything else I have on my plate. I was thinking making it available for download, on Kindle and possible as a print on demand book.

The 2000th post on my blog!

So this is it… blogpost number two thousand. That is not a small number, no matter how you twist and turn it.

Time flies when one is having a good time, and while two thousand posts might sound like a lot… well… maybe it is.

7 years, 7 months, and 7 days – or 2777 days if you prefer. Almost 120K unique visits. At least 1134 shaves of the day posted.

A large number of friends gained through my hobby, and even more acquaintances.

And most importantly: Shaving has gone from a chore to a joy!

Morton G Bunnell and the patent for a Gillette Single Edge safety razor

Morton G Bunnell had quite a few patents to his name, but only two razors – and only one of those got assigned to Gillette Co at some point.  I think it’s a quite interesting patent, for several reasons.

For starters; it is a patent for a single edge razor – with the patent filed back when Gillette was just getting traction with the double edged blade.
Secondly; it’s for all intents and purposes a single piece razor, although calling it a twist-to-open is stretching the definition a little – or rather a lot.
And thirdly; it’s a patent for a razor without a top cap.
The patent was filed in 1906, but was in limbo for several years until it was finally granted in 1913 – and I have no clue what caused the delay.

The razor is – as can be expected from a single piece, single edge razor – deceptively simple. A handle, containing a spring loaded plunger with a knob on the end to ain in blade removal. A base plate, angled, semicircular cuts in the sides, with a comb on one side as well as a shaped lug in each corner for holding the blade. Blade was inserted and removed by utilising the springiness of the steel, bending it to slip it in under and out from the corner nubs.
Or to quote from the patent text:

…a flat, rectangular, flexible blade having two cutting edges and four corners. The blade is sufficiently flexible that it may be compressed endwise between the thumb and forefinger.

The holder-portion is shown comprising a plate having a flat seat for the blade. Four overhanging lugs, one for each corner of the blade, are shown carried by the plate-portion of the holder.

The holder has the usual guard.

…the blade to be compressed endwise between the thumb and forefinger to such an extent that the ends of  the blade will assume a position inwardly of’ the overhanging portions of the lugs at the respective ends and the blade-caused to buckle or hump up from it’s seat and its corners pass inwardly from under the overhanging portions of the lugs and thus be disengaged, from the same. Thus the flexibility of the blade constitutes the expedient by which the blade is inserted and removed…

As a means of starting the upward bending of the blade, the handle is provided internally with a plunger held normally down by a spring. The lower end of this plunger projects at the lower end of the handle. A slight upward pressure on the plunger is sufficient to start the blade and allow it to flex under the pressure of the thumb and forefinger.

Interestingly enough the patent text states that the blade should be double edged, even if it don’t touch upon why. While the ability to turn the blade around and thus have it last twice as long is an obvious reason, I suspect the real reason is that Mr Bunnell intended to use slightly modified Gillette DE blades; squared off instead of rounded edges is the only real change, and there is no reason why Mr Bunnell’s razor couldn’t be slightly changed to accept blades with rounded edges instead of flat. The presence of the two additional holes wouldn’t mean nothing to the operation of the razor. thus allowing this razor to piggyback the infrastructure Gillette already had in place to support their DE razor.

I see no reason why this razor couldn’t be manufactured today, for modern DE blades – in fact the indented corners of the modern blades could actually make it easier to secure the blade under the lugs. The real question becomes; would you want to shave with a razor with no top cap?