Today I finished off yet another product. I should be dubbed "the product killer" with the way I finishing off products like this. I'm about to finish off my 4th soap this year and here I go finishing off my Fine Platinum aftershave. I'm NOT sure if I'll get another bottle or not because sometimes all I get is the alcohol instead of the scent which is killer when you do get a whiff of this specific scent. But if all goes according to plan, this will be my 5th product that I finished off this year which a bit of a rare sight considering that when you do, an artisan comes out with a new product:
Today is Steam Bath Wednesdays but since I don't have an actual Steam Bath Factory shaving soap yet, I have to use a Tiki Bar soap which is fine because Amanda Stott makes both brands of soaps. Today's shave was nothing short of perfect and a true BBS shave. Tomorrow's shave will be a story in of itself because I experimented with my Norton 4/8K water stone. I wanted to see first hand how it performed if you spent a lot more time on it compared to what you'd normally spend on it. There's an old expression I use to say a lot when I was involved in another hobby back in the day which is and I quote: "The slower you go, the better your results will be" :
I'll find out if it was worth it or not tomorrow (October 1st, 2015), but I'm finished honing the 66 for now until I get some more honing stones. I spent a really long time last night until now honing my Gold Dollar 66. I'm pretty sure I spent at least 2+ hours total honing my Gold Dollar 66 with a break before going back at it (I was taking a break when I last posted). Under the loupe, the razor's edge looks like a brand spanking new mirror fresh from the factory that was just polished. But the real test will be the first shave:
After I finished this epic honing session, I did 5 round trips on the scrub leather and then 25 on the smooth leather. After that I went back to the scrub leather again and did 5 more round trips and then I done another 25 round trips on the smooth leather. Once I finished stropping, I glassed the 66 again, and it looked even brighter and more refined than it did earlier:
I'll use my normal stropping routine before I go to shave with it tomorrow. This took a really long time and I don't plan on doing it again until I can get some new stones and I'm told that the one I'm looking at is a really slow cutter in terms of honing and polishing. So I guess I better get use to taking longer honing sessions. Honing is no joke ladies and gentlemen. It can take a long time and will depend on what kind of shape the razor is that you are honing.
Now that I've decided on where to get an affordable natural water stone, I've decided to do a little experiment touching up my Gold Dollar 66 (only this razor ladies and gentlemen because the 208 is fine). I personally love the the Japanese natural water stones or what I like to call, "Jnats". I haven't experienced ANYTHING that was that sharp or smooth nearly 2 years of wet shaving period. Unfortunately for me, I can't afford that specific water stone. That's what has been killing me in terms of honing stones, my budget. Right now I'm waiting on an insurance claim which can be a huge help in that department and will allow me to get more stones that will allow me to achieve an edge that's either very close to that or if possible, even better than that specific edge I encountered:
Here I am re-soaking the stone and taking a bit of a break. This specific session is going to take a really long time and I'm not sure how it's going to turn out:
I'll post up the results on October 1st, 2015 after I shave with it. I'm hoping it will be epic, but we'll soon find out.
Well I was planning on buying several soaps, along with a matching aftershave splash and a pack of Feather DE blades in addition to several soaps from several different places. But there's been a slight change of plans. The matching aftershave that I was going to buy from one place is out of stock at the moment and the artisan is out of town till this coming weekend which is when I get paid. So I go to check on some other soaps from my top brand and the L.E. soap I was planning on buying is already sold out and there's no way of telling if they'll do another batch. Plus the seasonal soap that they just released is also out of stock at the moment, but that's fine because I'll have till roughly around December to get that specific one. So with that being said, I'm down to just one soap that I planned on purchasing this pay day which is just $20 U.S. Dollars + shipping which frees me up to buy some honing stones. After all of my usual bills are paid, I'll be ordering a couple of stones:
What kind I'm ordering will be a surprise and full details will be listed in another blog post along with the results and the prices will NOT be expensive as people think either. And to make matters more interesting, they will be natural stones instead of synthetics.
Today is "Tiki Bar Tuesday" and the shave was great. The Gold Dollar 66 was better this time around compared to the last time, but it's still not quite as good as my Gold Dollar 208. But that's ok because this coming weekend, I'm about to buy a couple of stones. I was going to buy several more pucks of soap, but they're sold out at the moment and one of them is out of the matching aftershave that I was planning on getting. So I'm down to 1 soap now and I'm planning on getting it along with a couple of honing stones from ILR:
With the fall season officially under way, I got word that our church will be picking this monster you see below tomorrow. While I moved it to where they can pick it up, it occurred to me that this would be a great seasonal shaving soap for the artisans out there. Between the scent of the fresh cut apples, along with a little hint of cinnamon and sugar, plus the scent of the firewood and smoke from the fire that used to heat the kettle up, this would be a great soap to make:
After getting one the best shaves of my life this morning, I thought about my last shave with my Gold Dollar 66 straight razor. It was decent but not anywhere near the quality of the shave that I got this morning and I put it on the stone the same time I did the 66. So I went ahead and pulled out the old Norton 4/8 water stone that I have and I performed an epic touch up. After I got done with both sides, I went back to the 4K side of the stone and repeated the same process on both sides again. Tomorrow's shave will tell me how well I did. Under my loupe from what I could see, the edge is very clean and has a really nice mirror finish to it:
I also did 5 round trips on the scrub leather, and 25 round trips on the smooth leather to make sure that the edge isn't harsh.
Today is "Take Charge Monday" which means a Soap Commander product gets used, and today's shave was epic. I definitely nailed it on the stone with Gold Dollar 208 because my face feels like an ice rink and there's no leftover hairs or stubble anywhere. The 66 was a completely different story, which will be another blog post later. Today I felt like using a bay rum scented soap and "Purpose" just happened to be up in the Soap Commander rotation:
This right here also made a huge difference. For straight razor shaving, I've not been using my shave scuttle for quite a while, so I went ahead and used it for today's shave and it was fabulous. If you ever want hot lather and face lather, get you one of these scuttles:
They're awesome and worth every penny. This one has taken many of shaves to the next level and then some and I wish I had gotten it sooner.
One of my all time favorite scents is fresh cut wood or the classic burning firewood scent. Unfortunately I've not been able to use any heavily wood based scents due to sensitive skin which I've struggled with my entire life and this is NOT me claiming sensitive skin like most other people. This is an actual diagnosis and it doesn't just apply to shaving either. I've had reactions to everything from laundry detergent to ordinary hand soap and the struggle has been frustrating as well. Even though I've grown out of most of it, I still have a tough time with certain items and sandalwood has been one of them. No matter what I've used in the wet shaving world, this one has always caused me problems until today. This is a Soap Commander limited edition shaving soap called "Commitment" which is an Indian Sandalwood scent. I used it about 2+ hours ago and I've NOT had any sensitive skin issues at all:
There's 2 more soaps that also have a small amount of sandalwood listed in the scent profile and I've NOT had any reactions to and one is still in use today which is Crown King's Sacre' Bleu scented shave soaps. One of the base notes listed on the Crown King website is sandalwood. Soap Commander's Passion scented soap also has sandalwood in it and I had no reaction to it either. So I consider this allergy conquered. So that means I'll be stocking up on some sandalwood based products which is awesome. I guess where I've used other soaps that contain small amounts of sandalwood that my skin has built up a tolerance to it over the past couple years.
Today's shave was great and it was also a true BBS shave as well. Today is also "Soap Commander & DE Sunday" which means a DE safety razor and a Soap Commander product. Speaking of De's, I went through some of my old stuff and found a couple of old soap containers. One had used blades in it and the other one had several brand new packs of blades in it and I was happy to see the Bolzano Superinox DE blades in there. The Perma-Sharps are my favorite blade in my Edwin Jagger DE 89, but they're not to good in the Phoenix double OC. The reason is because it's much lighter and it's milder than the DE 89 is. The DE 89 also has more blade exposure as well. The scent of the soap you see below, is an Indian Sandalwood which is kindly dangerous for me to use due to sensitive skin. The scent of this soap is incredible if not epic:
Today's shave was great but it could've been better if I had NOT hit the leather clasp at the top of my 3 inch black latigo strop while I was stropping yesterday and slightly damaged the edge which I've fixed. This soap is a PAA classic and should be in every shave arsenal. If you love chocolate and bourbon that was aged in a white American oak barrel that gives slight vanilla undertones, then you will love this soap. It's a chocoholics dream in my humble opinion. Now I did pretty good on the Norton 4/8K stone but both razors can definitely use some refinement. I only went to 8K ladies and gentlemen which is a mid level stone at best while everyone else is going to either a 10 and/or 12K synthetic water stone and some people even go to Japanese natural water stones or even Arkansas oil stones to finish up their razors which gives and ultra smooth shave. The "jnats" spoiled me quite a bit and I'd love to get those edges back. Right now I'm waiting on an insurance claim which could take a while before it could come through for me:
Recently I purchased a new magnifying device to examine the edges on my straight razors. Unfortunately it turned out to be a mistake and I immediately went back to the device you see in the photo directly below. The new device was past horrible and was nearly impossible to use. So I'm going to rely on this device from here on out:
The device you see below is past horrible, so please don't get it. I couldn't see hardly anything through this device:
So unless I buy a full blown magnifying glass that allows me to see the entire blade at one time, the first device you see at the beginning of this blog post, is what I'll be using.
After chatting with my honing guru on Face Book and seeing first hand under a 30X by 21 MM jeweler's loupe how little is actually needed, I've decided to tone my stropping routine down and go even easier on my straight razors. I made a false move during stropping yesterday and slightly roughed up the edge a bit. I also ended up having to perform a touch up on my Norton 4/8K water stone because of it. After glassing both razors and seeing that I fixed the edge somewhat close to what they were when they arrived, I performed a new simple stropping routine which appears to have worked. Before this stropping routine was performed, I saw that both razors had a nice clean edge that could use a tiny bit of refinement. The edges had an uneven mirror polish to them and the haze was barely visible. I also saw a few tiny surface scratches right at where the bevel meets the edge of both razors. After stropping using the very routine listed below, these very tiny surface scratches were gone from what I could see and the edge had a really nice and even mirror polish to it all the way across and both edges had a more pronounced haze to them compared to before stropping. So I decided to stick with this routine from here on out:
#1: Before Shave: 15 round trips smooth leather only:
#2: After the shave: 5 round trips scrub leather only:
Sometimes it helps to keep things simple. And a lot of what I see out there kindly complicates matters. In my humble opinion, a lot of the stropping routines that you see out there in social media and on various websites and YouTube videos is really overkill and is NOT necessary. Plus those routines often increase your chances of making a mistake during stropping and ruining the edge on your straight razors. Of course that's just my humble opinion. The edges on both of my straight razors will NOT be any where near as good as they were when they arrived here a little over a week ago. But that will change later on. My conversation also led me to delete 2 previous blog posts because I was incorrect about some information and it would take too long to edit.
Here we go again ladies and gentlemen. I'm about to finish off yet another soap which is definitely going to be re-stocked into my shaving arsenal. Too bad there's no matching balm or aftershave that goes with this soap, but that's fine because I usually pair it with Pinaud's Clubman Classic Vanilla aftershave which I'm also nearly out of. The artisan soap makers are going to love me when or if my insurance claim comes through for me. Right now I'm playing the waiting game and it also doesn't look good for the meet up either. On Friday October 16th, 2015 Soap Commander is hosting a BBQ at Soap Commander's headquarters (which is their home) at 6 pm central standard time in Ardmore, AL and on October 17th, 2015 around 2 pm central standard time, a wet shaving face book group called Dirty South Shavers is having a meet up at a brewery called "Straight to Ale" in Huntsville, AL:
My insurance company gives new meaning to the term "slow" when it comes to claims. I was told by my mother that it took them over 30 days to pay a claim when my grandfather passed away which is beyond ridiculous in my humble opinion.
Today's shave was fabulous. Not quite a true BBS shave, but that's because I may have dulled this straight razor a little bit due to over stropping it. Even though I've eliminated pastes and sprays from my stropping rotuine and even tossed out my balsa wood strop, I'm still a tad too rough when it comes to stropping. Plus it's looking like I'll be needing to get another strop here pretty soon as well because this one is not looking too good. It's a good thing that I have my Norton 4/8K combo stone here because my Gold Dollar 66 may need a touch up here pretty soon:
This is getting really annoying and old very fast. The last time this happened, I lost 8 friends and 2 of them are still po'ed at me thinking that it was intentional when it was because of what you see below. I also couldn't access my own page for 2+ hours. So if anything happens such as getting unfriended or even blocked, blame face book because they've been having technical problems. It also kicked me out of 2 groups the last time, one of which I had just went back to:
Today's shave was perfect and just what I needed. I was in a bit of a hurry today so I grabbed my Edwin Jagger DE89 with a Perma-Sharp Super instead of a straight razor. Today is Thursday so that means a RazoRock product gets used and their Classic shaving soap was up next in the rotation. As you can see, I'm extremely low on my Fine's Platinum aftershave which is fine because I plan on switching to PAA's aftershaves and colognes full time apart from Aqua Velva, Brut, and Clubman which always be in the rotation. I'll see where I'm at tomorrow before making a decision, but I may be going back to my DE 89 for a few days due to some slight irritation:
Today's shave was fabulous. It wasn't quite a true BBS, but it was close and comfortable. I was craving something to go with Tiki Bar's "Go West" leather scented shaving soap, so I grabbed some of PAA's Tombstone aftershave instead of my usual English Leather. The scent on this soap is amazing. If you've ever went into a leather shop and just grabbed a jacket and took a huge whiff and loved the smell, then you will love this soap because that's the EXACT scent you get. Freshly tanned leather straight from the factory:
Today is "Tiki Bar Tuesday" and today's shave was phenomenal if not, epic. I couldn't have gotten a better shave period even with a DE safety razor. Between the cherry pipe tobacco scent of the soap and the legendary Pinaud's Clubman original aftershave splash, I could not have a better pairing. If you don't have this specific soap or any Tiki Bar soap in your shaving arsenal, heal thy self because the performance is second to none easy. The method I used today worked perfectly for me. I did 2 across the grain passes on my cheeks and jaw line and 2 against the grain or as I like to call them, money passes on my neck area followed up by a with the grain touch up pass on my neck area only which worked out perfectly:
Today is known as "Take Charge Monday". Which means a Soap Commander product gets used. Today, I felt like using Confidence which is a sweet honey scented soap with a little hint of musk and patchouli to calm the sweetness of the honey down a bit but still allows it to come through the top note. This is a fabulous soap to have in your shave cave. My shave didn't go to well this morning. I kindly got myself a tiny bit on my right cheek but it's already sealed itself back up so it's no big deal. So I ended up finishing with the DE instead of just using it on my moustache area. Speaking of which, it's looking like I won't using an against the grain pass on my moustache area. It's just too sensitive for me to do that period no matter what I use to shave with:
Now that both of my straight razors are back and have an edge on them that NOTHING that's currently manufactured even comes close to, my obsession with Japanese natural water stones or "jnats" as I like to call them has been increased by 10 fold now. The stone that you see in the photo will NOT be needed for a really long time and no it was NOT used today except for photo purposes only. Today, I missed out on a honing meet up held by the Face Book group, The Gold Dollar Shave Club earlier this afternoon which I'm batting a 1,000 on when it comes to attending meet ups in general especially the honing meet ups. It's an opportunity to be completely independent and here's why. Once you learn the basics of honing and know what's involved and get some time in using various honing stones, you'll NEVER have to rely on a supplier or manufacturer again when it comes to having a sharp edge that's truly shave ready. You also don't have to worry about getting a bad edge either because you have the skills to put an edge on a razor that may be questionable or got sent out with no edge on it:
Plus after you start honing your own straight razors, you kindly end up liking your own edges as opposed to shaving with one from the various vendors that sell straight razors and offer a honing service and/or take the time to make sure that a razor they sell goes out truly shave ready. So get out there to these meet ups and try to find out when the next honing meet up is if you want to be truly independent and not rely on various vendors out there for straight razor honing and for sure don't be afraid to show people what you know and to experiment various techniques out there. By doing this, you will be keeping the straight razor hobby going. And who knows. Maybe one day someone you showed the basics of honing to might go on to teach others which is fantastic.
Today is "Soap Commander & DE Sunday" and it was epic today. My face feels like an ice rink and there's not one bit of stubble or hair left anywhere which is awesome. I normally don't get that with a DE safety razor, but I have gotten it with a straight razor on a frequent basis. I've also got to change up my routine a bit. Starting tomorrow, I will be using a DE safety razor on my moustache area only during the week and here's why. With these straight razors being epically sharp like they are now, there's no way I can shave my moustache area with them and get that area cleaned up. It's just too sensitive for any passes other than with the grain and that is not enough to clean up my moustache area with my beard being tough as it is:
So moustache area = DE safety razor from here on out. I could keep doing what I've been doing but I would often get tiny little weepers and a lot of irritation with other passes but why suffer when you don't have to?
No wonder my razor got me this morning. It went clean through the towel when it got my finger this morning. This Gold Dollar 66 might be too sharp at this point, wow. This was honed on a Marauchi Japanese natural water stone this last time which has proven to be the best sharpening stones you can use period:
^ This alone proves the "elitists" wrong about a Gold Dollar not being able to be sharpened or hold an edge after shaving period. And they're lost their friggin minds too. I had to put a little electrical tape on my bandage to keep it in place:
^ This is how a razor should be honed in my opinion.
Today's shave was great and very refreshing. This cucumber scented soap is awesome and has a really nice cooling effect to it and I often pair it with Aqua Velva to add to the cooling effect of this soap. And surprisingly, it goes with the scent of the soap pretty well:
The clean up didn't go well at all. I was drying my razor off with a towel and the blade slipped and got my finger really good. I've since changed my bandage. The one you see in the photo was the first one. I'm currently on my second one:
So be careful when you're cleaning up your shave cave.
Today's shave was epic and even more comfortable than yesterday's shave was which I didn't think was possible. No hair or stubble left and my face is as smooth as an ice rink. So this next pay day I'll be ordering a natural stone. I'm thinking an ILR will be my next purchase until an insurance claim I have comes through for me which I hope is pretty soon:
Today's shave was epic. If anyone tells you that a jnat doesn't provide a sharp and keen that isn't comfortable to use, tell them that they've lost their dang minds because I have yet to have a shave that was this comfortable and still be a true BBS shave in 2 years of wet shaving and that includes DE safety razors as well. Jnats wins hands down:
Today's mail call is from Anthony Esposito and the edges on these under the loupe look perfect. Normally Anthony doesn't charge much to hone razor when he uses synthetics which are awesome edges, but in this case $25.00 Dollars per razor because he used Japanese Natural Water Stones or "Jnats" which are very expensive and much harder to obtain and takes much longer to hone:
My soap is blooming as we speak, but I'm told that I'm in for a treat when it comes to Jnat edges:
So far from the looks of things, I'm going to love these edges. They almost look like a factory edge under the loupe which tells me that it took a long time to hone these straight razors.
If funny that after I posted in my blog about how incompetent the USPS can be and after taking and online survey, my straight razors "suddenly move" after sitting for 4 days in a processing center. I guess they didn't like that 6 out of 10 rating for overall experience with USPS. They should be here later today, but I probably won't be able to get them until tomorrow morning though. I guess they got tired of seeing "my package has been sitting for days in the same processing center" in the comments which is exactly what I put in the comments section on the survey:
Hey we all get that things go wrong and stuff gets delayed due to things that are beyond our control such as weather and equipment breaking down, but when it happens on a regular basis, that's incompetence plain and simple.
Today's shave was great. The Kilted Tiki performed flawlessly as usual. The razor though didn't do to hot so I've got to change blades. Feather DE blades only in the double OC razor. Even with a fresh Perma-Sharp blade it still left some hairs behind on my jaw and jaw line. I've also noticed that with my DE 89, there's still a few hairs left behind. So unless it's a straight razor or a Feather DE blade in the double OC razor, I'm pretty much guaranteed a 3 pass shave which I don't like doing because it causes a lot of skin issues for me:
This is where an adjustable or slant headed DE safety razor comes in handy because they're efficient enough to remove even the toughest beards. But good luck beating the straight razor. Once you get that shave where there's no hair or stubble left behind and your face feels like an ice rink, you're definitely hooked on it.
Well I just tried to fix my Merkur 37C slant to no avail. Out of all the DE safety razors that I've owned, this one got used the most because it was so efficient and had no trouble removing my barbed wire type of a beard. This changed when I got the Phoenix double open comb styled DE safety razor and now it's getting the most use. Unfortunately it looks like another blade change might be in order because in the double open comb razor, the Perma-Sharp blades are not quite enough for it. But that's another story in of itself for a later time:
The knob that you see below is missing a bearing which allows you to tighten the razor after changing the blade out. This is what holds the razor together:
Here's where that bearing is and I can NOT get it out of there to save my life no matter what I try to do. Nothing has worked and from the looks of things, nothing will:
It's pretty much wedged in there and even with the proper tools, it's definitely not coming out period. I hate to toss it, but it looks like I have no choice.
I have seen this screen for the last 4 days that you see in the photo below. This is where both my straight razors are at the moment and I'm extremely annoyed by it. I prepaid the postage and they've been gone for over a week now and I personally know that it does not take 4 days to scan a single package. USPS get your heads out of your butts and wake up. This is why you lose millions and millions of dollars each year to the little brown trucks and FedEx. In fact when I drove for FedEx, we use to bail you out of trouble all of the time:
Today is "Tiki Bar Tuesday" and I decided to use Volcano at the last minute after taking a shower which also lead me to go full tilt Tiki Bar this morning. The soap performed great as usual and the shave was great, but I should've switched the blade out before shaving instead of after. I would've gotten closer if I had. I'm also thinking about putting Feather DE blades in this DE safety razor only. I just wish my straights would hurry up and get back here:
Today is "Take Charge Monday" and I needed a little bit of "Refreshment" for today's shave which was epic. Even without the scuttle, this soap is epic and I got an ultra fine shave today as well. If my straight razors don't return tomorrow, I'll probably end up changing the blade out after I shave. The scent of this is sweet tea with lemon which really pops out at you when you first smell it and then it gets stronger when you bloom it:
Unfortunately this particular soap is no longer available because it was a limited edition soap and there was no matching aftershave balm made because of this. They made 2 huge batches of it before they stopped making this soap if I'm not mistaken. So I'm glad that I got it when I did because it went extremely fast to say the least.
Today's mail call is from Amazon. While I was waiting for my straight razors to return (They still haven't arrived just yet), I decided to "upgrade" both my stone flattening system and my magnifying device. First the flattening system. What you do is take a single 12 inch by 12 inch granite or marble floor tile and turn it upside down and then you take about a pinch of the powder below and make a paste using some tap water and you've got the best water stone flattening system period. I'll do another blog post showing how it's done and yes this also works on flattening stones:
It got here pretty quick which is sort of unusual for Amazon:
And once again the shipping ruins the party so to speak. The SIC powder was only $9.50 while the shipping was well over $14 U.S. Dollars:
I'm already loving this little monster it's way better than my old magnifying device which uses the light of the room while this one uses an LED light which makes your life a lot easier when honing straight razors:
The price wasn't too bad for my order which was around $18 U.S. Dollars. This is one of those cases I mentioned in several blog posts where the shipping often costs just as much if not more than the order itself does which in my opinion is ridiculous.
Today is Soap Commander Sunday and I would like to wish Carrie Stevens Seibert a very happy birthday again and hope that she enjoyed her special day yesterday. Her and Darren along with their family are the people behind Soap Commander who make these epic products that you see below. Speaking of epic, today's shave was just that and this soap is my personal favorite. I would've showered today and went full tilt "Vision" but I finished off my bath bar and need to buy some more in a very bad way. My mom is loving the "Gusto" bath bar and it's still going strong:
This is truly my favorite soap that I have in my entire soap collection which is about 28 soaps now that I've finished off a couple. This brand is my top brand and Tiki Bar is tied with it as well. Out of all the soaps that are on the market, Soap Commander and Tiki Bar are pretty much my "go to" brands of soaps.
Today's shave was blissful and a true BBS shave. This Phoenix double open comb razor is phenomenal when used correctly. Before when I first got and started using it, I was chasing the BBS back then and since I've quit doing that. This soap is simply amazing. The scent on the Sacre' Bleu soap is a dead on match to Aqua Velva's classic ice blue but unlike the original, the scent is more refined and at least 10 times stronger. I've got to get the matching aftershave this coming payday:
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