A Quick Honing Session:

Since I didn't like today's edge on my Gold Dollar 208, I decided to perform Dr. Matt Robin's ILR honing technique on BOTH Gold Dollar razors using both sides of my Norton 4/8K combo stone. I did NOT take any photos of the 4K side, but I did the exact same thing on both sides. So lets get started:

First using the back of my 600 grit diamond plate, I killed the edge on both the Gold Dollar 208 and the 66. It's still somewhat sharp, but no where near shave ready:

And under a slow stream of water, I did 40 round trips on the 4K side :

Next I did 10 round trips on the nylon webbing side of my strop but no more than that :

Then under a medium stream of water I went back to the 4K side and repeated what I did earlier:

Then after I repeated the steps above on the 8K side of my Norton, I did 20 round trips on the scrub leather which gave the edges a pretty nice polish:

Then I did 40 round trips on the smooth leather which should be the icing on the cake:

Tomorrow's shave will tell a story and determine whether or not I did this technique correctly. I've already tried this technique before, but I only used the 8K side of the stone and got some really good results. I never done this technique using both sides of the Norton 4/8K combo stone before.

RazoRock Classic & The 208:

This morning's shave was great. Between the Classic's very delicious smelling cherry almond scent and the Italian style citrus cologne type of scent in the RazoRock Triple X aftershave balm, I am smelling really good this morning. I need to stock up on my RazoRock collection. Italian Barber has few scents that I want to try and a couple of brushes that I want to add to my shave cave:

The Gold Dollar 208 was pretty good this morning. I didn't quite get it to where I wanted it to be in terms of a sharp keen edge. But that's OK because if tomorrow's shave isn't quite where I want it, I'll do a quick honing session using my friend Dr. Matt Robbin's ILR honing technique under running water. And if all goes well today, I'll be buying a new set of stones as well.

Memorial Day:

Today is a bit of a national holiday here in the U.S. and every year on the last Monday in May, we take time out of our busy schedules to honor those who gave their lives so that we have the freedom to post in blogs, put up YouTube videos and post in various Face Book groups and G+ communities. Freedom isn't free at all and too often we loose sight of that. Below is what a local court house does each and every year to honor those who gave their lives so we may be free:

They also added another section this year:

And a near by church also participates as well:

So please take a moment to reflect and pay respect to those that sacrificed their lives in service to our country and never forget that their families also sacrificed when they fell in service to our country.

Volcano & The Jinhou:

This morning's shave was great. I was craving Tiki Bar so I grabbed their Volcano scented soap which has a freshly sliced sweet tropical fruit scent to it. And to finish off the shave, I paired it with Aqua Velva's classic ice blue aftershave:

The Jinhou performed great, but it could be a touch sharper which I will be working on here pretty soon. I'm also thinking about switching to strictly ZY razors and I'm also looking at getting the aluminum version of the Mongoose razor. I also thought about getting a vintage Schick injector razor, but the blades are too inconsistent. So I will sleep on getting that razor. And hopefully if the bank will let me have a personal loan to pay off a few credit cards, I'll buy a full set of water stones and some strops if I have enough left over which will be cool.

Old School Honing 2:

Well I tried to quit blogging for a while and take a break to enjoy the hobby but due to quite few private messages from friends along with some emails, I pretty much had to deleted the previous post and start blogging again . So with that being said, I decided to do another old school honing session on my Gold Dollar 66 and my 208. So lets get started:

First thing I do before anything is to check each and every razor. The reason for this and why it's good practice to do especially if you are honing razors for other people is that no razor will hone the same. Even if it was made by the same company and is the exact same model of razor you are honing, it still can hone differently. Another reason is that someone could have attempted to hone the razor and severely chipped it and/or it could be warped which means that there's a good chance that the bevel is not set on it. You simply never know until you look:

Next I strop them 10 round trips on the linen only which removes any possible burr and cleans the edge up a bit and also realigns it on both razors:

After that I check each razor again to see what I've got to work with:

Mine were in extremely good shape, but I decided to go ahead and reset the bevel and go old school again and I started with the Naniwa Professional 600 grit which is my "go to" bevel setter. I did 60 half circles on each side and then I did 25 more half circles on both sides followed by 10 round trips to clean up the edge. After I did my thumbnail test and determined that the bevel was indeed set on both razors, I did 10 more round trips to give both razors just a touch more polishing and to smooth them out some, I did 5 stropping strokes on the stone which will give it some comfort:

Next I stropped both razors 10 round trips on the linen side of my strop only:

Now I wanted to give the edge a little special treat and some even more polish. So I whipped out my Soft Arkansas Oil stone and did the exact same routine that I did with the bevel setting stone followed by 25 round trips to clean up and refine the edge a touch more and then I also did 10 stropping strokes on the Soft Arkansas with both razors :

Next I hit the linen side of my strop again with 10 round trips on both razors:

Next up I did the same routine with both razors that I did with my bevel setting stone earlier which gave both razors a pretty nice looking edge:

Once again both razors got 10 round trips on the linen side of my strop:

Now this is where things get a little more interesting. First I did the same routine that I did ealier with my bevel setting stone followed by the usual 10 stropping strokes on the linen side of my strop. But instead of stopping there, I cleaned the stone with my 600 grit diamond plate and did 25 more half circles on each side followed by 10 more round trips to clean up the edge and then I did 5 more stropping strokes on the stone to give both razors that smooth comfortable edge:

Now since the Norton 4/8K combo stone is a synthetic stone, I did 10 stropping strokes on my Soft Arkansas oil stone which takes that harsh synthetic edge away and makes the edge that more comfortable and easier to use in my humble opinion:

Next it was time for a full stropping routine. I did 10 round trips on the linen followed by 20 round trips on the scrub leather and then I finished both razors off with 40 round trips on the smooth leather of my strop. This strop performs OK, but I feel that it's time for me to get a couple of new hanging strops along with a bench mounted leather strop for a little surprise later on:

From this point on, I will be focusing strictly on my shave of the day posts, mail calls and honing sessions only. I got caught up in the B.S. that's been going on in the wet shaving hobby and pretty much got burned out. I also ended up blocking a lot of people that were causing problems. So in order to keep from getting burned out worse than I already am, I'm just going to focus on what I'm doing and pretty much ignore the B.S. and just post what I'm doing. So please don't think nothing of it if I don't respond or just hit the like button because there's just been too much crap going on in the Face Book groups, blogs and YouTube videos as of late. So I'm going to stay positive and enjoy what I'm doing. I don't care what you buy or who from anymore at this point. Which is where all of this started to begin with and it's a slippery slope.

Chocolate Bourbon & The 66:

That was an incredible shave I got this morning. And you can't go wrong with Phoenix Artisan Accoutrement's shave soaps and aftershave products. I went with their Chocolate Bourbon scent which has an incredible old school hot chocolate with a hint of vanilla and bourbon scent to it and I paired it with the matching aftershave which has a stronger bourbon scent than the soap does:

The Gold Dollar 66 is becoming a favorite of mine in terms of ease of use and comfort. I got a 2 pass squeaky clean type of shave with a touch up on my neck area. I've also been looking at some various honing stones and I believe I have decided on what I want to get which will be a surprise.

A New Record:

Today before posting up this morning's shave, I got a pleasant surprise this morning when I looked at an old post which is called "An Old Brush Trick". Up until I posted that specific article, the most I had seen for a single post was around maybe 200 views. This article has gotten over 501 views which I'm truly flattered and honored. So I would like to take a moment to say thank you to those that took a moment or 2 out of their busy schedule to read my blog and that specific article. Thank you very much and I'm grateful:

Vision & The DE 89:

This morning's shave was great. Sorry for the late posting but I pretty much had to shower, shave and go out the door this morning hence using the DE 89. Today I went with my top shave which is Soap Commander's Vision which has an aqua, amber and mint scent to it and has an extremely nice and soothing post shave to it. And the icing on the cake was pairing it with both Aqua Velva classic ice blue and Soap Commander's matching aftershave balm which adds a touch of menthol to it for a really nice post shave feel like no other:

I ended up getting a squeaky clean post shave after 3 passes with my Edwin Jagger DE 89. One more shave and I'll have to switch out the blade. I'm patiently waiting on my next pay day which is this coming Friday and I'll be buying the Alumigoose. The reason for it is because I'm using Feather DE blades now and depending on which razor I use, I either get 3 mulitpass shaves with the DE 89, or I get 2 multipass shaves with my Phoenix double open comb which is unacceptable. My beard grows so fast that cartridges can't keep up. I got 5 multipass shaves out of 1 good injector blade with a replica Schick injector razor. The problem was that the replica had no weight behind it and the blades were a "hit or miss". Out of 1 good blade using the replica, I would have to toss out at least 2 blades. I never had that problem with the Feather Artist Club injector razor blades. Hence why I am wanting to get the aluminum version of the Mongoose razor.

Number 17 of 2016 down:

Well that's it for my oldest soap. I bought this one shortly after I bought my first artisan based soap in August of 2014 so it's really no surprise that I finished this one off. This will drive some people crazy. But I look at it this way. It's meant to be used and when I do finish one off, it gives me an excuse to buy more soap which is a really good thing:

RazoRock is definitely staying in the rotation. In fact I'm running low and need to stock up. They've got a few new scents that I really want in my shave cave. Tomorrow mom and I both will be going to the bank to get a personal loan to take care of some debt which should help the both of us out.

Don Marco & The 208:

This morning's shave was great. I have been craving RazoRock for the last couple of days and figured it was time to satisfy that craving. The scent on Don Marco is the ever popular orange creamsicle scent. It reminds me of the old orange sherbert push ups that I use eat when I was a kid back in the 1980's. I paired it with the matching aftershave balm:

The edge on the 208 is awesome and extremely comfortable still. Dr. Matt Robins honing techniques worked very well on both the Gold Dollar 208 and the 66. I'll know for sure about the 66 tomorrow when I shave with it. But the Gold Monkey will have to be honed using my old school method instead. I guess it's because they used a different steel mixture on the Gold Monkey razors.

Pumpkin 3.14 & The Doc:

Today's shave was great. Due to yesterday's rough shave with a straight razor, I decided to use Phoenix Artisan Accoutrement's double open comb razor which pretty much guarantees a BBS. I've also been craving their Pumpkin 3.14 soap and their Autumn Factory aftershave splash. The scent on these are straight up in your face pumpkin pie with cinnamon and clove and the aftershave lasts for roughly around 19+ hours which is a good thing:

In terms of post shave feel, I have a squeaky clean type of shave with 3 passes and a touch up on my neck area which is a usual trouble spot for me.

Old School Honing Session:

After this morning's shave, I decided to go "old school" on my honing session with my Gold Monkey razor. I've honed and touched up this razor an unknown number of times and I can definitely say for certain that it takes more time to hone the Gold Monkey razors:

Step one was to check and see what was going on and under the loupe, it looked good but it also looked like it was slightly out of alignment and I had already stropped it earlier:

So I went ahead and reset the bevel with my usual 60/60, 30/30, 15/15, 8/8, and 15 round trips to clean up the edge a bit and then I did 10 more round trips after doing my usual thumbnail test. The Naniwa Professional 600 grit is an excellent bevel setting stone. 2 minutes is all it takes to set a bevel on a brand new razor that's never been honed before or a vintage that needs a lot of work:

Next I did 10 round trips on the nylon webbing of my strop between each stone:

Now it was time for the Norton 4K side of my combo stone in which I did the usual routine of 60/60, 30/30, 15/15, 8/8, and 15 round trips to clean it up a bit:

Next I did 10 more trips on the nylon webbing of strop again:

Next I did the same thing on the 8K side of my Norton stone that I did with the 4K side:

Then I followed that up with a full stropping routine of 20 round trips on the nylon webbing, 40 round trips on the scrub leather and last but not least 80 round trips on the smooth leather:

I loved using Dr. Matt's honing routine which I will use on natural finishing stones, but for me I prefer my old method in terms of progression. It simply works best for me and it's also faster in terms of going from bevel set to finish. 2 to 5 minutes to set or reset a bevel is really fast and combined with Dr. Matt's Coticule/ILR finishing technique, you can bang a razor that's more than shave ready in no time and you really don't need the full progression either. Another couple of friends of mine use only 2 stones to hone a razor.

Jack Frost & The Jinhou:

This morning's shave was good. It would have been better if the razor had performed. The soap was great. A warm sugar and vanilla scent with a hint of mint and menthol that leaves a nice chill to it. And I decided to pair it with one of my "go to" aftershave splashes this morning:

With the razor needing to be re honed, I went ahead and finished off my neck area with my Edwin Jagger DE 89 and a Feather blade:

Here in a bit, The Gold Monkey will be getting the stones using Dr. Matt's honing technique. The Gold Monkey will be getting the full progression from 600 grit on up.

An Old Brush Trick:

One of the things that annoys me to no end is a brush that will NOT release its lather and water during a shave and here lately, my Omega 10049 Professional boar brush has started to not release as much during a shave. And I know why. It's not been that long since I cleaned my brush and usually when I do, this starts to happen soon afterward. So here's a little trick you can do to solve that problem and if it's a new brush, it also helps break it in and get the sink out as well:

Basically what you do is take 2 tablespoons of your favorite fabric softener and add it to your shave mug that you use to soak your brush in with some hot water and let it soak for about 2 hours. It's best to do it after a shave while your brush is still wet and for a new brush, I recommend doing this overnight and combing it afterward. This gets rid of any and all loose hairs and softens the brush extremely well:

After soaking your brush shake all of the water out of it and paint brush it (like you are cleaning a paint brush after use) across a clean dry towel:

After all of this your brush should feel extremely soft and splay very nicely and should release the lather and water much easier. This also works with synthetic brushes as well, but in my humble opinion it's really not needed for most synthetics because most of them are pretty soft and have no issues of releasing the water and lather during the shave.

Resolution & The 66:

Today is "Take Charge Monday" which means that Soap Commander products will be used and today I went with their 2014 holiday scent, Resolution which has a very fresh Mistletoe, Frasier Fir, and semi sweet cranberries scent. I also paired this very refreshing soap with Aqua Velva classic ice blue aftershave splash and since I didn't have the matching aftershave balm, I used their integrity balm which is unscented :

In terms of post shave feel, I got an ice rink type of shave with 2 passes along with a touch up on my neck and moustache areas which are usual trouble spots for me. Dr. Matt Robin's honing techniques are awesome and easy to do. I get paid again in 11 days and one of the things I'll be getting is the Alumigoose single edge razor. I would love to get Above The Tie's single edge, but my budget pretty much eliminates them from my hardware buying which is a shame because they are only an hour away from me and they produce top notch products.

Purpose & The Doc:

This morning's shave was really good. It's Soap Commander & DE Sunday so I went with their Purpose scented soap which has a great bay rum scent. I also made an appearance on the Wet shaver's round table last night which was also a pretty cool experience and I had a blast:

Since I used Phoenix Artisan Accoutrement's double open comb, I don't have to tell you what kind of shave I got especially those who have used this DE safety razor. It's pretty much a BBS shave each time you use it. It took 2 passes this morning.

C.a.D. & The 208:

This morning's shave was great and a true modern day classic. You can't go wrong with Phoenix Artisan Accoutrement's C.a.D. which has a 1980's canned foam scent. And since I don't have the matching aftershave splash or balm, I paired it with another classic aftershave, Clubman:

In terms of post shave feel, it was a 2 pass "ice rink" type of shave. Dr. Matt Robbin's honing technique worked and produced one of the smoothest and most comfortable edges I've shaved with. I could have easily gotten away with doing 3 passes but I decided not to.

Honing Session Completed:

Well I just got through using my friend Dr. Matt Robin's honing techniques and let me tell you that not only was it impressive, but it was extremely easy and fast to do. It took me exactly 1 hour to do 3 razors and that includes clean up and taking these photos:

First I soaked the Norton combo stone for approximately 10 minutes:

Next I killed the edge by gently dragging it across the corner of the stone one time only :

Next I did 40 round trips under low running water or until the razor felt sticky and struggled to go across the stone. Sometimes it takes more than that so do NOT stop until the razor feels sticky. When it does feel sticky and does NOT want to go across the stone move to the next step immediately :

I got a pretty good slurry right way using this technique:

The next step is to do 10 round trips on the linen side of your strop. Do NOT do more than that because you're only cleaning it at the moment and will be going back to the stone :

Next I went back to the 8K and I repeated the technique listed above under a much more steady stream of running water and I stopped once the razor felt sticky as prescribed in Dr. Matt's YouTube Coticule honing videos. The Gold Dollar 66 took the longest with 100 round trips while both the Gold Monkey and the 208 took roughly around 40 round trips :

Next I did 20 round trips on the scrub leather of my strop:

Then I did 40 round trips on the smooth leather of my strop:

After I was done stroping all 3 razors, I took my 600 grit diamond plate and cleaned my Norton 4/8K stone under a steady stream of water which did an excellent job at rinsing the slurry away:

Hopefully this technique worked and I won't need to use this Naniwa Professional (New Chosera) 600 grit water stone to reset the bevel:

Here's how well the diamond plate did at cleaning my stone:

All in all the edges look phenomenal under my loupe, but the real test will be tomorrow when I shave with 208. I was very impressed and pleased with how fast and how easy this technique was to do.

Fortitude & The 430:

Today's shave felt extremely good. Today I went with something that I hadn't used in a while and that would be Soap Commander's...