Razor Clean Up Part 1:

Today, I decided to clean up my straight razors a little bit and I'm not finished just yet. I also decided to do a heel and toe trimming post for those whom are wondering where to trim these Gold Dollar and Gold Monkey straight razors. Now with the ZY razors, you don't have to do this because the factory does it for you along with setting the bevel which makes it a lot easier for you. Now with the premium branded razors such as a TI, Ralf Aust, Boker and Dovo, you don't have to do this either and 9 times out of 10, the bevel is already set. So lets get started on part 1 of my straight razor clean up along with a heel and toe trim:

Using a black marker, you'll want to mark what and where you will be grinding. I tend to lean towards a rounded heel and toe namely because I don't want the points to dig into my skin and it's also more forgiving if do trim the heel and toe when you go to get the areas near your ears as well as other sensitive areas:

Here's a closer look of the heel on my 66. I pretty much did this with 2 of my other razors (the 208 and the Gold monkey). The 209 I have was already done by Anthony Esposito and is ready to go:

Here's a closer look at the toe of my 66. Now I did NOT have to do this with my Gold Dollar 66 because my friend Craig Minor took some extra time in grinding the stabilizer down at the heel of the razor on both sides until it sat flat on the stones and he also took the time to blend it into the razor and polish it to make it looks good which will be part 2 and take a while to do:

Here's a little action shot of me doing the heel and toe trim on the 66:

after I got done with all 3 razors, I put my brush tip on after deburing the razors to make sure that there's no burrs or chips and did a little brushing on the areas that I ground down to clean them up a little bit, but they're no where near finished :

Here's where I am at currently and the 66 will need a bit more work than the other 2 will, but like I said this is only part 1 and I am no where near close to being done:

I may do a little more grinding later on on the heel of the Gold Monkey and on the toe of the 66 to give it more of a rounded point before going further. But for now, it's time to let the metal rest which is extremely important because you can ruin your razor if you let it get too hot and not rest. The metal looses its temper and becomes brittle and you'll have a useless razor that won't hold and edge if you aren't careful and let it get too hot. That's why you see big huge containers of water near bench grinders. In fact I recommend cooling the razors under running water to be safe.

Volcano & The DE 89:

Today's shave was great. Tiki Bar's Volcano soap is an incredible soap and it's a thirsty soap as well. The scent of freshly sliced semi sweet tropical fruit is always a favorite scent. I tend to favor food, beverage, barbershop and Christmas inspired scented soaps. I also decided to pair this soap with Skin Bracer aftershave and not pictured, Soap Commander's Integrity balm:

The Edwin Jagger DE 89 did great, but it was definitely time to switch out the blade. That's why it took 3 passes to get my usual squeaky clean post shave. I'm down to my last Astra green DE blade. So I will be saving that one for later until I can get rid of these other blades. I put a Gillette Platinum Plus blade in the DE 89 this time around.

New Part for Dremel:

Well I'm good to go now with my Dremel 7700. Basically it came with a 1/8th collet nut and a 15 piece accessory kit that needed a 1/32 collet nut instead. So I went to Lowe's and got 4485 Dremel collet Nut kit which includes the nut itself along with the 1/8th, 1/16th, 3/32nd, and 1/32nd collets. So if you get a Dremel with an accessory kit, buy this specific part along with it because there's a good chance that your accessories won't fit without it:

It only cost me $7.35 at Lowe's. Now in terms of buying more stones, I'm looking at a $16 dollar Suehiro 1/3K combo stone this coming pay day. I wanted to get one that had my name carved in it, but my budget says to wait a little bit. That and I'm going to try to attend a meet up in Nashville, TN on September 17th, 2016.

Purpose & The Doc:

What an incredible shave I got earlier this morning. Soap Commander has delivered yet another stellar performance. And their Purpose scented soap is simply amazing. I'm not a bay rum fan, but I love this stuff. It's like you just opened a bottle of Bacardi rum: 

And since I used the doc, I got a squeaky clean post shave feel that resembles an ice rink. I'm also down to my last pack of Feather DE blades which I've not open yet. Once this blade in the razor is done, I'll start on my very last pack of them and I won't be buying anymore of these blades. Astra Greens have pretty much become my "go to" DE blade.

Number 21 of 2016:

Say hello to number 21 of 2016 and it's also an end to an era. This was the last large tin from PAA that I had in my collection which went into storage. I will miss these old petri dish style tins some, but not too much because they were kindly hard to open if you had slick hands or if they had been dropped which happened quite a bit during shipping back in the day:

PAA has since moved on to plastic tubs which can be recycled. I also have one more that's really close to be finished off.

Jack Frost & The DE 89:

This morning's shave was great. You can't go wrong with SteamBath Factory and their Jack Frost scented soap on a hot summer day. Jack Frost has a warm sugar, vanilla, and peppermint scent and for an added chill, menthol was added. And since this is a cooling type of shave, I went with Aqua Velva ice blue aftershave:

The DE 89 with an Astra green blade was awesome this morning. This was a 2 pass squeaky clean type of shave that would remind you of ice rink in terms of post shave feel. This was also the 3rd shave on this blade. One more and I'll switch the blade out.

Dang Gillette!

I got quite a shock today in Sam's Club. Gillette you have gotten too greedy and it now shows. Nearly $52 Dollars for 16 blades is retarded. Sam's Club is known for having really sweet deals on a lot of various things. For example my Jumbo bag of Dunkin Donuts ground coffee is a shade under $17 dollars and yet I would have to pay nearly $15 dollars for one about half that size. So you get my point. If Sam's Club has to mark these this high to turn a profit, what did they pay for them to begin with before selling them to the general public?

The Kmart Branded DE blades wasn't much better at all. $8.99 for 10 blades is horrible especially considering that for around $3 dollars more you can get a 100 pack of Astra Greens which are no doubt better than these are and for only $10 dollars, you can get a 100 pack of Rockwell DE blades. It's good to see these available in a big box store, but this specific one still charges too much:

Gillette you have lost your dang mind if you think I'm going to pay over $50 for only 16 cartridges which don't last for me at all. 2 shaves if I'm lucky and the last time I used one, it didn't cut the hair cleanly. In fact it pulled my facial hair out.

Dremel in the House:

I got a nice surprise today in Walmart. My mom has hooked me up with a Dremel 7700. She also hooked me up with a new Carafe' to use with my Kuerig to replace the one she broke last week which she didn't have to do. I can't thank her enough for this:

This tool alone is worth it's weight in gold if you plan on honing straight razors along with cleaning up some old beauties that you may find. It can also be used to some other things.

Chocolate Bourbon & The 66:

This morning's shave was great. I went with Phoenix Artisan Accoutrement's matching set of their chocolate bourbon scent this morning which has an old school homemade chocolate cake batter that was mixed with an old electric mixer. And with the aftershave, your get more of the bourbon than you do chocolate:

Post shave feel is great, but the 66 can use a little bit more on the 8K stone. But other than that it was a 2.5 pass clean shave. Once I get the stones that I want, I should be good to go. The 6 by 2 inch Suehiro 1/3K combo stone is only $15 dollars and I plan on getting a 6 by 2 inch 10 to 12K Coe Whetstone that will have my name engraved in it for $45 dollars shipped.

Ready to be Honed:

Earlier today I took both my Gold Dollar 208 and Gold Monkey Jinhou razors, and I used my 600 grit UltraSharp 2 diamond plate and I muted the points on both the heel and toe of both razors. It took roughly about 5 minutes to do and it did scratch them up pretty good. But that's okay because I plan on putting more effort into them when I get a Dremel:

They will be getting some light grinding and sanding to remove the scratches and then to help clean the razors up a little more, I'll be doing some polishing as well.

Dremel is Needed:

After getting caught by the point a couple of times this morning, I got to thinking and have decided to buy a Dremel. Even though I can mute the point on both my Gold Monkey and the 208 with my Naniwa Professional 600 grit stone, it would take much longer than it would using the Dremel. So until I get paid next week, these 2 razors are going back on the shelf. Walmart has a lower end model for right at $20 dollars and I'm more than certain that there will be a few accessories that come with it. If not, I'll see what I can find:

Basically after I trim the heel and the toe of the razor, I'll do a vertical version of the half circles to clean up any burr that might be left behind and then reset the bevel on my 600 grit stone.

Reflection & The 208:

This morning's shave was good. Soap Commander pretty much saved this shave which will be detailed in another post later. I went with their Reflection soap which has an oakmoss and amber scent that pairs perfectly with the Barbasol Brisk aftershave splash. Skin Bracer also goes extremely well with this soap. I should get the matching aftershave balm, but I've got enough aftershave balms and splashes at the moment:

The 208 did good, but it was not great. The point kept catching me which I will do a detailed post about later on. And I'll be killing the edge on it and the Gold Monkey as well. But other than that, it was a mighty fine 3 pass shave.

Latha Limon & The 209:

This morning's shave was excellent. Barrister & Mann always delivers top shelf performance. I went with their "Latha Limon" scented soap which has a lemon, orange and rose scent which really brings out and refines the lemon. And I decided to pair it with Aqua Velva ice blue:

I hit a grand slam when it comes the edge of the 209. It was a 2 pass ice rink type of post shave that I got this morning. And I'm also looking forward to seeing how well the edges turned out after yesterday's honing session.

Honing Session Completed:

After this morning's shave, I decided to touch up my Gold Dollar 66. I also gave it some thought and I also decided to bring my Gold Monkey Triple 6 and the 208 out of retirement and I honed them as well. So let's get started:

First up was the Naniwa professional 600 grit. Now I did NOT kill the edge on the Gold Dollar 66. And the edges were already killed on the 208 and the Gold Monkey when I retired them about month ago. I did the Anthony Esposito method. The 66 and the 208 got 20/20, 10/10, 5/5, seconds worth of half circles and I followed that with 10 round trips to clean up the edges. I also did 5 stropping strokes which produces a much smoother edge. The Gold Monkey triple 6 got the usual 40/40, 20/20, 10/10, 5/5 seconds worth of half circles and I followed that up with 15 round trips to clean up the edge and 10 stropping strokes. After owning the Gold Monkey triple 6 for about a year, I've found that it needs more time on the stones due to a higher stainless steel content in the razor:

Next up I did 10 round trips on the nylon webbing with the 208 and the 66. The Gold monkey got 15 round trips on the nylon webbing and I did this between stones :

Next up was the Norton 4/8K combo stone, or what's left of it. First the 4K side and all razors got 20/20, 10/10, 5/5 seconds worth of half circles and I followed that up with 10 round trips to clean up the edge and 5 stropping strokes before going back to the nylon webbing for 10 more round trips:

I did the exact same thing I stated earlier on the 8K side with the only thing being different was I did 2 sessions on the 8K side and on the 2nd go around, the Gold Monkey got 30/30, 15/15, 8/8 seconds worth of half circles followed by 15 round trips to clean up the edge and 10 stropping strokes which should ensure a smooth comfortable edge:

Then I did my full stropping routine of 10 round trips on the nylon, 20 round trips on the scrub leather and 40 round trips on the smooth leather:

Under the loupe, all I saw was a slight mirror like haze:

The shave will pretty much tell me how I did on these razors, but since I've been using this technique off and on since I started honing.

Ring of Death:

Well I hope you can see it, but I've hit the ring of death on my RazoRock Classic shave soap. I turned the flash off the camera so I can get photo of what's left of this soap. The next soap I finish off, will make 21 soaps for this year alone which I contribute to my Omega 10049 professional boar brush. I'm definitely going to restock this one when I get a chance:

You can barely see it in this photo. But when I used the flash, you couldn't see it at all.

RazoRock Classic & The 66:

Today's shave is a modern day classic. You can't go wrong with RazoRock Classic which is less than $10 U.S. Dollars and it has an incredible cherry almond scent. And since I don't have RazoRock baby blue aftershave to pair with it, I went with Aqua Velva classic ice blue aftershave which is perfect for a hot summer day. It's also been over 60 days since I purchased the RazoRock 24mm Plisoft synthetic brush and it still has the logo on the bottom of the handle and has only lost 2 fibers since I've gotten it which is really cool:

The Gold Dollar 66 performed great, but I feel that it will be needing a touch up here shortly which I will probably do later on today.

T.T.F.F.C. & The Doc:

Decisions, decisions. Today I had a tough time deciding what I wanted to use and Maria Arman's Through The Fire Fine Craft soap was calling my name today. This is my mixed soap container which is predominate Brokkr and Cut Throat scents and pairs wonderfully with Clubman:

Today's shave with the doc resulted in a 2 pass ice rink post shave feel today and with Maria's soap, my skin is moist too. Once I get my stones, I should be back buying soap in no time. I'm getting extremely low and I'm out of some of my favorites such as C.a.D., Power Hammer, Extinguish, Kilted Tiki is really low and they now have matching aftershaves to boot. I'm out of Mickey Lee Soapworks and I'm also looking at bringing a couple of old classics back in and I'm out of Ginger's Garden too. But I have a custom scent in mind for GG.

Pumpkin 3.14 & The DE 89:

Today's shave was extremely delicious smelling and one of my favorite scents. Phoenix Artisan Accoutrement's Pumpkin 3.14 is an outstanding soap. It has a hearty pumpkin pie scent with some cinnamon and clove. And the aftershave splash is on its own level with a sweet pumpkin custard pie scent with the addition of other elements that's commonly found with the early fall season. This aftershave lasts up to 24 hours which is NOT uncommon with PAA's aftershaves:

And since I used the Edwin Jagger DE 89 & Astra green DE blades, I don't have to tell you how comfortable this shave was. It was a 3 pass "ice rink" type of post shave feel. Almost no burn from the aftershave and barely any sting from my alum block.

209 On the Stones Again:

After this morning's shave, I found that the Soft Arkansas touch up I did was not enough and the razor really struggle which means I get to do some honing. I did NOT kill the edge but I used Dr. Matt's ILR technique which is under running water and produces a nice keen edge that's extremely comfortable. This technique works extremely well with Coticules too:

Using a low stream of water I did round trips until it started to get sticky and struggled to go across the stone. This time it only took 40 round trips :

Next up I did 10 round trips only on the nylon webbing of my strop:

Then I turned up the water and kept going again until the razor got sticky again and wouldn't hardly go across the stone yet again. This time around it took 50 round trips till this started to occur:

And to make sure my stone was clean and flat, I broke out the diamond plate which is made by Ultra Sharp 2 and is a 600 grit which I find to be perfect for my needs:

Next I followed that up with a full stropping routine of 10 round trips on the nylon webbing, 20 round trips on the scrub leather and 40 round trips on the smooth leather:

Under the loupe, I saw no scratches of any kind. Only a slight haze appeared which is just about what it looked like under loupe when I first got it a few months ago: 

I'm confident that the edge is good because I've used this technique before and it produced a very nice enjoyable edge. Once I spend $86.19 over on Amazon, I will have a full set of stones counting this Norton 8K side which is all that's left of my Norton 4/8K combo stone.

Le Petit Chypre & The 209:

Today's shave was okay, but not quite where I wanted it. Barrister & Mann's soap was simply amazing and pretty much saved this shave and the Le Petit Chypre scent is simply epic. It has warm soft woodsy type of cologne scent which I really enjoy and the matching aftershave which has a hint of menthol I find to be very soothing:

The touch up I did on the Soft Arkansas wasn't enough so I'm going to have to hit the stones again to get it back to where it was. I'll probably use Dr. Matt's ILR technique with my Norton stone later on. I've also decided to go ahead and spend some money on a Shapton 12K, and a Suehiro 1/3K combo stone when I get paid again on August 3rd which is around the corner. That pretty much will give me a full progression of water stones.

Touch Up Time On the 209:

This morning's shave was great, but I could definitely tell that it was indeed time for a quick touch on my Gold Dollar 209 which still has the original edge on it when I bought it from Anthony Esposito about a couple of months or so ago. It's an Ozuku Mizu Asagi LV 5 Japanese natural stone edge. And all I've really been doing is basically maintaining the edge on it this entire time. I've never killed the edge on this razor. So I pulled out my Soft Arkansas oil stone and performed a quick touch up. It took longer to write and post this up than it did to do the touch up:

For this specific touch up, I performed 40 round trips followed by 20 seconds worth of circles on each side and to make sure it's even more comfortable, I did 20 stropping strokes on the stone itself. People might say that's bad idea but it's really not because whether you strop or hone on a stone, it's still going to cut because the stone doesn't recognize direction. It's just there and going cut:

After all of that, I followed that up with my full stropping routine of 10 round trips on the nylon webbing, 20 round trips on the scrub leather and 60 round trips on the smooth leather. These oil stones leave a very nice and highly polished edge on the razor that's very comfortable. I have yet to found ANY natural water stone or oil stone that even comes close. Japanese natural water stones are untouched if done correctly, but they can be harsh if they're not used correctly. Coticules are good edges too, but they're not consistent and they can be a very humbling stone. You can't go wrong with synthetics. In fact I highly recommend that you get started with them first before diving into the natural based stones. And I've decided to go with Arkansas oil stones due to my budget being tight. I've also not given up on the honing service either. Screw the trolls and what they think. It's just on hold at the moment until I can master the new set of stones I'll be getting this coming pay day.

Kilted Tiki & The 209:

Today's shave was great. This has got to be Tiki Bar's best vegan soap that they've ever made in my humble opinion, and how can you go wrong with the Kilted Tiki scent. The scent on this specific soap is smoked peat moss which is used to smoke the barley to make scotch whiskey with. Speaking of scotch that's also one of the ingredients used to make this soap which involves boiling the alcohol off. And to give this specific shave a little extra fresh post shave feel to it, I paired it with Aqua Velva's classic ice blue aftershave:

The 209 was great but I can tell that it needed a slight touch up which I've already completed and haven't wrote it up yet due to technical difficulties which is why I'm late posting this. I now have to take the memory card out of my digital camera and plug it into my laptop which isn't too bad because it's easy to access. But in the past all I did was use a USB cable and turn the camera on. The USB cable took a dump on me this morning and I've been fooling with it since then.

No Dremel, No Problem (edited version):

Earlier today, I seen a post where someone was having trouble setting the bevel and no matter what method was tried, he still couldn't get it set. In the photo he posted I noticed that the stabilizer had NOT been ground and he stated in his post that the razor didn't sit flat on the stones. Now with most of these affordable Chinese made razors, you have 2 choices of honing. Rolling X strokes which could take a while on some razors. Or you can grind down the stabilizer until it sits flat on the stones with a dremel. But what if you don't have a dremel? Here's a really quick and easy method you can do with your Naniwa Professional (new chosera) 600 grit to grind the stabilizer down just enough to where it sits flat on the stones and yes this can be done on any part of the razor that's giving you fits:

Step one is to tape up the blade with electrical tape at least 2 or 3 times so that part of the razor does NOT get honed and it offers a place to hold the razor while you are grinding the stabilizer down and out of your way:

Next you take your low grit stone and turn it on its side and be sure to lap and/or flatten that side and secure it in your stone holder. For this kind of work, I recommend using a Norton 220 grit, Naniwa Professional 600 grit will work, but not as fast as the 220 grit which is basically a metal eraser. The Shapton Professional stones will also work, but NOT the glass stones. They're too thin for this kind of detail work:

Next up you do 40/40, 20/20, 10/10, 5/5 seconds worth of half circles or keep going until the razor passes the old "Tap & wobble test" where you tap the opposite corners of the razor. If the razor lays perfect on any flat surface and does not move when you check to see if it's warped then you are good to go and have fun:

I really like the Naniwa Professional Series stones for this type of work. In terms of spine wear, these specific stone don't leave as much behind like Norton stones do. They also don't feel "gritty" or rough when they first arrive and unlike Norton stones, their speed is excellent. These also tend to produce a nice, comfortable, and slightly polished edge. Another good thing about these stones is that they don't dish on you while you're flattening/lapping them either. In fact you don't have to lap/flatten these as often either.

Fortitude & The Doc:

What an incredible shave I got with Soap Commander which I went full tilt with earlier today. I chose their Fortitude scented shave soap which has an aged hay, tobacco, and dark rum scent and I paired it with their Purpose aftershave balm which has an incredible bay rum scent that's perfect which smells like you just cracked open a fresh bottle of Bacardi rum:

And since I used the Doc, I got a 3 pass ice rink type of post shave and these Gillette Platinum blades were OK in the doc for the 1st shave. This is the last blade in this pack. I have 2 more packs to go before finishing them off. Now for my shower I used a Soap Commander bath bar and my soap net which lets me hang up the bar in the shower after use. It was epic. The scent on this bath bar is extremely good. This is one of their TAD bath bars which is short for Temporary Assignment Duties. The citrus cologne of the Verbena paired with the scent of sweet Berries is amazing:

The bath bar is from Soap Commander which should tell you all you need to know about the performance. Sorry for the late posting ladies and gentlemen. I've been a little bit busy today. I'm also looking at some more honing stones too.

The $10 & Under Shave:

Today's shave was for a special event created by a friend for my wet shaving group called Wet Shaving Hobbyists. The soap had to cost $10 dollars or less, but I went full tilt instead. I went with a Soap Commader limited edition soap which cost me $10 dollars and it's their holiday scented soap called Resolution which has a very fresh mistle toe, Fraiser fir, and semi sweet cranberry scent to it. My Omega 10049 Professional Boar brush I got for $9.99 at Italian Barber and the Gold Dollar 66 was a gift for me to try an Arkansas oil stone edge, but the razor can be bought unhoned for less than $10 dollars at numerous places such as Ebay and DH Gate. But if you go to some places like DH Gate, a bulk order is required. The aftershave splash can be bought anywhere for $5 dollars or less. So it's possible to get an excellent shave for less than $10 Dollars :

This morning's shave was also a 3 pass ice rink type of shave as well. I did get 1 weeper on my chin during my final pass but it cleared up pretty quickly and I didn't get much burn at all from my alum block and styptic pencil and the aftershave didn't burn either. This was also day 2 of 10 of my Soap Commander shaving binge. I don't use them enough like I should so I decided to use them more frequently than I have been.

Confidence & The Doc:

This morning's shave was great. Soap Commander always delivers top shelf performance and their Confidence scented soap is becoming a favorite. It has a honey, musk and patchouli scent that has some sweetness to it, bit it's not overly sweet either. And since I don't have the matching aftershave balm, I used their unscented Integrity aftershave balm:

Since I used the doc, I don't have to tell you what kind of post shave I have. But it was a comfortable 3 pass squeaky clean type of shave. I'm also down to my last pack of Feather DE blades. So once they're gone, they're gone. I have 2 packs of the Gillette Platinum Plus blades left and when they're gone, I won't be getting anymore of them either. The Russian made Gillette Silver Blues are much better, but the Astra greens are the best blades you can get period in my humble opinion. I also wasn't able to get a hair cut yesterday either because the town decided to hold a chili cook off and my barber closes up for the day because of it. So I have to wait until tomorrow.

Ike & The 207:

Tonight's shave felt extremely good. Tonight I decided to go with a Skin Bracer  themed shave so I went with Strike Gold Shave  and the...