Pipe Smoke & The Jr. Torrey:

This morning's shave was great. I was craving a tobacco scented soap so after a nice hot shower, I went with Uncle Jon's Soap and his pipe smoke scented soap. The scent on this soap is premium cherry pipe tobacco, vanilla and spices and it's epic. And to finish off this shave, I paired it with my usual "go to" aftershave splash:

The Jr. Torrey was great. I ended up getting a very nice post shave after doing 2 passes. Just doing 1 pass didn't work today. It still looked bad especially with my neck area. So I decided to just keep doing 2 passes with a straight razor. I just about have to. I might get away with 1 pass when I use a DE or SE razor. I will find out this coming Thursday when I shave again.

Grape Soda & The Gem SE:

Today's shave was great. I decided to give my new badger brush a little taste of Catie's Bubbles this morning and their Knee High To a Grape was perfect. Between the intoxicating grape soda scent and rich and ultra slick lather that Catie's Bubbles is known for, I had one of my best shaves. To finish off this shave, I paired it with my usual go to splash:

The Gem SE was okay mainly because the blade is shot. So after doing 2 passes, I grabbed a new Gem Blue Star blade and I stropped it using the smooth leather on my strop. The blade is now currently soaking in some 3 in One oil as we speak before its 1st initial use. I'm also going to start doing something different. From now on, I will only be doing just 1 pass and nothing else. The reason behind this is to keep the irritation to a minimum. I also won't be shaving every day either. I find that I get a much better shave when I don't shave every day.

Le Petit Chypre & The Jr. Torrey:

Today's shave was great. I needed a Barrister & Mann fix so I went with their Le Petit Chypre scented soap which has an oak moss & cypress wood scent to it. Then I topped it off with the matching aftershave splash:

The Jr. Torrey was perfect. I had another "ice rink" post shave feel in just 2 passes which is about where I want all of my straight & DE safety razor shaves at. I also noticed that this razor almost wouldn't let go of the smooth leather side of my strop which tells me that geometry is now exceptional. Pretty soon my wedge will be the same way. I haven't re honed that razor yet mainly because I want it to have a Belgium Coticule edge on it.

Mixed Soap Contianer Refilled:

Now that Maria Arman has changed her product line up, I decided to go ahead and refill my Through The Fire Fine Craft mixed soap container. The reasoning behind this is because I didn't have much left in terms of samples and these are no longer available:

Here's what was added today. I can't remember what other scents was in there:

Here they are all mixed up and it smells incredible too:

I plan on adding some more of Maria's products to my collection sometime in the near future. I'm just not sure when that will be. It will be soon. There's a ton of stuff that I want to try.

Razor Clean Up Continued:

Earlier today while I was refilling one of my mixed soap containers, I managed to find some wet/dry sandpaper left over from several years ago. So I decided to give my wedge another cleaning session. So lets get started:

First I started off with the 320 grit which done a phenomenal job at getting the scratches out. I almost couldn't believe the results:

Here's the results I got which was amazing:

Next up, I wiped the razor down with a clean cloth and started cleaning again with the 400 grit. This didn't take too long and the 400 grit had no problems removing the 320 grit scratches:

Below is the results of the 400 grit. After that, I used Mother's Metal Polish. You put it on and rub it down until the metal turns black and then you wait a couple of minutes. Next you wipe of the remaining polish with a clean cloth. I did this 3 times before going to my final step:

After I got done with the 3rd polishing session, I grabbed a clean microfiber cloth and wiped it down a few times and the results are amazing:

Here's the final results I got which I am very pleased with:

All the items I used can be found in Walmart in the automotive and auto body sections. Once Dr. Matt gets done with the buffing and honing, this razor will really pop. I'm willing to bet that it will probably look like a brand new mirror after he gets done with.

Kilted Tiki & The Doc:

Today's shave was exceptional. I needed a Tiki Bar fix today so after a nice relaxing hot shower, I went with their Kilted Tiki which is my favorite out of their product line. This soap was made using scotch whiskey in place of lye water and it has a killer "peat moss" scent. Think of a scotch whiskey without the alcohol type of scent. And to add even more refreshment, I paired it with my go to aftershave splash which is Aqua Velva classic ice blue:

The doc was perfect. I got an "ice rink" type of post shave feel in just 3 passes. My silver tipped badger brush is awesome and getting more and more softer as I use it. My little 2 hour soak in some of my favorite fabric softener mixed with water done an excellent job at getting rid of the animal smell and it was 3 times softer as a result. And man it's holds a ton of water and builds an excellent lather with a lot less soap than my Omega 10049 Professional Boar brush does. Badger brushes win hands down in my humble opinion.

Mountain Man & The Wedge:

Today's shave was great. After a nice hot shower, I went with Stirling Soaps and their Mountain Man scent. I get a citrus cologne with some woody undertones. The description says that it's Stirling's version of Creed's "Silver Mountain" water cologne. And to finish off this shave, I paired it with Barbasol Brisk which seems to pair really well with this soap:

The Wedge done great. I got a squeaky clean post shave in 3 passes. Here in about 11 days when I get paid, I will be sending this razor out to Dr. Matt for a Coticule edge. If I like it and I more than likely will, I will probably get a Coticule from the Superior Shave the first chance I get.

Lemon Chill & The DE 89:

Today's shave was great. Stirling Soap's new formula rocks and then some. And their lemon chill scented soap was amazing. The scent reminds me of a semi sweet lemon pastry and yes it does have menthol which was about as strong if not stronger than Proraso green is which was really nice in terms of helping my sinuses today. This new badger brush was also killer and built a beautiful if not perfect lather and the loft on this brush is perfect for me. And to finish off this shave, I paired it with the Glacial lemon chill aftershave balm which is also very good:

The DE 89 was perfect as well. I literally had an "ice rink" type of post shave feel in just 2 passes. This was new to me because up until today, it's been 3 years since I tried Stirling Soaps. Back then he had a different formula and he was in the middle of moving so it took a long time for my order ship. I also had a bad reaction to their soaps back then which is why I never went back to them. This shave changed my mind about Stirling Soaps and I will be looking at some other products that they offer later on. Wow what a shave.

Mail Call!

Today's mail call is from my friend in NY, Oy Vey Chapo. Thank you times a thousand. The Perma-Sharp blades are really sweet and I'm loving these 2 Stirling Soaps. The Lemon chill is really nice. it reminds me of a sweet lemon pastry which smells incredible. The Mountain Main is really nice and mild cologne scent. He also hooked me up with the matching aftershave balm for the lemon chill and Stirling's barbershop which is also nice. And I'm really digging this silver tip badger brush:

This was awesome and then some because my shave of the day blog posts have been getting stale as of late and I've not tried Stirling's new formula yet either. I've been focused on water stones too much and really haven't had time to stop and look at soaps too much. So thanks again my friend.

Confidence & The Jr. Torrey:

Today's shave was simply phenomenal. You can't go wrong with Soap Commander and their "Confidence" scented soap which has an incredible sweet honey, musk and patchouli scent. The honey really comes through but the musk and patchouli seems to balance out the scent and calm the sweetness of the honey down which is really nice. I also finished off this shave with their Integrity aftershave balm which is unscented :

The Jr. Torrey was phenomenal as well. I managed to get a squeaky clean post shave in just 2.5 passes. The Naniwa 12K super stone puts a really nice and comfortable edge on a razor. Combined with the geometry correction done by Dr. Matt, that stone really woke up this razor which is what it needed. I've also never shaved off that stone until today so I'm definitely very impressed with that water stone. Here in about 2 weeks when I get paid again, I'll more than likely end up getting a few unhoned Gold Dollar razors and sending my Steampunk wedge out to Dr. Matt for a Coticule edge which is the absolute last stone I've not shaved off of before.

Mail Call!

Today's mail call is special. My Jr. Torrey 5/8's Barber's Notch has returned from Dr. Matt Robins. He had to do some geometry correction and let me tell you, it made a huge difference. The Jr. Torrey did have a slight twist in the spine just before you got to the heel of the razor which he ended up fixing. He did do a video and called "back beveling" but hasn't published it just yet. So stay tuned and take notes on it when it's published because this razor sits extremely flat now. In fact it almost wouldn't let go of the smooth leather side of my strop (5 round trips only) :

I made it easier for him. Basically I sent a self addressed and postage paid envelope so all he had to do was drop it in the mail when he got done:

Unfortunately he could NOT put a Belgium Coticule edge on it but that's okay because he put a Naniwa 12K Super Stone edge on the razor which was 1 of the 2 stones left that I had never shaved off of until now. So the last one left that I've not shaved off of is the Coticule:

That's the challenge with these 5/8's and smaller razors. Once that geometry is perfect, it will take an excellent edge but you do have to be careful and not remove too much metal because it can effect how a razor shaves in a negative way. So I am extremely pleased with the results of this razor. It shaved extremely well. I thinking about sending him my Steampunk wedge to see what he can do with it. He'll have no problems honing it because it sits perfectly flat.

Time For a Touch Up:

My last touch up was just before I used it and it wasn't that great. So I decided to go ahead and do the old 2 stone method only using what's left of my Norton 8K and my Japanese Natural water stone, the Shoubandini type 100. So lets get started:

First using 2 sets of my friend Anthony Esposito's method, I started with my Norton 8K and did 20/20, 10/10, 5/5 seconds on each side followed by 10 round trips or what I like to call clean up strokes. My friend Dr. Matt Robins also starts at the 8K level after the bevel has been set:

Next I built a slurry and repeated the Esposito method listed above. And I also did 2 sets on this stone using a fresh slurry each time:

Next I did my usual stropping routine of 5 round trips on the rough leather and then 10 round trips on the smooth leather to clean it up a bit:

Under my loupe the edge looked great and had somewhat of a slight haze to it. This should be more than enough to get my wedge back up to snuff. If it's not back then I'll hit the stones again until I get it back to where I want it. It will be a day or 2 before I use this razor to see how it did. The reason behind this is because it seems to be a more comfortable shave when I have more than 1 day's worth of beard growth as I found out today with my Hawk SE razor.

Armada & The Hawk:

Today's shave was marvelous. I was craving Through The Fire Fine Craft by Maria Arman and I was also craving a Vintage Old Spice scent so I went with her Armada scent. And to finish off today's shave I paired it with both my 2003 Old Spice splash and Soap Commander's Endurance aftershave balm which is also a vintage old spice scent:

The hawk was fabulous. It had no trouble mowing through 2 day's worth of beard growth and I got another "ice rink" type of post shave feel in just 2 passes. That fresh blade made a huge difference. Don't know when my Jr. Torrey will be back but I can't wait for it to arrive. Mainly because it will have a Belgium Coticule edge on it and I've never shaved off that stone before.

Reflection & The Doc:

This morning's shave was great. Today I was craving Soap Commander for some reason, so I went with their "Reflection" scented soap. The scent on this is Oakmoss & Amber. And to finish off this shave, I paired it with good old Skin Bracer original aftershave splash:

The Doc did extremely good and delivered yet another "ice rink" type of post shave feel. But I can definitely tell that this was the last shave on this blade. It struggled to go through my barbed wire stubble this morning. So I put in a fresh blade after I finished this shave off.

Gusto & The DE 89:

Today's shave was great. It's also Sunday which means Soap Commander Sunday is in full effect. I went with their "Gusto" scented soap which has an epic Raspberry Pink Lemonade scent. I didn't get the matching aftershave, so I paired it with their Integrity aftershave balm which is "Unscented" :

The DE 89 was perfect. I got a squeaky clean post shave in just 2.5 passes. I also need to get some razor blades because I'm about out. Maggard Razors is currently out of my Perma-Sharps so I'll have to go somewhere else and get them unless they restock them before I get paid again.

C.O. Bigelow & The Wedge:

Today's shave was great. After a nice hot and relaxing shower, I went with C.O. Bigelow and their menthol & eucalyptus scent (it's Proraso green). And to finish off this shave, I went with Barbasol Brisk which adds an even more refreshing touch to this shave:

The Wedge did okay. I did touch it up on the Shoubandini before beginning but I still had to stop half way through the 1st pass to strop it on the rough leather side of my strop which made a huge difference. I ended up getting an "ice rink" type of post shave feel in 3 passes. Oh I heard from Dr. Matt about my Jr. Torrey razor. It had a twist in the spine which is now fixed. He said it will shave like a dream when he's done with it. I can't wait to try it because it's the first time I've ever shaved off a Belgium Coticule. It's also why I haven't bought anymore stones as of late.

2016 Top Shave Gear:

I don't normally do a top shave gear/year in review posts mainly because what I buy and get is a favorite. But I've been asked by a dear friend of mine, Antonio Portolesi (Northern Shave Guy) to do one so why not. Oh if you've not done so, you should really check out his YouTube videos. Here's the link to his channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2GKan7jq9M0oY7R3UEm4fQ . He also has a really cool Google + community called Wet Shavers United which I'm a member of that you should check out as well. Here's the link to the G+ community: https://plus.google.com/communities/105428296294968412322 . Where to begin? I guess I'll start with the hardware and finish off with the aftershave. Now be advised that this was for 2016 only and only 2 items that I bought 3 years ago was featured. So lets get started:

Top hardware begins with my Shoubandini Type 100 Japanese natural water stone which was a gift from my friend, Kon Soldatos. I can't thank him enough for this one because this stone is getting harder to find now. People aren't getting rid of this stone very often and after figuring out how to use it, I can see why. If you had one of these and got another Jnat that you liked better than this one, it would have to be one killer edge to out perform this one, wow:

My top straight razor goes to my Steampunk wedge made by Genco Razor Company in NY. Between the glide of a full wedge which is simply the most comfortable razor I've used and the fact that this was the very 1st Vintage razor I ever bought off EBay that I personally cleaned up and made it shave ready, it's been my top straight razor ever since:

My favorite single edge goes to my RazoRock Black Hawk. Once I put the West Coast Shaving Supplies Midnight series 175B mammoth handle on it, switched to Kai Captain Titan Mild Pink blades and stropped it 10 times on my smooth leather strop before the 1st use, it's one of the best single edges I have used. This beast now weighs 8 ounces (half a pound) which I like:

My top DE safety razor goes to my Edwin Jagger DE 89 & Perma-Sharp DE blades. I bought this razor 3 years ago now and because of it, I've not bought anymore DE razors since my others malfunctioned on me. I still have an original double open comb razor from PAA but it was a gift and the 1st one I had broke and became useless. This along with my brush are the ONLY items in my 2016 top gear list that was bought 3 years ago now:

My top artisan soaps that I bought in 2016 was Barrister & Mann and their Le Petit Chypre which has an oakmoss and cypress wood scent and Uncle Jon's soap and his pipe smoke scent which has a cherry pipe tobacco, vanilla and spice scent to it. Both of these are tied for my top artisan soaps of 2016. Soap Commander and their Fortitude scented soap which has an aged hay, aged tobacco, and dark rum would have been in this category for sure but I did some checking and found that I bought it in 2015 before New Years. But it's such a good and popular soap that I thought I should mention it. It wouldn't be right if I didn't:

My favorite brush has also been around for a while and that is my Omega 10049 Professional Boar brush. I kept burning through the Van Hagen pure badger brushes so I tried some synthetics along with some badger and boar brushes from several companies. Some were really expensive and they fell apart. My Omega 10049 Boar brush was less than $10 dollars and has out performed and out lasted all of those other brushes combined which is why it's my "go to" brush:

In terms of aftershave my top ones are Aqua Velva classic ice blue followed by Barbasol Brisk and Skin Bracer original. These got the most use specifically the Aqua Velva. If I had finished off that bottle before New Years, it would've been my 3rd bottle that year alone:

No aftershave balms were purchased in 2016 but the title of best aftershave balms goes to Soap Commander hands down. Only PAA's has come close to their balms and I'm currently completely out of Phoenix Artisan Accoutrement's products. Don't know when I'll be back buying more soaps. I've pretty much have been on a hardware buying streak through out 2016 and 2017 is looking somewhat similar but not for very long. I only need to buy maybe 2 more stones and I'll be done with the hardware in terms of honing.

Jack Frost & The Hawk:

Today's shave started off rough but ended up being great. Today I went with Tiki Bar's other brand known as Steambath Factory and their Jack Frost scented soap. The scent is a vanilla, sugar and peppermint scent with a slight hint of menthol in the soap. And to finish off this shave, I paired it with Soap Commander "Vision" aftershave balm:

The hawk struggled to cut my beard on the 1st past. So I stopped after I finished the 1st pass and put in a new blade then I stropped it 10 times on a cotton terry towel before doing my 2nd pass. It helped out a lot. I ended up getting an "ice rink" type of post shave feel in just 2.5 passes. I'm also going to start looking at some other soaps here pretty soon. There's a ton of soaps that I've not tried just yet and I'm wanting a custom soap made sometime soon.

Latha Limon & The Wedge:

This morning's shave was great. I needed a Barrister & Mann fix and since I'm already sick of the hot and cold weather snaps we've been getting as of late, I went with their Latha Limon which has a very bright lemon, orange and rose summer type of scent to me. And to finish this shave off, I paired it with Soap Commander aftershave balm which is unscented :

The Steampunk wedge was excellent. I got a very close shave with just my usual 2.5 passes. Unlike my Jr. Torrey, this razor has done extremely well for me. Speaking of the Jr. Torrey, I'll be sending it out to Dr. Matt Robins and he will be fixing it in a video. It may take a while before I get it back but I'm cool with that. He'll be finishing it on a Coticule which I've never shaved off of before. So I will be sending it out today but first I have to get some envelopes.

Bluegrass & The Jr. Torrey:

Today's shave started off great if not epic but I ended up switching to my Fusion rather quickly. More on that in a bit because I really don't have a lot of time today. Since today is Tuesday that means Through The Fire Fine Craft by Maria Arman is getting used and I went with a scent that's no longer available called Bluegrass which has a sweet grass and vetiver scent to it. To finish off the shave I paired it with good old Clubman:

I have no clue as to what is wrong with this Jr. Torrey. I've tried honing with and without tape and still can't get the results I'm looking for so I'll be retiring this razor for now. It made half of a pass and it just up and quit cutting right in the middle of the 1st pass. I've NEVER had a razor do that before. So come pay day, I'll be looking at the Gold Dollar straight razors to see what all I can find. I should rename this razor, the stranger because it has also behaved strangely on the stones too.

Pipe Smoke & The Gem SE:

Today's shave was great. Uncle Jon's soaps are excellent and their pipe smoke scented soap is phenomenal. You have a warm premium cherry pipe tobacco, vanilla and spices scent with this soap. And to finish off this shave, I paired it with my usual:

The Gem SE razor with the Ted Pella blade was excellent. I managed to get a squeaky clean post shave in just 2.5 passes. These blades tend to get better with use. All you need to do is strop them once before the 1st use and you are good to go. That takes away the initial bite that you get with the first shave like you get with some DE blades.

Commitment & The DE 89:

Today's shave was great. It's also Sunday which means Soap Commander Sunday is in full effect. Today I went with their "Commitment" scented soap which has an incredible Indian Sandalwood scent. It's also the ONLY sandalwood scent I can use without any issues. I can use it if the sandalwood is light or like a base note that's mixed with something. But if I were to use Phoenix Artisan Accoutrement's sandalwood, Proraso red, or Taylor of Old Bond Street's sandalwood, then I would have some serious problems. I finished off today's shave will good old Clubman:

The DE 89 was perfect. I got a very nice and clean post shave with just 2.5 passes. Not quite squeaky clean but more than socially acceptable and for sure extremely comfortable.

Jr. Torrey on the Stones:

Even though the edge was good and I did get a good shave out of it, I felt like it could be much better than it was. So lets get started:

First I went back and reset the bevel without killing the edge on the razor using my Naniwa professional 600 grit stone. I did 60/60, 30/30, 15/15, 8/8 seconds on each side followed by 15 clean up strokes. It bit into my thumbnail like crazy after that. Then I went back and did 10 more round trips to bring it back from where I did my thumbnail test:

Next I went straight to my Jnat finisher, the Shoubandini type 100 and I did 3 sets of 40/40, 20/20, 10/10, 5/5 seconds on each side followed by 10 clean up strokes and I diluted the slurry between each set and on the last one, the razor was getting extremely sticky and struggling to go across the stone which told me that it was more than shave ready:

After that I went to my strop and did 5 round trips on the rough leather and then I did 10 round trips on the smooth leather:

Next up, I decided to do some polishing and clean the razor up some more:

Even I am not immune to getting cut because I did when I was polishing my razor. It happens from time to time. It went pretty deep but it's already closed back up:

So the razor is crazy right now and the next shave with it should be excellent. I just don't know when that will be because I'm wanting to use my Edwin Jagger DE 89 tomorrow.

1K Blog Posts:

Before I begin, let me take a moment to say thanks to all of those who read and/or have read my blog over the past years. It's been at least 12 years since I created this blog and 3 years since I converted it to wet shaving. Before wet shaving it was automotive based documenting mods and repairs of a truck that I had which I've since sold to my uncle over 4 years ago now. After my battle with cancer nearly 5 years ago which pretty much limited my mobility on a permanent basis, I pretty much gave up the automotive world and anything else that's vehicle related. About a year after that, I converted to wet shaving and my blog was converted as well. No need to keep blogging about the automotive world when you are no longer active and have found something else:

So thank you to those that take the time out of their day to read my blog.

CO. Bigelow & The Jr. Torrey:

Today's shave was very refreshing. The CO. Bigelow cream was what the doctor ordered. The Menthol & Eucalyptus really helps in not only a soothing shave but with sinus issues which I needed today. We went from fairly warm weather down to bitter cold weather and about this time next week, we will be back in the mid 60's again. My sinuses pay the price as a result. And to add a little more refreshment to the shave, I went with Barbasol Brisk:

The Jr. Torrey was okay but definitely can be much better. I'm thinking that the bevel wasn't set right the last time I honed it so I'll go back and reset the bevel using the 2 stone method. I still managed to get a good shave with just 3 passes and a touch up on my neck area.

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...