30/09/2015

SOTD 30/09/2015


Bulldog Face Wash
Mitchell's Wool Fat & Edwin Jagger Black Fibre
Gillette Tech (Brass) & Treet Carbon (1)
Hot Rinse & Cold Rinse
Brut Original Aftershave
Sung Homme EDT

Face Lathered
Two Pass - WTG & WTG (Slide)

It's my birthday! It's my birthday!

No, not my actual birthday but my shaving birthday. Just over two years ago, I joined a traditional shaving forum and precisely two years ago I took my first traditional shave with a Merkur 23C and the complimentary Merkur blade. Two years later and some 400 razors have passed through my hands! My present collection is just shy of 200, well over 100 being singled edge razors and another 40 being Gillette Techs, and that is what I decided to use tonight ...

Over the past few shaves, I have been enjoying a vintage Gem Damaskeene blade and most recently a Kai disposable with carbon steel blade, so that pack of Treet Carbon that has been sitting in my gifting pile was pressed into action.

All I have to say is: what a great shave!

Having had a good break from double edge razors and those thin blades, I did wonder if my technique might have been lost and whether I might wind up with a face full of weepers, but it didn't happen. Not even one. Gillette's Tech is, to me, their pinnacle razor and one which spanned some 50 decades from the '30s to the '80s and arguably beyond as the Sterling. It is a forgiving razor, mild, yet effective, letting the blade do its thing.

Enjoyed! You know what? I think I'll take another couple of shaves with this blade to see it out ...

28/09/2015

SOTD 28/09/2015


Bulldog Face Wash
Jade East Lather Shave Cream
Ever Ready 100T w/Muhle Silvertip Fibre
Kai T Type Dispo (2)
Hot Rinse, Cold Rinse & Alum Wash
Jade East Aftershave
Puig Quorum Silver EDT

Bowl Lathered
One Pass - WTG (Slide)

Just a touch-up shave with this Kai disposable and it was good after a single pass on the slide.

Wow! That Jade East Lather Shave Cream is something else! What a phenomenal scent! Good performance, too, texture and consistency VERY much like Palmolive.

27/09/2015

SOTD 27/09/2015


Bulldog Face Wash
Bay Soap Company Grapefruit
Kent Infinity Silvertex
Kai Dispo (1)
Hot Rinse, Cold Rinse & Alum Wash
Shibden Reserve Bay Rum
Armani Pour Homme EDT (Vintage)

Face Lathered
Two Pass - WTG & ATG

Ha! What a cool little razor!

Where the Bic Sensitive is too mild and the Bic Metal can graft skin, this Kai sits in the middle. Clean, close and smooth without any hint of psychotic behaviour, no nipping, no biting, just a smooth run leaving a close and clean cut.

I have seen one disassembled and feared that I might not like it what with the blade being thin, the very thing that pushed me away from double edge shaving, but it played just right. Making a comparison to single edge razors which I know well, I would pitch this about where the GEM Junior sits - not the closest, but effective and smooth with it. In many respects, it's a lot like the Wilkinson Sword bonded system but a damn sight lighter! In fact the razor is quite tiny, but again, single edge shavers who are used to the short handles of the Gem Damaskeene will have no issue.

In all, quite wonderful!

25/09/2015

SOTD 25/09/2015


Bulldog Face Wash
Tabac Shaving Soap w/Muhle Silvertip Fibre
Henckels Rapide & CV Heljestrand
Hot Rinse, Cold Rinse & Alum Wash
Tabac Aftershave & EDC

Face Lathered
Two Pass - WTG & WTG (Slide)

I've got a very generous German chum, let's call him Robin, who kindly sent me a couple of Heljestrand "wedges". I say "wedges" since they're actually not wedges but like I always say when this top comes up, if it looks like a wedge and could be used like a wedge, well, it's a wedge. I'm not entirely sure what the grind is, but they're hollow ground to some degree.

Anyway, this generous gift deserved honouring and so I picked out all my German gear ...

Robin will be screaming at the computer screen now. "MAURER AND WIRTZ? (Spit)" ... I know, and he knows, there is a much finer German soap maker but today is Friday and God himself decreed that Friday is the day we use Tabac so who am I to argue with that? Tabac, it is.

Cracking shave! The blade, I gather is NOS and wanted little more than a good run up and down some leather. Yeah, I must confess that it was not as smooth as I had hoped in use, but the second pass with a slide was a real pleasure and delivered the smooth (feeling) shave that I wanted. Fun, too, to use the Henckels with a proper blade as I have used it with a modern GEM blade and that blade retaining catch just got in the way; certainly compared to the Wilkinson Sword Patent Roller Safety Shaver whose design was licensed to Henckels. I digress, but you know me ...

Tabac'd up to the eyeballs, I'm getting into the spirit of Friday night with a rum & Crabbies (note the order) and wishing you chaps all a superb weekend!

23/09/2015

SOTD 23/09/2015


Dr Selby Deluxe Shaving Soap
Ever Ready 500BN w/Muhle Silvertip Fibre
Gem Junior & Gem Damaskeene (7)
Hot Rinse, Cold Rinse & Alum Wash
Pashana Original Aftershave
Jacques Bogart One Man Show EDT

Face Lathered
One Pass - WTG (Slide)

What an efficient razor the Gem Junior becomes with a vintage blade installed ...

I truly love the Gem Junior. To think, they got the design absolutely right with this and then moved onto the Damaskeene design. I find this razor so smooth with modern GEM blades, but put a vintage Gem Damaskeene blade in and it becomes a different beast! Better, I'd say. Two days growth, one pass to wipe off with slide stroke. Superb!

My first dance with Pashana, too, and it was wonderful! Why did I wait so long?

Jacques Bogart One Man Show topped it all off. Pine, leather and oakmoss dominate, backed up with a subtle spice, basil and patchouli, just picking up where the Pashana finished. I most definitely have a new friend here.

21/09/2015

SOTD 21/09/2015


Hot Bath
Wickham's Spice Trade & Barbershop Boar
Star 1912 Contract & Gem Damaskeene (6)
Hot Rinse, Cold Rinse & Alum Wash
Old Spice Original Aftershave
Clubman Greaseless Hair Tonic

Face Lathered
Two Pass - WTG & ATG

I am really getting into this blade now it has mellowed. One down, one up is a lovely routine, and there is a certain rhythm to the shave now. I usually use long strokes, but with this blade, it puts me more in mind of how I shaved with a double edge razor, in shorter strokes which built up its own beat.

I very much enjoyed digging out the Wickham's soap. Good lather, easily built as the bristles massaged my face. Lovely combination of soap and brush.

I say it ever time ...

Old Spice is one hell of a good aftershave! I was feeling so fruity, I even applied hair tonic.

19/09/2015

SOTD 19/09/2015


Oh, guys! This was good ...

Bulldog Face Wash
Meißner Tremonia Strong & Scottish Shaving Paste
Edwin Jagger Black Fibre in Tortoise Shell
Gem Damaskeene Deluxe (Open Comb) & Gem Damaskeene (5)
Hot Rinse, Cold Rinse & Alum Wash
Meißner Tremonia Strong & Scottish Aftershave

Face Lathered
Two Pass - WTG & ATG

Well, the razor gives the instruction: USE ONLY WITH GEM DAMASKEENE BLADES

There are a few of us who have these razors, a few of us who have shaved with them, but I bet there are only a handful who have shaved with them and heeded that instruction. Over the last few shaves, I have been privileged to have shaved with a vintage Gem Damaskeene blade which I guess is about 100 years old, but was keen out of the packet and became proper sharp once stropped.

I'm on the fifth shave with it now and it has mellowed. It has mellowed into a seriously smooth shave, smoother than a cat who's been to Smooth School! Seriously, this shave was smooth. Those of us who have shaved with an open comb Damaskeene will know that these are mild, or so we thought using our modern GEM blades. But, heed that instruction and drop a genuine Gem Damaskeene blade in and that razor becomes smooth, not mild.

Two passes, one with the grain and one against. Absolutely perfect!

I tell you what ... it was made more perfect with the Meißner Tremonia soap. My, oh my! That is a great soap. My lovely tortoise shell black fibre brush, wetted and just danced around over the surface of the soap lathered up a thick and beautiful dense foam for this shave. Two passes could happily have been five with this soap, just because. But, two passes were all it needed - one down, one up. In many respects, very much like a classic Durham Duplex shave.

I set a new personal high with respect to that "best shave yet" with the first shave with this blade in a Gem Damaskeene razor. I have, again, surpassed that ...

Best shave yet!

17/09/2015

SOTD 17/09/2015


Shower
Monsavon Bol-a-Raser
Edwin Jagger Black Fibre in Tortoise Shell
Ever Ready 1924 (Brass) w/Swing Handle & Gem Damaskeene (4)
Hot Rinse, Cold Rinse & Alum Wash
Jean Sorelle Aftershave & Cologne

Face Lathered
Two Pass - WTG & ATG

Oh, this blade is really starting to mellow. With my last shave, in an Ever Ready 1914, I rather got the impression it might be dulling as the first pass was not as complete as it was with the first couple of shaves and I just could not get my chin right. Well, tonight blew that theory out of the water ...

In an Ever Ready 1924, brass no less, the first pass was again not quite as complete as previous and so I did what I should have done with the 1914: a pass against the grain. Wow! This is a close shave! Close and so smooth. Resigned that the first pass was not going to be quite as complete as I'd like it, I just went with a gentle reduction pass and then blasted the rest away with a second pass.

My usual routine is to get pretty much the shave done in one pass and use a second with the grain pass on a slide to get it just so. I'm having to re-learn how to shave with the razors because of this vintage blade and how it is playing out. I think I'm really getting the hang of it - the first run will be very efficient and quite fierce, giving a complete shave in one pass, the second, too, the third we're now into doing a pass and a second pass to pick up stragglers and by the fourth, we can go one down, one up and enjoy just how mellow the blade has become.

I was going to call it a day at 5, but after stropping (50 laps) it's back to sharp, certainly more so than I'd expect a modern GEM to be on my face coming up to its fifth shave. Next shave will be back in a Damaskeene, but the open comb, a razor I was underwhelmed with when I tried it with a modern GEM blade - it does say "Use only with Damaskeene blades" and perhaps that is the key.

15/09/2015

SOTD 15/09/2015


Shower
GFT Eucris Shaving Soap
Edwin Jagger Black Fibre in Tortoise Shell
Ever Ready 1914 & Gem Damaskeene (3)
Hot Rinse, Cold Rinse & Alum Wash
Pinaud Lilac Vegetal
GFT Eucris EDT

Face Lathered
Two Pass - WTG & WTG (Slide)

Third run with this vintage Damaskeene blade and smoother still, but perhaps not as close. Perhaps it was the razor, which I had to apply quite some pressure to get my chin down to the same level as the rest of my face. In hindsight, this is one shave I really considered a one pass with, one pass back up against the grain.

I'll see how it flies in a 1924 next.

13/09/2015

SOTD 13/09/2015

... could yesterday's shave, my finest shave yet, be bettered?


Bulldog Face Wash
Artisan Lemon Shaving Soap
Ever Ready 100T w/Muhle Silvertip Fibre
Ever Ready 1912 'Sun Ray' & Gem Damaskeene (2)
Hot Rinse, Cold Rinse & Alum Wash
Imperial Leather Aftershave & EDT

Face Lathered
Two Pass - WTG & WTG (Slide)

Oh, what a joy!

My favourite model, the 1912, as a special 'Sun Ray' design set from the 1930s with a blade from 100 years ago.

Sheer heaven!

11/09/2015

SOTD 11/09/2015

Finest shave yet ...

Only twice before have I said this: "finest shave yet ..."; the first was my first shave with a double edge razor and while it was a Merkur blade in a Merkur 23C it was a gigantic leap forwards (or backwards?) in terms of a quality shave after increasingly frequent bad shaves with ever increasing blade numbered cartridges, the second was when I had my first shave with a Gem Junior Bar. Tonight, this is the third time I have said this, and tonight was indeed my finest shave yet.


Shower
Meißner Tremonia Bay & Rum Hard Soap
Ever Ready 500BN w/Muhle Silvertip Fibre
Gem Damaskeene & Gem Damaskeene (1)
Hot Rinse, Cold Rinse & Alum Wash
Jovan Musk Aftershave
EC Rapport EDT

Face Lathered
Two Pass - WTG & WTG (Slide)

Yes, you read that: Gem Damaskeene (1)

Much thanks to my friend Marcus who sent me a NOS Gem Damaskeene blade. He has sent a number of these out and so far, the consensus has been favourable, but we absolutely must take note of period instruction, namely stropping. Thankfully, I have a vintage strop in very good condition and a number of Gem and Ever Ready stroppers at my disposable, but what fun to use a proper Gem Damaskeene kit stropper!

50 laps on the strop and ready to shave ...

I have shaved with a vintage blade before, an Ever Ready curved spine which I now know is really quite an old one. That was good, but I would not say I really enjoyed the shave, the difference there being I did not strop the blade.

With just a little intrepidation, I began my shave ... and was so pleasantly surprised! The sharpness was akin to a first shave with a modern GEM, the smoothness like a third run with a modern GEM. Deceptively smooth, given just how sharp, I did get a couple of weepers which is something I never get, not even with a fresh modern blade.

Wow! What a shave!

Clean, dried off, hand stropped with the remnants the aftershave on my hands and then stropped for 50 laps, this lovely blade is keen and ready for the next shave ... which I think should be my Sun Ray 1912.

09/09/2015

SOTD 09/09/2015


Shower
Meißner Tremonia 'Natural White' Guaiacwood & Bergamot
Vie-Long SS15062
GEM Junior Bar & GEM Stainless (6)
Hot Rinse, Cold Rinse & Alum Wash
YSL Kouros Aftershave & EDT

One Pass (WTG)

07/09/2015

SOTD 07/09/2015


Bulldog Face Wash
Old Spice Shaving Soap (Vintage) & Vie-Long SS15062
Gillette Twinjector & Personna (Injector) 1
Hot Rinse & Cold RInse
Old Spice Original Aftershave
Paco Rabanne One Million EDT

Face Lathered
Two Pass - WTG (Twice)

04/09/2015

SOTD 04/09/2015


Bulldog Face Wash
Vie-Long Shaving Stick
Vie-Long Synthetic Shaving Brush
GEM Junior Parade & GEM Stainless (5)
Hot Rinse & Cold Rinse
Jovan Musk Aftershave Cologne

Face Lathered
Two Pass - WTG (Twice)

02/09/2015

SOTD 02/09/2015


Bulldog Face Wash
Meißner Tremonia 'Natural White' Stone Pine & Cypress
Gillette Shaving Brush w/Muhle Silvertip Fibre
GEM Featherweight (Olive) & GEM Stainless (6)
Hot Rinse & Cold Rinse
Pino Silvestre Aftershave & EDT

Face Lathered
Two Pass - WTG & WTG (Slide)