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My Old-Timey Shaving Odyssey

jkingrph

Practically Family
Messages
846
Location
Jacksonville, Tx, West Monroe, La.
Ditch the Williams soap.

As mentioned in other posts, the Mama Bears soaps are very good, glycerin base soaps and a wide variety of scents.

Italian soaps, Proraso, soap or cream, for a menthol eucalyptus scent, very cooling and refreshing in the summer heat, or Cella with an almond scent are both good soaps.

German Tabac is nice for a strong Old Spice type scent

Turkish Arko in an unscented stick is dirt cheap and makes a good lather, with a stick you wet your face, rub the stick over and then work up a lather with your fingers or a brush. Sticks are great for travel.

The British have a wide variety of soaps and creams, but are generally on the expensive side, but good. As far as lather quality no better than the cheap Arko but smell is much better.

I quit the electric about 3 years ago, diving into the wet shaving routine. My favorite razor is a Grand Shave King self lubrication razor, called that because of grooves in the top of the shave head. Next is a 1912 Gem, followed by a Mekur slant.

There are a lot of razors and blades out there and you can surely find a good combination somewhere.
 

Gin&Tonics

Practically Family
Messages
899
Location
The outer frontier
Ditch the Williams soap.

As mentioned in other posts, the Mama Bears soaps are very good, glycerin base soaps and a wide variety of scents.

Italian soaps, Proraso, soap or cream, for a menthol eucalyptus scent, very cooling and refreshing in the summer heat, or Cella with an almond scent are both good soaps.

German Tabac is nice for a strong Old Spice type scent

Turkish Arko in an unscented stick is dirt cheap and makes a good lather, with a stick you wet your face, rub the stick over and then work up a lather with your fingers or a brush. Sticks are great for travel.

The British have a wide variety of soaps and creams, but are generally on the expensive side, but good. As far as lather quality no better than the cheap Arko but smell is much better.

I quit the electric about 3 years ago, diving into the wet shaving routine. My favorite razor is a Grand Shave King self lubrication razor, called that because of grooves in the top of the shave head. Next is a 1912 Gem, followed by a Mekur slant.

There are a lot of razors and blades out there and you can surely find a good combination somewhere.

They sell Proraso at one of the local drug stores here. I'll maybe try that once my Williams runs out.

I had an awesome shave this morning; no burn and no nicks! I tried finishing with an all-natural aftershave balm that my wife picked up and it really seemed to help nourish the skin after the shave, plus it has a nice manly scent. It's called Organic Grooming - Dusk and it comes in a black squeeze tube.

I may try changing my Wilkinson Sword blade out for the other brand I bought, just to see whether it makes a difference.
 

Doomstein

One of the Regulars
Messages
165
Location
Tampa FL
I have a bit of the same disease : D

IMG-20120703-00917.jpg

My current Gilette DE Collection, though there's a Schick Krona (Black handle) mixed in there.

Ya got the fatboys, slim, ALMOST all the superspeeds, I'm missing the superspeed with the black handle, but I know where to get it! I have a tech, and also a Bostonian. I think once I get the black handle superspeed and the Super-Adjustables, metal plate and plastic plate, and black beauty, I'll get out of the collecting game, hehe.
 
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tealseal

A-List Customer
Messages
380
Location
Tucson, AZ
I may try changing my Wilkinson Sword blade out for the other brand I bought, just to see whether it makes a difference.
Depends on what it is, of course, but it will absolutely make a difference. The question is whether it will make a positive difference or not. I'm currently in the middle of experimenting with 6 different brands of blades.
I'm glad to hear you had an awesome save this morning! Congratulations, escaping nick-free is quite the trick, especially going against the grain (I never go against the grain: Always once with, once across, then I use blade buffing or a J-hook to finish up).
 

Gin&Tonics

Practically Family
Messages
899
Location
The outer frontier
Depends on what it is, of course, but it will absolutely make a difference. The question is whether it will make a positive difference or not. I'm currently in the middle of experimenting with 6 different brands of blades.
I'm glad to hear you had an awesome save this morning! Congratulations, escaping nick-free is quite the trick, especially going against the grain (I never go against the grain: Always once with, once across, then I use blade buffing or a J-hook to finish up).

I find that I never get a close enough shave (for my taste anyways) unless I go once with, once against the grain. I find I have little trouble going against the second time as long as I observe the proper preparation techniques and ensure there's plenty of lather for that ATG pass.

What's a J-hook, pray tell? Or blade buffing for that matter.
 

de Stokesay

One of the Regulars
Messages
181
Location
The wilds of Western Canada
Congratulations G&T on the world of real shaving.

I have had no problems with the Williams soap and as a matter of fact, this is what I use in my travel shaving soap dish. I do use a variety of different shaving soaps though as I get easily bored and like frequent change. Crabtree & Evelyn make some nice shaving soaps as does Col. Conk.

Since no one else has mentioned it yet, I thought you might be interested to know that your grandfather's razor is not original to that case. That case is from within a year or two of 1920 (I have exactly the same case but with the original razor) and when new, came with the old style open-comb razor. The tech style razor you have was not introduced until the late 1930s (1937 or 1939 if I recall correctly) and stayed in production until the very late 1970s.

There is lots of info on the internet on dating old Gillette razors so you could look that up yourself, but I think that what most likely happened is that your grandfather's original razor that came with that case broke (the handles on the old pattern Gillette's tended to split and break) and he replaced it with a newer model, keeping the original case.

You might even want to try to get an open-comb style razor to compare the shave with. They tend to shave closer than the tech styles but require a bit more attention.

Also, for your difficult to shave neck, you might want to try what I do as I have the same problem. Start at your jaw and go straight down your neck for the first pass. Re-lather and go straight up from the bottom of your neck to just over your jaw and chin. Finally, start at one side, under one ear, and using lots of short strokes, go towards the other side (I start at the right side of my neck and move towards the left). Just remember to use no pressure. The weight of the razor is plenty of pressure. I suspect that your neck nicks are due to either pressing too hard or changing the direction of the razor without lifting it from your skin.

Good luck and keep experimenting!
 

Gin&Tonics

Practically Family
Messages
899
Location
The outer frontier
Congratulations G&T on the world of real shaving.

I have had no problems with the Williams soap and as a matter of fact, this is what I use in my travel shaving soap dish. I do use a variety of different shaving soaps though as I get easily bored and like frequent change. Crabtree & Evelyn make some nice shaving soaps as does Col. Conk.

Since no one else has mentioned it yet, I thought you might be interested to know that your grandfather's razor is not original to that case. That case is from within a year or two of 1920 (I have exactly the same case but with the original razor) and when new, came with the old style open-comb razor. The tech style razor you have was not introduced until the late 1930s (1937 or 1939 if I recall correctly) and stayed in production until the very late 1970s.

There is lots of info on the internet on dating old Gillette razors so you could look that up yourself, but I think that what most likely happened is that your grandfather's original razor that came with that case broke (the handles on the old pattern Gillette's tended to split and break) and he replaced it with a newer model, keeping the original case.

You might even want to try to get an open-comb style razor to compare the shave with. They tend to shave closer than the tech styles but require a bit more attention.

Also, for your difficult to shave neck, you might want to try what I do as I have the same problem. Start at your jaw and go straight down your neck for the first pass. Re-lather and go straight up from the bottom of your neck to just over your jaw and chin. Finally, start at one side, under one ear, and using lots of short strokes, go towards the other side (I start at the right side of my neck and move towards the left). Just remember to use no pressure. The weight of the razor is plenty of pressure. I suspect that your neck nicks are due to either pressing too hard or changing the direction of the razor without lifting it from your skin.

Good luck and keep experimenting!

Ah, very interesting! On the underside of the base plate piece it says "Pat. Canada 1932" at the top, then at the bottom has the gillette logo and "Made in Canada". I just figured it was from 1932, but I suppose that's just the patent date. Your mention of the case not matching the razor is interesting, and it may well be true. I'll have to talk with my mom's sister and see if she knows any details about the razor's origin.

Thanks for the tip on tackling that difficult neck of mine. I'll definitely give that a try next time :)

And thanks everyone for all the encouragement. I have to say, shaving this way is a lot more fun than an electric or a cheapy cartridge razor!
 

tealseal

A-List Customer
Messages
380
Location
Tucson, AZ
I find that I never get a close enough shave (for my taste anyways) unless I go once with, once against the grain. I find I have little trouble going against the second time as long as I observe the proper preparation techniques and ensure there's plenty of lather for that ATG pass.

What's a J-hook, pray tell? Or blade buffing for that matter.

When I started getting into wet shaving, some folks over at Badger & Blade pointed me to this guy's videos. Saved my face to be sure! He originally started posting his tutorial videos on YouTube as "mantic59." The techniques to which I have referred can be found here, starting at marker 1:33.
Lots of interesting info and tips/tricks on his site/YouTube channel.

Edit: To address the first part of your post, I envy you! Every time I've tried to go against, even if I super prep my face again, I always get burn and/or ingrown hair issues.
 

Doomstein

One of the Regulars
Messages
165
Location
Tampa FL
Edit: To address the first part of your post, I envy you! Every time I've tried to go against, even if I super prep my face again, I always get burn and/or ingrown hair issues.

That's why I love my Gilette Fatboy. When I get to the point of going against the grain, or to the side, I just dial the agressivness setting to "1" and I never get ingrowns. I also use really sharp "Feather" brand blades.
 

tealseal

A-List Customer
Messages
380
Location
Tucson, AZ
That's why I love my Gilette Fatboy. When I get to the point of going against the grain, or to the side, I just dial the agressivness setting to "1" and I never get ingrowns. I also use really sharp "Feather" brand blades.
Feathers are next in my combo pack to try. My razor is a Merkur adjustable of some flavor or another. I'll try dialing it down to the least aggressive setting and give it another whirl. Thanks!
 

Jish1969

Familiar Face
Messages
95
Location
Buffalo, NY
I just bought a GEM Micromatic SE and Gilette Tech DE razor today for under five smackers at an estate sale!. I got some NOS Personna DE razor blades to boot and gave the Gilette a whirl already; decent shave for the first time, but I'm gonna need to hone my skills...but hell, its better than payin' for the M5 Magnum blades I've been using!
 

Gin&Tonics

Practically Family
Messages
899
Location
The outer frontier
I just bought a GEM Micromatic SE and Gilette Tech DE razor today for under five smackers at an estate sale!. I got some NOS Personna DE razor blades to boot and gave the Gilette a whirl already; decent shave for the first time, but I'm gonna need to hone my skills...but hell, its better than payin' for the M5 Magnum blades I've been using!

All it takes is a little practice. My shaves have drastically improved in only about 6 attempts at it. Most people apply too much pressure at first. The weight of the razor is enough pressure by itself, so a very soft touch is all that's needed. Getting the right angles every time is a bit tough, but that too will come with practice.

A good skin-nourishing aftershave is worth its weight in gold, I found out.
 

Doomstein

One of the Regulars
Messages
165
Location
Tampa FL
I just bought a GEM Micromatic SE and Gilette Tech DE razor today for under five smackers at an estate sale!. I got some NOS Personna DE razor blades to boot and gave the Gilette a whirl already; decent shave for the first time, but I'm gonna need to hone my skills...but hell, its better than payin' for the M5 Magnum blades I've been using!

The Gilette Tech is probably the best three piece DE razor for beginners. It's not an aggressive razor and is quite forgiving. Also very easy to clean compared to one piece and adjustibles. Of course if you wanted to switch to a one piece DE there's always the Gilette Superspeed, which yours truly learned to shave with! : D
 

Feraud

Bartender
Messages
17,193
Location
Hardlucksville, NY
I just bought a GEM Micromatic SE and Gilette Tech DE razor today for under five smackers at an estate sale!. I got some NOS Personna DE razor blades to boot and gave the Gilette a whirl already; decent shave for the first time, but I'm gonna need to hone my skills...but hell, its better than payin' for the M5 Magnum blades I've been using!

The Gem Micromatic is my favorite razor. It's considered an aggressive shaver but I love it.


All it takes is a little practice. My shaves have drastically improved in only about 6 attempts at it. Most people apply too much pressure at first. The weight of the razor is enough pressure by itself, so a very soft touch is all that's needed. Getting the right angles every time is a bit tough, but that too will come with practice.

A good skin-nourishing aftershave is worth its weight in gold, I found out.

Agreed. A little practice will provide some of the best shaving to be found today. Many people coming from using modern razors talk about applying too much pressure at first. This is no doubt due to the difference in razor quality, angle, etc.
I still fail to see the logic in how more pressure is needed to shave with these silly modern razors.
If you need to three to five blades and additional pressure on the blade to shave, something ain't right! ;)


Remember that you're buttering toast, not carving roast. A smooth, light, back-and-forth motion. No heavy-handed hacking.
Well said.
 

Jish1969

Familiar Face
Messages
95
Location
Buffalo, NY
For the last two years I've been using aloe vera with lidocaine instead of aftershave. It's great for the skin, refreshing, doesn't sting, smells great, and one bottle lasts forever.
 
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1930artdeco

Practically Family
Messages
656
Location
oakland
I ahve two questions (see post #23 for my pics):

1) My razor is 'adjustable' in that I can dial 1-9 the blade angle. What is this for and how does it work?

2) My little stropper box had leather strips on each roller to sharpen the blade.I may need to replace the leather on one roller, can I use any leather strip? Or is there a special leather that gets used?

Mike
 

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