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The Art of a Shave ... A Journey ...

Nathan Flowers

Head Bartender
Staff member
Messages
3,650
Originally posted by MK
Have you guys seen this book:

book2.gif


I received it as a gift from Runquist. I will scan a few pics if you are interested.

Egad, I didn't know such a thing existed! Terrific find!
 

Paladin

One of the Regulars
Messages
104
Location
Texas
MK--That's a great razor, you should enjoy it. I have the same one. Now, as for accessorizing.....what do you have in mind and I'll make some suggestions? Bad influence...you have noooooo idea ;)
 

MK

Founder
Staff member
Bartender
Thanks. I looked at the accouterments that you use. I just spent fifty bucks on a razor. I am not willing to drop two c-notes on a brush, creams and lotions yet. I would like to get whatever I need to get me started. I don't like to buy cheap stuff then find I want something better. I usually will acquire in stages. That is why I sprang for a top razor.

One of my customers owns a major brush company. They make over 500 different brushes. I don't know if they make a shaving brush, but I am going to speak to him.

I imagine that a brush and some soap or cream would allow me to at least shave with the razor.

What do you suggest?

BTW: That razor is built like a tank. It is exactly the way a West Germen would design a razor. I think it could survive a nuclear blast.
 

Paladin

One of the Regulars
Messages
104
Location
Texas
Art--great razor acquisition on eBay. If I had seen it, I probably would have gone after it myself. I've been pretty busy, so took my eye off the ball. I'll have to get back to it. I guess my recent acquisition of eight Rolls Razors left me exhausted. I haven't even been able to read the instructions for the Rolls yet. But when I do, I'll post something on it.

MK--I understand your approach and agree. The razor was the best investment you made up front. That's the engine that drives the car. Next up would be a brush when you can--I'd highly recommend the Simpson.

But the creams and lotions and stuff--as long as they're non-chemical and natural ingredients, use what makes you feel good and works for you. I would recommend if you purchase only one shaving product that you get the "cutting balm" that Charles makes, and use the Mach III as a final trimming razor with the balm.

Once you've made the investment in your basic tools, they won't change. I have about five different brushes that I purchased and tried over the years until I learned about the Simpsons. Now the brushes sit in my cabinet and I use only the Simpson. Once you use the best, you understand why the rest are just that...the rest.
 

MK

Founder
Staff member
Bartender
Originally posted by Paladin

MK--I understand your approach and agree. The razor was the best investment you made up front. That's the engine that drives the car. Next up would be a brush when you can--I'd highly recommend the Simpson.

Once you've made the investment in your basic tools, they won't change. I have about five different brushes that I purchased and tried over the years until I learned about the Simpsons. Now the brushes sit in my cabinet and I use only the Simpson. Once you use the best, you understand why the rest are just that...the rest.

Which Simpson do you have?
 

Paladin

One of the Regulars
Messages
104
Location
Texas
I have two Simpsons. My first was a Super Badger Chubby handle. A great, great brush. But the handle just wasn't conducive to a good grip when hands are wet and using a vigorous brush stoke. I purchased a Persian Jug handle (the best for the right wet-handed grip) in Super Silver Tip Badger (not a Best Badger, which is a step under the Super). Here's the brush I purchased from Charles:

http://www.enchanteonline.com/pages/men/caroberts/caroberts2.htm

http://www.gentlemans-shop.com/catalogue/Simpsons-super-badger-brush.aspx?cat=A

Eventually I'll buy a Manchurian brush from Charles. But I'll wait until my Lotto number comes in.
 

Andykev

I'll Lock Up
Bartender
Messages
4,118
Location
The Beautiful Diablo Valley
I tried shaving

I used the old razor that was in a box, the kind Dad used. I watched him shave very closely for years, when I was just a little guy.

This is what happened when I was done.
LOL
 

Bogie1943

Practically Family
Messages
672
Location
Proctorville, Ohio
I have seen a lot of fine shaving sets, the really nice ones with ivory or fine porcelen handles, they go for quit a lot but they are so nice it is worth it if you can spare the cash. Seems like the brushes are often more expensive than the razors, they are very fine items, wish I could find a really fine vintage set for cheap some where, I have been looking, no real luck yet, I will keep you posted.
 

Paladin

One of the Regulars
Messages
104
Location
Texas
Steve--It sounds like you've been reading Charles Roberts' material ("touch and cut"). Yes, DE for three blade runs (down, angle down, angle up), then the Mach3 for final trim & buffiing.
 

Ardbeg98

New in Town
Messages
5
Location
Rockville, Maryland
I've been following this thread for some time and decided to join the forum primarily to let Paladin know what a fantastic job he did in describing his own approach to the Roberts Method of Wet Shaving. Veu well-done, Palidin. I actually read the postings the night before I visited Chas. Roberts in his Austin, Tx, Enchante store to receive a shaving clinic from him. For those of you able to get to Austin, I highly recommend the experience. I called Roberts from my home in the Washington, DC, area and explained that I could only visit on a Sunday, a day the store is normally closed. No matter. Roberts offered to open for me and essentially gave me his entire afternoon. Roberts is a driven person who freely expresses his view that he is ushering in a third revolution in shaving (check the enchanteonline.com website for a full description of the first two). He is a wonderful, motivating teacher who sees himself as a mentor to his students. As he makes his points, he looks straight at you so that you your mind doesn't dare wander; he covers a vast array of topics such as his own philosophy of shaving, the history of shaving, his view of the business and the products being marketed, etc. He is generous and good humored, speaking fondly of the many men he has trained in his method. It's clear that he stays in touch with many of them.

Following an expansive discussion, we repair to the back of the store to a sink where he demonstrates what a shaving brush needs to do. Following this, we go back to the store front where I decide on the shaving brush I will buy. Then we go back to the sink and shave! Charles shows me how to execute a first approximation of his method (very much as Paladin describes). [I'm told that I will given more training after I become proficient with basic techniques.] Following this we go out front to review and discuss a variety of matters. When I say "discuss," I mean it. Roberts turns out to be a very good listener. It's clear that he isn't afraid to modify and improve as he discovers more. As for me: Basking the glow of a really good shave, I buy quite a bit of product, making his Sunday trip to the store less of a sacrifice for him, I'm sure.

If you happen to log on to some of the wet shaving forums on the web, you'll see a bit of sniping aimed at Charles Roberts. But this doesn't come from his customers, I can assure you. As you might imagine, I spent a good deal of cash at Enchante. But no buyers remorse here. Quite the opposite! The brush I bought is all that it is supposed to be and more (a glorious Simpson's Chubby #3 extra super "Machurian")! And I just love the other products that I bought: the shave cube, the Trumper's cream, the cutting balm, the aftershave cream, and the tonic. Enchante the store turns out to be a gem. It is the type of place you might expect to find in Manhattan or London or Paris, but it happens to be located next to a "Tuesday Morning" in south Austin. Isn't America great!

Which brings me to a couple of points that I wanted to make: The Roberts Method (actually it is a collection of methods adjusted to the skill level of the shaver) is really a complete system of facial care built around shaving. Sounds silly I know, it turns out that the whole activity itself is a pleasurable and invigorating one. When you finish you feel good and ready for the day. The Roberts approach is not just about wet shaving.

About the recommended tools: The method requires the use of a large, well made badger brush that holds water and releases it in a controlled way for the creation of a great amount of wet lather that needs to last through the entire shave (remember that you have to lather at least 4 times during the shave so this is important). A large brush made from silver tip badger fur is ideal because of its moisture aborbing qualities. And Simpson's is one of only a couple of makers actually using silver tip fur, even though several other companies claim that they do. I mentioned that the brush has to be well-made. Why? Because in developing the lather using the Robert's techniques you are putting the brush under considerable stress. You pump the brush on the soap to load repeatedly and then you develop the lather by swirling it. In applying the lather to the face, you scrub rather than paint on the lather. These factors together mean that you need to have an excellent brush for the Robert's method. If you are not using the Robert's method or similar approach, then there are many other fine (and more economically sensible) brushes on the market that should satisfy your needs. Can you do the Roberts method without a-top-of-the-line brush? Of course. You just have to work harder.

Finally, why a double edge (DE) safety razor? What about my tried-and-true Mach 3? Is this some kind of affectation or is the use of a DE necessary? I asked this of Charles and he gave me a very sensible answer. The Roberts Method, he said, uses large volumes of water and lots of rich, well-developed lather. A DE razor is well-suited for this kind of shaving--much more so than the Mach 3. He went on to explain that the Gillette Mach 3 System is really geared to a different kind of shaving. The blades are shallow, so you constantly have to keep rinsing the razor when you have a lot of lather. Second, as Gillette advertises. the whole approach to cutting is different with a Mach 3. There are three blades in a row. In shaving, the first blade holds the whiskers in place and the other two blades cut. All of these factors put together are why Roberts reserves the Mach 3 for the final part of the shave, after you have rinsed the cream and applied his oil-based cutting balm. Here the Mach 3 shines, taking off any residual beard left from the DE work! (Are there any advantages to the Mach 3 over the DE? I think so: It's much easier to cut yourself with a DE if you are inexperienced.)

Well, I've dragged on a lot longer than I had planned. But again, my appreciation to Paladin for his fine contributions and for the contributions of the others to the thread. I learned a lot.

Ardbeg98

PS: My posting name pays homage to one of the finest single malt whiskies in Scotland. Ardbeg packs plenty of punch--with a good measure of peat and smoke. The "98" in my user name was the year I first visited the quaint Ardbeg distillery located on the Hebredian island of Islay. A worthy dram, that Ardbeg. Slainte.
 

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