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Friday, May 26, 2017

Peppermint Witch Hazel Aftershave

Peppermint Aftershave

On those days when I want an unpretentious but soothing after-shave splash, I use a simple home-made concoction.

From my local pharmacy I purchased a bottle of generic witch hazel. I have to admit that though witch hazel is soothing and sanitizing due to its minor alcohol content, I really have no special fondness for its generic smell.

So to that generic witch hazel I added peppermint oil. I don't recall the exact amount, but I kept adding drops and shaking the bottle until I could clearly smell the peppermint and not the natural witch hazel. It didn't take much.

Now I enjoy that hint of peppermint when I apply witch hazel after my shaves for a cooling, soothing splash.

Happy shaving!

Eye On the News

I saw a bumper sticker the other day that said "Expect a circus when you elect a clown." You may take that as you will, but it made me think not only of recently-elected politicians, but also of the appalling number of American voters who distrust the news media.

It seems to me that many of those media-distrusting persons during the last election cycle got their "news" from social media. This, of course, is unfortunate because social media as a news medium is highly susceptible to propaganda intended to misinform.

Many U.S. voters lacked the discernment to distinguish between reliable news sources and those that merely disseminated propaganda that reflected the desired perspective of certain readers rather than the actual truth.

It is no accident that our U.S. constitution specifically calls for a free and unencumbered press. The framers of our government knew that transparency is the enemy of corruption and deceit. It is the job of professional, honest journalists to help ensure that transparency. Yet now we have politicians and partisans disparaging the professional, reliable news reports that help in large measure to keep our republic free -- despite the efforts of corrupt politicians.

Just in case you are one of those readers who is both susceptible to propaganda in the form of fake news and a distrust of news media and journalists, the following is a list of just a few of the professional, reliable news sources that you might revisit and learn to trust:

  • The New York Times
  • The Washington Post
  • USA Today
  • ABC News
  • NBC News
  • CBS News
  • PBS News
This, of course, is just a small sampling of the many fine broadcasts and publications that endeavor every single day to bring you the truth. 

As a result of a significant disbelief of these type of accurate, responsible, professional journalistic organizations, we now have a national government that is at best suspect. Had more Americans paid greater attention to the objective reporting and separate opinion pieces offered by these and other responsible, trustworthy news outlets, we wouldn't have our national government in the hands of a president that has been accurately labeled "profoundly ignorant." I would also add that he may have a personality disorder as many have speculated, and he clearly has a weak understanding of the difference between truth and falsehood. He also is clearly corrupt, and it is to be determined in the future as to whether he is also a criminal.

I urge you, dear reader, to make sure you are accurately informed and not just seeking to believe "news" that is basically a reflection of your opinions, fears and wishes.

Sincerely,

Grandad


Razor Garage Sale Continues!!!

I'm continuing to offer my few remaining redundant razors, seeking a win-win solution. I win because I simplify my shaving gear, and you win because you get a good razor at a reduced cost.

Many have already taken advantage of the offerings. Don't wait or you may miss a good bargain.
Keep in mind that there are a few dollars of packaging and mailing costs embedded in the prices of my DE garage-sale razors, and there really isn't a lemon in the bunch.





Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Big Surprise at Military Museum

A friend of mine is a military-history enthusiast. In his home he actually has an impressive collection of artifacts, information, and books on military history ranging from the Civil War through the Viet Nam conflict. I have written about this in a previous article on a World War II military razor.

Yesterday I played a tennis match against a third party, and that match was hosted by my historian friend at his local tennis court. Afterward he invited us back to his residence for dinner with him and his wife. After dinner I we got a tour of his expanded private collection, which has had an entire new room added.

Touring the WWII area and knowing of my interest in shaving, he mentioned that he had a new razor on display. He grabbed an olive drab package slightly smaller than the size of a deck of cards. The package was a bi-fold design, and when the semi-rigid side panels were opened, revealed the central panel with three olive-drab-cloth loops to hold a razor head, razor handle, and a shiny container that, at first glimpse, looked like a Zippo lighter.

This is a photo I grabbed from the Internet. The razor and  accompanying Zippo-lighter-like unit are pretty much the same as the razor that my friend has in his museum. A key difference is the outer case, which in this image is metal with black lining, but my friend's artifact has a much simpler olive-drab-cloth-covered semi-solid case with flaps that fold in and snap together.


The olive-drab container was in good shape except for the cloth loop that was to hold the razor's top cap and baseplate. This loop was unsecured and frayed at one end.

I examined the razor head, with it's open-comb baseplate, and suggested that it looked more likely to be a World War I razor. By the way, the razor was in amazingly good condition! Similarly, the Zippo-lighter-looking container was shiny bright and looked like new!

I confirmed the vintage of the razor when my friend opened the Zippo-like container to reveal that it was, not surprisingly, a blade holder. More importantly, it held a number of original, unused blades in near-new condition! The blades were the original Gillette style with the rounded ends and the three circular holes for centering the blade in the razor -- not the modern rectangular ends and zig-zag central opening to accommodate the many double-edge-razor designs that have been offered throughout the years.

This is a modern replica of the shaving kit in my friend's private museum. The razor and blades shown are all wrong (the razor  shown is a c.1948 Tech, and the blade package looks to be paper or cardboard). The case, however, is similar but not an exact reproduction of the real artifact. The stirrups in the real McCoy were olive drab and not elastic. The actual artifact also has labeling on the inside of one of the main flaps, and (presumably) the original owner's initials hand written in ink on the opposite flap.


The blades had writing on them to indicate that they were not to be re-sharpened. They were different than modern blades, however, in more than just their shape. They were shiny almost like they were chromed. They were also a bit thicker, feeling more substantial and less flexible than any blade manufactured today. For example, while it is quite easy to snap a modern blade in half so it can be used as a single-edge blade in the appropriate razor, it would be impossible to snap these vintage blades in the same way. It was also strange that they were not individually wrapped in paper, even though they were stored in this metal blade-holding container -- a storage method that may have had some negative effect on the exposed edges.

This is another pic I grabbed from the Internet, which shows blades similar to those that were in the military kit.


Unfortunately, I had left my phone/camera in my car thinking I would have no need for it, and, frankly, finding this rare vintage razor was such a pleasant surprise, I was completely focused on examining it. I had no thought of writing a blog article on it until later when I was back home. So then next time I'm at my friend's private museum, I'll take a couple of pictures of the actual artifact so readers can see the real article.

Happy shaving!

Razor Garage Sale Continues!!!

I'm continuing to offer my few remaining redundant razors, seeking a win-win solution. I win because I simplify my shaving gear, and you win because you get a good razor at a reduced cost.

Many have already taken advantage of the offerings. Don't wait or you may miss a good bargain.
Keep in mind that there are a few dollars of packaging and mailing costs embedded in the prices of my DE garage-sale razors, and there really isn't a lemon in the bunch.





Sunday, May 21, 2017

Tender Mercies: Pre-Shave Prep

Over the past couple of years, I've gone back and forth on pre-shave preparation: hot water, cool water, shave oil or no, Noxema wash, minimal prep, etc.

As I've shaved recently with my vintage, traditional straight razor, I've once again come round to cool-water shaving. I've compared it to pre-shave showers, warm/hot towels, and all the rest. I've come up with a strong suspicion about pre-shave prep. The key ingredients are water and time.

I think the water is best at a cool temperature because cool water may help to preserve and retain natural skin oils.

The time element is best incorporated by a pre-shave splash and wash. However, the soap used for the wash is important. Rather than using a cleansing soap of any kind, I recommend a shave soap for the pre-shave wash.

My currently-favored routine is first applying and lightly rubbing cool water into my beard. Then I rub on some shave soap. It can be any kind but I suggest something inexpensive -- price and quality don't matter as long as it's shave soap and not cleansing soap. Then with wet fingers I lightly but thoroughly rub the soap into my stubble. I take my time with this and ensure that there's plenty of water involved. I then gently rinse some or all of the soap off with more water, again taking my time in the process. Then I apply the soap to be used for the shave -- this is the time for the good stuff -- and face lather.

I have been getting very good results with this process -- arguably even better than shaving after a hot shower.

I've come to think of all the barber-recommended suggestions such as a hot, wet towel application (or multiple applications of hot, wet towels) as mere theater!

You might give this a try. I'd be interested to hear your opinion.

Happy shaving!


Razor Garage Sale Continues!!!

I'm continuing to offer my few remaining redundant razors, seeking a win-win solution. I win because I simplify my shaving gear, and you win because you get a good razor at a reduced cost.

Many have already taken advantage of the offerings. Don't wait or you may miss a good bargain.
Keep in mind that there are a few dollars of packaging and mailing costs embedded in the prices of my DE garage-sale razors, and there really isn't a lemon in the bunch.





Friday, May 19, 2017

Safely Changing Futur Settings Mid Shave

Futur-Design Complaint

The only complaint that I have about the Future-razor design is it's general slipperiness when soapy and wet. This affects not only one's grip on the handle, but also the safety of changing the adjustable settings in the middle of the shave.

If the smooth handle becomes slippery, one might drop the razor. This is not good. However, worse is to try to change the adjustment setting mid shave. The razor head is very likely to be soapy and wet, which is going to make it very slippery. This greatly increases the chances that the razor head will turn in one's fingers, allowing the blade edge to wound. I have read about several instances where this has happened to unwary users.

This issue is true for not only for the original Merkur Futur but also imitators including my Ming Shi 2000S (MS2K).

Ming-Shi Affection

I have previously written that I really like my MS2K razor. As a matter of fact, I used it this morning and got an excellent shave. I mean REALLY excellent: baby smooth nearly throughout and not a wound or irritation to be found. All this with a sixth-use Personna Red blade.

When I use the MS2K, I am simply careful to keep my razor hand dry so that I maintain a solid grip on the instrument. However, also when I use the MS2K, I do change settings during the shave.

My favored shaving process includes a single main lathering of the face. (So obviously I don't do the de rigueur three-pass shave.)  Using that single lathering, I'll do main strokes in a given region of my face, followed up immediately by strokes to achieve the desired smoothness. These final strokes are usually done at a more aggressive adjustable-razor setting than the initial strokes.

For example, this morning I shaved the plane of my right cheek using anti-raking strokes (to preserve rather than remove lather) in a perfectly against-grain direction, using a razor setting of 1.5. Then I adjusted my razor to 2, and made my clean-up strokes (but to be honest, I don't remember the precise direction of those strokes). Then I re-set my razor to 1.5 and moved on to a different area of my beard, where I pretty much repeated the process.

Use the Counter Top, Stupid

Initially, when I first acquired the MS2K, to greatly diminish the chances of being cut I would make mid-shave razor adjustments using a wash cloth between the slippery razor head and my fingers. But thanks to a suggestion by Stephen McGuire, I have been able to ditch the wash cloth and still not worry about slicing my fingers while making these multiple razor-setting changes during my shave. 

When I want to make razor-adjustment changes to a wet, soapy Futur-design razor, I do this:
  1. With the razor oriented so that the adjustment-indicator line is upward and thereby visible, and with the handle parallel to the sink-counter top, I set the razor's safety bar on the counter top.
  2. With my non-razor hand, I carefully secure the razor head against the counter so it is stable and can't rotate.
  3. I use my razor hand to rotate the razor handle to the desired razor-adjustment setting. 
  4. I then resume my shave. Voila!
This is the best way that I've found to address the only major drawback to the Futur design: the lack of grippy texture. 

Happy safe, adjustable shaving!


Razor Garage Sale Continues!!!

I'm continuing to reduce my inventory of razors, seeking a win-win solution. I win because I simplify my shaving gear, and you win because you get a good razor at a reduced cost.

Many have already taken advantage of the offerings. Don't wait or you may miss a good bargain.
Keep in mind that there is about $4 of packaging and mailing costs embedded in the prices of my DE garage-sale razors (the straight is a little less expensive to mail because it's flatter), and there really isn't a lemon in the bunch.





Sunday, May 14, 2017

Maggard Meet 2017

It was a fun afternoon yesterday at the 2017 Maggard Meet in Adrian, Michigan. The Maggard store is impressive in its square footage and the vast array of wet-shaving implements and accessories. They even have an in-store barber in his own room adjacent to the sales floor.

Complementing the normal space, services, and inventory of the Maggard facilities were a number of vendors promoting their wares and offering many samples and friendly discussion. Vendors came from several states including Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, and even California.

The attendance was excellent, and I enjoyed talking shaving and other things with several of my fellow attendees. There were also a couple of recognizable faces from shaving videos on youtube.com. These included Mantic59 from Sharpologist.com and Matt from RazorEmporium.com.

This panorama photo is of the main 1st-floor sales area at Maggard Razors, and was taken from the stairway that goes
upstairs to the room in which vendors had their displays and where the buffet luncheon was served.

There was a nice buffet luncheon included with the price of admission ($12), with plenty of tasty food and drink -- even a voucher for a glass of any one of several artisan-crafted beer options.

UPDATE: Mantic59 was looking fit and trim at the event. I, on the other hand, made an unfortunate sartorial decision, wearing that sweater vest that made me look rather bulky around the middle. My vanity requires that I state for the record that I have a 32-inch waist, and am extremely fit and lean. Sorry, I just had to say it.

This was my first visit to Maggard Razors' actual store, and if you can swing it, it's worth the trip. If that's not feasible, then it's certainly worth becoming familiar with their web-based store at maggardrazors.com.

I left with a nice gift bag full of soap, aftershave, and balm samples, which I intend to try as I can -- so many products, so little time. ;-) I also won one of their many prize-give-away drawings, receiving two large tins of shave soap.

Lastly, I discussed with Brad Maggard (MaggardRazors.com), Mantic59 (Sharpologist.com), and Matt (RazorEmporium.com) as well as another generous and enthusiastic straight shaver (Big John) my long interest in shaving with a traditional straight razor (for ecological reasons: there's nothing to throw away or even recycle). As a result, with the guidance of Brad Maggard, I took the plunge. I bought a strop and an unpretentious 5/8 vintage straight that he had restored and sharpened.

Mantic59 agreed to publish on Sharpologist.com my traditional-straight-razor experience, learnings, and barber-razor comparisons. I'll let you know when that article is available, and I'll post a link to it within my blog, of course.

Happy shaving!


Razor Garage Sale Continues!!!

I'm continuing to reduce my inventory of razors, seeking a win-win solution. I win because I simplify my shaving gear, and you win because you get a good razor at a reduced cost.

Many have already taken advantage of the offerings. Don't wait or you may miss a good bargain.
Keep in mind that there is about $4 of packaging and mailing costs embedded in the prices of my DE garage-sale razors (the straight is a little less expensive to mail because it's flatter), and there really isn't a lemon in the bunch.





Thursday, May 11, 2017

Razor Versus Technique

I was reading the latest article in Sharpologist.com this morning on a new razor from Phoenix Artisan Acoutrements (PAA) and, in particular, their unique double-open-comb razors (DOC).

[UPDATE: I have updated perspectives on this razor (I like it!).  Take a look here: first update article and second update article.]

The PAA DOC designs are based on an earlier vintage razor, which had a comb-edged top cap. This design held moisture and lather in the top cap, and was promoted to be specifically to enhance the lubrication of the shave when performing buffing strokes. This makes a great deal of sense from a common perspective. But what is that perspective? That is a question worth discussing.

The average shaver shaves his face similar to the way one would rake leaves off a lawn. He starts at the edge of the lathered area, and stroke by stroke removes lather and whiskers as he progresses across the real estate of his beard until he completes a given pass and his face is shaved (at least to some degree) and relatively lather free. Also, the average shaver is rinsing used lather from his razor periodically as he progresses in his pass.

Given this methodology, a buffing stroke is going to shave an area and then stroke back over that relatively lubrication-free terrain to make yet another shaving stroke. This is a recipe for low-lubrication strokes, which are more likely to be irritating on skin. So why not design a razor that holds some extra lubrication in the top cap, which will be laid down to some degree as one makes the return portion of the buffing stroke, thereby providing more lubrication and minimizing chances of irritation?

Well, there's no reason NOT to use such a design UNLESS ONE CHANGES ONE'S SHAVING METHODOLOGY.

Now before I go on, I want to state for the record that I love innovation and improvement in products. I also love learning from experiments of the past and reviving good ideas that got lost in time.

But I also love innovation and improvement in technique, methodology. When the two conflict (that is, one rendering the other unnecessary), then I would always advocate the most economical choice -- and I define economy to include not only monetary cost, but also costs of time, effort, and any other relevant intangibles.

Take the slant-razor design for example. The slant razor uses a normal shaving stroke, with the handle parallel to the stroke direction, and automatically converts it to a skewed stroke, a Gillette slide. There is also the assertion that the warped blade has a stiffer edge, which can reduce irriation -- although I would dispute that belief. Anyway, those are the benefits commonly stated. However, the drawbacks are several:

  • The additional financial layout for the razor
  • Having to store the razor
    And most importantly....
  • The varying blade angle along the shaving edge offeres varying potential for irritation, with the side of the edge that has the steepest angle having the greatest likelihood of being irritating.
If one is flexible in his technique, then simply taking any non-slant razor and making skewed strokes (that is, making strokes with the razor edge skewed off perpendicular to the stroke direction) will pretty much accomplish the same outcome as a slant razor without any of the drawbacks. (I've written about all these things in the past.)

So now let's return to the DOC design. Cool? Yep. Interesting? Yep. Innovative? Yep. Necessary? Uh.... not at all.

A simple technique change offers the same benefit of the DOC without any drawbacks (in my experience). Instead of shaving in a lawn-raking pattern, one would shave in an anti-raking pattern (again, about which I've written several times in the past -- the most noteworthy article being my introductory article to the technique). 

Regular readers will know that I tend to question almost everything including cherished beliefs such as the de rigueur three-pass shave. I only have one primary lathering step in my normal shave. I tend to make my initial strokes largely (but not necessarily perfectly) against the grain, I use slow buffing strokes for the largest part of my shave, and, accordingly, I use an anti-raking stroke pattern. And I tend to get shaves that are more efficient in terms of time and trouble, and as good or better than those when I slavishly adhered to the oft-repeated mythology of best shaving methods.

So my bottom line is that if you like the DOC design for any reason, well, it's a free country (at least as long as we don't slip into full-banana-republic mode, into which we seem to be precariously sliding with the current federal administration: alternative facts, bald-faced lies, distortions, corruption, possible crimes, etc.), so have at it.

However, for me, I don't see the need. I'll be sticking to my small stable of adjustables (Parker Variant, Ming Shi 2000S, and Gillette Slim) and my solitary straight (Parker PTB).

Happy shaving!


Razor Garage Sale Continues!!!

I'm continuing to reduce my inventory of razors, seeking a win-win solution. I win because I simplify my shaving gear, and you win because you get a good razor at a reduced cost.

Many have already taken advantage of the offerings. Don't wait or you may miss a good bargain.
Keep in mind that there is about $4 of packaging and mailing costs embedded in the prices of my DE garage-sale razors (the straight is a little less expensive to mail because it's flatter), and there really isn't a lemon in the bunch.





Saturday, May 6, 2017

Maggard Razors Annual Wet-Shave Meet

Maggard Razors Annual Wet-Shave Meet

Maggard Razors of Adrian, MI is holding their annual wet-shave meet next Saturday, May 13, 2017. The event is from noon-6 PM, and will have vendors and some recognizable national notables in the world of wet shaving.



I will be attending and visiting Maggard Razors in person for the first time, although I have been an on-line customer for some time.

For more information and to get your ticket, you can go to the following web page:

http://www.maggardrazors.com/2017-meet/

Maybe I can see you there!

Happy shaving and mingling!


Razor Garage Sale Continues!!!

I'm continuing to reduce my inventory of razors, seeking a win-win solution. I win because I simplify my shaving gear, and you win because you get a good razor at a reduced cost.

Many have already taken advantage of the offerings. Don't wait or you may miss a good bargain.
Keep in mind that there is about $4 of packaging and mailing costs embedded in the prices of my DE garage-sale razors (the straight is a little less expensive to mail because it's flatter), and there really isn't a lemon in the bunch.








Friday, May 5, 2017

An Imitation Futur but the Real Deal?

I acquired a Ming Shi 2000S adjustable razor this week. It is one of the highly-touted Chinese-manufactured imitators of the Merkur Futur (by the way, pronounced MARE-koor foo-TOOR).The Futur is, of course, the unique German adjustable, whose patent has expired and thus allowed these completely legal, ethical imitators to exist.  I don't call the 2000S a Futur clone because it isn't an exact copy; there are some subtle differences.



I ordered my Ming Shi 2000S from Maggard Razors (maggardrazors.com) for the following reasons:

  • Good reputation for prompt order fulfillment
  • Shorter transit time from a distributor within the USA
  • From Maggard one will receive the product advertised, so I don't have to worry about communication and bait-and-switch issues that sometimes muck up purchases from off-shore sellers.
  • Good reputation for customer service

Physical Observations

I've never used nor held a genuine Merkur Futur, but let me give you my observations about the Ming Shi 2000S imitation Futur:
  • I don't use the word imitation as a pejorative. It is actually a compliment of sorts.
  • The 2000S, visually, is a nice-looking, apparently high quality instrument, with a satin-chrome finish.
  • As is frequently reported, the 2000S is a heavy weight, but not quite as heavy as the Futur. With blade it weighs 3.5 ounces (99g).
  • The overall physical dimensions of the 2000S are similar but not necessarily identical to the Futur: 
    • Overall length: ~4.25 inches (~108 mm)
    • Handle length: ~ 3.5 inches ( ~89 mm)
    • Handle diameter: ~ 3/8 inch (~9.5 mm) and ~1/2 inch (~12.7 mm)
  • The numbers that indicate the adjustment settings are applied on  rather than  inset in the handle, so it's possible that they might eventually disappear if subjected to abrasion. Only time will tell....

Blade Insertion/Removal

After reading on-line reviews on this razor design, I can confirm a few recommendations and suggest a few other things:

Like all double-edge razors, this one may be best oriented inverted when inserting or removing a blade
  • When inserting a blade, the usual method applies:
    • On a cushioning cloth, set the top cap with prongs pointing upward.
    • Lay the blade into the inverted top cap.
    • Press the baseplate-handle assembly onto the inverted top cap until the parts snap together
  • When removing a blade:
    • Lay a cushioning cloth on the counter.
    • Invert the razor (handle up) over the cloth -- close but not touching.
    • With a thumb, gently push one end of the top cap down and away from the baseplate-handle assembly.
    • The top cap will (should) fall away onto the cushioning cloth. The blade may stay in the top cap, or it may separate from the top cap and fall separately onto the cloth.
    • If the blade remains in the top cap, carefully remove it taking care not to damage the edge if you will be reusing the blade for another shave. This is not a big deal and should not be a problem for competent grown ups. ;-)

Grip

The handle has no knurling or other significant texture to aid with the grip. Some complain about this, and it's a valid complaint. Futur users have noted this as have users of Futur imitations.

I speculate that makers of imitation Futur razors did not add knurling for reasons of credibility. I suspect that if the 2000S design visually deviated from the Futur with improved knurling, its acceptance in the market place may have been slowed. From a functional perspective, however, the complaints about slipperiness are on target.

Therefore, when I have used the razor I take care to keep my razor hand dry -- certainly lather free. This has not been a big problem, but, frankly, it is the only knock that I can make about the razor to this point.

Shaves to this Point

I've used the razor for two shaves. Because the Futur has a reputation for being an aggressively-shaving razor -- even on its most mild setting -- I was cautious in my use of this 2000S. So I did shave number one with the razor set on one. I used a Personna blue blade that already had four shaves on it. I just kept my blade rotation unchanged despite the new razor. I didn't start out with any special, fresh, new-razor blade.

I did my usual process and got a good first shave. I had no wounds but a bit of irritation. I may have been pressing a bit because the razor on one was not really aggressive at all. The outcome was a good shave, not great, and I resolved that I needed to dial up the razor for the next shave.

So for the second shave, I began with the razor on 1.5. (One can do this because the settings -- like the Parker Variant and unlike Gillette adjustables -- don't have fixed detents, so there are essentially infinite settings between the highest and the lowest.) I quickly realized this wasn't sufficiently different from the maiden shave of yesterday, so I re-lathered and started again on a setting of two.

By the way, when changing the settings of the 2000S (and the Futur and other imitators) when a blade is installed -- especially mid shave with damp fingers -- it's best and highly recommended to hold the razor head by its sides using a cloth to aid one's grip and as protection against cuts from unintended slippage. 

Again for this second shave I used my usual process, the same blade, and the outcome was better than yesterday. My shave was closer, less irritation (as little as I normally get), and wound free. Today's shave was actually very good, and I must say, I'm impressed with this razor.

The Under-Nose Shave

A common complaint about the Futur and imitators is the size of the razor head. When measuring from blade edge to edge or safety bar to safety bar, this design is pretty normal. However, its long dimension (from blade tab to blade tab) is longer, obviously, because the top-cap design completely encloses the blade tabs rather than leaving them exposed as do most double-edge razors. 

This tab-covering top-cap design has its advantage, which is that you never have to worry about nicks caused by exposed blade tabs. The obvious drawback, of course, is that the wider top cap makes it slightly more difficult to get the top wiskers of the upper lip, which are right under the nose.

This isn't a big problem, and I question the motives of some who complain. Anyway, this wasn't anywhere near a show stopper for me.

The Current Verdict

I really like this razor. I would say love, except the smooth handle takes away just a bit of the joy of the shave.

I like mild- to moderate-shaving razors -- not uber aggressive -- and so I would say that reports of this razor being too aggressive on its lowest settings are exaggerated. With an appropriately light touch, this razor can likely be happily used by most shavers, whether newbies or old hands, with peach-fuzz or copper-wire hair.

I suspect that my ideal setting may ultimately be in the vicinity of two and a half or three. We'll see, but in any case, this razor, to my taste, is a keeper and a very good value. I truly do like it a lot so far. For the price and the shave, if you can deal with the smooth handle, this may be one of the best values around for an adjustable razor.



Razor Garage Sale Continues w/ New Additions & ** Price Reductions ** !!!

I'm continuing to reduce my inventory of razors, seeking a win-win solution. I win because I simplify my shaving gear, and you win because you get a good razor at a reduced cost.

Many have already taken advantage of the offerings. Don't wait or you may miss a good bargain.


Keep in mind that there is about $4 of packaging and mailing costs embedded in the prices of my DE garage-sale razors (the straight is a little less expensive to mail because it's flatter), and there really isn't a lemon in the bunch.


Happy shaving!




Tuesday, May 2, 2017

1965 Gillette Travel Tech

Classic Shave

The '65 Tech offers the same shave character as essentially all post-world-war-II Techs. It's a mild-to-moderate shaver (depending on one's evaluation criteria) that is prized by many.


The Travel Handle

The handle that comes as part of the Travel Tech kit is short -- obviously to save space -- but it offers significant mass (20 g) for its size. The travel handle is made of durable, care-free stainless steel, and it's grippy having nice knurling and a classic ball-end design. I, personally, used the travel handle on several razor heads, and found that it offers a nice and unique shaving experience.

However, because the razor is a three-piece design, it accepts standard handles. This allows the Travel Tech to be used just like any other every-day razor by simply substituting another, non-travel handle.


The Baseplate and Top Cap

With the contours of its post-WWII siblings, the baseplate of the '65 Travel Tech is very similar to that of the c.'48 Techs. The only difference is that Gillette developed the four-tab method of centering the blade in the razor head, and eliminated the centering flange that ran along the long-dimension center line of the underside of the top cap.

The 1960s evolution of the Tech included a different top cap contour with an embossed Gillette logo. While the baseplate continued to be made from a thick metal, which is thick enough to make me question whether it was stamped or cast, but is very similar in appearance to earlier Techs, the top-cap design is an updated departure and is likely made out of a zinc alloy rather than the traditional brass. Zinc alloys are known for their ability to yield high-quality castings, and as long as they retain their protective plating, are durable and long lasting.

The centering tabs are on the underside of the top cap at the corners, and fit into corresponding notches in the baseplate. The method is as secure and reliable as the center-flange design of earlier Techs, and I only assume that Gillette evolved to this design for one or more of the following reasons:

  • The zinc alloy of the top cap allows better casting, thus allowing the tabs to be cleanly and precisely located.
  • The manufacturing process of the top cap may have been made more efficient with the design and material evolution.
  • The cost of production may have been reduced with the design and material changes.

Razor-Head Plating

The plating on the baseplate and top cap has a silvery finish that I would describe as semi-gloss -- something in between satin and mirror finish. It's not clear whether it's chrome or nickel. The coloring of the plating has a more silvery shade than the slightly-yellowish nickel plating on my Gillette Slim, but is more yellowish than the mirror-finish chrome on modern razor heads. This tweener shading of the plating on the Travel Tech razor head makes it difficult to state with confidence exactly what is its composition.

On the specimen that I own, however, this unspecified razor-head plating is in excellent condition and doesn't at all suggest that this is a 50-year-plus-old razor.


The Travel Case

A charming feature of the Travel Tech is its gold-and-white-vinyl travel case. With separate, internal white-vinyl stirrups to hold the top cap, handle, and vintage blade, the entire unit zips up using a classic, vintage brass-toothed zipper to make a compact travel package. My version of this travel case is in flawless condition, with the only feature belying its age is that the case may have stiffened with age, so I have been gentle with it when I opened it wide enough to extract or insert its razor components.


Razor Garage Sale Continues w/ New Additions & ** Price Reductions ** !!!

I'm continuing to reduce my inventory of razors, seeking a win-win solution. I win because I simplify my shaving gear, and you win because you get a good razor at a reduced cost.

Many have already taken advantage of the offerings. Don't wait or you may miss a good bargain.

Keep in mind that there is about $4 of packaging and mailing costs embedded in the prices of my DE garage-sale razors (the straight is a little less expensive to mail because it's flatter), and there really isn't a lemon in the bunch.

Happy shaving!