Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Good Reading, Fun Viewing, and a Great Shave

Good Reading = Good Salesmanship

When I sell something on line, whether on an auction site, a listing site, or even on a private web site, I usually try to provide lots of written information and adequate images to give the buyer plenty of facts and anecdotes to entertain and inform.

As I read the news on line in the mornings with my coffee, I'm often frustrated by the politics and bored by the not-so-important "news," and I will often turn to my familiar shaving sites to see what new information may be available.

I occasionally read Amazon's customer reviews of shaving products looking for gold among the dross. And there's lots of dross. Many of the reviews are written by newcomers to traditional shaving, and these newcomers often don't really know what they're talking about. Other reviews are written by experienced traditional shavers, who often seem to believe in their own expertise, but often are really clueless when opining on razor design and other technical matters of shaving products.

As I've become more familiar with Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements (PAA)* and their web site, I've found that their web pages often offer entertaining reading, which is both enjoyable and also helps (I assume) to move their products. I visit their site occasionally just to read the stories of some of their products as well as some of the hard-wired reviews that they sometimes include as part of their sales patter.

Fun Viewing

Speaking of PAA, as a result of email correspondence with Doug Smythe, a key player at PAA, I became aware of the YouTube channel and regular broadcasts of "I'd Lather be Shaving" (sic), which is apparently produced in weekly episodes that run between a quarter and half an hour each. Filled with zany antics and some interesting information, I've included that channel as part of my down-time video viewing. With Doug of PAA and his co-performer, Matt Pisarcik of Razor Emporium, these guys can provide fun viewing for those with an interest or curiosity about traditional shaving and shave products.

An Adjustable Non-Adjustable?

As you may know, my stable of double-edge (DE) razors has been largely reduced to adjustables. All my modern incarnations of adjustable razors are great shavers that I really enjoy using. These are, of course, my Parker Variant, which I got from Super Safety Razors, and Ming Shi 2000S (imitation Futur), which I got from Maggard Razors. I also have that vintage (1963) Gillette Slim that belonged to my dad, and which I keep for sentimental reasons more than for my love of its shave character (which I find to be just a bit harsh).

However, my consciously-chosen limited stable of at-hand DE razors has been infiltrated by the PAA double-open-comb (DOC) three-piece razor. This morning I used this razor like an adjustable.

I've known for a long time that two- and three-piece DE razors can be made more aggressive by slightly reducing the pressure with which the top-cap-baseplate "sandwich" is held together. The lower tension can allow the natural springiness of the blade to slightly separate the razor head, offering a larger "bite" between the blade edge and the safety guard. Previously, I've never done this because most of my razors have been adequately aggressive when totally snugged up.

The PAA DOC razor, though, is nicely mild when tightly snugged and can be made nicely more aggressive when not-so-tightly snugged. So this morning, I took a single-lather shave but did two complete passes. I could do this, in part, because of the DOC's unique design that can help to leave lather on the face after buffing strokes are made (and I routinely use long, slow "buffing" strokes in my shaves). So I did my first pass with the razor tightly closed. Then I loosened the razor head and re-snugged, but not quite so tightly, and made my second pass. Both passes, by the way, were largely against the grain of my beard.

I did add some water and a bit of used lather from the underside of the razor, but got a really fine shave in what was, for the most part, a single-lather shave.

I hope your shave was as good.

Happy shaving!

*affiliate organization


  1. FWIW, I was fortunate to participate in a pass-around of a Parker Variant and as a result purchased my own.

    Wow it's a great razor. I'd say it's got the shave qualities of the MingShi which are nice but smaller head for under the nose. It's definitely smoother than my Super Adjustable 109 as well.

    It's the current favorite until something better comes along.

    1. Yep, that's pretty much my opinion about my adjustables, too.