A year in, my conclusions so far...

Discussion in 'Shave School' started by psyrob, Feb 5, 2018.

  1. psyrob

    psyrob Member

    This is a report on my experiences and conclusions after a year of DE shaving. I have followed the 30 day rule pretty closely for most of the year, with some incidents of cheating on changing more than one variable at a time, but not too much. I ride the cap. I've gone thru several sample packs of razors, I have used a boar, badger and synthetic brush, and have tried a bunch of soaps, croaps and creams. I certainly haven't tried them all. Also have sampled a bunch of different after shaves, including Nivea, Gillette, Prorarso Sandlewood, Proraso Blue balm, TOBS Eton College, and something called GIO I got as a gift from someone. I have used three razors: A Wilkinson Classic, Merkur 34 C and Fatboy E4 my wife picked up at a swap meet for 12 bucks.

    this is what I have decided for now:
    Brushes: Boar Brush for me. I like the back bone of my Omega, it has good self esteem and is very sure of itself every time. synthetic and badger are just too wimpy and don't do as well for me. But I use them from time to time anyway.

    Soaps: I like Arko stick the best for slickness and I like the scent. TOBS Eton College next best for scent and slickness. These are the two I use the most. La Toja Shaving stick is in the rotation too, not as slick as Arko and TOBS. I want to love the Proraso Red croap and Blue cream I have, but the slickness isn't really great. I did not like and will not use again Locactian CADE, Van Der Hagen and Odin's Armpit (which I bought at the Renaissance Faire after many Guinesses)

    Blades: My favorites in order: Treet Platinum, Wilkinson Sword Classic, Gillette Silver Blue, TRIG, Rapira. Blades that did not work for me: Astra SP, Voshkod, Derby, Lord, to name a few.

    After shaves: I like Proraso Red the best followed by TOBS Eton College.

    Razors: Merkur 34 C is flawless. I find the Fatboy does not hold the blade as well as the Merkur. Blades that are super smooth in the Merkur seem to "jump around" in the Fatboy. I pay attention to techinque and Ride the Cap, but I will get little micro cuts in the Fatboy and never cut myself with the Merkur. I started with the Wilkinson and it is fine, but never gets any use at present.

    So now I am going to buy bulk packs of Treet and Wilkinson and slip in random blades I might order from time to time. And use Arko and TOBS mainly, but sample new soaps/creams from time to time and use Merkur 34 C 90% of the time, hoping to get better with my technique with Fatboy.
    That's it, I welcome any suggestions on other blades, soaps or After shaves to try,
  2. RyX

    RyX DoH! Staff Member

    Rob, sounds like you have both feet on the ground. Good job on sticking to A Rule and developing your technique.

    I agree about Omega boar brushes - good quality knots that scrub like I want a brush to do. Which brush do you have? I'm enjoying synthetic more than you, but kind of agree about badger. Maybe we both haven't tried the right one yet.

    I wonder about your Fat Boy. I've owned near a dozen adjustable Gillettes and found the E-4 195's to be the best of the series. Are you getting that last quarter turn that locks the doors down?

    Arko Rocks. Nuf said? ToBS is quality, too. Does the Odin's Armpit have interesting graphics on the label?
  3. psyrob

    psyrob Member

    RyX, to answer your questions, the boar brush is the Omega that was made with Proraso, it has a silver handle. I don't know the number but it looks like the 10048, but came in a Proraso box. Odin's armpit has a picture of a badger on the jar, it is made by Badger Creek Studio, it says that on the label too. Should have a picture of Odin's hairy armpit with lightening bolts and dwarves coming out, that would be cooler. About the Fatboy, I don't know if I am tightening it that last quarter turn. That answer probably means I am not. Next time I will be sure to do the last quarter turn and see if that has been the problem.
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  4. wchnu

    wchnu Duck Season!

    That report is a huge bucket of Awesome!!!
    Before the straight razor guys get here (glare @Spyder ) I will just gently suggest that you might consider looking at a SE or Injector razor.
  5. preidy

    preidy Just call me Dino

    I really can't argue with any of your conclusions spot on (well maybe the Arko).
  6. Spyder

    Spyder Well-Known Member

    Fuzzy: just an FYI the injectors were the gateway to Straights. I used the se/ injectors exclusively for a year prior to joining the dark side:). My favorite safety razor remains my Schick E3
  7. MR41

    MR41 Well-Known Member

    That’s a great summary! And from my experience, beyond technique, learning the nuances of your own preferences puts you miles down the road in your shave journey; and it sounds like you’ve done that through your focuses. Well Done!
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  8. MR41

    MR41 Well-Known Member

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  9. Straight razor dandy

    Straight razor dandy Stuck cleaning the house himself PERMANENTLY

    This is what makes wet shaving so interesting and individualistic. I seem to like almost everything opposite, lol!

    Synthetic brushes, mostly artisan soaps, chatillon lux aftershaves, Gillette fatboys, etc. (I also agree that you should make sure that you are getting that last 1/4 turn on your fatboy and trt different settings,because it makes all the difference). I do like Gillette silver blues for my blades, however.

    My suggestion would be to try more soaps. You have the gear dialed into your preferences, but the innovations in soaps over the past few years has been remarkable. I use almost exclusively high-end artisan soaps, and they are SOOOO much better. If you haven't already, try Stirling soaps, barrister and Mann, and L&L Grooming soaps.

    As far as good old standbys, I find TOBS Jermyn Street to be the best of their line and Truefitt and Hill 1805 to be incredible as well. I also really love chatillon lux and pinaud for aftershaves.

    P.S. @RyX why is the E 4 fat boy your favorite? I am curious.
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  10. RyX

    RyX DoH! Staff Member

    Thomas, I've been right place & right time to pick up 10 or so Fat boy, Slim, and BlackBeauties the last couple years. Every one got a Dawn and toothbrush scrub, lubed with mineral oil, followed by a test shave. Two E-4 Fat Boys gave me the best service. Smooth beard reduction, best nickle finish, no mechanical problems. At one point I was testing two E-4's side by side. I'm not sure if I kept my favorite, or the new-to -me unit. Neal of The 30 Day Crew got his FB from that trade. I've not hoarded; all of my Adjustables have been rehomed except for my E-4 . Only once have I had an issue with one - stuck adjuster ring. I did a partial break down of that #195. There was a slight design change some time after fourth quarter of 1959. The early ones had a threaded cap with notches that allow easy disassembly.
    paper clip wrench.gif
    I didn't get that particular FB fully functional. Not having experience with a total breakdown like CaptMurphy of B&B (vintagerazorrepair@gmail.com) I stopped half way. It was offered as a prize with the condition noted, during a TSD Fund Raiser.
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  11. Straight razor dandy

    Straight razor dandy Stuck cleaning the house himself PERMANENTLY


    On inspection of my 4 fatboys, I have an E4, E3, F2, and F3. I believe a comparison is in order.
  12. RyX

    RyX DoH! Staff Member

    As often happens we've drifted off topic from @psyrob's original intent.
    Anyone interested in discussing the innards of Adjustable Gillettes is invited to another thread already in progress.
  13. psyrob

    psyrob Member

    thanks all for the support and feedback. Good idea to keep experimenting with soaps. I got to the point with blades that having too many choices was just annoying and distracted me from using the blades that worked for me. So I'm getting the bulk packs of the ones that serve me best to take that out of the equation as changing blades became a distraction rather than something I enjoyed. I appreciate any other perspectives or tips, especially if what you did as you settled more into a routine of your best choices for all aspects of DE shaving.
    Screwtape, Keithmax and RyX like this.
  14. Spyder

    Spyder Well-Known Member

    As hinted in a previous post; don't write off the injectors. The secure hold and stiffness of the blades tend to give an exceptionally comfortable shave. You mentioned that you had some issues with your FB. This was my case with pretty much all of my TTO de razors, which is why I no longer have any;) My wiry beard much prefers the edge of an injector when using a safety razor, but the str8, even more so.
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  15. RaZorBurn123

    RaZorBurn123 waiting hardily...............

    Great job!
  16. Jayaruh

    Jayaruh The Cackalacky House Pet

    Supporting Vendor
  17. Bama Samurai

    Bama Samurai with Laser-like Focus Staff Member

    Schick G = Gateway



    Thank you for writing theae notes. Valuable info with real tests behind it. Kudos.
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  18. wchnu

    wchnu Duck Season!

    I very much agree. My early E2 is my favorite I think.
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  19. psyrob

    psyrob Member

    RyX et al,
    I used my fatboy yesterday, and I was NOT doing that last quarter turn. Did that yesterday and today, and it was as smooth as skating on perfect ice! can't believe I was missing such a basic step. Thanks for your feedback, the fatboy will be a 50-50 partner with my Merkur 34C
  20. RyX

    RyX DoH! Staff Member

    Glad I could offer an easy fix! If it squeaks when tightening it down a drop of mineral oil in the bottom of the handle should smooth it right out.

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