Lessons from an L-Plater

Discussion in 'Shave School' started by ChrisB, Dec 11, 2022.

  1. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Eccentric Razor Collector Staff Member

    Moderator Article Team
    The Wilkies on the left are German made, the ones on the right look to be made in India, judging by the printing on the blade. The cardboard backer the blades came on should of had the country of origin. There are also Wilkies made in China, but we don't see those very often. All are legit blades, but different from each other.
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  2. ChrisB

    ChrisB Active Member

    Thanks Ryan, the ones on the right have no data on the cardboard box, but the box came from a local "shave shop" and I no longer have the plastic wrapping. They don't sell in bulk so not cost effective, but I do like them and will pick up some more.

    Tried the German one again today, actually better than y'day, so I am thinking blades are better on day 2 than day 1.
    I can always try 'corking' these on day 1 first to see if that helps.
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  3. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Eccentric Razor Collector Staff Member

    Moderator Article Team
    The German ones are better regarded in general than the Indian ones. I may have already mentioned it, but I use the German Wilkies as my benchmark blade. They are very average, consistently average in smoothness, longevity, and sharpness.
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  4. ChrisB

    ChrisB Active Member

    Yep, thanks, I do remember reading that and thinking having a benchmark blade would be good. Will add those to my shopping cart.

    22 Jan 2023.
    Beard growth: 48 hours, should be good right?
    Razor: Merkur Progress.
    Prep: Usual hot water 30 seconds each x 3, then Proraso Blue, then another hot water soak 30 seconds.
    Shaving cream: Meh, suboptimal, see below.:angry017:
    Blade: German Wilkinson (day 2)

    Pass 1: Progress at #3, WTG, very efficient, not much left, smoother than yesterday, but somehow more efficient than the other Wilkinson blade.
    Pass 2: Progress at #2, hmm skin nick left cheek.:angry019:
    Pass 3: Progress back down to #1, not really a pass at all, more like touch ups.
    I think this blade is more sharp/aggressive, need to dial back the Progress a bit.

    1. Good prep, poor lather, not good. I used TOBS Tobacco, but used the Boar brush today and left too much water in it. So I added still more of the TOBS, still too bubbly and watery, tried to rescue it by adding some Tabac Cream from a tube, but still too runny.
    2. Left side of cheek I have tiny skin lesion there that pops up from time, this time Pass 2 was XTG from nose to ear, immediate nick. Maybe I was just too heavy handed, or maybe that lather was too thin, or both.
    3. Rest of the face was good, even able to go N-S on the right of lower neck with good results.

    Lessons of the Day:
    1. Poor Lather? >>>> ditch and start again.
    2. Left side of cheek, stick with WTG then XTG ear to nose.
    3. Keep the Proraso Gel Riparatore handy......

    Plan: tomorrow, 24 hour growth, German Wilkinson (3), less pressure, Progress on #2 to start with and see how we go.
    Oh, and thicker Lather.

    Thanks for listening.
  5. ChrisB

    ChrisB Active Member

    Did a 170 km round trip to an Antique shop y'day, picked up 3 old razors, nothing special. Thought I would try my hand at cleaning these, no big loss either way.

    They came with plastic boxes, but not sure if they were original boxes, probably won't keep the boxes anyway.

    This is the first one I tackled. This is after the clean up.

    G3 minus1.jpg

    From what I can make out this is a 1950s Gillette Rocket Flare tip, 59.8 grams, but I could be way off the mark here. BRIT PAT 694093.

    Seems mechanically fine, somewhat loose but closes nice and evenly, and holds the blade evenly.

    The other two are somewhat similar.

    No idea what I was doing but it cleaned up good (1) Vinegar and toothbrush 20 minutes. (2) hot water and dish detergent 1/2 hour, (3) car polishing stuff I had handy, then light oiling of the parts.

    Shaved the back of my of neck with this today, with the "other" Wilkinson blade (4), the razors seems a bit mild.
    (January is Merkur Progress month so I won't shave my face with this till February.)

    Which would be the best thread to post these pictures?
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  6. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Eccentric Razor Collector Staff Member

    Moderator Article Team

    The haul thread. We do a new one each month.

    The Shave Gods will strike you down with lightning if you throw the boxes away. I visibly winced when I read that. It will also halve the value of the razor, should you decide to resell it later. I'm sure there are plenty of wet shavers in Australia who would love to add the cases to their collection of you don't want them. The cases are harder to find than the razors.

    What do you mean by loose? A lazy door? The head wobbles? It's got a dropped knob? A dropped knob is an easy fix, the other stuff not quite as easy to fix for someone who doesn't know what they are doing, but we can point you in the right direction and walk you through the process.

    Edit: Next time just get some foaming shower cleaner. Look for something that is specifically made to clean soap scum. In the U.S. it's an aerosol can of "scrubbing bubbles." In the u.k. it's "fairy liquid." Not sure what the equivalent would be down under. Takes about 30 seconds and a soft toothbrush.

    The clear plastic on the boxes will clean up with headlight cleaner/polish.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2023
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  7. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Eccentric Razor Collector Staff Member

    Moderator Article Team
    Best place to identify your Gillette razors.
    http://mr-razor.com/Rasierer/Gillette Rasierer.htm

    That is a No. 68 set. If you toss the box it becomes a 1950's era rocket, and no one will believe you when you say it's actually a No. 68. Just so you know. ;) With British Gillettes, the box indentifies the razor most of the time, not the other way around.
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  8. ischiapp

    ischiapp Well-Known Member

    For me, XTG is the most difficult.
    So I do it as last. My routine: WTG > ATG > XTG.
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  9. ChrisB

    ChrisB Active Member

    Right, suitably admonished;). As my wife said: "Nooooooooo I wouldn't toss those" she is right as usual.

    Seriously though, I have looked at that the-haul threads, but those are serious Hauls. My puny little buys don't count as a Haul, nor a haul, nor a mini-haul, just got these for fun. I saw there are other threads that are razor-specific but really have no idea about how to identify my razors yet, so wasn't sure where to post those.

    The cases are plastic, one is slightly cracked, one has broken hinges, all 3 razors made in England, but one case was made in the USA, so this is a bit of a mish-mash, so can't be sure if the razors match the boxes. I will upload some pics to that thread anyway.

    Can't get scrubbing bubbles locally as far as I can see, I just used what we had in the kitchen, Fairy ultra concentrate. Other posters on TSD use sonic cleaners, I don't think the bug will bite any deeper than it already has, but that might be another option.

    Headlight polisher: Hmm those kits would cost about the same as I paid for 2 of the razors, on the other hand my 9 yr old car headlights are looking a bit scruffy.

    So technically the razor is a 1950's era rocket, but the set if valid makes it a No. 68?

    Great link, thanks. There is a lot to learn about the different types, makes, varieties, country of manufacture etc. I guess there must have been millions of differing razors made over the last decades, full time job just keeping track of these I guess.
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  10. ChrisB

    ChrisB Active Member

    Loose like this: when the doors are open there is some play in them, some slack: is that what you mean by lazy door maybe? But they close up well and align well.
    Same thing on 3 razors so I am guessing this is normal, not being familiar with TTOs.


    No, the heads on all three are solid.
    Winding mechanisms on the TTOs are fine.
    Thankfully I have never heard of the term dropped knob.

    I will upload a few of the other images on the thread mentioned above and paste a link to all pictures to save server space.
    brit likes this.
  11. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Eccentric Razor Collector Staff Member

    Moderator Article Team
    Nah. That's normal. A lazy door is when one door opens much slower than the other and is caused by the lifter (thing that the doors hinge on) being out of alignment. Sounds like yours are completely normal.
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  12. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Eccentric Razor Collector Staff Member

    Moderator Article Team
    Yes. And I see no reason why the set wouldn't be valid. Sometimes razors got swapped around, but for the most part they usually stay with the case they came in.

    Billions of razors. Thousands of manufacturers. About 80% of the razors are almost certainly in landfills or on the bottoms of rivers (they were popular as cheap fishing weights for a while). That still leaves millions for us to find.
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  13. ChrisB

    ChrisB Active Member

    Good to know, thanks. Look forward to trying these next month.

    24 Jan 2023.
    Another day with the Merkur Progress, this time Pass 1 @2, Pass 2 @ and touch ups @1.
    Reason being I had a new blade Astra SP (1), corked each edge first, just to be safe.
    Scooted around my scab from the 22nd, then lightly over the top of it, all good.
    This blade seems to suit me better than the Wilkinsons, or maybe my lather was better, or my touch was lighter. I like it better. I bought more.

    Lessons of the Day:
    1. Holding the bottom of the Progress handle seems a good option for the side of face and cheeks, good weight of the razor head, doing its job nicely.
    But for the lips and that confounded round chin thing, I prefer holding this half way up the handle, near the pivot point, more control around those touchy areas. Also there is less transmission of any minor tremor that way. Going lighter is definitely a skill thing.
    2. With a newer blade I get to remove more stubble in the first Pass with less strokes per Pass. Day 4 on any blade I have tried so far is a no-no, too much scraping around.
    Day 3 is passable, but Day 1 and 2 with the Astra SP seems to suit me best with this razor. Might have to stick with 2 days per blade, 3 at the most. It will be interesting to see if this still applies with different razors.

    Question 13: Lather and Pre shave.
    Remove the pre-shave (Proraso Blue) completely before applying lather for the first pass or leave it on?
    What do others do?
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  14. swarden43

    swarden43 "It's your shave. Enjoy it your way."©

    Try it both ways.
    Been a long time since I used a pre-shave oil. I used to leave it on and lather over it.
    After a while I realized it really didn't do anything to enhance my shave.
    I found that a hot shower followed right up with my hot water shave, lathering up with a reputable soap and a blade/razor combo that works for me was enough.
    But that's me.
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  15. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Eccentric Razor Collector Staff Member

    Moderator Article Team
    This. ^^^
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  16. ChrisB

    ChrisB Active Member

    Thank you, Sir.
    I am learning that when you end with "But that's me." I had better listen up!
  17. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Eccentric Razor Collector Staff Member

    Moderator Article Team
    We say that a lot around here. Usually abbreviated as YMMV (your milage may vary). Everybody's hair and skin is different, so what works for one won't work for another person.

    I view pre-shave oils as a marketing gimmick, created by retailers to sell more products. Our ancestors got along just fine without them. They are dandy for cartridge shaving though.

    Personally, I just can't stand the thought of getting oil on my shave brush. Gives me the heebie-jeebies.
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  18. swarden43

    swarden43 "It's your shave. Enjoy it your way."©

    Really just another way of me relaying what you see under my avatar, something I said many years ago that seems to have become the Den's unofficial mantra -
    It's your shave. Enjoy it your way. :)
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  19. ChrisB

    ChrisB Active Member

    @PLANofMAN absolutely correct, Ryan those are made in India, saw the back of a new pack in the shops y'day.

    I plan to finish the Proraso Blue pre shave cream and then see if I actually still need that.

    PR blue.png

    If so, I still have one Proraso Green and one Proraso White that I can work my way through.

    Agreed, wouldn't want any oils in my brushes. Arko lingers long enough. Might want to dedicate one brush to that, if I decide to use it again.

    Thanks Steve, getting there, each day is different and more enjoyable than the last.

    Best shave this morning.

    29 Jan 2023
    48 hours growth (always a better result for me)
    Merkur Progress on #3 then #2 then between #1 and #2 for further buffing.

    Thick lather: TOBS Aloe vera in a bowl. Loaded the brush from the tub, lathered in the bowl, added some TOBS cream from a tube, nice and thick for the first pass.
    On later passes the lather gets thinner as I re-lather the already wet face. Good for buffing.

    No nicks/cuts/weepers.
    BBS around 80% of the face and even the neck.
    Can't be happier than that, especially with no damage.

    Lessons for the day.
    1. Slow down around the chin area and the corner of the mouth, short light strokes. Still the most tricky areas for me.
    2. Two days with the Astra is enough for me.

    I have 2 more days of designated shaves with the Merkur Progress, then in Feb I will start testing my technique with other razors & blades. Looks like there will be a new learning curve when I switch back to a non-adjustable. More fun to be had.

    Thanks again for all the help and feedback, guys, really appreciate it.
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  20. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Eccentric Razor Collector Staff Member

    Moderator Article Team
    We're just having fun watching you enjoy this journey/hobby. It reminds us of why we're here. You only get the joy of discovery once, then you have to experience it vicariously through others. :)
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