Silver Shave Kit. The Finale!

Discussion in 'General Shaving Talk' started by Tim Spencer, Apr 25, 2017.

  1. Tim Spencer

    Tim Spencer Well-Known Member

    Hey,

    This is the last shave kit. It has taken 1 year to assemble. Enjoy.

    I could not have assembled this shave kit without the craftsmanship and help from the following artisans:

    [​IMG] Matt Pisarcik of Razor Emporium
    [​IMG] Christopher Cullen of Catie's Bubbles
    [​IMG] Jean-Pierre of London Cutlers
    [​IMG] Sheryl of Lucky Girl Boutique
    [​IMG] jimjo1031 of this forum

    This shave kit is 1 year in the making. It started out with a vision of an antique, artistic shave kit that is a mix of old world fantasy. This is what I assembled. This will likely be my last shave kit. I cannot top this.

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    Product Lineup:

    Fragrance - Tommy Hilfiger (Original 90's Vintage)
    Aftershave - Tommy Hilfiger (Original 90's Vintage) (Eventual refill from Catie's Bubbles '95 Liquid Labels)
    Shave Soap - Catie's Bubbles '95 Liquid Labels Luxury Shave Soap Formula
    Deodorant - Lucky Girl Boutique's Pure Body Delights "Tommy Boy"
    Pre-Shave Oil - Lather & Wood "Unscented"
    Post-Shave Balm - Nicci Marie Hyaluronic Acid Anti-Aging Serum
    Razor - Antique Gillette ABC "Empire" Razor (fully restored/re-plated by Razor Emporium)
    Razor Stand - ThinkGeek Executive Knight Pen Holder
    Brush - London Cutlers Antique Silver Modified Synthetic Boar Shave Brush
    Brush Stand - Jac Zagoory's Butterfly Pen Stand
    Soap Bowl - Paul Revere silver plated replica sugar bowl

    Let's get down to the details and in case you're wondering, yes, that's what you think it is. An antique Gillette American Button Company "Empire" Razor. I searched for months online. I searched the farthest reaches of the internet, across oceans and nations. I finally found one in Argentina from an Ebay seller. I was only able to obtain an intact razor, as the case was inoperable. I was able to source an Empire case from another seller in New Jersey that matched my razor. I had to accept that there was very little chance I would ever find a "complete" and intact ABC razor set. I opted to take the best pieces of the two Empire sets and have Razor Emporium restore them as best they could. Here are progression pictures of the parts and the eventual results.


    Original condition of the Antique ABC Empire Razor Set upon purchase (pieces combined from two different sets to make one functional set):
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    I was sent regular progress photos by Matt Pisarcik:

    Here is the initial strip down to the bare original brass and polished to a mirror shine:
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    Here is the first plating layer in copper, presumably to ensure the nickel plate will adhere well:
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    Newly restored by Razor Emporium and the interior refitted with brand new matching purple felt, including they were able to save and re-glue the original "Gillette Known The World Over" brand. The case was plated in nickel, the razor was plated in rhodium:
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    In case you thought for some crazy reason that I was done breaking down this shave kit, you have some kind of nerve....because the next piece is not to be outdone and is older than the razor. This shave brush was fashioned by London Cutlers from antique silverware. Sourcing an actual antique brush proved nearly impossible and expensive. I had a $400 antique silver brush ready to buy from a dealer and someone swooped in and bought it. I was devestated because I searched for literally 4 months to find that brush and the dealer couldn't believe someone bought right out from under me on his website just as we were discussing it. I again had to search for another antique brush. I curiously stumbled across some images of this brush some months later. I thought for sure this was the SAME $400 antique brush that I missed out on. Turns out, no, it was still an antique silver handle but modified to be a shave brush. And the resulting quality is just as nice. I asked if they could fashion a synthetic boar brush to emulate the old antique that I missed out on. I showed them a picture and damn if they didn't pull it off beyond my expectations. These guys have skills! I am broken hearted no more!

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    To hold the soap for this wonderful setup I chose to go with a silver plated replica of a Paul Revere sugar bowl. It works wonderfully as a soap bowl for Catie's Bubbles '95 Liquid Labels soap. I want to personally thank Chris Cullen of Catie's Bubbles who created TWO custom aftershaves for me in a special batch. Chris stated he is moving away from using 3rd party scents and instead will be mostly making his own. So, I stocked up on enough to hopefully last more than a decade. LOL
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    I of course had to find a way to mount the brush in a way that would bring attention to it. After much thinking on how I could show this brush off properly, I came across this and knew this was the answer. Jac Zagoory's Pen Butterfly Stand:
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    You have no doubt noticed that I used another pen holder for the razor. This one I believe has been used by other people as a razor holder, so I'm not the first, but I'm not above borrowing a great idea for myself. LOL This is the Executive Knight Pen Holder from ThinkGeek:
    [​IMG]


    I also created a flanker of this shave kit out of my Creed Royal Mayfair fragrance.

    I tied the seemingly unrelated colors together with a vintage Carnival Glass Mug that holds Catie's Bubbles Royal Garden Shave Soap:
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    Product Lineup:
    Fragrance - Creed Royal Mayfair (bottle signed by Erwin Creed)
    Aftershave - Catie's Bubbles "Royal Garden"
    Shave Soap - Catie's Bubbles "Royal Garden"
    Deodorant - Punkee Herbals "Rose" (request it from vendor)
    Soap Mug - Antique Northwood Dandelion Amethyst Carnival Glass Mug circa 1912


    I now created a 3rd kit for this Silver set from vintage Ralph Lauren gear. All products are Vintage 1990's produced by Cosmair.

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    Product Lineup:
    Bath Soap - Ralph Lauren Safari
    Razor - Ralph Lauren Safari Collection
    Blade - Personna Twin II Plus (with lubrication strip)
    Shave Brush - Ralph Lauren Safari Collection with Synthetic Badger Kn0t by Frank Shaving (replaced by jimjo1031)
    Hair Brush - Ralph Lauren Safari Collection
    Shave Soap - Ralph Lauren Safari
    Aftershave - Ralph Lauren Safari
    Post Shave Balm - Ralph Lauren Safari
    Deodorant - Ralph Lauren Safari
    Fragrance - Ralph Lauren Safari

    Jimjo1031 replaced the floppy, messy old badger knot that was in this handle. No professional brush revamping services would touch this project but Jim took on this project and nailed it better than I thought would be possible.

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    I also want to take a moment to thank Sheryl of Lucky Girl Boutique who put up with me insisting on buying and having her make deodorant in a silver color tube to match my setup. Without her I could not have matched everything up properly. Sometimes it's the things you don't tend to look at that make the difference. Her deodorant matches the Tommy Hilfiger scent perfectly. I think she still might have some silver tubes remaining if anyone wants to ask her to make some.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2018
  2. brit

    brit Well-Known Member

    absolutely awesome.beautiful,gary
     
  3. RyX

    RyX DoH! Staff Member

    Moderator
    Another very handsome set Tim @Tim Spencer. I appreciate the time and effort you put into these sets. The case looked beautiful in Copper, but finished even better in Nickle.
     
  4. Straight razor dandy

    Straight razor dandy Stuck cleaning the house himself PERMANENTLY

    This may be my favorite setup so far. It is well thought out. Kudos!
     
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  5. Tim Spencer

    Tim Spencer Well-Known Member

    I can't top this one. I have a complete set of kits and honestly could only 'add' fragrances to the existing themes I've made. Putting these together just takes too long, too much product research. I will finish trying to add a few more items to my existing shave kits and then I will be done. The black shave kit is about to add a few new items then I got no other plans.
     
  6. Straight razor dandy

    Straight razor dandy Stuck cleaning the house himself PERMANENTLY

    I pretty much don't make kits as much anymore. I just try to have matching soap/AS sets when possible and go for luxurious shaves.
     
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  7. lightcs1776

    lightcs1776 Well-Known Member

    Incredibly well done. I absolutely love the razor holder.

    Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk
     
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  8. Jim99

    Jim99 Gold Water Shaver

    I'm speechless! That is absolutely gorgeous!
     
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  9. Tim Spencer

    Tim Spencer Well-Known Member

    Thanks! This setup is awesome. I do have to clean the silver bowl and brush every 2 months or so if I want it to stay bright and shiny, that's about the only drawback.
     
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  10. Tim Spencer

    Tim Spencer Well-Known Member

    I also have a Merkur "1904" razor that was going to be the razor initially until I was able to make the ABC Empire Razor happen. I will be using the Merkur as a "stunt double" on likely most of my shaves with this kit, just to try to keep the wear and tear down on the antique.
     
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  11. poppi

    poppi Well-Known Member

    Fantastic kit! You did real good putting it together with all those works of art. Love it!
     
    Tim Spencer likes this.
  12. Bookworm

    Bookworm Well-Known Member

    Everything looks lovely - but I have to ask. How much did all of it end up setting you back?
     
  13. Jayaruh

    Jayaruh The Cackalacky House Pet

    Supporting Vendor
  14. Tim Spencer

    Tim Spencer Well-Known Member

    My shave kits are a "cost is no object" set of projects. They are more money than I would expect anyone to seriously consider spending.

    The total shave kit, including a 10 year supply of custom soap, aftershave and deodorant for two fragrances:
    Roughly - $1,915 (FYI - The Creed Royal Mayfair cologne signed by Erwin Creed cost me $500 because I had to buy it retail locally when he was here in Las Vegas at the Fashion Show Mall and they don't do discounts.) (Funny thing is, the single vintage 1990's Tommy Hilfiger cologne and aftershave bottles only ran me $38 off ebay and Tommy Hilfiger today is still very affordable and they smell great!)

    If someone is going to put this kind of time into putting this together, better make sure you have enough supplies to last or in just a few short years things change and you will find yourself unable to find the products that you set up the kit with.

    I admittedly overspent to obtain the antique razor + restoration. When you expect perfection you will be charged for it. This razor was revamped from its brass to its internal fabric. Most people don't ask for what I asked for. However, I got what I paid for. It's drop dead gorgeous.

    This was not my most expensive shave kit, but it is probably the most artistic one overall. There are other shave kits involving MULTIPLE $300+ colognes and special made products in bulk.

    I still think you can put together a shave kit just as good as mine on a low budget, but you will have to buy what is available on the market and you can forget having custom-made bathroom products. There are some people on etsy who made me some great items at very reasonable prices like Desire Metal Works. Even if I had a budget of $300 I bet I could make a great shave kit with all that I know now. There were some expensive experiments along the way that cost me hundreds in total dollars left on the table with nothing but a learning experience to show for it while trying to make products fit together that simply didn't.

    So, yeah, I went a little far with this stuff, but it was fun.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2017
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  15. Bookworm

    Bookworm Well-Known Member

    I didn't have a problem with the money spent. Custom shaving gear, to me, makes more sense than buying a third set of golf clubs because it's guaranteed to lower your handicap. Especially since the PGA has specific requirements that many of those specialty clubs don't meet :)

    I just wondered how much it ended up being - the custom brush, the ABC set you put together, and the customised soap. For what you got, and how you put it together, the price doesn't sound unreasonable at all. (well, other than the signature on the bottle, but what the heck)
     
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  16. Tim Spencer

    Tim Spencer Well-Known Member

    I pick new hobbies to spend money on every so often in life. I used to be into home theater and audio gear, then gaming computers and this new hobby for Fragrances/colognes and classic shaving has been a great new shift from the norm.
     
    brit likes this.
  17. Linuxguile

    Linuxguile dating an unusual aristocrat

    Supporting Vendor
    They did amazing work on that ABC set!
     
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  18. Tim Spencer

    Tim Spencer Well-Known Member

    Yes they did. It's like I time traveled and brought this razor back with me from over 100 years ago. I love all my shave kits for different reasons, so I'm not going to pick a favorite, but this one is the most shiny and artistic. Although it's really tough for me to say that this beats out the white, green and turquoise kits that have artisan-built items too. I think this one gets the "ooh's and ahh's" because of the royal old world fantasy theme of knights and Victorian era artistry.
     
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  19. Primotenore

    Primotenore missed opera tunity

    If I were a betting man, I would wager that in 6 months, we will be looking at a new kit. Just sayin'.
     
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  20. RaZorBurn123

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

    I don't have words to express the way this kit turned out.
    :smiley respect:
     
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