Category Archives: Shaving

A night of firsts

I recently bought a Gold Dollar no. 66 razor from eBay – advertised as stainless steel. It was for honing practice. It arrived, I put a layer of Tufglide on it and left it alone for about 2 weeks. This evening, I opened it, and rust had collected on the edge. Stainless my ass!

I sanded the rust off with some 1000 grit sandpaper, removed the scales (they were shite, and I wanted to know what it felt like to shave without the handle)… Wet my un-graded hardware store Five Tiger combination stone and ground down the edge ala Murray Carter. (The straight razor purists shudder at this)

Since I don’t have much other equipment, after I got a new edge on the blade, it went on the balsa strop loaded with green compound on one side, and red on the other. Then leather strop.

As I headed to the bathroom, I figured if it didn’t work, I’d need a backup DE razor. I picked up the Timor I’d never used before, and for the heck of it, the newly de-funked Vie-Long horsehair brush.

A night of shaving with new stuff!

Lathered up some Mama Bear’s Dragon’s Tears. Nice.

The Gold Dollar developed some patina from being soaked in hot water. Go figure. It worked reasonably well WTG in front of my head, but not so well on the hair on the back of my head. Stopped there. It definitely needs more edge work.

The Timor is ridiculously mild. I had to buff aggressively ATG to get BBS. Very comfortable, but a lot of work.

Update 12/5/2012:

I sanded off the logo, and went over the entire razor with Scotchbrite. Then forced a patina in boiling vinegar. More rubbing with Scothbrite. Rehoned.

Looks (and feels) better. I’ve oiled the blade and put it away… will shave with it in a couple of days.

Update 20/5/2012:

Have shaved with it twice so far. I like it without the handle. As usual, the angles aren’t quite right on the back of my head and it isn’t so close there. But the honing is working out quite well. Considering playing with lapping film, or maybe I should just buy a straight 8k stone and stick with that….

Stabil Solingen 13/16 in Poison Green G10

This 13/16 Stabil-Solingen Straight Razor had been sitting quietly in the Buy/Sell forum for about 10 days when I found it.

It was (mostly) everything I wanted in a straight. 6/8 (or better), full hollow, G10 scales (Not exactly a popular mainstream colour, but I liked it), shoulder-less (I’d been eyeing the Dovo Master). No opinion on the round point, and it wasn’t stainless, and the pins weren’t torx screws (oh come on). I jumped on it.

2 weeks later it arrives in a re-packaged bag. The box was damaged in transit but the seller had put copious amounts of bubble wrap in place. The razor was safe. One thing I wasn’t expecting, a high polish on the blade.

Poison Green G10 proved hard to photograph. Bear with my rubbish skills.

I am, as far as I can trace, its 4th owner. It had black celluloid scales before and it had been re-scaled in Poison Green G10. I also read that many Solingens are not branded. Stabil is German for Stable so that might not indicate a maker but just a marketing term. There’s “57” inscribed on the tang, but I would be hugely surprised if it were made in 1957 given the quality and condition.

I’ve had 2 shaves with it. The first was memorable only because I’d underestimated the weight and thickness of it and cut myself thrice. I only noticed some stinging. My colleague counted scabs the next day. It’s only getting better :-)

My new 100 year old straight razor – Head Shaving tool of death

Curiosity got the better of me, and late in January, I ordered a straight razor, sight unseen, from Larry @ The Whipped Dog.

I asked for something with black scales, full hollow ground, 6/8. He said he only had 5/8 razors and I gave him the go ahead. It arrived a week later in a brown envelope. The razor wrapped securely in bubble wrap. It came also with a leather strop (a length of leather to strop the blade a-la barber style) and a balsa strop (a strip of balsa wood loaded with abrasive compound). Better, it came with detailed instructions on how to use, care for and sharpen the razor. It also came with extra abrasive compound for the balsa, and a small Lavender Chamomile sample from Bald Frog Soap. The tagline says “Slicker than a bald frog” – can’t wait to try this.

To be completely frank, I didn’t like the look of the razor out of the box. There was significant pitting on the spine of the blade and was rusted where the pivot is. It looked like it was a thicker blade (like maybe 6/8), but it’d been honed to a 5/8. There was also not much information I could find about this manufacturer online. Made in Germany, but Phil Eisemann (sometimes Eiseman) operated from 616 N. Queen St., Lancaster, Pennsylvania – and was in business between about 1906 and 1934.

I posted a picture of it on my Facebook page for my friends to see, and they advised that I ready band-aids and/or a turban. I took a first exploratory face shave with it a couple of days later. I have to say it didn’t feel right. The angles were odd, the blade didn’t feel particularly sharp compared to the DE. I stropped it (cut my finger in the process) and haven’t used it for about 3 weeks – until tonight.

Using my Semogue 730HD and the last of the Mama Bear Lime soap, I painted my head white and went to town. Unlike a DE, you can’t just use the weight of the razor. Some pushing is required. 2 slow WTG passes and I’m done. A close comfortable shave. One mistake – put the blade edge down one time on my scalp and felt the sting – no blood.

This isn’t so bad! I can see this becoming part of a routine relaxing Friday evening shave. Now if I could JUST keep my eyes off a Dovo Master’s in Stainless Steel.