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A grate bowl lather with hard soaps

Face latherers are gonna face lather but that does nothing to dissuade a dedicated bowl latherer like myself.

As I’ve settled into my wet shaving routine I’ve gravitated mainly towards creams. This has been mainly due to the scoop and go convenience of creams. I enjoy being able to pop a spoonful of cream into my lather bowl and build the lather in one step.

Of course there are many great hard soaps out there too. I’ve kept a few but have used these mainly on the weekends. Loading on the puck and then moving to a bowl is an additional hassle. There’s more stuff to clean and there’s more stuff hanging around the sink while shaving.

Recently I ordered a small 50g pot of Martin de Candre. The pot is way too small to load from directly so I’ve been scratching a little out into my lather bowl each day with a spoon. I bloom the MdC while I shower and by the time I’m done it’s almost completely dissolved. It’s been working really well.

Then I thought of a way to extend the scoop and go convenience of a cream to all refill pucks and sticks of hard soaps. All you need to do is grate a few shavings into your lather bowl. In this way a single serving of hard soap is easily loaded into your bowl. There’s no need to move from puck to bowl. No need to dry the soap. No need to clean the tub. It works great and the increased surface area of the shaving mean that the soap blooms in no time. Some may consider this an extra step. I actually find it to be considerable time saving that streamlines the use of hard soaps with lather bowls.

Now when I say grate I really mean get some small shavings into the lather bowl however you want to do that. I tried a grater and I did not really like it for preparing a small quantity of soap. It works great for breaking down a whole puck but not so well for creating a single use serving. The soap smears on the surface of the grater and the shavings stick to the back.

What does work incredibly well is an ordinary peeler or even a zester if you want to be fancy. These tools can produce very fine shavings and are much less messy. They are also more compact and easier to clean. To save an argument with the wife I bought a dedicated peeler for the save den. I was surprised by the variety of options available at the local kitchen supply store. I settled on a nifty citrus zest peeler and zester combo. This peels a bit thinner than an ordinary peeler and also gives the option of cutting fine strips with the tool on the back.

If you are a bowl latheter that likes hard soaps it’s worth a try.

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I'll be getting myself a proper well rated shave lather bowl next month. I'd like to ask you guys a question about hard soaps like Tabac. Which direction would you recommend. Should I gather Tabac on the brush by whipping across the Tabac, then bring the brush to the shave bowl to lather it up.

Or!

Should I instead, scoop up a tiny bit of Tabac soap with a spoon, place that into the shave bowl, then bloom it in water, then begin whipping it in the shave bowl with the brush?
 
My preference is to swirl the brush on the puck until i get it loaded sufficiently then go to the bowl and whip up the lather. I don’t feel that I ever get the proper amount of soap to produce the correct amount of lather when I scoop. When I try to scoop is seems like I will either get to much and end up with far more lather than I need or I won’t get enough and will run our of lather before I run out of beard to be shaved. This probably is a matter of experience. But it is what works for me.

I also only bloom a puck the first or second time I use it. After that, I am able to get the lather without first blooming the puck.
 
I'll be getting myself a proper well rated shave lather bowl next month. I'd like to ask you guys a question about hard soaps like Tabac. Which direction would you recommend. Should I gather Tabac on the brush by whipping across the Tabac, then bring the brush to the shave bowl to lather it up.

Or!

Should I instead, scoop up a tiny bit of Tabac soap with a spoon, place that into the shave bowl, then bloom it in water, then begin whipping it in the shave bowl with the brush?
Option 1 is certainly the standard approach. I’m pretty sure that almost everyone loads the brush on the puck. This thread invites you to consider Option 2.
 
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I considered shaving some of the soap off the soap puck to bloom in preparation of a shave, but I opted for another route (for my triple milled soaps).

For my method, I place the soap puck face side down on the rings in my Captain's Choice Cobalt Seaworthy lather bowl, which has had water filled just to the tops of those rings. I leave the soap to bloom while I shower or brush my teeth (including a thorough mouthwash gargle, this takes a minimum of five minutes). When I'm ready to make my lather, I pour the bloom water into an empty yogurt cup (in which I had also soaked my shaving brush before being emptied of soak water), squeeze the excess water from my brush, pick up and hold the soap with my left hand (above my lather bowl), and (with my right hand) swirl my brush tips across the soap above my lather bowl until I've picked up enough soap in my brush. I then set the puck back in its container before picking up my lather bowl with my left hand and swirl my brush tips across the inside of the bowl (with my right hand) until I've built a protolather. I gradually add a little bit of the bloom water back into the lather bowl while swirling my brush tips across the inside of the lather bowl until I've reached the my preferred lather consistency.

As for Tabac, I tried my above method with it, but discovered it didn't need to be bloomed. Instead, all it needed was to apply a slightly wetter brush than above (I just had to shake my brush gently up and down to remove excess water instead of squeezing it) to the soap puck. The rest of the process remained pretty much the same (so I didn't have to worry about drying out my Tabac bowl), but instead of gradually adding bloom water, I added tap water as needed.
 
I bowl lather and always load directly on the puck, then move to a lather bowl. With that said, I do use some similar kitchen tools at times. When grating a stick to create a puck (i.e. Speick stick), I always us a Microplane grater to create a fine powder, then press it into a container. I like how this turns out a lot more than using a regular cheese grater. I use a peeler when I need to make the diameter of a puck smaller to fit into a container. Just this week I used the peeler to take off about 1mm around the perimeter of my new SV Dolomiti puck so that it would fit into a plastic container.

IMG_2768.JPG


Speick stick after grating with Microplane
IMG_2769.JPG
 
Face latherers are gonna face lather but that does nothing to dissuade a dedicated bowl latherer like myself.

As I’ve settled into my wet shaving routine I’ve gravitated mainly towards creams. This has been mainly due to the scoop and go convenience of creams. I enjoy being able to pop a spoonful of cream into my lather bowl and build the lather in one step.

Of course there are many great hard soaps out there too. I’ve kept a few but have used these mainly on the weekends. Loading on the puck and then moving to a bowl is an additional hassle. There’s more stuff to clean and there’s more stuff hanging around the sink while shaving.

Recently I ordered a small 50g pot of Martin de Candre. The pot is way too small to load from directly so I’ve been scratching a little out into my lather bowl each day with a spoon. I bloom the MdC while I shower and by the time I’m done it’s almost completely dissolved. It’s been working really well.

Then I thought of a way to extend the scoop and go convenience of a cream to all refill pucks and sticks of hard soaps. All you need to do is grate a few shavings into your lather bowl. In this way a single serving of hard soap is easily loaded into your bowl. There’s no need to move from puck to bowl. No need to dry the soap. No need to clean the tub. It works great and the increased surface area of the shaving mean that the soap blooms in no time. Some may consider this an extra step. I actually find it to be considerable time saving that streamlines the use of hard soaps with lather bowls.

Now when I say grate I really mean get some small shavings into the lather bowl however you want to do that. I tried a grater and I did not really like it for preparing a small quantity of soap. It works great for breaking down a whole puck but not so well for creating a single use serving. The soap smears on the surface of the grater and the shavings stick to the back.

What does work incredibly well is an ordinary peeler or even a zester if you want to be fancy. These tools can produce very fine shavings and are much less messy. They are also more compact and easier to clean. To save an argument with the wife I bought a dedicated peeler for the save den. I was surprised by the variety of options available at the local kitchen supply store. I settled on a nifty citrus zest peeler and zester combo. This peels a bit thinner than an ordinary peeler and also gives the option of cutting fine strips with the tool on the back.

If you are a bowl latheter that likes hard soaps it’s worth a try.

View attachment 1425424

I prefer the oxo steel grater myself. It goes great with my razors and other steel handled kitchen utensils, also by oxo steel.
 
I'll be getting myself a proper well rated shave lather bowl next month. I'd like to ask you guys a question about hard soaps like Tabac. Which direction would you recommend. Should I gather Tabac on the brush by whipping across the Tabac, then bring the brush to the shave bowl to lather it up.

Or!

Should I instead, scoop up a tiny bit of Tabac soap with a spoon, place that into the shave bowl, then bloom it in water, then begin whipping it in the shave bowl with the brush?
Just smash it across your face harder than will Smith slapped Chris rock. It will be an unbelievable shave you won't soon forget.
 
Just smash it across your face harder than will Smith slapped Chris rock. It will be an unbelievable shave you won't soon forget.

Chris Rock is only too lucky all he got, was a slap from Will Smith. Regardless if another man's wife is a good person or not is a mute point. NEVER EVER talk about another man's wife. Most guys would have gotten a punch to the ground for that. Back in the western days, DeadWood like time period, you'd get even worse!

But I have no intention on doing the pie in the face approach to facial lathering, I do have principles after all, and I stick to them!
 
So I have tried two shave soaps and was not impressed with the performance of either, but once again I've learned I was too impatient with creating the lather properly. I saw this thread and was encouraged to try an alternative approach (inspired by this thread).

I used a potato peeler to shave slices of my Col Conk almond soap into a shallow bowl and press it down to make it stick to the bottom of the bowl. Then I used a damp boar brush to swirl. Eventually I ended up with the nice lather I've seen in pictures and tutorials.

Today was my first smooth and comfortable shave using soap. Due to the lathering time requirements soap use will probably need to be a weekend luxury, but I enjoyed the shave.
 

FarmerTan

"Self appointed king of Arkoland"
I bowl lather and always load directly on the puck, then move to a lather bowl. With that said, I do use some similar kitchen tools at times. When grating a stick to create a puck (i.e. Speick stick), I always us a Microplane grater to create a fine powder, then press it into a container. I like how this turns out a lot more than using a regular cheese grater. I use a peeler when I need to make the diameter of a puck smaller to fit into a container. Just this week I used the peeler to take off about 1mm around the perimeter of my new SV Dolomiti puck so that it would fit into a plastic container.

View attachment 1430095

Speick stick after grating with Microplane
View attachment 1430096
I will be looking into the "Microplane" grater my friend! Thanks for the tip.
 
I will be looking into the "Microplane" grater my friend! Thanks for the tip.

In addition to just making a nice looking puck, one of the other benefits I found grating a soap really fine with the Microplane is that I typically don't need to add any water when pressing the grated soap into a container. It's so fine that it all just presses together very easily. In the past when I've grated it more coarse with a cheese grater, I had to add a little bit of water to get it to stick together better.
 

FarmerTan

"Self appointed king of Arkoland"
In addition to just making a nice looking puck, one of the other benefits I found grating a soap really fine with the Microplane is that I typically don't need to add any water when pressing the grated soap into a container. It's so fine that it all just presses together very easily. In the past when I've grated it more coarse with a cheese grater, I had to add a little bit of water to get it to stick together better.
I'd have thought moisture would be almost mandatory! Thanks for the info friend!
 
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