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A journal of a Cajun's life wet shaving

Shave Date 11/24/23
Razor:
Yates ‘Merica
Blade: Gillette Silver Blue(1)
Pre-Shave: Shower
Soap: Palmolive Green
Brush: WCS Burlwood
Post-shave: Alum block, Thayers Witch Hazel, Nieva Post Shave cream, Bootleggers El Dorado.
Rating: 29/30 10 for Comfort, 10 for cuts and weepers (0), 9 for closeness, neck stubble, Face Dolphinic smooth.

Notes:

Likely my only shave in Louisiana. No straight today and they were left home. My travel choices worked out well. I poured some of the Thayers into a smaller glass bottle for easy transport. Same bottle I mixed my Bootleggers El Dorado in. It was a very good shave.

Today we put up the tree for my mother they and decorated the window with a lighted Christmas tree outline my dad designed. It’s become a tradition to shop for a tree and put it up each Thanksgiving. I made a smoked chicken and andouille sausage gumbo today for the family. They killed it all off in one day. Life is good.

I hope everyone had a blessed Thanksgiving day. And for my Canadian friends I hope you enjoyed your day as well. Have a blessed one. I’m likely headed back tomorrow and will debut the newly honed Boker Straight Razor that returned home while I was away. Have a blessed weekend and fantastic shaves.

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Shave Date 11/26/23
Razor:
Straight: Boker Unrivaled 11/16 DE: Rex Envoy
Blade:
Gillette Silver Blue(5)
Pre-Shave: PAA The Cube 2.0
Soap: WCS Duck Fat Fougere
Brush: Zenith Boar
Post-shave: Alum block, Thayers Witch Hazel, PAA Mysterium Serium, Bootleggers El Dorado.
Rating: 29/30 10 for Comfort, 10 for cuts and weepers (0), 9 for closeness, neck stubble, Face DFS.

Notes:

Back home after spending time with my family and friends catching up. I smoked a cigar on my brother's back porch with one of my closest childhood friends. It was good to catch up with him. I also made a chicken and sausage gumbo for the family on Friday. I didn't hear complaints, and my mom was having the last of it for lunch as we headed out on Saturday.

Wow, what a great shave. The Boker returned home after a honing from @Steve56. Steve did a fine job. This was the closest shave I have had with the straight. The edge felt more comfortable than the Paul Drees one honed by the retailer. Not really less sharp, but less harsh. The Boker did a fine job of wacking down the whiskers. I don't know if it was the blade feeling giving me confidence or I am just more comfortable with the straight razor, but I was able to get a much closer shave today than I ever had with straights before. I did two WTG passes with the straights, neck included, There was a minimal amount of work for the Rex to do on the straight passes. I even got close to the beard where I am a work in progress. I did no ATG work today, other than the jawline which runs the same as the XTG on the cheeks. I got just shy of BBS. This may be a preferable shave as I will have something to shave in the morning, whereas before when I swim with the dolphins, after 24 hours, I can likely push the shave back 6-12 hours. My routine has been to shave every morning, regardless if I could push it back 12 hours, to get more shaves in to further refine my skills in wet shaving. As I type this 2 hours later, the shave is still DFS a very acceptable shave. If I can get this level of shave with my Straights without doing ATG work, I'll be very satisfied.

The scent of the soap is a woodsy, pine type scent, I chanced using Bootleggers El Dorado today for mass, I wasn't scheduled to serve, and I think it faded quite well by the time I got to church. This one I can use in moderation on Sundays I serve at mass.

Crazy college football weekend, this is why I prefer College to the Pros. Michigan and Ohio State came down to the wire. LSU Texas A&M ended up to my liking, although our defense made A&M's QB look like a Heisman candidate vs our QB being the front runner. My Tigers pulled it out in the end. And Bama pulled another rabbit out of the hat and beat Auburn on an improbable 4th and 31 to score the game-winning TD. Washington vs Washington State had a wild ending as well. It seemed like the best games were saved for the last games.

A great shave today without ATG work on the face, a win in my book. I highly recommend @Steve55 if you need any honing done on your straights. This is my goal in honing straights.

I wish everyone a blessed Sunday, may all your shaves be the best.

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Shave Date 11/27/23 Straight Razor Shave #13
Razor:
Straight: Friedrich Schlemper "Focus" DE: Military issue Tech
Blade: Gillette Silver Blue(2)
Pre-Shave: PAA The Cube 2.0
Soap: PAA Good Vibrations
Brush: Razor Emporium Best Badger
Post-shave: Alum block, Thayers Witch Hazel, PAA Mysterium Serium, PAA Good Vibrations.
Rating: 29/30 10 for Comfort, 10 for cuts and weepers (0), 9 for closeness, neck stubble, Face DFS.

Notes:

Well, this shave was just as comfortable as the Boker. The Friedrich Schlemper was honed by the same retailer that honed the Paul Drees, it is unlikely the hone is causing the harsher feeling. Maybe the edge on the Paul Drees is not optimal. I did have a few faux pas with the blade as I was becoming acquainted with straight razor shaving. One was the reverse lap I did on the strop that left a sliver, fairly deep sliver, of the strop leather hanging. The other time it sliced into the cloth I use to wipe the shaving cream off. The Paul Drees has 12 shaves on it also. About 20 passes or so. I will shave with the Paul Drees tomorrow to see how it shaves.

I again did no ATG work other than the jawline and a cheater in between XTG and ATG on the left cheek, a diagonal pass from chin to ear sorta. The Blade was facing the direction of travel, not like the Gillette slide, which I ain't gonna try with the razor nor the straight, at least not for a long long time. The left cheek is a tad smoother than the right. On the two WTG passes with the straight I was able to get a very acceptable shave, I could have stopped there, but I didn't and had the GSB take care of the XTG pass, I seemed to need less touch up today than in the past. The problem area below my right jawline got an additional swipe, this one I have to go East to Northwest, diagonal pass like I did on my face with the blade facing the direction of travel.

I haven't timed the shelves with a stopwatch like I did before. But I started the shower at 37 after the hour and finished up at 15 after the hour, so it was about 40 minutes. I did take longer on the SR passes today and I tend to go slower when I am not timing with a stopwatch, you know, we guys like to race the clock sometimes. I could do a DE shave in about 20 minutes easily, so the straight does take twice as long. I am able to just start earlier with my schedule. But I get a close enough shave that in theory I could shave the night before and still look presentable for the work day.

This was another excellent shave and a positive step in my straight razor shaving journey. Progress, progress. I wish everyone a blessed Monday and great shaves.

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After reading all of your straight shaves, my Friodur was sitting on my desk looking at me... in your honour, I ran it through several different strops. The stainless makes a really neat sound on leather! I doubt it's still sharp enough, maybe I will just "test" it to see...
 
Shave Date 11/28/23 Straight Razor Shave #14
Razor:
Straight: Paul Drees "Sistrum" DE: 1948 Gillette Super Speed
Blade: Gillette Silver Blue(3)
Pre-Shave: PAA The Cube 2.0
Soap: Noble Otter Lonestar
Brush: Zenith Boar
Post-shave: Alum block, Thayers Witch Hazel, PAA Mysterium Serium, Noble Otter Lonestar A/S.
Rating: 28/30 9 for Comfort(Neck and facial irritation), 10 for cuts and weepers (1), 9 for closeness, neck stubble, Face DFS.

Notes:

A great shave knocked down by some irritation. The alum block gave quite a bit of feedback, so much so I couldn't ignore it and it resulted in a point deduction. I have some red spots on my neck and cheek as well. See what happened was..........

I'm not sure, after the two great shaves from my last two straights, I was interested to see how the Paul Drees would perform, the other two straights were on their first shave after honing, and the Drees had about 20 passes or so under its belt, therefore, the hone is not fresh like the other straights and it wouldn't be fair to expect it to be as smooth as the other two. Additionally, I made some faux pas with the Paul Drees whilst I was learning my straight razor game, which is still a work in progress. I seem to remember the Drees being harsher, today it was ever so slightly harsher than the Boker or the "Focus" straight. I will say that the Drees does sing more than the others, I can hear the blade pinging as it wacks down the whiskers. It does have a more hollow grind than the other two.

I was cautioned that the Paul Drees Sistrum razors are tricky to hone due to the thin steel at the edge, I will likely send this one off to be honed when the time comes. I was pleasantly surprised that the shave did not feel as rough as I thought I remembered the shave being with the razor. That being said, I do have a greater amount of irritation today. It did not feel like it was shaving harsher while the shave was progressing. My level of comfort is increasing with each straight shave, and therefore I am shaving an ever greater amount of the lather laid down. Today I was able to get the tricky spot of the end of the jawline, at the joint transitioning to the neck area. I thought I did a good job, the redness in the area shows I got a tad aggressive with the straight. It's a game of angles and pressure, get one wrong and you get redness. I also shaved more of the neck than in previous days, the neck is tricky for me as well, that angle and pressure thing again. Most of the redness was on the neck area, where I was in uncharted territory with the straight today shaving areas I had left to the DE on other shaves. The redness now, 2 hours post shave, is subsiding, although the face still feels warm, this warranted a deduction on the comfort score.

No ATG work today again, save for the jawline, which runs in the same direction as XTG on the face. I did again make a diagonal pass on the cheeks on both sides, in between XTG and ATG, which yielded just shy of BBS on the cheeks. All in all, it was a great shave knocked down by some irritation. One weeper popped up and left, inside the goatee area where I was trimming up with the Super Speed. Again I was moving faster than I should have at the moment.

The scent of Noble Otter Lonestar is fantastic, leather, woodsy great scent. A fall/winter scent if you so desire to categorize the scents. But one to use year-round if wanted. The soap provided a nice slick lather, I am still coming to grips with face lathering, learning how to incorporate water into the lather with the brush. As with the straight shaving, it is a work in progress.

The Zenith did a fine job of face lathering today, awaiting extensive use in DecemBOAR. I am breaking in the other brushes one at a time now and will introduce them into the rotation as they get broken in. The Zenith may have attributed to the irritation as it is still being broken in, but I noticed that it has more backbone than the Omega Boar today. I did quite a bit of scrubbing on the face and neck today, more than other days on the neck as before I never really scrubbed the neck, I just painted on the lather.

In closing, what caused the irritation? Dun-know. It may have been the aggressive passes with the straight, the aggressive face scrubbing, the aggressive touchup passes with the Super Speed, or all of the above. And it is a very minor amount of irritation, hardly noticeable now 2 hours later. Just different than previous shaves, therefore something to keep in mind on subsequent shaves. In the end, it is still an excellent shave, one I'd take more days than not. Progress, no matter how slow, is still progress.

I wish all a blessed Tuesday and fantastic shaves.

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How many SR shaves under your belt now?

It's definitely one of those things that really intrigues me, even prior to falling into wet-shaving. Will have to try someday!
#14 today. It has been said it takes 30 to get comfortable and 90 to become proficient. I joined BnB way back in 2011 because I wanted to straight razor shave. I was sliced up something fierce by Feather blades and that sorta tamed my desire to journey into straights. I figured I wasn't getting any younger and needed to try it for myself.

Griffith Shaving Goods was one of the vendors recommended here that provides truly shave-ready straight razors. They have a section of vintage razors they restored and honed. As well as a good allotment of NOS straights, both the Paul Drees and the "Focus" Straights were NOS. I need to stay off the site as two have made their way to my house so far. Also, Maggard's puts a good edge on straights I understand. Another route is to pick up a razor here in the BST and have it honed by members here who hone. I used Steve56, he did an excellent job. Doc266 was recommended by the member I bought the Boker from. I haven't used him yet, but I hear good things about him as well.

I got a beginner strop from Heirloom Razor Strop Co., a member here, for $55. It was said not to get a higher-end fancy strop with a deep dark tan and expensive leather, because we rookies are just going to nick it up and nick it up is what I did in the first week. I almost pulled the trigger for the higher line one on his site as it was just $30 more. I am thankful I didn't, because if I had to sand out the nick I put in the beginner strop, it would have left an obvious wound on the strop and I would have been reminded of not only my knucklehead hammer-fisted reverse lap but also not heeding the advice to go with a less expensive beginner strop every time I stropped my razor. As it is I'm reminded of my knucklehead hammer-fisted reverse lap and that I was smart enough to not buy the higher end strop and just nicked up my beginner strop. We will call it patina.

The above is in no way intended to enable anyone. eg, All rights and reserves for use of eg go to Kim @Phoenixkh.
 
I have a black Arkansas from Dan's Whetstone, also a 12k Shapton and 12k Naniwa Superstone. I am hesitant to touch up the Paul Drees as it is said to have thinner steel to the point is easier to round the bevel. I'll go as long as I can then try and touch it up on my Ark and see what it does. If I fubar the edge, I'll send it in.
 
I have a black Arkansas from Dan's Whetstone, also a 12k Shapton and 12k Naniwa Superstone. I am hesitant to touch up the Paul Drees as it is said to have thinner steel to the point is easier to round the bevel. I'll go as long as I can then try and touch it up on my Ark and see what it does. If I fubar the edge, I'll send it in.
The problem is that the Ark needs to be lapped flat and that's a big job. You really don't want to use it until you do so for several reasons that you can look up easily enough. I forgot that you had stones, I was going to say just get a 12k! The problem with that is that you need lapping film after the 12k because it's not fine enough. This is why some people prefer the balsa wood strops, less work to touch up an edge. A piece of acrylic and one or two films glued to it is all you need, I started there and still use them. The 12k won't do a ton, but you are right to be careful with the P. Drees. It will fix a rolled apex that a strop isn't straightening out though. That's one of the easiest things to do to a straight by accident and also a good way to irritate your face(the edge is pointing inward to one side)! Even going back to a 6k or 8k won't make major changes, that starts at about 4k. I also wanted to mention that anything you do, you need to know if the honer used tape because you will need to replicate that or you will bugger things up real good! Griffith does and I have honed one that they did without tape back to 1.5k because the bevel angle was already too wide. On the flip side, if you use tape on one that wasn't taped, you will create a double bevel.
 
The problem with that is that you need lapping film after the 12k because it's not fine enough. This is why some people prefer the balsa wood strops, less work to touch up an edge.
I have a different advice here. If you decide to hone the Paul Drees razor, you can use the 12k stone (Shapton or Naniwa) and see how you like the edge. Many do shave off a 12k and not many shave off lapping film or balsa. Just my $.02.

If you lap on the 12k, don’t do too many laps on these synthetic stones, maybe only five or so and then try the edge. If you think it improved and can take some more laps, do another five and then try it again. If the edge is still good, it should be back within ~10 laps.

If it did not improve, then you can sent it to someone to have it fixed and in the meantime you can practice honing on the cheap ‘bay.

Wish you success in this!
 
Yo John...glad you're going all in with the straights...however, for me, that's just so much more stuff to do, think about and practise that Ima gonna stick with "hmm, which blade to use this time?":biggrin1::biggrin1:
But I do take my hat off to you for your determined pursuit and desire. Also love the help and advice you're getting...there's a lot of it.
 
The problem is that the Ark needs to be lapped flat and that's a big job. You really don't want to use it until you do so for several reasons that you can look up easily enough. I forgot that you had stones, I was going to say just get a 12k! The problem with that is that you need lapping film after the 12k because it's not fine enough. This is why some people prefer the balsa wood strops, less work to touch up an edge. A piece of acrylic and one or two films glued to it is all you need, I started there and still use them. The 12k won't do a ton, but you are right to be careful with the P. Drees. It will fix a rolled apex that a strop isn't straightening out though. That's one of the easiest things to do to a straight by accident and also a good way to irritate your face(the edge is pointing inward to one side)! Even going back to a 6k or 8k won't make major changes, that starts at about 4k. I also wanted to mention that anything you do, you need to know if the honer used tape because you will need to replicate that or you will bugger things up real good! Griffith does and I have honed one that they did without tape back to 1.5k because the bevel angle was already too wide. On the flip side, if you use tape on one that wasn't taped, you will create a double bevel.

The straight shave is challenging enough. The critical honing definitely takes it over the top. When I watched my grandfather and my father in law using their single uneven touch up stones and a single strop. It didn’t seem overly complicated. Their shaves weren’t WTG, XTG, ATG. They were single pass WTG shaves. Their single boar brush stayed wet in the cup until next shave. They were always clean shaven and hardly spent more than a few minutes to do the job. Our OCD dynamics have definitely elevated a grooming chore to a never ending pursuit of perfection. I love shaving. Sorry grandpa.
 
Ark needs to be lapped flat and that's a big job
My Ark is from Dan's Whetstone, it is supposed to be flat already. I will check with the straight edges I have from my woodworking AD back in the day.

need to know if the honer used tape
Yes, I was aware of this and that Griffith used tape, only because I paid attention to the package, but reinforcement of information is always helpful for my hard head. I'll reach out to Griffith and see how much tape they used.

some people prefer the balsa wood strops
I thought about Balsa wood strops, but I thought if I was going to outgrow them at some point then just outgrow them from the start. I was looking at other natural stones and almost bought one of the Vermont Green slate stones from Griffiths. Steve56 mentioned a Penn Blue Slate also, which a member here at one point sold. MattO. Well lo and behold, Matty O was selling his Blue Slate for the reasonable sum of 60 US dollars. I snagged it this morning. I may very well get a JNat in the future. But my Ark from Dan's should be flat, and I will verify this with my straight edge that I know is straight.

I appreciate your input and help. All the knowledge goes into the pot and hopefully, a good edge will come out. Like a good gumbo.

I have a different advice here. If you decide to hone the Paul Drees razor, you can use the 12k stone (Shapton or Naniwa) and see how you like the edge. Many do shave off a 12k and not many shave off lapping film or balsa. Just my $.02.

If you lap on the 12k, don’t do too many laps on these synthetic stones, maybe only five or so and then try the edge. If you think it improved and can take some more laps, do another five and then try it again. If the edge is still good, it should be back within ~10 laps.

If it did not improve, then you can sent it to someone to have it fixed and in the meantime you can practice honing on the cheap ‘bay.

Wish you success in this!
Thanks for the comment, yes that is what I intend to do, try a few laps and then see how it shaves. If it is working out great, if not I'll send it out to Steve56. I have other razors that I can try first that aren't as delicate as the Paul Drees "Sistrum' razors. I will start with them first. I was thinking of shaving with the Unknown Best Solingen I have tomorrow to have a baseline of how it shaves before I attempt to refresh the edge. Last I remembered it was harsh, but I was new as well. I appreciate your help here.

Yo John...glad you're going all in with the straights...however, for me, that's just so much more stuff to do, think about and practise that Ima gonna stick with "hmm, which blade to use this time?":biggrin1::biggrin1:
But I do take my hat off to you for your determined pursuit and desire. Also love the help and advice you're getting...there's a lot of it.
Thanks for the kind words, I'm taking one for the team so to speak. Determined has been used to describe my actions at times, my mom used the Cajun Phrase Tete Dure, hard headed in Cajun. I wonder who I got it from???? And I again appreciate all the advice, its all being put to good use.
 
The straight shave is challenging enough. The critical honing definitely takes it over the top. When I watched my grandfather and my father in law using their single uneven touch up stones and a single strop. It didn’t seem overly complicated. Their shaves weren’t WTG, XTG, ATG. They were single pass WTG shaves. Their single boar brush stayed wet in the cup until next shave. They were always clean shaven and hardly spent more than a few minutes to do the job. Our OCD dynamics have definitely elevated a grooming chore to a never ending pursuit of perfection. I love shaving. Sorry grandpa.
I don't know what kind of magic they had back then, a single WTG pass for me leaves much to be desired. A tip of the hat to those fellas, but they had years and years of experience. I've watched some hone a straight while holding the stone which is impressive. I am not to that point yet, heck, I haven't even wet the stones yet. Haha.
 
My Ark is from Dan's Whetstone, it is supposed to be flat already. I will check with the straight edges I have from my woodworking AD back in the day.
Lapping is about more than flattening, I was confused about this too. Because an Ark can be used in different ways, you need to figure out what grit you want the surface finished with. This will affect how it hones, I don't know anything more.

MattO. Well lo and behold, Matty O was selling his Blue Slate for the reasonable sum of 60 US dollars. I snagged it this morning.
Nice!

I wish I could be more helpful, but I am reluctant to say too much because I am a bit rusty. The reply below mine; we aren't in any disagreement, I should have said may need finer that 12k. That is a common sentence on the straight forums and I was just repeating a generalisation.
 
Shave Date 11/28/23 Straight Razor Shave #14
Razor:
Straight: Paul Drees "Sistrum" DE: 1948 Gillette Super Speed
Blade: Gillette Silver Blue(3)
Pre-Shave: PAA The Cube 2.0
Soap: Noble Otter Lonestar
Brush: Zenith Boar
Post-shave: Alum block, Thayers Witch Hazel, PAA Mysterium Serium, Noble Otter Lonestar A/S.
Rating: 28/30 9 for Comfort(Neck and facial irritation), 10 for cuts and weepers (1), 9 for closeness, neck stubble, Face DFS.

Notes:

A great shave knocked down by some irritation. The alum block gave quite a bit of feedback, so much so I couldn't ignore it and it resulted in a point deduction. I have some red spots on my neck and cheek as well. See what happened was..........

I'm not sure, after the two great shaves from my last two straights, I was interested to see how the Paul Drees would perform, the other two straights were on their first shave after honing, and the Drees had about 20 passes or so under its belt, therefore, the hone is not fresh like the other straights and it wouldn't be fair to expect it to be as smooth as the other two. Additionally, I made some faux pas with the Paul Drees whilst I was learning my straight razor game, which is still a work in progress. I seem to remember the Drees being harsher, today it was ever so slightly harsher than the Boker or the "Focus" straight. I will say that the Drees does sing more than the others, I can hear the blade pinging as it wacks down the whiskers. It does have a more hollow grind than the other two.

I was cautioned that the Paul Drees Sistrum razors are tricky to hone due to the thin steel at the edge, I will likely send this one off to be honed when the time comes. I was pleasantly surprised that the shave did not feel as rough as I thought I remembered the shave being with the razor. That being said, I do have a greater amount of irritation today. It did not feel like it was shaving harsher while the shave was progressing. My level of comfort is increasing with each straight shave, and therefore I am shaving an ever greater amount of the lather laid down. Today I was able to get the tricky spot of the end of the jawline, at the joint transitioning to the neck area. I thought I did a good job, the redness in the area shows I got a tad aggressive with the straight. It's a game of angles and pressure, get one wrong and you get redness. I also shaved more of the neck than in previous days, the neck is tricky for me as well, that angle and pressure thing again. Most of the redness was on the neck area, where I was in uncharted territory with the straight today shaving areas I had left to the DE on other shaves. The redness now, 2 hours post shave, is subsiding, although the face still feels warm, this warranted a deduction on the comfort score.

No ATG work today again, save for the jawline, which runs in the same direction as XTG on the face. I did again make a diagonal pass on the cheeks on both sides, in between XTG and ATG, which yielded just shy of BBS on the cheeks. All in all, it was a great shave knocked down by some irritation. One weeper popped up and left, inside the goatee area where I was trimming up with the Super Speed. Again I was moving faster than I should have at the moment.

The scent of Noble Otter Lonestar is fantastic, leather, woodsy great scent. A fall/winter scent if you so desire to categorize the scents. But one to use year-round if wanted. The soap provided a nice slick lather, I am still coming to grips with face lathering, learning how to incorporate water into the lather with the brush. As with the straight shaving, it is a work in progress.

The Zenith did a fine job of face lathering today, awaiting extensive use in DecemBOAR. I am breaking in the other brushes one at a time now and will introduce them into the rotation as they get broken in. The Zenith may have attributed to the irritation as it is still being broken in, but I noticed that it has more backbone than the Omega Boar today. I did quite a bit of scrubbing on the face and neck today, more than other days on the neck as before I never really scrubbed the neck, I just painted on the lather.

In closing, what caused the irritation? Dun-know. It may have been the aggressive passes with the straight, the aggressive face scrubbing, the aggressive touchup passes with the Super Speed, or all of the above. And it is a very minor amount of irritation, hardly noticeable now 2 hours later. Just different than previous shaves, therefore something to keep in mind on subsequent shaves. In the end, it is still an excellent shave, one I'd take more days than not. Progress, no matter how slow, is still progress.

I wish all a blessed Tuesday and fantastic shaves.

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In the early going with my acquisition of brushes I had never heard of or knew there was such a thing as brush burn. I already have sensitive skin, with the added brush burn of breaking boars. That cured me real quick. I wouldn’t use any brush until fully broken in and multiple hand latherings to confirm a fully tamed boar. They continued to develop with softness and luxury. I also moved more towards using and incorporating tip use only, especially when a little scrub was desired. My previous long use of silvertips had created poor brush habits. Splaying a brush accomplishes very little in a shave other than wasting time. Exclusive use of a big boar now has turned out to be my huckleberry.
 
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