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AoP's Commonplace Shaving Journal


Vitos pre-shave (menthol);
Shannon's Soaps "Bay Patchouli Grapefruit" (soap);
Zenith 24mm horse w/aluminum handle (brush);
Focus R21 (razor);
Lord Platinum (half-blade);
Floid "Mentolado Vigoroso" (aftershave).


First time using a shavette in a long time. The Focus R21 is without doubt the best I've used. I think it has to do with the plastic housing shrouding the blade, making the blade seem smoother. Lord Platinum blade felt very nice, a clean shave in 2 passes plus touch-ups. Could have done a better job near my nostrils and above the jaw on the left side of my face, but didn't discover this until later. The Shannon's Soap was a free sample sent with the Zenith horsehair brush. Strong patchouli scent. Lather was better than the last time I tried it, sufficient glide and cushion during the pass. This new generation of horsehair knots consist mostly of clipped bristles, not like the finely tipped and Vie-Long knots. Consequently, the feel of the Zenith knot is more like boar or a loose pure badger. Floid AS after the patchouli soap was rather strange. Both scents lingered for quite some time, leaving an patchouli-Floid combination that surprisingly seemed to work okay together. Not sure I want to make a habit of wearing both, or the patchouli in particular, though.

I have been searching for a pure badger brush with a wooden handle. Not the easiest thing to find. I was eying a Parker brush, then came across a Haryali brush who's handle struck me as something Simpson might put out if they were selling wooden handles. Review of the brush on B&B have not been the best, but I decided to take a chance anyway as it was only $12 shipped.

Here are some shots of the brush out of the box, as received today, and as compared to a Semogue 2020 "best" badger.


The knot measures ~22mm where it leaves the handle with a loft ~53.5mm, and the handle is ~58mm high. All in all, it compares pretty well to the Semogue, a few more clipped hairs, but about the same density. Perhaps it compares more closely to the pure badger Semogue 2010... The handle, as turned, looks quite nice. We'll see how it behaves with soap or cream tomorrow... Made in "London"? Absolutely no indication is given as to the country of manufacture.
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Used the Haryali brush with some Cyril Salter rose shaving cream in a bowl. Lathering went just fine, easily whipping up enough for 2+ passes. Nothing like the horror story of the knot going every which way that was posted on a thread about the brush--that brush I think was actually a horsehair knot masquerading as pure badger, I've seen those from Chinese production a few years back. A little bit of prickle in applying the brush to my face, but nothing disagreeable. Rose cream drowned out the faint badger smell. Upon drying, the badger smell is hardly there, if at all. Drying also revealed that the handle wasn't truly finished, with dried out mottling at the top. One coat of walnut oil and the handle is now resting 30 minutes before being wiped down. Maybe two more coats like this. It means that the handle needs to be maintained. Something I like to do with my hickory kitchen knife handles.


Vitos (mentholated pre-shave cream--not shown);
Razorock "Acqua" (shave soap);
Haryali of "London" pure badger (brush);
Dovo 5/8 square-point (razor);
Osma Bloc d'alun (astringent);
Razor "Acqua" (aftershave).


Followed-up the walnut-oil application on the handle with a light coating of Renaissance wax. We'll see how that holds up, but it may need stronger protection then that in the end. Today's shave was very nice. Started with 8 laps on a new black-pasted Herold strop, followed by another 8 on the old Russian leather strop. No real tingle in applying the alum block. The Razorock soap and after-shave has a musty smell that lingers quite a while on the face afterwards. Haryali brush did a good job of whipping up three passes' worth of lather, although there is a little bit of prickle upon application. Not really something that bothers me. For $12, is it a worthwhile brush? I think a Semogue 2020 for around twice that would be a better investment and involve less maintenance.

Gluing up some wood for small, narrow-hone paddles.


On a recent thread, there has been some discussion about long-term (3-day) soaking to break-in new boar knots. I had this boar knot that I've not soaked other than briefly prior to a couple of shaves and thought I'd give it a long-term soak to see what all the fuss is about.


After three days, I went to build a lather with the soaked brush, and the knot immediately fell out when I gave it a preliminary shake.


Separation was between two nickels that I'd used to raise the knot up in the recess of the handle. As the water line was below the knot's junction with the handle at all times, it shows the power of the bristles' capillary pumping action. Guess I'll wait for everything to dry out and then try to re-glue it.

Sanded the paddles that were glued up on 5-3-22 and glued a generic fine silicone carbide hone, a generic fine aluminum oxide hone, and a generic fine ceramic hone. First time using this one-minute epoxy. Used too much on the first hone that was glued, the fine aluminum oxide, which accounts for the glue oozing out at one end. Doesn't matter as these are to be used, not looked out. And as they are oil-stones, I will oil the handles with the mineral oil I use as a honing medium. Took advantage of the gluing session to reattach the boar not to the handle as well. Hopefully, it will hold up this time.


Looks like the 3-day soaked knot is up and running now. Sorry, no fancy twist as to lather...


Today's shave was pretty nice too:


Vitos pre-shave (menthol--not pictured);
Haslinger Salbei (sage shaving soap);
3-day soaked boar knot (Maggard's) with aluminum handle (AP Shave Co.);
Focus R21 w/ Lord platinum blade (razor);
Osma bloc d'alun (astringent);
Floid mentolado vigoroso (aftershave).

Actually, a great shave overall! Love this Focus shavette Lord blade combo--best shavette I've ever used. Still figuring out the mug lathering thing with the new brush and handle, it was a bit thick and hard to rinse off the razor, but it did the trick as to glide and cushion. No tingle at all in applying the alum block. The mentholated Floid was a nice finish as well.

Stirling Sheep with a splash of Osage Rub (shaving soap);
Vie-Long 24mm horse-badger (shaving brush);
Focus R21 with Lord stainless steel blade (razor--not pictured).


I'm experimenting with an "express shave" for when I'm on the road. I like menthol as a pre-shave, so I've been thinking that Stirling's Glacial Electric Sheep might be my one stop, pre-shave, shave, post-shave ticket as mutton tallow is alleged to have a nice conditioning effect as to a finish. But before I take the plunge, I experimented tonight by adding a splash of mentholated Osage Rub to some plain Stirling Sheep soap. Added a splash to the soap after blooming and then another splash while building the lather. Menthol effect was light for the first pass, but then it really kicked in for the second pass and the rest of the shave. Perhaps putting the lather on the face well before the first pass might enhance things there, or it is reacting with the skin after the first pass.

Another excellent shave. As the Lord Platinum blade had been doing well, thought I'd try the Stainless Steel variant this time. I really expected to say that the Lord Stainless Steel and the Lord Platinum were exactly the same blade with different names, but the Lord Stainless Steel seemed a bit keener than the Platinum, which was smoother in comparison. Still a very nice shave with only one small weeper. I think the shave is a little bit closer with the Stainless Steel blade. Post-shave effect ending with just the mutton tallow soap was quite good, no burn, rawness, etc. Pretty sure that the Glacial Electric Sheep will be the one-stop-does-all soap that I'm looking for when on the road. And in the summer months, with the citronella, it promises to keep the mosquitos at bay as well.

Vie-Long horse badger knot is the old-school type of shaving brush I wish were still fashionable: short handle-long loft-narrow waist. Really miss these. Everything now tends towards the opposite: long handle-short loft-broad waist.

Vitos (mentholated pre-shave);
Captain's Choice "Island Time" (shaving soap);
Omega 80267 boar (brush);
Focus R21 w/Lord stainless steel blade (razor);
Osma bloc d'alun (astringent);
Captain's Choice "Island Time" (aftershave).


Fourth shave in with the Lord blade, and it seems to have mellowed some. Great, smooth shave in two passes plus touch-ups with absolutely no sensation in applying the alum block. I've been thinking about why the Focus R21 is such a good shavette for me. As I've mentioned before, I think it has to do with the plastic housing. First, it is not angled or beveled like some other shavettes (the all-aluminum Focus shavette for instance) which allows me to vary the angle somewhat as needed rather than being locked into a set angle. And second, I'm wondering if the plastic housing doesn't allow for some flexibility of the blade during the pass whereas an all-metal housing would be more rigid. If so, then it would come closer to resembling a straight in this regard. I've had the Omega brush for several years and it's a favorite of mine. Really, a no-frills brush that excels both a face-lathering and bowl lathering. Stained in the logo area from storing it away next to something, maybe a leather strop. Gives it character. I face-lathered the Captain's Choice Island Time soap this time. A little bit too thick on the first pass, which was subsequently thinned by adding a little water to it for the second pass. Both the soap and the aftershave have a predominant pineapple scent that lingers for a little while. Not my favorite scent, but agreeable all the same. Reminded me that summer is approaching while walking around outside on this beautiful, sunny spring day here in Old New England.
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Vitos cream (mentholated pre-shave--not pictured);
Haslinger "Salbei" (sage shaving soap, tallow version--not pictured, it's in the mug);
A.P. Shave Co. aluminum handle w/Maggard 22mm boar knot (brush);
Tru-Edge "The Razor that Fits Your Face" 9/16 full-hollow (razor);
Osma bloc d'alun (astringent);
St. John's bay rum w/ dollop of 444 post-shave cream (aftershave blend);
Tony Miller European bridle (strop).


I'm afraid you're going to have to take my word on it as much is either out-of-focus as shown, or not shown at all! Tonight's shave was very, very close. Serious BBS with a little bit of a price to pay regarding exfoliation. But that's what I wanted as I don't have time to shave tomorrow morning and have to present myself for a couple of important things then. Razor did the trick in two passes, plus touch-ups. This Haslinger soap lathers well, but I can't say I care for the scent all that much. Actually, it doesn't smell like much of anything, or anything that I can place. A bit of alum block tingle given the closeness of the shave. Bay rum with the 444 aftershave balm was surprisingly mild in application though, the St. John's bay rum normally having a bit of an alcohol kick. 8 laps on cotton, followed by ~12 laps on Tony Miller's "Old No. 2" European bridle. Getting better as it continues to break in.

Vitos cream (mentholated pre-shave, not shown);
Cyril R. Salter Rose-Geranium (shaving cream);
Semogue 2020 (brush);
Bengall "Cast Steel" (razor);
Thayer's lavender witch hazel (astringent, not shown--I forgot to include it).

Honorable mention: an artisanal (now shaving) bowl picked up a few years back at a local art fair.


Blade started to pull during at the start of the first pass, so I ran it across the black-pasted Herold Solingen strop pictured in my 5/2 post above. 8 laps on the cotton side followed by 8 laps on the pasted side, followed by 12 laps on the Russian leather Dovo strop again pictured from 5/2. Picked the edge right up and the rest of the shave went well as far as the blade's edge was concerned. Love the scent of the Salter rose-geranium cream as it takes me back to my maternal grandmother's house, my grandmother having been fond of roses. That said, I find the lather too dry and airy for my taste. It works, but I miss slickness there. Lots of folks here seem to like it though. The Semogue 2020 did a great job of whipping up the lather. It's a great brush for bowl-lathering with creams and will also serve for face-lathering in a pinch. In setting up the shot for this post, I accidentally touched the knot of the shaving brush lightly with the razor's edge and 3-5 hairs immediately sheared off. Have to avoid doing things like that in the future! Thankfully, the missing hairs are not noticeable. There are enough other hairs to cover for them! I find Thayer's lavender WH is a great complement and finish after subtle flowery scents like this rose-geranium cream and soaps like Haslinger's Sheep Milk.

Razorock lime glycerine soap (pre-shave);
C.O. Bigelow (shave cream);
Vulfix 18 pure badger (shaving brush);
Gustave La Lune 5/8 "Honneur & Blason" (razor);
Dr. Galen Skin Tonic (astrigent).

Honorable mention: Maggard Razors crafted shaving bowl as shown.


Apologies for the color balance on this one. That's what happens when you mix incandescent with natural light from side to side! Two passes plus touch-ups with this French-forged razor made by Ertan Suer. The edge as viewed with a loupe was a little ragged after several shaves, so I ran it across a small BBW used with olive oil following a recent discussion on another thread. Seemed to help things for a smooth first pass, followed by a closer shave for the second pass and touch-ups after 8 passes on a red-pasted strop followed by another 10 passes on a narrow Dovo Russian leather strop. All-in-all, a very nice shave at the end. Cool, menthol-eucalyptus Bigelow cream is great for early summer nights like this, the Vulfix brush being great for creams in a bowl. The Bigelow Dr. Galen skin tonic is a nice complement to the cream, minty and medicinal with witch hazel and a high alcohol kick.

Vitos cream (mentholated pre-shave--not shown);
Cyril R. Salter Rose-Geranium (in the bowl);
Vie-Long horse-badger (brush);
local artisanal shaving bowl;
Focus R21 shavette w/Focus blade (razor);
Thayer's Lavender (astringent--not shown).


Running late for an important appointment with three days' stubble, so I had to shave fast. Decided to jump ahead to the second pass from the start, followed by additional touch-ups as needed. Didn't do too bad, although I did have to return to one cheek six hours later to remove a few lingering hairs. FWIW, the Vie-Long brush as shown is my favorite brush among the many I have used. Usual players otherwise, which I have commented on in earlier posts above. The Lord blade did the job again, but I think it may be time to switch to a new one soon.

Vitos cream (mentholated pre-shave);
Captain's Choice "Island Time" (shaving soap);
Frank Shaving FI20-EB27 (brush);
Focus R21 w/ Lord half-blade (razor);
Osma Bloc d'alun (astringent);
Captain's Choice "Island Time" w/ dollop of 444 post-shave cream (post-shave blend).


Very nice shave in two passes plus touch-ups. No weepers, little to no sensation in applying the alum block. The Lord blade is something like 5 to 7 shaves in and has remained mellow. The Frank Shaving brushes have a reputation for losing a lot of hair. I haven't really found that that's the case with this one. I lost a handful of hairs the first time I lathered with it, but since then, it's never been more than one. Very nice as to small size and ergonomics, lathering up just enough for one of my shaving sessions. For about a third to half the price of an equivalent Simpson brush, I think it's a nice alternative. Perhaps the handle could be a little bit longer, but really it's fine for me. Captain's Choice "Island Time" lathered very well for me this go 'round. In finishing with the matching aftershave, I was wondering what Stirling's "Glacial Pineapple" might be like, so I decided to find out by blending a little of the 444 post-shave cream with the "Island Time" aftershave before application. It masked the AS scent a little bit while they both were applied to the face, leading to a nice cool-down, with the pineapple scent arriving afterwards.

Vitos cream (mentholated pre-shave);
Razorock "Acqua" (shaving soap);
Semogue 1438 boar (brush);
Bengall "Cast Steel" (razor);
Osma bloc d'alun (astringent);
Razorock "Acqua" (aftershave).


In spite of my recent enjoyment of shavette razor shaving, I have to say that returning to a straight today has put things in perspective. A really close, smooth shave in two passes plus touch-ups. No way I can get get this close with a shavette; I think it has to do with a little bit of pressure being acceptable with a straight during the pass. Took out the Bengall for an extended stropping session as I recently received some 2-inch wide strops from Tony Miller, who is having a big "empty the workshop of these" type sale (see linked thread). Really a great deal and enough to keep me amused for some time.

Semogue 1438, a smaller boar brush, did quite well for two passes plus touch-ups. I sort of ran out of lather in the knot for the final touch-ups, but there was enough in the tub to finish the job. The Razorock soap lathers very easily and the aftershave leaves an "ocean" type scent that lingers for a while. High alcohol flourish, if that's what you're after. While both smell good, it's not really a scent I want to try again. When they're both done, that will probably be it for them from my end.

Stirling mentholated soap (pre-shave);
Arko stick (shaving soap);
Simpson Classic 1 synthetic knot (brush);
Focus R21 w/Lord half-blade (razor);
Captain's Choice "Nor'Easter" (aftershave--sample).


On the road again, a trip that has involved visiting an old Hindostan quarry in southern Indiana and a current Berean sandstone quarry near Oberlin, Ohio. Lots of fun there. Now heading back to Old New England. Three shaves in with the Lord blade and I'm convinced that the local tap water has a lot to do with the shaving experience. A normally nice shave with familiar players yielded a fairly harsh shave. Maybe using distilled water should be the default for judging a shave. First time using the Captain's Choice "Nor'Easter." The missus gives her approval, but to me a few minutes in, it's a bit like the creepy guy who wears too much cologne at work. Apart from that it would be fine. Glad it's just a freebie sample. If it wears off soon, I may change my view on things. We'll see...

Let's see, 7-15-22 meant that I was in a cheap hotel in Doylestown, Penn. I have since returned to Old New England and had one shave with exactly the same set-up that I used in Doylestown and another shave using the same razor and blade as before. Both shaves were quite good: no weepers, no harshness, just a very light tingle in applying the alum block. So I am wondering if the perceived harsh quality of the shave in Doylestown had to do with the water quality there. Maybe it was just a fluke?
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