Newber here, so these are merely my impressions of my first shave bowl. It is my first shaving product review. Even at my age, some things are firsts and new!
Trafalger 1, Bowl, New Karve Overlander
This is a Vikings Blade bowl, purchased from Amazin for $ 20. From a web search, there are very few sellers of this item and no bowls anything similar to it. The same bowl is also available in a minimally larger (only .5 inches wider) size for $ 25. I chose the smaller bowl due to the preferred smaller knots (primarily 22 mm - 24 mm) and shorter handles on my brushes. Unmistakably, compared to the dimensions of most bowls/scuttles, these are small bowls. That was my overwhelming first impression when unboxing the item, raising skepticism about its usefulness.
The measurements of the (small) bowl: are 3 inches interior top diameter at the usable top, gently tapering inward to the bottom, 3.75 inches top lip edges diameter, usable interior height is 1.5 inches, measured interior liquid volume is 5.5 ounces. Measured weight is 4.93 ounces. There are no ridges, grooves or structural alterations in the interior or on the exterior. The words "Vikings Blade" and their emblem appear as embossing at the bottom inside of the bowl. There is a generous, integral flanged lip surrounding the top to help prevent overflow of lather. Esthetically, the bowl is an attractive piece to my eye.
The base construction material is stainless steel. More importantly, and what might set this bowl apart from other steel bowls, the entire interior and exterior surface is almost certainly covered by what I believe is a "Cerakote" surface. If you are not familiar with this ceramic film treatment of metals (more typically applied to firearm and knife surfaces), it is an extremely grippy, protective treatment of metals that inhibits rust and corrosion. If you are not familiar with "Cerakote," think of a heavily bead-blasted texture. For stainless steel in this application, the protective qualities of the application are secondary to the enhanced exterior grippiness and interior lathering enhancements.
From a quality standpoint, the execution of the bowl is excellent: No sharp edges, uniform steel thickness, nicely weighted in hand, uniform application of the "Cerakote" surface and uniform color (matte grey). (When wet, “Cerakote darkens in shade, returning to original color when dry.)
The surface of the bowl has impressed me as being very practical (if not ideal) to working a lather in three ways. (It was, in fact, the reason I chose to make this my first bowl.) First, all creams and smushed-down soaps adhere like glue to the bottom surface of the bowl and then to the sides as lather is built. It's very easy to see whether or not the brush has picked up all the soaping material. Second, the granular surfaces of the bowl seem to help the brush aerate the soap and quickly reduce large air bubbles in the lather. Third, the same texturing on the outside of the bowl made it exceptionally grip-worthy. Not once has the bowl turned or slipped in my soapy hands.
The only other bowl-type I considered before making my final purchase decision was the stone bowls which have textured surfaces, all esthetically pleasing but weighty drop hazards waiting to fall on the counter or floor. My grip ain't what it used to be, especially with wet surfaces.
There might be a downside to the texturing on the inside surfaces. I'll wonder, but never know for a protracted time, whether or not the graininess of the "Cerakote" is damaging the fibers of my brushes. Given the "reasonable" costs of my brushes, this is an acceptable risk when weighed against the benefits of using this bowl.
All-in-all, I am extremely pleased with this bowl and its performance in my arsenal of shaving weapons. If the larger size bowl was not a mere .5 inches larger than this model, I'd purchase it. With 20/20 hindsight, I should have purchased the slightly larger size. I see no practical reason to acquire other bowls and consider this find a gigantic stroke of luck for a novice to this art of ours. (Ah, more RAD spending freed up for other shaving acquisitions. Perfect!)
Thanks for reading. I welcome constructive criticism and opinions.