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Eleven Years On

1/6 SOTD


Return to the FaTip, sort of revisiting the shave yesterday--very similar light- growth, maybe not quite as light as yesterday. This is the 3rd shave on the AstraSP in this razor. Lather was Arko with the black Omega plus a generous dollop of Cremo applied to the face, brushed everything together with a deliberately light hand.
Put on a funk/soul/nu disco mix to accompany the shave.

My plan is to follow through on the strategy I thought I should've employed yesterday--skip the WTG pass, and do XTG and ATG with touchups. The razor is sufficiently aggressive, but the blade feels like it's a little lacking in sharpness for this approach. Still, the XTG pass is successful without any hiccups. ATG is a slightly different story, with a couple weepers appearing in some typical places. Alum has bite, but perhaps not as much as yesterday. Overall I'm happy with the shave, but feel like I'm still a novice with the FaTip and these light-growth shaves are just challenging generally. I think the two-pass method is appropriate and effective for similar circumstances moving forward, hopefully with greater skill I can avoid the weepers. BBS-/DFS+ for today, no sensation of "hot" chin or neck like yesterday.

I moisturize with Hydro Boost, no Thayer's today to keep things gentle.
And with picture! Go Desertcat!

About the passes, have you ever considered the Gillette Slide as passing technique? It’s WXTG. Takes some effort to use but might give a comfortable effectiveness you are looking for when less growth is your adversary during the morning shave.

Two days of shaves rolled into one entry:

Growth is pretty light. Applied Arko to the RR 400 Plissoft, lathered with Cremo as pre-shave to face. My lathers are going to be pretty boring for a while as I take a rest from Tabac (and await some purchases from the BST). Selected the RR GC.84, I believe the loaded AstraSP has 1 prior shave. Final shave of my work week, so it needs to be pretty close. I do a full 3 pass, I think my skin benefitted from the abridged shave yesterday. Generally a BBS--/DFS+ with very little reaction to alum, Nivea sensitive and a touch of Thayer's for post. A slightly more comfortable, definitely "easier" shave than I've had with the FaTip--it's hard to resist reaching for the GC for every shave. I know eventually I'll have greater skill with the FaTip, but the GC just comes naturally to me.

1/8 SOTD

Super Speed Sunday, I move the AstraSP out of the 34C into the SS, so it's had 1 prior shave. Again, boring lather of Arko on brush, Cremo as pre-shave on face. Using the new Omega brush, I want to eliminate variables to determine if it contributed to the irritation I experienced earlier in the week. Only doing a 2 pass + touchups to give the face a break, and because I simply cannot achieve the same closeness with the SS as I do with other razors.
I think I have a more productive WTG pass than past shaves with the SS. XTG is very reasonably comfortable. I am not noticing any tingle/heat/irritation from the lather, but I think I'm also being deliberately gentle with the brush. Unlike my 10+ year old Omega, this brush doesn't splay immediately. Early in lather building I rely more on "painting" than "scrubbing," but when I relather for the XTG pass the brush opens a little more readily. I do think the brush was a contributing factor in the irritation--but certainly not the only cause. I have a really good touchup around the jawline and near the corners of the mouth. Generally a DFS shave with a couple unintended spots of DFS+ or better. No reaction whatsoever to alum. Today's a Neutrogena Hydro Boost, also trying the Neutrogena eye cream that contains retinol.

Prepared to experiment with Fat Handle Tech this week. I may stick with Arko-only lathers for a while longer to reduce variables. I will probably also try the Travel Tech head with the Fat Handle to see if I have an easier time with the "newer" head design. Again I feel like I could shave with the GC forever but where's the fun in that?
En-route purchases include a couple brushes and a Slim Adjustable, all from the BST. Also @Borderboss is kindly sending a couple Personna Lab Blues which I hope can expand my blade varieties, will be interesting to try in razors that I struggle with (Techs, specifically). Eventually I'd like to also experiment with bowl lathering, especially with soaps that occasionally cause irritation or when I have multiple days of light growth/close shaves.
1/9 SOTD

As mentioned from yesterday, I plan to tackle the Tech this week. First order of business, to try the head from the later-model '67 Travel Tech with the handle from the Pre-War. I recall shaving sporadically with the Travel Tech but never tried a longer handle with that head. It's been years since I've used it.

I keep the lather the same as my recent shaves (Arko with Cremo pre-shave) because it seems to be agreeing better with my skin. When I return to Tabac I will probably bowl lather to reduce soap/skin contact. Today's brush is the TGN Finest. Music is the local classical station. Growth is med- today. Fresh AstraSP.

Immediately the WTG pass is comfortable, modestly productive, and feels pretty natural. I catch my attention drifting and my speed increasing--is this one of those easy Tech shaves that people talk about? XTG is also smooth and comfortable. I have decent lather and decide to undergo a complete third pass. At the outset of ATG I notice that I have a couple bad habits, I'm riding the cap and adding a little pressure--a dual error that I've probably tended to do for a long time. However, I'm finding this Tech head to be very forgiving; it simply won't shave if my angle is bad. I do some additional touchup on the chin and finish with a DFS++/BBS- the alum only sings in one place on the goatee, otherwise it's silent.

Compared to the Pre-War, this is a totally different shave. Easy, reasonably comfortable, reasonably close (though not quite as close, and barely less smooth than the GC. far FAR better than my last shave with the Merkur). I'm satisfied and also slightly annoyed that I never tried this head/handle configuration. So I'll be hunting down a later-model Tech (with normal-length handle) soon. I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with my Fat Handle, just less natural and comfortable for me.
However I'm in no rush to buy more razors, as the Slim Adjustable I purchased from @Rob1768 arrived today. Look forward to trying it over the next few weeks.

Happy Shaving!

As you are from the US you could also try the remake handles from Karve. I know these are not period accurate of course, but there is a variety of handles including one with the ball and or the common bar handle.

Other options are West Coast Shaving or Razorock.

That way you do not have to buy an entire razor.



Ps: I am shaving with Mike’s Natural Soap Barbershop this morning. He’s from Portland, OR. Wonderful soap. Highly recommend it for sensitive skin. I think he samples (or would be willing to for a fellow Portlander).
@Guido75 Excellent suggestions as always. Despite my utilitarian leanings I still enjoy the charm of shaving with an intact antique, but maybe if I'm assembling a big order from WCS/IB I'll include a spare handle. Thanks for the tip about Mike's, will definitely drop him a line.
1/10 SOTD


I know it's "Tech Tuesday" but it feels redundant to shave with the same razor twice. Plus, I want to try a new lather that arrived from the BST, and I'd prefer a razor I have greater confidence using.

So for today it's the RR GC .84SB with the same loaded blade, an AstraSP heading into shave #3. Haven't used a "real" cream in probably 8+ years, figure the traditional advice was always soft soap = soft brush so I've chosen the Plissoft 400 with Lea Pro.

After a shower I queue "Give Up" by the Postal Service. I have medium- growth today, yesterday's shave didn't have much staying power (but it was comfortable so I'm not bothered).

Lathering doesn't come totally naturally, but I manage. I think I have a tendency to underhydrate creams and the Plissoft is still new to my hand--it makes great lather but it's all hidden inside that monstrous loft. However I can squeeze it back to the surface to make it "paintable" for my face.

WTG goes normally, I open up a recurring weeper from previous shaves in the goatee area, but it stops bleeding before the shave is even finished. Normal XTG also. I can tell this blade has already seen some use. However unlike some previous shaves I manage better and have a productive and reasonably comfortable ATG pass, leaving some areas DFS+ but finding a few moments of BBS- around the chin and some spots on the cheek and neck. I think I'm doing a better job with keeping an aggressive angle when I approach ATG and avoiding the riding cap + pressure pitfall. The cream has done a fine job, I don't think it's caused any irritation and the lather was passable, has a reasonably comfortable post-shave feel. Alum has some presence (more than yesterday) but no pronounced bite. Neutrogena Hydro Boost applied afterword, no WH/toner today. A couple spots of redness near the Adam's apple, unusual for me--fortunately not too pronounced. As I write I don't sense any lingering irritation.

May bounce back to the Tech tomorrow. It's been nearly a week since I used Tabac, probably safe to return. May bowl lather to give my face some additional soap-less time.

Going back to the '67 Tech head on the Fat Handle today, same blade as before (so one prior shave AstraSP). Also returning to Tabac, choosing to bowl lather to reduce the skin and brush contact with soap, using the old black handle Omega 49. I don't have a great bowl for lathering, I use a small handmade ceramic bowl that has a small ridge in the bottom, but it's deeper than I'd prefer and not much wider than a coffee cup. Still, despite lots of clinking with the handle I manage to develop a good lather. I do a little Cremo as pre-shave along with a hot towel. After the 1st pass I plan to lather the face and neck separately to also reduce the chance of irritation.

Today's growth is light, as the GC always delivers a pretty thorough shave--yesterday was no exception. The music I choose is Nous Horizon by Yuksek, modern funk with house influences.

WTG and XTG passes are fine, decently productive. ATG is managed well until I approach the neck/jawline. I'm struggling to find my angle, can't tell if the razor is getting overwhelmed by the volume of lather... or the lack of aggressiveness/bladefeel is making it hard to detect if I'm really shaving. I still manage to make progress, relather the chin for a quick 4th buffing and touchup. Alum doesn't find much complaint, a couple red spots on the neck from yesterday are still visible and after rinsing the alum there's a couple tiny weepers. It's certainly the closest shave I've produced with a Tech, not overly laborious but a little more challenging than the GC. A majority of my face is BBS-. I think applied a little pressure on the right side under the jaw, I can feel a hint of warmth lingering after applying balm. Today's balm was Nivea Sensitive. I probably applied pressure trying to overcome the lack of aggression. No irritation I can detect from the soap, feeling relieved.
The '67 Tech certainly delivers DFS more readily than DFS+/BBS- which is consistent with my experiences with milder razors (like the SS). However, closer shaves are achievable and reasonably comfortable. I couldn't resist and purchased several vintage Gillettes from the BST, including a '66 Tech with standard handle--so eventually I can stop using the mixed handle/head like I've been doing. Someday (perhaps this week) I'll retry the Prewar Fat Handle and see if I've learned anything from using the '67.

Tallying up what I've bought in the last 2 months of returning to B&B, I've spent a healthy $298--the acquisition disorder is real. It's been almost exclusively hardware, despite my initial estimation that software is my area to expand. Guess I'll be spending a little more. My excuse is that I'm also trying to put a kit together for a friend. I'm also considering buying 500+ AstraSP just to ensure I have a substantial supply, and depending on how the Lab Blues fare I may purchase those also. Next week I may try the Slim for a number of shaves.

considered the Gillette Slide
Sorry I didn't reply to this earlier. The slide intimidates me. I think I naturally slide in some of my XTG passes across the cheeks. Will gingerly attempt sometime in the future.
@Tallships calls it “the Guillotine stroke” and that name made it easier for me to figure out its mechanics.
Hence my nervousness to experiment, sounds dangerous! But I’m slowly becoming less afraid of aggression and bladefeel, today’s shave especially taught me how beneficial it is to sense the blade. I briefly considered a Razorone Flatboy but will save it for a later time, the FaTip Grande is plenty aggressive and I have barely scratched the surface of the capabilities of that razor.
Hence my nervousness to experiment, sounds dangerous! But I’m slowly becoming less afraid of aggression and bladefeel, today’s shave especially taught me how beneficial it is to sense the blade. I briefly considered a Razorone Flatboy but will save it for a later time, the FaTip Grande is plenty aggressive and I have barely scratched the surface of the capabilities of that razor.
Nomen does not have to be omen in this case Desertcat - I find guillotine stroke to be intimidating as well. There are actually a couple of different strokes that could be useful of which the Gillette Slant (or oblique / guillotine) is the easiest to apply within your routine of XTG and ATG, because you are basically doing the same thing and just tilting your razor in a different way.

Perhaps this can be useful.

The Gillette Slide is depicted in numerous Gillette razor manuals. I have taken this one from mr-razors website of the NEW Improved. So with the slide you hold your razor as you would and then slide in a horizontal and vertical manner simultaneously. This is closer to what could be described as the guillotine stroke. Being too horizontal will result in a cut.

The Gillette Slant on the other hand uses the 'normal' movements (N-S, etcetera) but basically builds the Gillette Slide into the way you hold the razor, like seen in this manual. The Gillette Slant is on the far left in this picture. There is a third possibility of using them together, so sliding motion while holding the razor slanted.

I get equally good results from both and find the Slant to work with all razors while the Slide works for most of my razors. One that it is less easy with is the mentioned Razorine Flatboy. You have much mileage under your belt, so you should be good. However, the Flatboy requires a different approach to angles and strokes, because it is a shavette on a handle. I like shaving with it and it is also my most challenging razor in terms of my consistency. Based on your feedback, I would be supportive in your decision to save it for a later time.

The Slant stroke can really be of use to minimize irritation.

Cheers and happy experimenting!

:eek2: if this is healthy, my spending could only be described as corpulent. And I've enjoyed spending every penny. Yes, RAD is real.
I also like the "I just might" in your signature. Seeing your collection in other threads, that just might be the understatement of the century! :a14: And what a joy it is Mitch seeing all those different razors and your displays of them.

@Guido75 Thanks for your in-depth writing about the Slide and Slant approaches, I had never seen that first vintage manual before! Cool.

1/12 shave:

Figure I'll go for the '67 Tech once again. This is the blade's 3rd shave. It was an easy enough shave yesterday that I feel comfortable with a new lather, Pamolive Classic Cream with the TGN badger. I include a touch of Arko for pre-shave with hot towel after a shower.

To accompany, I spin up the masterpiece Currents by Tame Impala.

Unsure if I'm going to do a full 3 pass or just 2, I have a very pleasant and productive WTG and XTG pass. I've taken to lathering the face and neck separately, I think it retains the quality of lather better for the neck passes. I thought I hydrated the lather sufficiently, it seemed pretty loose in the first pass, but tightens up toward the end of the shave. Still workable. I decide to go for ATG while trying to resist chasing each last whisker. On the neck I encounter the same lack of bladefeel, but I don't make any major adjustment or apply any pressure. I also choose to do the neck and jawline more XTG than ATG (closer to S>N rather than SW>NE etc). The result is actually much closer on the neck than I anticipated, even closer than yesterday's shave. After the full ATG pass I do a quick touchup buff on trouble spots on the chin. Alum doesn't complain much initially but after a few moments I feel substantial warmth, quenched by immediately rinsing and drying off. Neutrogena Hydro Boost with a touch of Thayer's also burns initially, but quickly abates. The shave is really close, BBS to BBS- with DFS+ on the upper lip. I am really getting the hang of this razor.

I don't blame the Tech for any of the irritation I sensed today. Overall I think my skin is probably just looking for some relief, tomorrow I may stick to a 2 pass, perhaps with a more aggressive razor like the GC. No weepers or anything from today's shave. The red spots at the base of the neck were a couple curled hairs (fortunately not totally buried/ingrown) which were plucked before the shave started today.

I've enjoyed spending every penny.
As have I. The investment of both money and attention has brought enjoyment and satisfying results to all of my shaves. May we all continue to responsibly acquire anything that brings us comfort and happiness.
1/13 Friday the 13th!

Yesterday's shave was the longest lasting I've had from a Tech, light growth to tackle today. I'm worried about mounting sensitivity so I plan to go full gentle mode, low blade and brush contact and only twoish passes. One more ingrown gets removed near the adam's apple before I begin, I think that's all of them.

Musical guest is Cerulean by Baths.
Grab the GC and plan to swap a slightly newer blade out of the Flare SS--but the blade jumps out of the razor while unloading and lands in the sink. No matter, the GC gets a fresh blade instead.
Boring lather of Arko applied to the white handle Omega49 with Cremo as a pre-shave on the face. Bowl lathering in a different container today--a ceramic bowl that's not as textured, but at least it's wider at the opening. It's in the shape of a rounded square, so at least it has some corners for the brush to bump against.

Very straightforward shave. WTG is normal, XTG is normal, I do a partial XTG/ATG/Cleanup on the neck and jawline. Alum is totally neutral. Per a discussion on balms @Alex Jr recommended keeping the face more damp when applying moisturizer, so I only blot with a towel before applying Nivea Sensitive with no toner today. I never seem to have trouble absorbing the post-shave balm, but today it's absorbed very thoroughly. Result is a general DFS+ with sparing BBS- on the front of my chin--definitely the results I was expecting and looking for.

Stay lucky, friends!

P.S. several razors arrived from @Big_T via his sale on the BST. All I'm awaiting now are brushes. Photos of acquisitions to come very soon, 5 new razors to try over the coming weeks. I think my razor hunger is satisfied--but soaps are another story.
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