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First shave with Merkur Slant Bar

Per Nick's request, I'm copying the post from my blog, but I'm not going to work through it to put in all the links. If you want the links, check out the original post.

The Daily Adventure was extremely nice this morning: new things to use. To begin with, a potential new lathering bowl: a heavy hemispherical bowl from a French line. Problem: too large, inside too smooth (somehow). I switched back to the soup cup for now. But I have a potential solution—a soapstone bowl—that should arrive today or tomorrow. (As you can see, I’m disenchanted with the Moss Scuttle. I love the idea, but in actual use, it’s not my cup of tea. The lathering cup it offers is just not right for me.)

I used my Saville Row brush, but it’s a little too floppy for my taste. I’m becoming more and more attached to my Simpson’s Emperor in super badger. Not too large, not too small, but just right—and not too floppy, not too stiff: just right. And holds water and lathers wonderfully well. A great shaving brush.

The shaving cream was Tabac, a complementary tube from QED (on the “Other Toiletries” page—see their menu at the left). Before putting that on, though, I had washed the beard and used a small amount of the Proraso pre/post-cream.

I used the Merkur Slant Bar (shown in photo) with a new Feather blade. The slant bar requires a sure hand and a light touch, so it’s not the first razor a novice should use. OTOH, it gives a terrific shave—this is the smoothest shave I’ve had in a while. The secret, as always (besides the razor and the blade) is to use light pressure—just the weight of the razor, really—the right angle, and use the 4-pass method: more passes = smoother shave. Using more pressure is highly productive of cuts, nicks, and razor burn. To get the light pressure, one guy holds the razor at the very tip of the handle with a two- or three-finger grip (photo at link).

Em’s Place has the Merkur Slant Bar in both chrome (which I have, as above) and gold (what I wish I had gotten).

Then, for the first time, I finished up with the alum block, which some love—and I now number among them. It’s extraordinarily refreshing, but the sort of thing (like coffee) that appeals to adult tastes: in the case of the alum block, a little tingling. You use it like this: after shaving, rinse your face with hot water, then with cold. Then, leaving your face wet, rub the alum block lightly over you whole face. I let it sit a while, then rinsed and dried and applied my aftershave: Pinaud’s Bay Rum, whose 12.5 oz (plastic) bottle is going to make a perfect receptacle for disposing of blades. (Top too small for blades to escape—I’ll cut a slit in the shoulder of the bottle, and once I’m ready to discard it, I’ll glue the slit shut.)

Man! this is a smooth shave. And not a single nick or cut. A very fine adventure, with new experiences.​

Gem Micromatic: interesting, but I think not for me. I have several, and they will be going on eBay, along with a box of the Teflon coated blades. I have to pay too much attention to blade angle (keeping the top of the damn thing pressed against my face, rather than just listening to the sound --- the regular double-edged safety razor is just more natural for me).

1940s Super Speed Gillette: not bad, but I'm not sure what all the excitement is. Still: a reasonable razor.

Gillette TV Super Speed: same comment: okay, but not (IMHO) great.

Futur: Need to try it again. It was the razor with which I renewed my safety-razor shaving experience.

Vision: Absolutely fantastic. A wonderful razor.

Gillette Aristocrat: same comment as the Super Speeds: okay, but nothing fantastic.

Merkur 1904: As good as, or better than, 1940s Super Speed.

But note: Gillette razors were using the Swedish Gillette blades, the Merkur razors the Feather blades. I really should try them all with the same blade.

Still to try: Merkur HD, Classic, and Long-handle Classic; Gillette slim and Fat-boy adjustables...
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