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New Member, Old Man

New member, old man. Well, not that old. At least I don't feel that old...

Thank you for the gracious welcome, I'm excited to be here and learn. I've recently jumped off the cartridge razor ride and deep into shaving. I had no idea how addictive this stuff could be! In the course of the last 4 months (maybe less) I've collected 8 razors (two single-edge safety razors), 4 bowls (one is an ugly green mug), and a mix of at least 5 different shave creams/pucks.

My shaving experience started back in... hmmm... probably somewhere around 1986 I'd guess. I remember my razors did not have pivoting heads, but were replaceable cartridge units with either a single or double blade. I remember pivoting heads coming out and what a huge advancement that was for cartridge systems. Then the lubri-strips, and the fins, and the ever increasing number of blades, and the vibrating ones and the heated ones... When will that absurdity stop? Gillette lost me forever with their ad campaign demonizing men and masculinity, though to be honest I was already starting to get a foot out of the door when I stepped back and took a look at what a racket that industry is. Gimmick after gimmick. That made me want to take a hard U-turn and study the way grandpa used to shave. It's one of the single best things I've done to date.

I started with a SUPPLY single edge for which I developed a love/hate which turned to hate, then eventually full blown love. But I was still curious about the DE razors, and so bought a VIKING BLADE Chieftain JR which I loved immediately. That gave way to a Viking Revolution. That was a very handsome razor with a nice long handle, however I just didn't like it as much as my Chieftain JR and so gave it to my youngest son.


In the mean time I started a FB group called Tribe of Men which promotes being a solid man, a positive member of the community, a protector, and a father; it builds on being better men and having a little fun along the way; we revel in our masculinity. And I was pulling a lot of reflection into my writings and using shaving as a vehicle to do so. A lot of the guys on the group are not wealthy and it is hard to convince a guy struggling to make ends meet think about getting a more expensive razor (at least at the onset). With that in mind, I decided to see how cheaply I could get a solid razor and shaving kit. That took me right to the lowest cost razor I could find on Amazon which came with blades, and that was a short razor under the name of Oak Leaf which actually turned out to be a much better known brand, Weishi. Turns out that answer is less than $10.00. Oh, how do I know it is actually a Weishi? It came in a Weishi box with Weishi emblazoned on the butterfly doors.


From there I discovered a OneBlade quite by accident (my second single edge single blade razor) and was intrigued since it had a unique pivoting head, which in my early days I had noted was the one failing of a single blade offering (I don't know if I was wrong about that or not). It has its merits but it doesn't offer much of an experience. The OneBlade is my least favorite of the bunch despite doing a fine job of shaving. it's just boring. It is quite literally a single blade cartridge razor. I suppose if I were in a hurry and didn't really put much thought into shaving, this would be my first choice. The SUPPLY would be my second. The rest of them are... well... they're a cherished ritual.


After my cheap razor experiments and my OneBlade disappointment, I started hunting for something similar to my Chieftain JR but with a longer handle. That's when I became aware of the Godfather and Vulcan razors from VIKING BLADE. Both of these are based on Baili razors. The Godfather by VIKING BLADE, per Baili, is produced by Baili. The Vulcan is also produced by Baili though by their own admission is made in smaller batches using superior metals (and is slightly heavier). Being curious about both, I bought the Vulcan and the Baili Classic Long Handle razor. The latter is my only 3 piece razor, unless you count the Supply, which is technically only two pieces. The Baili/Godfather is a lovely thing to use, though it isn't as aggressive as I tend to like. For a new user, it would be absolutely ideal. The Vulcan... The Vulcan is my all time favorite, despite having purchased an Emperor which is aesthetically and mechanically superior to it, but simply doesn't work as well for me. The Vulcan has a Baili counterpart (as I mentioned) which I've just ordered for a friend, for roughly 1/3 the cost.


I've also had my share of brushes. My $14 Escali was a favorite for a good long while though the finish on the wood handle is coming apart, and it is very light in the hand (which is fine). The bristles are surprisingly good for such a cheap razor. That's a SOLID brush for the beginner on a budget at just $13ish on Amazon (are you seeing a trend here? I don't like people and prefer to shop at home when I can). Brick and mortar markups are insane on this stuff. I might need to state that I don't receive one single penny or service, or gift from any of the manufacturers I've listed OR Amazon. Ahem, that aside, we can go on. I realized that my Escali really needed to be replaced and so started hunting. I liked my VIKING BLADE razors so much that I decided to try their brushes. I wanted a badger in white, but discovered after it arrived that the white handle was only a synthetic. The synthetic did work great, but it wasn't quite what I was after. I got the black handle Dark Stallion and... It is brush nirvana for me. I can live with the $33 price tag for that kind of quality; it's very heavy, the bristles are amazing, and it is a work of art.


I had a Marvy green rubber mug which replaced an enamel coated camp mug (that I loved) after I dropped it in the shower and chipped the enamel off; I didn't want rusting stuff in the shower. I used pucks at that time more than anything. I discovered a scuttle existed while looking for replacement mugs and discovered the QSHAVE. It works, but could be a LOT better, and after using that for a while I opted for a SUPPLY marble bowl. The marble bowl is fantastic, but I did have to knock the sharp edge off the inside lip with some sandpaper to preserve my Dark Stallion brush's finish. The marble bowl has a textured hollow and develops lather very quickly, and once warm stays warm for a while. Just today I happened across a guy's picture on FB (taking a couple of jabs at a Norelco post) which showed a really good looking scuttle. I asked about it and he graciously told me what it was; a Georgetown Pottery G20 that I just ordered today (in jet black). I'm very anxious for this to arrive!


When I went from the mugs, I also switched from a puck to a cream. I haven't tried a ton of these yet, but the Viking Revolution sandalwood is pretty amazing and I haven't been particularly eager to move on to anything else. It's also quite cheap at just under $10 for 5.3oz. I use about 1gram a day (with shaving more than once a day quite often as I review this stuff for the Tribe of Men group). That's quite the bargain for some exceptionally high quality stuff! I guess it was started by a couple of guys who couldn't find anything they liked. I like the story anyway.


I've had an experience with a straight razor that wasn't favorable. I spent way too much at an Art of Shaving store one day only to never really use the thing. I just couldn't get comfortable with that fixed blade razor. After having shaved with DE and SE safety razors, I do feel more confident now though, and am interested in getting a disposable straight razor again. We'll see how that goes!

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Welcome aboard! And NICE KIT!

Thanks! Though that's not precisely my current kit. That's the Chieftain JR there, and I'm using the Vulcan or the Emperor these days. The former shaves better than the latter. I also have the SUPPLY razor stuffed into the fill hole of the scuttle. I can't wait for my new scuttle to arrive!

Glad you found us, welcome sir! You're not the only old man around these parts. I enjoyed reading your intro. Jump in & join the conversations, we're a friendly bunch here.

Outstanding, and thank you! I'm inching up on 50; it'll be here before I know it. With that said, I'm an active guy and young at heart, though I'm starting to feel the mileage pack up on the joints. And my eyes... uggh.
 
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