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Quick Alum Block Guide

Your solution is probably more practical but I can't wait to take deliver if this vintage alum clamp. Scheduled to be mine at on upcoming gathering in April.

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Speaking as a sucker for oddball items of old shaving gear (DE hones, a sub-micron “travel“ razor, soap tubes) I think you just won! Old, oddball, but practical! That clamp would never go out of my rotation!
 
Speaking as a sucker for oddball items of old shaving gear (DE hones, a sub-micron “travel“ razor, soap tubes) I think you just won! Old, oddball, but practical! That clamp would never go out of my rotation!
At this moment I have no idea of brand, model or manufacturer. As soon as I get it I will post additional picture and info if I can.
 
I dropped my alum block yesterday in the sink and am trying to make a plan to prevent accidents in the future. That alum clip would be my solution if I knew where to find one.
 
My dad always used alum when I was a kid. Now I’m living in Ireland and there is not one Pharmacy who sells alum, even in the barbershops they don’t even know what it is ...
Clarc, you can get the alum deodorant sticks from health shops. Many people use these instead of the usual alum blocks. I have seen them in Nourish, Holland and Barrett and a couple of other places here in Dublin. I will probably also check out the asian groceries at some point.
 
+1. I also apply alum to my fingers if I'm having trouble gripping the razor.
Indeed. Alum makes things more grippy. Just remember that it will also make your blade grip your skin really well. Which is not good.

So just make sure to keep it away from your blade and your face until you are done shaving.
 
I use alum daily as part of my routine. I've been through three blocks so far without getting to use half of any one of them. Sooner to later i lose grip on them and they end up in shattered pieces on the floor.

A few weeks ago I bought the RazoRock stick, and I find that thick plastic base a lot easier to hang onto while painting on the alum. Early days yet, but I have a feeling I may get to use all of this one.
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I don’t understand why the need to use the broad side of the block. I just wet my face and rub the block edgewise on my face. There’s plenty of moisture to apply the alum and the block never gets slippery
 
I don’t understand why the need to use the broad side of the block. I just wet my face and rub the block edgewise on my face. There’s plenty of moisture to apply the alum and the block never gets slippery
I don’t think there are any particular rules about how to apply alum. A block has 6 faces, all usable. I think some people get natural alum in chunks and others, like @rockthrower above, use the alum sticks that have a plastic grip on one end, so those are other variations in how to apply alum.

I just like the rubber band grip to save drying my fingers before I grab the block. No rules on the best orientation of the rubber band.

I imagine that @Flying Dutchman has obtained an alum holder that would have been used by a barber who didn’t want to get alum on his fingers. I often touch my alum block to enhance my grip on a straight razor. If I then transfer some of that alum inadvertently to my face it is going to mess up my shave!
 
I have used this alum block from De Vergulde Hand uptil know. With the arrival of the aluminum clamp I don't mind choosing form over function.
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Looks like a very handy holder and a quality cover. What was De Vergulde Hand selling in 1554? Shaving soap scented with spices from the Indies? Highly collectible razors? In any case, if The Gilded Hand has been doing business since the 16th century, it has survived some very turbulent times.
 
My dad always used alum when I was a kid. Now I’m living in Ireland and there is not one Pharmacy who sells alum, even in the barbershops they don’t even know what it is ...
At least throughout the 1960's, powdered shaving alum was sold in the shaving section of drugstores. I still have a container with some remaining alum that I bought around 1965. For the last 10 years or so, I just use McCormick's Alum from the spice aisle of the grocery or some pulverized alum block for the occasional weeper. I save the 55 yo shaving alum in case of a major cut. Very rarely need to use it, but it still works great.

For anyone like me who tried and did not like their alum block, pulverize a corner into a fine powder for weepers and use the rest of the block instead of deodorant.
 
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