10-15-2014, 08:17 AM
  • jostalli
  • Junior Member
  • Stockbridge, GA
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Great thoughts Mike, your words can apply to a lot of things in life. Our dads and grandfathers knew how to work with what they had and if yours were like mine, they never complained. As a newbie just now entering into the wet shave world it is nice to know upfront that I need to be willing to give it time and too experiment freely.

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 11-05-2014, 08:03 AM
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I just came across this article and the timing could not have been better. Well over a year ago I purchased some Trumpers Violet soap from this forum. I couldn't get a descent lather. I gave up and threw the soap under my bathroom sink. This week I decided to give it another shot. It turns out that I got a fantastic lather and a great shave. Biggrin

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 11-05-2014, 08:23 AM
  • SRNewb
  • Senior Member
  • No. Va, USA
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(11-05-2014, 08:03 AM)jcall1975 Wrote: I just came across this article and the timing could not have been better. Well over a year ago I purchased some Trumpers Violet soap from this forum. I couldn't get a descent lather. I gave up and threw the soap under my bathroom sink. This week I decided to give it another shot. It turns out that I got a fantastic lather and a great shave. Biggrin

That's great! New soap day!

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 11-23-2014, 07:11 PM
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(10-10-2014, 12:06 PM)freddy Wrote: Both Mike and Vladimir have offered excellent well thought out opinions and, as far as I'm concerned, both have validity. These types of posts permit us to pause for thought and, ultimately, a way to make our daily wet shaving experiences better. Thank you both for your excellent insights.


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 11-24-2014, 07:14 AM
  • Java
  • Active Member
  • Warner Robins, Georgia, USA
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Two very good points of view, both written more eloquently than I could have expressed them. Sometimes you have a piece of hardware or software that you just want to learn to use properly. If it has been available for very long, or has any kind of following, you just know it can be done. My examples are Col. Conk Amber, and Pyrate Cove Mandarin. Both are inexpensive soaps that I acquired early on. There are few soaps that I enjoy the scent of more than I do the Conk Amber. I used half a puck of each trying to get decent lathers out of them, and never could, so I threw them both under the sink. A few months later, when my technique was better, I took them out again. Success! But they didn't have the skin care elements that the nicer soaps had, and like Vladimir, I have to look sharp every day, so after a couple of Saturdays with them, I put them away again. A few months ago, I realized that (finally) after a straight razor shave, the alum just doesn't sting like it used to. And with a DE or SE, I don't need it at all. Out came the Amber and the Mandarin again, and now they each get used once a week, more often then any of my other soaps.(The expensive ones are lasting a lot longer now!)

Like Vlad, some products just don't inspire me enough to learn to use them, but like Mike,when something does inspire me, I'll figure it out eventually if I stick with it.

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 12-26-2014, 08:22 PM
  • Journeyman
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Thank you for your thought provoking article. In this my first year shaving it seems like it's been all about persistence to get to the place where my shaves are enjoyable, so a lot of what Mike writes really resonates with me. Like Vladimir I spent some time jumping around from one thing to the next and made it harder on myself than it needed to be, but I did learn more about what I enjoy along the way. I see a lot of truth and good advice from both viewpoints and experiences. As a new member here it is gratifying to find such a substantive discussion.

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 02-08-2015, 04:03 PM
  • okok
  • Still smiling
  • Indianapolis
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(10-10-2014, 04:36 AM)Deuce Wrote: Absolutely true. Case in point-blades. When I started, I had the worst time with most blades. Now that I'm revisiting all the ones that didn't "do it" for me, I've found most are pretty good. Why? Experience and patience

+1   So much good stuff here, I think.  If I have difficulty with a blade or a soap, I set it back and revisit it another time, when I'm more patient or relaxed, and then stick with it for at least a week of daily shaves.  That almost always does it.

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 02-12-2015, 02:20 PM
  • HarryO
  • Senior Member
  • FLA, USA.
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(10-09-2014, 09:28 PM)SRNewb Wrote:
Perseverance and Giving Products or Techniques a Fair Shot
[Image: njHz1Ru.png]
Hi Mike,
I am in the process of doing just what you said. I am trying out various razors and blade combinations to see which one suits me best. However, I can say that the Kai blades are too sharp for me. My face looked like a piece of chop meat. And this is from a guy who has shaved for the last 50 years. Putting that aside I enjoy collecting razors especially those with decorative handles ( I am a bit of an Art Deco fan). Of all my razors, currently I like my Feather DS2 , Muhler R89 and a Merker. At the start of this process I thought I had a tough and heavy beard. Now I know that is not the case. I am fair skinned  and have light colored beard and hair (what’s left). I dear not try the Feather blades they are the sharpest. What I found so far is that Darby (and Merker is just a bit better) is not sharp enough , but Sharp and Shark seem to be more accommodating  for me. However, I am still trying out various blades , and other razors like the old Gillette Super Speeds.  I keep a shave log (my son says pretty compulsive Dad) noting success and cuts and amount of irritation. After buying post shave balms I have found that Tend Skin works best for me. cuts down irritation considerably. Through my log I have started to eliminate certain products as not for me. I tried many shaving creams and soaps, and recently liked using Arko shave stick, but as I said still hanging in there and giving the other products a fair try out.
Thanks for your article.

As I write this, I'm coming from the point of another revelation of sorts in this wet shaving thing we do.

A couple of months ago I purchased a 1912 styled Treet SE copy of a Gem Junior Parade. You know, the one with the fat, stubby bakelite handle. I had read with glee on the forums devoted to SE razors what a wonderfully mild, smooth and comfortable shave the 1912 head gave, and I looked forward with some anticipation to giving it a go.

I found some Dorco SE blades at a local grocery. They were clearly labeled for use with Single Edge Safety Razors, so I was good to go, right?
Wrong. Dead wrong. Shave after shave with this razor was terrible. Tuggy, and very uncomfortable. It felt like I was trying to shave with broken glass. Or a serrated steak knife. Just incredibly uncomfortable, and the razor felt highly aggressive. I was afraid I was going to literally shred my face. Even with the aggressive feeling, it took four passes and a ton of touch up just to get a mildly passable shave.

Understanding that every razor is different, I chalked it up to my unfamiliarity to this razor. "Maybe if I play with the blade angle a bit," I thought. Nothing wrong with the razor, so it's got to be me, right? But shave after shave over the course of a month, or a bit more, and no improvement. So I began to think of this razor as something I was not meant to shave with. "I'll just put it up on the shelf with my other razors. It'll look great beside them. I don't need to shave with it".

Then one day I was at CVS, and finally they had their SE blades in stock. Not made in Korea. American Safety Razor Co. It can't be that simple, can it? But it was. Those blades turned that razor into a smooth, sexy shaver! Just got done with a shave with her tonight, and it was fabulous!

Just in the last day or two, in conversation with an experienced wet shaver, I found that he was having difficulty getting a quality lather from a very popular soap that most say is a champ to lather. It reminded me of a soap early on that I had been PIF'd. It was a Rose scented tallow soap that had been PIF'd to a member of one of the communities I am a member of. I had won a PIF he posted, and he sent it along as a "mystery gift" included with the PIF. He had had it a while, and could not remember where he got it from, only that it was a handmade tallow soap. I tried and tried to lather that soap, but all I got for a couple of months was an airy, bubbly mess that disappeared 30 or 40 seconds after it hit my face. But the Rose scent was lovely, so I kept at it, pulling it out 3 or 4 times a week, and finally, over the long haul, I got a stable, thick lather from it. It lathers as easily as any other soap I  have now, and I love it.

I relate these two stories to make a point.

I see posts on the forums all the time from guys who say something like "I tried this blade/razor/soap/brush, etc., etc.,and they are just not for me" Sometimes these are very expensive products, sometimes not. A lot of the more expensive stuff ends up for sale.

I really think we do ourselves a  disservice many times by not hanging in there a bit. Case in point for me was the straight razor. Anyone who uses a straight knows that the learning curve is very steep. It is a skill that requires patience and perseverance to aquire. A great many give up and go back to a DE or even an SE. I had my struggles with that blade, too. Again, I'm glad I stuck to it. I cannot imagine not being able to shave with a straight. In fact, in each case above, it was a sheer determination and an attitude that said, "I'm not giving up!", that made the difference. And in each case, I am so very glad that I stuck with it.

Think about this.

We live in an age where patience, and to some degree perseverance toward a goal, is valued less and less. Look at Youtube. If you can't say what you want to in 3 to 7 minutes most people won't watch. They'll move on, even if what is being said has value, they don't have or won't take the time.

For us, as traditional wet shavers, that's one of the things that drew many of us into this hobby. Wet shaving is a chance to slow down, a chance to be a bit meditative. Often we refer to the experience as "zen-like". I really think we should apply this attitude not only to the shave itself, but to the products and techniques as well.

So the next time you have a problem with that razor/blade/soap/brush, slow down. Look at it from a different angle. Try to come at it from a different point of view. Or set it aside and think about it a while before you pick it up and try again. You just might find something wonderful. Will that always be the case? Probably not.

But look at it this way.

We call ourselves traditional wet shavers. We liken what we do to what our grandfathers and great grandfathers did. Yet, you see a lot of posts from time to time asking how the older generation got along with one type of razor, one choice of blade, or soap, or the cheap brushes available at the local drug store.

Perseverance is the answer. They did not have all the options we do, so they stuck with what they had and made it work. Again, an anecdote from my own experience.

When I was 13 or 14 and just starting to shave, I started with a Gillette DE, a can of  Barbasol, and the only DE blades available in my neck of the woods, Wilkinson Sword. I shaved with them for 10 years or more, and got good, comfortable shaves from them. I didn't complain about whether the blades were  sharp or smooth, and then go looking for a different one. There was nothing else in my little one horse town. So, I made it work. I adapted, stopped worrying about it, and got on with the shave.

Now I'm not saying that all the choices we have nowadays is a bad thing. Indeed, vive la difference, as far as  I'm concerned. But all that variety out there actually just reinforces the idea in my mind that a bit of perseverance before I chuck something out of my shave den just might be a good thing. It just might lead to the discovery of something else I don't want to be without.
Another little anecdote, if I may?

When I was younger, my Dad was in the Army, so we moved alot. I'd just get done making friends, when here I was in another school, having to start all over. And guess what? Some of the guys who ended up being my greatest friends started out as enemies. I mean, we locked horns the first time we met, and it was the mutual respect discovered in a fight with each other that brought us together and formed a lasting bond between us.

So, if you run across a product or technique that doesn't work the first couple of times, don't surrender. Stay and fight a bit. You just might find a lifelong friend.

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