04-01-2015, 07:46 AM
#1
  • chamm
  • Expert on nothing
  • Central Ohio
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I've been trying to figure this one out for a while, but I thought I'd ask my brethren. Maybe someone knows more about the physics properties that make this true.

I noticed pretty early on that when I swirled the brush in a clockwise direction, I got significantly more lather than when I swirled it counter-clockwise. I did a few forum searches and found this to be a pretty well-known fact in the shaving community, but it still baffled me. I assumed that it was probably because the motion of the wrist was different, but after some experimentation, I discovered that whether I did it with my left hand or my right hand, I always got significantly better lather when I swirled clockwise. I tried hand-lathering, bowl-lathering and even face lathering, and no matter what I tried, I always got better lather swirling clockwise.

I asked a few of my fellow wet-shavers, including several left-handed people, and all of them reported the same thing to me. Lather was always better when swirling clockwise. Then I had my "eureka" moment. I recently traveled to Australia on business, and while I was there, I noticed the exact opposite! When I swirled clockwise, my lather was thin and weak. However, swirling counter-clockwise produced thick, rich lather. I observed this behavior the whole time I was in Australia, then verified upon my return to North America, the quality of the lather was again better on clockwise swirling.

I did some research, and it seems that the only logical explanation I can find for this would be some form of the Coriolis Effect. It's well known that bathtub drains in Australia swirl in the opposite direction of those in North America, but I was astounded by how profound the effect was on shaving cream lather.

Maybe some of my shaving brethren can chime in with your own experiences. I know there are many forum members from Australia (and South America, as well) and I'd like to hear your experiences. Do you just take this effect for granted? Is it something that you were taught when learning how to make lather?

I wracked my brain to come up with some alternate theories, but this is the only one that holds up to solid scientific scrutiny. I'm hoping to get lots of answers from you, but I'll be unable to respond for a while. My spaghetti crop is quite ripe, and I'm worried that if I don't get out there to start harvesting this morning, it's going to start falling off the trees!

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 04-01-2015, 07:53 AM
#2
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Pretty fascinating. I load my brushes 75% clockwise 25% counterclockwise swirls. I believe it's more in which direction and at what angle the bristles are making contact with the puck. I am going to lather my Thursday shave 100% counterclockwise and then I'll report my findings. 
Report at 11:00...

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 04-01-2015, 07:53 AM
#3
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Wink sure.

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 04-01-2015, 08:46 AM
#4
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Paint-brush strokes generate so much more lather and it doesn' matter which direction you choose paint!  Biggrin

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 04-01-2015, 09:29 AM
#5
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Clockwise seems to work best for me too, especially Boar brushes. Mixed brushes can be done in both directions but badgers are pretty much exclusive clockwise.

I think it has to do with the thickness of the bristles and how they were glued into the knot. If the maker puts them in a certain way, the brush seems to lather better clockwise or counterclockwise.

This is based on pretty much all badgers I own and Semogue boars. I'm not sure how Omegas work and which direction would be best.

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 04-01-2015, 09:54 AM
#6
  • Barrylu
  • Senior Member
  • Portland OR
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Not only does paint brush strokes produce more lather. But most manufacturers (except Plisson) recommend using painting rather than circular motion with their brushes
]

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 04-01-2015, 11:10 AM
#7
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A 100% counter-clockwise lather...
[Image: mbnm5g8.jpg]

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 04-01-2015, 11:15 AM
#8
  • chamm
  • Expert on nothing
  • Central Ohio
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(04-01-2015, 11:10 AM)primotenore Wrote: A 100% counter-clockwise lather...

Wow!  A47

That's a nice lather. I can't even imagine how much you'd get if you did it in a clockwise motion! Wink

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 04-01-2015, 11:17 AM
#9
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(04-01-2015, 11:15 AM)chamm Wrote:
(04-01-2015, 11:10 AM)primotenore Wrote: A 100% counter-clockwise lather...

Wow!  A47

That's a nice lather. I can't even imagine how much you'd get if you did it in a clockwise motion! Wink
I know. It's scary. Shok

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 04-01-2015, 12:01 PM
#10
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If I hold the soap upside down and lather from under it, what direction do I swirl?  Clockwise according to the rotation or clockwise according to the direction in the soap?

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 04-01-2015, 12:23 PM
#11
  • Java
  • Active Member
  • Warner Robins, Georgia, USA
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I'm right handed, and swirl the brush clockwise. I'll do a couple of swirls counterclockwise once in a while, but 90% clockwise. It's just more comfortable for me. If the brush is not 90 degrees with the bowl, I suppose the angle works out different when going "backwards". As far as the paint brush vs circular debate goes, I experimented when we last had that discussion. I cannot for the life of me figure out how to bowl-lather using paint brush strokes. On my face it's circular to build lather, and paint brush to spread it.

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 04-01-2015, 01:14 PM
#12
  • v4257
  • Always chasing the perfect shave
  • Boston, USA
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He's kidding lads. Apr-1 and all that.

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 04-01-2015, 01:14 PM
#13
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I swirl counterclockwise.  I'm left handed, so I think it's easier for me to do it that way.  I will have to test this theory.  If it's true, I should have quite the lather fest tomorrow morning.

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 04-01-2015, 01:33 PM
#14
  • Johnny
  • MODERATOR EMERITUS
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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All this is just to confusing for me.  I think I will just use this tomorrow.

[Image: i2dJOwY.jpg]

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 04-01-2015, 03:13 PM
#15
  • chamm
  • Expert on nothing
  • Central Ohio
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(04-01-2015, 12:01 PM)Bruce Wrote: If I hold the soap upside down and lather from under it, what direction do I swirl?  Clockwise according to the rotation or clockwise according to the direction in the soap?

I did a little informal test, and I believe the direction of the rotation should follow the soap. i.e. if you're holding the soap upside-down, the brush still needs to travel in a clockwise direction, unless you're in the Southern Hemisphere, in which case, you need to swirl it counter-clockwise.

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 04-01-2015, 03:23 PM
#16
  • chamm
  • Expert on nothing
  • Central Ohio
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On the heels of Bruce's excellent question, I'm now curious what happens if you swirl the bowl, and keep the brush stationary. I need to satisfy my curiosity, so I'm going to build an apparatus which will hold the brush perfectly still, and I'll rotate the bowl around the stationary brush. If my hypothesis is correct, the swirling the bowl clockwise around a stationary brush should be far more effective than swirling counter-clockwise.

Of course, in my setup, the whole system will need to be inverted, so the bowl will be swirled counter-clockwise to simulate clockwise swirling in a non-inverted setup. I'm pretty sure I have a left-handed DC motor lying around somewhere...

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 04-01-2015, 03:57 PM
#17
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Be sure to post pics or even better, a video tutorial

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 04-01-2015, 06:17 PM
#18
  • chamm
  • Expert on nothing
  • Central Ohio
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OK, so I got home from work, and started the real work of trying to figure out how to make the best lather!

My initial attempt was to secure the shaving bowl to a rotation device and try to cause it to lather. The first attempt proved rather disastrous, because I wasn't able to control the angle and rotation of the bowl. Totally un-scientific, and my results were all over the place!
[Image: dYpX4UX.jpg]

After putting a little more thought into the design of the experiment, I came up with a much better idea, as pictured below:
[Image: 06n9Mco.jpg]

The results with this setup were much more controlled. I was able to vary the angle at which the brush intersected with the bowl, and after some experimentation, I found the optimal rotational angle to produce consistent lather. Now, all I had to do was reverse the rotation of the apparatus, and I could keep all of the other variables constant. I think what I produced will prove to be shocking!

Below is the lather produced swirling the bowl inverted, and clockwise. (Which, of course, because of the inversion is equivalent to swirling the brush counter-clockwise, counter to the Coriolis Effect.) The brush was set at a fixed angle of 25° with two teaspoons of warm water for exactly 18 seconds:
[Image: 8Y6Dx1G.jpg]

Now, the same brush, same angle of attack, two teaspoons of warm water for 18 seconds, only the rotation of the bowl was set to counter-clockwise, which corresponds to an inverted clockwise rotation of the brush:
[Image: 4pMHyF2.jpg]
I think the results are self-evident. Swirling the brush clockwise, at least in the Northern Hemisphere, definitely produces significantly more lather.

If any fellow wet-shavers would like to repeat this experiment in the Southern Hemisphere, I think you will find the opposite results. However, a word of caution: this only applies to those of you living in South America. If you live in Australia, it's already April 2nd by now, and I can almost guarantee that there's only one day a year when this experiment will get the desired results. Wink

Note: No shaving brushes were harmed during the course of this "experiment."

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 04-01-2015, 06:37 PM
#19
  • jamesrobson5
  • Chubby Chaser... Big Brush is Best!
  • Sherwood Park AB Canada!
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This thread was great! 24  Thank you Craig! 

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 04-01-2015, 07:34 PM
#20
  • refles
  • Senior Member
  • New York
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I agree, if I had a drill press handy that would be the best way to prove the most optimal direction haha lol.. thanks for a great thread so much effort!

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