No vendors. No forums. Just pure impact.

cut-throat razors and beyond...

Killer Kamisoricut-throat razor noun [C] UK (US straight razor)

a type of old-fashioned razor with a long blade that folds out from the handle

(Definition of cut-throat razor noun from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary)

It's just leather... Right?

June 27, 2011 — P

Maker's Mark... note the precision stitchingThree or four times per year, a good friend and I get together to show each other our new gear, hone a bit, and catch up on what's happening in each other's lives.  The last time we got together, he had a special new strop for me to admire...

Read more »

The best razor ever. Maybe.

June 15, 2011 — R

Hayashi Diamond 1000In a previous entry, I commented on how to obtain razors for sensible money. That was almost a year ago. Since then, I have reduced the number of razors I own even further. As of today, I own exactly 24 razors, and will put each of them to the test for a week over the next twelve months. Each one I do not completely like will go. That includes one Friodur (because I have an identical one in black), and one Silberstahl (which I have already more or less given to my brother-in-law). But more will have to go, and I do not intend to re-stock. Unless I should come across a minty Puma 89 with rubber tang in black scales. If you own such a razor, feel free to contact me immediately - you will not regret it.

So here are some musings about razors, and why there still is no silver bullet.

Read more »

Hubris, or honemeister madness taken to yet another level

June 12, 2011 — R

Honemeister Review blog explained.I have always been uncomfortable with the meister part of honemeister. The reason for this is a cultural one: a German Meister has little in common with the English use of the term. Yet still, the entry for honemeister in the Straight Razor Place's FAQ makes a lot of sense: "A honemeister is a person who is highly skilled at honing. Honemeister is a title bestowed on a honer by others as an expression of recognition for that person's skill and experience." All required boxes ticked: peer review, the ability to operate at µm precision, and knowing your way around problematic razors (of which there are more than the average user would believe).

But now someone set up a honemeister review blog. And that someone has managed to take the hype to a whole new level. In a very, very bad way.

Read more »

Brush review: Thäter two band badger prototype

June 8, 2011 — R

Two band badgerThere is something magical about two band badger brushes. They have gained widespread popularity owing to a number of favourable reviews. Its two most prominent examples are Simpson’s and Rooney’s. Recently, Thäter – one of Germany’s most eminent brush makers – started designing their own. So what exactly is a two band badger brush? It is a regular three band badger knot that has been shortened. This allows for more backbone, ie the stiffness of the brush under pressure, while retaining the softness of the badger hair tips.

My personal verdict: I like Thäter brushes better than any other brush in the market. I have recommended or given several to friends and relatives, and none of them were disappointed. I would still maintain that they offer the best value for money when it comes to high quality brushes today, certainly far better than Simpson or Plisson. If Herr Schuldes had not given me this two band one, I would have bought one, anyway. And I recommend it without reservations. It is the best brush I have ever tried.

Because there has recently been a lot of confusion about these: There is exactly one source for these brushes at the time of writing, and that is Straight Razor Designs. If you come across any offerings from other vendors, read the fine print: A "two band style" brush is a three band brush, and while being a great brush, it is not a two band brush. Caveat emptor.

Read more »

The illustrated guide to razor appraisals

April 23, 2011 — R

A-friend-of-mine-bought-this-You-can-have-it-without-any-markup-Honest'How much is that razor worth?', is one of the questions encountered far too often in shaving forums. Issued by either a clueless buyer or a clueless seller, it is annoying either way. Because it is nigh impossible to answer.

Read more »

The illustrated guide to shilling

April 14, 2011 — R

There are numerous reasons why not to be a member of a shaving forum. Probably the most prominent is people abusing these forums for their not-so-well-hidden sales attempts. The single most annoying group of such vendors is soap makers. Paul recently wrote a great article explaining why artisan soaps are mostly not worth their money. In a nutshell, making high quality soaps or creams is a lot harder than some people would like you to believe. Yet there is money to be made in this area. But how, given that we are talking about a - pardon the pun - cutthroat market?

Shill selling made easy!!!!!!!

Read more »

Strop review: Scrupleworks "Custom"

March 30, 2011 — R

Logo and handle"Custom", while consisting of six letters, is actually a four letter word. So why go for a custom strop? By accident, in fact. I was looking for a replacement for the non-leather side of my SRD Premium I extra long strop. The webbed fabric never appealed to me, despite its good performance. The linen I got instead came from a member of (name: Torolf, nick: tm280). Linen, or pimp your SRD strop contains the details. Then pictures were posted of a complete strop, and I thought, "that is a very nice looking strop, I think I would like one of these, too." So Torolf and I exchanged a few messages, and came up with a solution that works very well for me. Enter the Scrupleworks Custom Strop - just for me.

Read more »

Review of Penhaligon's "Blenheim Bouquet" shaving cream

March 15, 2011 — P

Blehheim CastleOn the 13th of August 1704, the First Duke of Marlborough, John Churchill, led his troops into battle against Marshall Talland's French forces at Blindheim (Blenheim).  After the battle, Churchill personally accepted the surrender of Talland and his men.  A grateful nation, and their queen, funded and built Blenheim Palace as a gift for his skillful military exploits.  

Read more »

tl;dr, or line noise killed the shaving forum

March 13, 2011 — R

tl;drStraight razor shaving is not rocket science. Or so they say. Nonethless, some of its concepts are not quite as intuitive as one might like to believe at first glance.

But explaining complex matters in simple terms is a form of art. One, as you will see, that is lost on most forum users of shaving forums.

Read more »

The illustrated guide to acrylics custom scales

March 9, 2011 — R

Custom scales (or, as we here call them, "costume scales") have recently reached several new climaxes in tastelessness. Enough for our research team to launch an investigation into the custom scale maker scene. Here is what they found out: The archetypal maker and his inspiration.