You’re listening to Wet Shaving Talk powered by Sharpologist.com where we’re dedicated to preserving the art and skill of classic shaving. I’m your host Joe Borrelli and today is September 4th 2023.
Today on the Show:
Happy Labor Day!
Back With Straight Razor
Honing: My Progression as of Late (Listener Request)
Feather Museum in Japan
Wet Shaving Forum Etiquette
Back With a Straight Razor
This past week I’ve been back on the straight razor kick. I’m really happy with the results. This week I used my Dovo AOS straight razor that was gifted to me for Christmas 2011. I touched it up on the hones and had some great shaves. I’ll tell you why starting the day with a straight razor (or safety razor) really sets the tone for the day (at least for me)
Honing: My Progression
I honed two razors this week and went back to my usual honing regiment. I’ll tell you exactly what I do:
Set the bevel on a 1k King stone.
Vintage dark blue Escher
Strop on linen with .5 micron diamond paste
Strop on line with .25 micron diamond paste
Strop on leather and shave away.
Feather Museum in Japan
I had no idea this existed until recently.
Wet Shaving Forum Etiquette
Recently, I noticed a lot of new things on wet shaving forums that have been causing a stir. Here are a few rules that should be followed when posting on a forum:Remember, forums are a great place to meet some new people with similar interests, and it can also put a bad taste for a certain hobby.
-Commenting on older posts where the OP has already received the needed advice, sometimes 10-15 years prior.
-Giving advice when you yourself just started wet shaving (The 6 month wet shaver) especially with straight razors and honing.
-Constantly having to justify that you know what you’re talking about. Or saying you completely vouch for someone.
-Ask questions and advice,
-Comment whether you agree or disagree and have a compelling reason to back it up.
-Share your personal experiences, what you’ve seen or heard and places you’ve been.
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Next Show: 9/18/23
Transcript (Machine Generated)
You’re listening to Wet Shaving Talk Powered by Sharpologist dot com, where we’re dedicated to preserving the art and skill of classic shaving. I’m your host, Joe Borrelli. And today is September 4th, 2023.
Hey guys, welcome back to the podcast and happy Labor Day weekend to you all. I know Labor Day is today, the day the show is is actually coming out, recording this a little bit in advance to enjoy the weekend. But I hope you all had a great Labor Day for the for those neighbors to the north. This is kind of like the last hurrah for summer.
So I know summer is technically this summer season’s over and a lot of kids are going back to school up north down here in Florida. It’s kind of like the start of the rapid hurricane season. I’d say a lot of hurricanes are coming out usually around this time of the year is when it gets really busy. So we kind of consider this almost like the start of the intense, severe hurricane season. But for those of you celebrating, have a great day. Enjoy the time off, have a barbecue. And really, it’s like the last stint of summer before we get into full out pumpkin spice season. Like to call it or fall. That’s right. I am a pumpkin Spice fan. I love it.
I go to all the initial releases, Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, you name it, I’m there. I love kicking off the fall and the fall season. It’s just it’s a lot of fun, especially with with wet shaving because you have so many fall sense. Yes, I already started using my pumpkin spice soaps and my my fall season scents. So looking forward to continuing that for the next couple of months and then getting into well before we know it, it’ll be the holidays. So there we go.
So today on the show I spent a week back with the straight razor really, really happy with with that and having a good time. Just getting back into the old groove of using one. Haven’t used one in a while actually for it’s been some time on and off here and there, but haven’t really primarily used a straight razor in quite some time. So it’s been great. I’ll tell you a little bit about my my experience with it, what I’ve learned and how it makes you, me personally feel. Going to work in the morning after getting a really good straight razor shave or safety razor shave in that in that sense a honing.
So of course with coming back to straight razor shaving, you have to hone your razors or make sure that they are sharp. I had a few issues with that this this week. The first shave did a couple drops, noticed that my straight razor was not 100% sharp and had to take it back to the Stones. So I’ll tell you a little bit about my progression and what I found to really work actually quickly and really effectively. Probably one of the best honing progressions I’ve ever done. I’ll tell you exactly what I did and also per a listener request who actually asked me about a honing, just kind of kind of coincided. It was kind of a coincidence. So it really didn’t I didn’t realize that I would be doing that in the same week when I got this email. So this is for you as well, Mike T
he Feather Museum in Japan. I had no idea that there was a museum in Japan based on really knives and a lot of razors, straight razors, safety razors. There’s even like a 8 or 9 foot safety razor model in this museum. So I have a few pictures of that. Tell you a little bit about what I learned from that museum. Didn’t go to it. I haven’t been to Japan, but if you are in Japan and if you’re in the area, probably a good area to check out if you’re which maybe one of the best displays of of vintage and modern, what shaving gear I’ve seen via the website and wet shaving forum etiquette. So I noticed when I was going through some wet shaving forms and, you know, reading through the forms which I do daily, a lot of people are doing some weird stuff.
Again, I know there’s a lot of people, a lot of new guys out there. I’ll tell you proper what shaving forum etiquette and posting on either, you know, Badger and Blade, a straight razor place or, you know, those type of places or even Facebook and and and read it. So I’ll tell you about proper etiquette. So guys, without further ado, let’s get on with the show.
So this past week have been back on the straight razor kit. Guys. I really was happy with the results. I’ve been kind of putting it to the side. Been very, very busy. I haven’t been able to dedicate too much time to it. And also be honest with a little one around the house, it’s a little dangerous, so you don’t want to make sure you don’t want him to slam into the door or slam into you when you’re using it or pick it up or anything like that. So I’m very, very careful with my straight razors. I make sure that they’re locked up and safe just so the little guy doesn’t get to it. It’s also way above his reach. He can’t even get to it, even if he tried.
But I use my straight razor, which was gifted me by my wife in 2011. So I’ve had this razor for well over ten years. It’s got the most shaves on of anything I’ve owned, probably about 1500 shaves. I used it primarily for years and kept it sharp and I’ve only set the bevel twice on it, so I’ve only had to really hone it twice with that many shaves. A lot of people don’t believe me, but I was able to maintain it without going through a full bevel restore but only done it. I’ve done it twice in that time and when I touched up on the hones I got it was a little bit dull, had a little bit of an issue.
One thing I noticed about straight razors, if some reason if you let them sit for too long, I don’t know if the blade oxidizes or something, it just doesn’t come out right. And even if you strop it on pace, it just didn’t come out right. So I actually did the full honing progression on this one. And another razor of mine and I had a couple of vintage razors that I was able to just get going right off the bat. So I did try a few, but I did primarily use this one this week, put a little like a Shutterstock picture from the website. It’s on the show notes.
This was given to me for Christmas. I was using old razors at the time I was in school. I didn’t really have too much money to buy one, so my wife was able to give me this and a brush for Christmas. I’ve been using it a lot, so it’s very special to me and it’s really a great razor. I mean, I love double razors, but really the whole thing is like the experience you get guys when you do traditional wet shaving in the morning before you go to work or whenever you do it. It’s it’s kind of like a little bit of a skill or a little bit of something that you’ve accomplished in the day prior to going to work.
Now, a lot of people say, Hey, make your bed before you go to work because that’s a great way to start your day. You start your day, something accomplished, something clean. You look forward to it. You know, I may not be the best at that, but I can tell you that I think I feel the same, if not more, by using a straight razor or safety razor traditional wet shave in the morning because you’ve already done a skill that’s requires practice and is actually very complicated and tedious prior to leaving. So you’ve accomplished something very big that 99% of the people that you know don’t do unless you are best friends with a bunch of wet shavers.
And you guys are doing this every day for the most part, I’m the only person that I know in my group of friends and family that uses these things on a daily basis. So feeling that sense of accomplishment, when I was done and looking at my face and just kind of like putting on aftershave, I was like, wow. Like I already started the day doing something hard, right? Doing something that not everybody else can do. And I feel I just felt good. It gave me a great week going to work actually using this the straight razor every day and just being and being able to, um, to do that have an accomplishment prior to going to work. So if anybody asks you, you know, you’re crazy for using the straight razor or safety razor or anything in that sense, brush and soap. Tell them this, you know, say, Hey, look, I’ve accomplished something that 90% of the people that I know can’t do. And it’s a hard skill that not every that takes practice and patience. And I was able to do it this morning and now I can really accomplish anything, you know, doing something hard before you go to work. It makes it work day look a lot easier, doesn’t it? And it also gives you a lot of confidence.
And I got to say, I had a couple of, you know, executive visits this week and stuff in the location I work at, and I did very well. And I was very confident, not because I changed anything, I guess maybe because the the straight razor shave boosted me up and gave me a little bit of skill saying, Hey, I know I did this. You guys didn’t. And this is why I feel good. I guess. I don’t know if that’s if that’s a good way of saying it. I guess it’s a little competitive, right? And maybe a little bit of an ego straight razor ego going out there. But hey, you know what? If you guys use a straight razor or safety razor and traditional wet shave every day, you deserve to have a little bit of an ego when it comes to shaving, right? Because you’re already doing it better than 99.9% of the population out there. And probably everybody that, you know in your inner circle and outer circle.
So I know that’s a lot and it sets the tone for the day. And I know it might be a little ridiculous to certain people, but to me I felt really good and I felt very accomplished and had a great week. I don’t know if it’s got a straight razor. I don’t know if it’s just because I it put me in a better mood or just made me think that I can, you know, climb mountains. But it was great and I really enjoyed it. And I’m going to keep it going. Now, I got to say one thing. Love the straight razor, one of my favorite things to do, but I still really love safety razors as well.
So I’ll be using everything, you know, just getting the collection going. I love using a double edged safety razor. I think they’re great, especially three piece just well, I don’t care. Whatever it is, I it is fun and but I do I know I’m glad I put the straight razor back in the rotation after a certain amount of time. So back in the game I’ll be using this, adding a lot more straight razor content because I’ll be getting more active in there. And also I was watching a lot of videos to watch some old videos of Lynn Abrams, you know, watching him honing and stuff. It was great to relive that stuff. And, you know, after, you know, being able to speak to Lynn so many times and seeing him, I know he’s retired now and he may not be listening to the podcast, but if he does, you know, Lynn, you have some great videos out there.
Even though they’re older, they are still very relative and I’m still watching them. So thank you very much for all that content and everything that you’ve accomplished in the wet shaving world. So honing my progression. So I’ve messed with honing for over ten years. And I can tell you that I have done everything wrong in honing that you can do. I have gone from shaving or sharp trying to sharp trying. I said a straight razor with a knife sharpener with the wrong hones with sending it to a knife shop. I’ve done everything wrong that you can do. So if you need to learn how not to sharpen a straight razor or hone a straight razor, talk to me. Because I’ve done everything wrong. I have done stuff to where my face was all irritated because I wasn’t sharp enough, because I wanted to jump into it. Everything.
So I went back to my usual honing regiment, added a few things to it, because I had to set the bevel on the the dovetail because the devil was really out of it and I just couldn’t get it with the my touch of hones and my and paste. I couldn’t get ItrillionIGHT. So I said, you know what, I’m going back to the old school, going back to the bevel. I’m going to set the bevel and I’m going to get it right. And really, believe it or not, this progression I use did not take very long. Within one hour I was pretty much shave ready Now, again, this razor wasn’t damaged or anything like that. And I’ve done I’ve honed razors, especially wedge razors. I’ve gotten my my even and son the razor that I have from the 1700s. One of them I have 2 or 3 from the 1700s. It was chopped up like Swiss cheese on the bevel.
And what I had to do was I had to like actually butter knife it, which means you go on the hone and kind of cut that bevel down to nothing, right. To even out the where and get those holes Swiss cheese out and then re hone it from the ground up starting at like a 325 grit stone going all the way up to a, you know, up to pasted straps, which actually the razor shaves very well to this day. But it was I’ll tell you, the honing that razor probably took me maybe two weeks of working on it. A lot of work, probably at least 20 hours. I mean, it was a lot of work. Hence why I’m not a professional at this. And I don’t do this for for a job or for anything. I just do it for a hobby because I don’t think I could have done another razor like that. I’ve done two wedges in my life and two of them were really damaged and I don’t think I can do it again.
But it is nice shaving with Razor that’s over 200 years old, I’ll be honest, but it’s just a lot of work. So I own two razors, went back to my usual honing regimen and and exactly what I do is so I set the bevel on a 1000 grit King Stone, which I have. It’s about it’s probably about three inches wide. It’s a water stone. So I soak it in water, keep it in that. And then I set the bevel. Now, when you’re setting a bevel on a razor, I think you spend about 75 to 80% of the time on this stage because you got to get that bevel right. So I set the bevel on the on the on that and got it to where it was basically cutting arm hair, right? You get it to where you get it nice and sharp at first, you know, it’s very dull. You don’t get it. It’s not cutting anything. And then to where it’s starting to grip and then you take your thumb pad and you kind of just pinch into it a little bit, like you would check the sharpness of knife. You don’t want to go vertically, you want to go or horizontally, you don’t want to slice. You want to just touch, right?
Scrape and just to see if it bites down a little bit. And you can definitely feel the bevel on that and that if it shaves arm hair, you’re working you’re you’re doing well it might pass the hanging hair test at this point, but it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t as long as you got a nice clean bevel, nice even edge and it’s nice and ready to go, I’ll then hit it up on the 4000 Norton, which is A22 sided stone, Very popular. Could not believe the price on these. They’ve gone up a lot in price, but they’re about $100 now. But at least I think I paid 60 or 70 for mine some years ago. But they they last a while. One will last you a long time. And I used that for about maybe ten minutes on that one. I got that to where it was really getting clean, nice and nice and sharp and was cleanly cutting hair and just starting to touch that hat, which is the hanging hair test. I then went to the 8000 Norton for about five, seven minutes maybe, and just went on that nice and made that so it was almost shave worthy on there.
And then I have my favorite stone, one of my favorite white shaving possessions of my dark blue etcher stone, which is, um, very nice. I wish I had the yellow, green or green one, but I know those are a little bit better, but I it’s hard to find. They’re really expensive. But the, the dark blue is very nice and hard does do a nice finish. I use it on that for about maybe 8 to 10 minutes. And then my favorite stuff to do is I use like paste, I use I’ve been using diamond paste and get them on Amazon for very reasonable and use an old. They have an old vintage beat up strop that’s really not used usable for the leather part, but the linen is good. So I do one linen with 0.5 micron diamond paste and I’ll do about 40 straps on that 40 to 40 up and downs on that one. And then I go on the other side. I put 0.25 micron paste.
A lot of guys don’t do this, but I find it gives it that keenness and I like the razor to be sharp and I’ll do that for about the same strap on leather for about 60 times. And this razors pop in hair like, you know, with the hanging hair test. Like it doesn’t even like it. Like it’s scaring the hair to pop and gave me unbelievable shaves. Now, a couple of things. I have a little bit of a beard now. So prior to back in the day when I used to do videos and stuff, which I actually been asked to do again, I’m going to start bringing that back because a lot of people have been asking about some new videos, some new stuff. I’m going to start as soon as I can get some time. Uh, I have like a little bit of I grew a little bit of a beard and I like it so I don’t shave as much. I don’t shave my cheeks as much, but I do shave my neck. And like, I got to edge it out and really great shaves, man. I mean, right on the neck.
My middle, my next usually the hardest part to shave. That’s where my hair kind of grows all funny and it just plowed through it. Now, prior to honing this razor, I just dropped it. I used a paste and I thought I was going to get a good shave. And it was terrible. It was tugging and I was like, Oh man, this is going to hurt. So I guess when it comes to honing less is more when you do that, especially on the one K, spend the time on the one K, but don’t spend an eternity on it. And this goes through the progression and see how it works and then shave test. It may be more or less than you think you need to do, especially with the razor that’s in pretty decent shape like mine was. It wasn’t too bad. So Mike, I know you wrote me a letter and excuse me email and you were asking about this and just so happened that I was doing it anyway.
So thank you for the email and this is what I do. I just let you guys know I got received an email from a listener, Mike, and he said to, Hey, what do you how do you hone Razor? I’m trying to get in his honing razors. What do you do? This is kind of what I do. So this is in a in a nutshell and also some of the great, uh, some of the articles that I’ve written as well. And on honing, you can see on Sharpologist, and I’ll give you a little bit more of an insight, be a little bit more for than one podcast episode to see that.
Moving along the Feather Museum in Japan. This place is incredible and I had no idea it existed until recently when I just saw it on a guy post about it on Badger and Blade. Now the website. I did leave the show notes in the show notes, the link to the website, and it is in Japanese, so you have to kind of translate it to English and stole a lot of the writings in Japanese. So it’s hard to read, but you could see online a lot of pictures. There’s a whole straight razor room of different straight razors from all over the years. It’s two stories. They have old barber chairs. They have old safety razors, they have soaps, they have everything, pictures. They even have a life like a huge wall that looks like a safety razor blade that I put in the show notes. So you’ll see the picture all made from safety razor blades from feather blades. Incredible.
I don’t know how many thousands of blades it took to make that, but that was really nice. And then there’s like an 8 foot or 10 foot tall, like replica safety razor feather safety razor in this one room, which I also linked to. I’ll put a picture on the notes. So I was really interested in this and I’m like, Hey, if I’m going to Japan, I’m hitting this up. I think they also have a store. You can buy some stuff. It’s at the Feather Factory or whatever area. It’s I think there’s some offices in there, but it’s a two storey like exhibit, and there’s a lot of really interesting stuff that I never even knew existed in all this time of what shaving.
So, you know, guys, if you have one, if you have an interest in it, show notes. Got the link to the museum itself, do a Google search to find some more stuff because you have a lot of Americans actually went to this place. And if you are a feather blade fan, I’m sure you can get some blades here as well. I mean, I love using feather blades. I think they’re awesome. I think they last the longest. I think they’re incredibly sharp. The only thing they might be a little too sharp, especially with shorts. So I use them primarily with like Jill, like milder safety razors, like a Gillette or, or I actually love it on my on my BBS one razor. I love it on that. And that’s what it was really designed for to use that one. So I think it works great.
And also one of the best safety razors out there is, is that a plastic? I think it’s called the personal feather. It’s like 8 or $9 you can buy it on on Amazon. There’s also some places online and that’s one of the best head shaving razors I’ve ever used, too. If you’re into head shaving, you want a safety razor. Are you primarily use that plastic feather razor for years and I thought it was great. Now I don’t shave my head all the way down. I just kind of buzz it. So but it works really nice. No nicks cuts really clean. It’s like almost like using like a cartridge razor without using a cartridge razor with one blade. So. So, yeah, if you get a moment, take a look. If you have any interest in that, let me know if you’ve been there. And yeah, have fun with that one because that’s that is pretty awesome.
Or moving on to wet shaving etiquette on forums and websites. So I noticed a lot of new things that people have been causing a stir and a lot of a lot of the older guys are more experienced. Wet shavers on those forums have been kind of pointing it out. A few rules that you should follow when you’re doing when you’re in a form. Remember not forms are a great place to meet new people. It’s all similar and just all but a bad taste for a certain hobby. I don’t know if you guys have been listening. I had a bad experience on a watch forum. I am also into watches. I love watches and I love vintage watches. New watches. You know, I’ve been really into it. I don’t have a very big collection. I don’t have much of a collection and I don’t plan on it, but I’m just still interested in it. I had a really bad experience in a couple of forums which actually caused me to leave because I thought it was ridiculous.
But I really it was probably the way I conducted myself and the questions I asked because I didn’t do much research on it. So here’s something here’s some don’ts that you shouldn’t do on there. Don’t comment on older posts posts where the OP or the original person on the person that started the actual. Our post has already received the needed advice and sometimes this can be 10 to 15 years prior. So the worst thing to do is start searching through website, through forums and then commenting on something that’s been, you know, closed out for over ten years, 15 years.
There was one on Badger and Blade the other day, 18 years. The guy commented on it like it was still relative. What this does is this takes that and brings it to the front of the forum, right? There’s a good chance that the people there 18 years ago are probably not active on the site. If they are, they’re going to be like, whoa, what’s what’s bring who’s bringing this back? So, I mean, in that amount of time there were joking like, hey, this the OP could have actually had a a son and the son would be wet shaving for several years now in the amount of time it took from that from the last post to the new post. And I get it. You know, a lot of people get excited and they see it and they want to comment on it. But what you do is you start raising up stuff and they start really kind of I mean, you’re setting yourself up to get basically, you know, kind of made fun of a rag down a little bit because the OP doesn’t really might have been asking a question and they’re not really interested in probably seeing something 15 years, ten, 18 years prior.
Giving advice when you just started wet shaving the six month wet shaver, I call it, especially with straight razors honing and with blade choices and stuff. Guys, if you are just starting out, I get it. It’s exciting. You learn something you want to really like share your your knowledge. But here’s the thing. You’re on a website where there’s people that have been doing it now for, you know, some of them almost 20 years. And the last thing you want to do is start giving advice out that’s wrong or you might not have experienced enough yourself. I could tell you right now straight razors, it takes well over 1 to 2 years to learn your how to shave properly, and that’s doing it often. And I was one of those guys that used to do the advice thing and say stupid things back in the day because I learned how to do it and I was really not doing the proper way, right?
So don’t start giving advice, but do like offer suggestions or offer websites of where they can find more stuff or people that do know it. Don’t be that guy for advice when you just started out. You will. It won’t look good and you may not. And really after like three four months, you really don’t know what you’re talking about anyway. So at least I know I didn’t. So yeah, just be be, uh, be cautious with that kind of stuff. Giving advice and being that mentor when you just literally started yourself. I’ve seen that a lot. And it’s really, it’s tough because a lot of the guys are, you know, their intent is good or they’re trying to get, you know, you know, popularity or make friends or something like that. But it really the guys that have been doing it, they know and they don’t want any part of it constantly having to justify that, you know what you’re talking about or saying you completely vouch for somebody.
Look, if you know what you’re talking about, you don’t need to vouch for anybody or vouch for yourself or say, Hey, this guy can vouch for me. It just sounds like you’re really trying to prove something that you may not know much about or it just doesn’t sound good. So if you have to constantly say, Hey, this guy can vouch for me or I have been doing this for five years or something like that, and I know what I’m talking about. You’re getting in an argument that you’re not going to win and you shouldn’t probably be in any way let the other person take care of it. You don’t need to justify what you’ve done in wet shaving and just say, Hey, this is the way I do it or this is what I think and that’s it. And that’s all that you really need to do. I do, though, ask questions and advice for situations that you’re in. Be be open to ask questions, ask a lot of questions. There is no stupid question. Comment. Whether you agree or disagree and have a compelling reason to back it up. If you don’t agree with somebody, say, Hey, look, I don’t agree because this didn’t work for me or I noticed that it didn’t look. How did you make it work? Ask more questions. Share your personal experiences of what you’ve seen and heard in places that you’ve been. Share it. Tell everybody what you’ve done. Hey, I had a great experience with Art of shaving soap, right? I had a great experience with a wolf whiskers brush share that. You know, that’s great. People want to hear that. They say, hey, the quality of this was really nice. I love it. It looks good. Don’t say the quality is great.
I’ve been wet shaving for 20 years and this guy can vouch for me because this brush is great. Now just be really genuine. Don’t be that person to say a lot of stuff where it doesn’t make sense. All right, everybody. And that concludes the podcast for this week. I got to say, it’s a little bit longer than usual, but there was a lot going on, especially for me, in which, having had a great week, really looking forward to this new week coming up, I hope you all have had a happy Labor Day and nice and safe and a good end to the summer.
I remember our show is powered by Sharpologist dot com. What your father didn’t teach you about shaving? Don’t forget to check out my YouTube channel. Soon I’ll be posting some new videos on some new content on my blog site as well. I’m working on it right now. Getting it kind of fixed up. I kind of want to get back into that game and you know, honestly, feel free to contact me. Joe Dot what shaving news at gmail.com. Next show will be on September 18th. Till then shave straight shave safe. Bye bye now.