Ask Aaron Q/A: The Feather AS-D1 vs The Feather AS-D2

By Aaron Wolfenbarger on July 21, 2014

Posted in Ask Aaron Q & A, Safety Razors | Comments (0)

ask aaron 420 Ask Aaron Q/A: The Feather AS D1 vs The Feather AS D2

Aaron is asked a question about the differences between the Feather AS-D1 and AS-D2

Scott Allread, from the UK, asks:

“What is the difference between the Feather AS-D1 and AS-D2?”

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Feather AS-D2 Double-Edge Razor (Stainless Steel)

AARON SAYS

“Mr. Allread,

After doing some research here is what I was able to find on the variances between the AS-D1 and AS-D2. The D1 is the first model of the Feather to come out. It is regarded as an extremely mild shaving razor, with some complaints of it being too mild and some people having a hard time shaving with it, where as others rave about it. So, there seems to be some variances there. However, the fact remains that the D1 is a very gentle razor. The D2 is the second incarnation of the Feather All Stainless, with most folks agreeing that it shaves much better than the D1, not being as mild. There are also some slight physical differences in the handle and in the base. Thanks for the great question!

Smooth shaving!
Aaron”

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Ask Aaron Q/A: My shaving cream & soap dries out before I finish shaving

By Aaron Wolfenbarger on July 17, 2014

Posted in Ask Aaron Q & A, Double Edge Shaving, Shaving Creams, Shaving Tips | Comments (0)

ask aaron 420 Ask Aaron Q/A: My shaving cream & soap dries out before I finish shaving

Aaron is asked a question about how to prevent shaving soap or shave cream from drying out before the shave is completed

Paul Martin, from the UK, asks:

“Been double edge shaving for a couple of months now. Still working on my technique and finding the best shaving products to suit my skin type. A problem I have most days is that my shaving soap or shave cream is drying out too much before I finish each pass? This is giving me some problems on the neck and lip which I shave last. Any ideas?”

shaving cream face Ask Aaron Q/A: My shaving cream & soap dries out before I finish shaving

Shaving cream can dry out before the second pass

AARON SAYS

“Mr. Martin,

First off, welcome to the world of wet shaving! I would make sure you are adding enough water when building your lather, a dry lather will obviously dry out faster than a properly hydrated one, and give problems in those areas.

You can always re-lather those areas before shaving them, to make sure the lather is the best it can be to protect your face.

Also, if you have a fan in the bathroom you might want to try turning it off while you shave, the extra wind will dry out your lather. Hope this helps, and let me know if you still are having trouble and we’ll go from there!

Keep it smooth!

Aaron”

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Ask Aaron Q/A: The best ways to lather Mitchell’s Wool Fat Shaving Soap

By Aaron Wolfenbarger on July 17, 2014

Posted in Ask Aaron Q & A, Shaving Creams, Shaving Tips | Comments (0)

ask aaron 420 Ask Aaron Q/A: The best ways to lather Mitchells Wool Fat Shaving Soap

Aaron is asked a question about the best ways to lather Mitchell’s Wool Fat Shaving Soap

Luke Cressey, from the UK, asks:

“Hello, could you please give any tips on how to use Mitchell’s wool fat hear some people find it difficult to use and any tips on someone new to using shaving soap. Thank you for your time and help.”

6fe614296493def2bcef67580a9cf26c 300x300 Ask Aaron Q/A: The best ways to lather Mitchells Wool Fat Shaving Soap

Mitchell’s Wool Fat Shaving Soap and Ceramic Bowl (120g)

AARON SAYS

“Mr Cressey,

Yes! Mitchell’s does have the reputation of being a little difficult to lather. For MWF it helps to soak the puck in water while you shower to help soften the soap (roughly 5 minutes or so).

Soak your brush and shake it out well before lathering, the drier bristles will help pick up a bit more soap. Load the brush well with soap, swirling on top of the puck for a good 15-30 seconds.

Try loading the brush upside down as well: hold the soap above the brush and load with the bristles up.

Loading upside down helps to feed soap into the middle of the brush where the lather making magic happens.

For these tips and some great visuals, check out my friend Mantic59′s video on this exact subject. http://youtu.be/_MGLi_m9n_s?list=UUH95TR4r8JNRgLG1T1FVXhg

Happy Shaving!

Aaron”

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Ask Aaron Q/A: Beard shaping – Mach 3 Razor vs Double Edge Safety Razor

By Aaron Wolfenbarger on June 25, 2014

Posted in Ask Aaron Q & A, Double Edge Shaving, Shaving Tips | Comments (0)

ask aaron 420 Ask Aaron Q/A: Beard shaping   Mach 3 Razor vs Double Edge Safety Razor

Aaron is asked a question about the best ways to shape a beard using a double edge safety razor

Saby Sambhi, from the UK, asks:

“Hey Aaron, I have recently graduated to a DE safety razor from a Gillette Mach 3. I have a Merkur 34c razor, Edwin Jagger super badger hair brush and Taylor of Old Bond street almond shaving cream.

So far the shaves have been amazingly close but I am having issues with shaping my beard. The razor works great shaving large areas such as my neck but I can’t see where I am shaving for the intricate areas due to the thickness of the cream and this is leading to shaping mistakes.

Can you please advise the best way to address this? Previously with my Mach3 I was able to to cover the areas requiring detail with a thin layer of soap allowing me to see where I am going and due to the relatively benign nature of the blades this provided adequate protection and lubrication but I feel a DE razor will be too aggressive for this approach?

Any help is greatly appreciated! Many thanks, Saby.”

IMG 2104 edit 300x200 Ask Aaron Q/A: Beard shaping   Mach 3 Razor vs Double Edge Safety Razor

A double edge razor is a great tool for shaping a beard

AARON SAYS

“Mr. Saby,

Actually the same approach you used with the Mach 3 you can apply with the Merkur. What I recommend (and I do myself) is to take your finger and gently wipe away the majority of the lather, leaving behind a thin layer. The thin layer will give you the protection and glide you are looking for and still give you good visibility! Another thought would be to use a shavette such as a Dovo or Bluebeard’s “cut-throat” to do the fine work. Both methods work equally well and should give you the results you are looking for!

Smooth Shaving!
Aaron”

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Ask Aaron Q/A: How to prevent razor bumps for men who are African-Caribbean

By Aaron Wolfenbarger on June 25, 2014

Posted in Ask Aaron Q & A, Razor burn, rash & bumps | Comments (0)

ask aaron 420 Ask Aaron Q/A: How to prevent razor bumps for men who are African Caribbean

Aaron is asked a question from an African-Caribbean man on the best ways to combat razor bumps

Osa Omo, from the UK, asks:

“As an African-Caribbean man who suffers from painful razor bumps caused by ingrowing hairs how often should I shave? Every day, every other day, once a week or perhaps once a month?”

razor bumps Ask Aaron Q/A: How to prevent razor bumps for men who are African Caribbean

Razor bumps are very painful

AARON SAYS

“Mr Omo,

I would have you shave as often you feel that your beard needs it. There is not hard and fast rule saying you have to shave every day or every other day. It is up to your face and your judgement on how it feels and when you should shave. I will say that for Afro-Caribbean men especially it helps to shave with a double edge or single edge razor. Shaving at the surface of the skin, as opposed to pulling the hair and releasing it under the skin as cartridge razors do, goes a very long way in preventing ingrown hair. So in final answer it is not how often that matters most, but what tools you use that will help you the most.

Smooth Shaving!
Aaron”

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The Bluebeards Revenge straight razor project – The Naming

By Tom Trueman on June 20, 2014

Posted in Straight Razor Shaving, The Bluebeards Revenge | Comments (0)

The Bluebeards Revenge is now six weeks into its quest to create the ‘Ultimate Straight Razor for Real Men’, and the progress has been very steady. We’ve been documenting the progress of the project on The Shaving Shack blog. So far, we’ve taken you through the welding of the billet and the crafting of the tang, shank and the blade itself.

straight razor pic 300x192 The Bluebeards Revenge straight razor project   The Naming

The Bluebeards Revenge is on a mission to create the world’s best straight razor

Keen to honour the Bluebeard’s promise to take you along every step of the way, the time has come to invite you to play a very special and exciting part in the eagerly anticipated Straight Razor Project.

Hand-crafted from Damascus steel and refined to within an inch of its life, The Bluebeards Straight Razor is to be the finest of shaving instruments, designed for the manliest of men, and the search has begun for the perfect name – a name that will do it all of the justice it deserves.

This is your razor just as much as The Bluebeards Revenge’s, and they want you to get involved with the process. So they are inviting you to submit your suggestions, and will narrow them down to the five most fitting before offering them up for scrutiny.

The person who suggests the winning name will be rewarded handsomely with a very special Bluebeards prize, as well as the satisfaction of seeing the bespoke masterpiece of a straight razor bearing their creative name.

So get suggesting, give them your input, and be a part of this exciting journey.

Ways to enter:

- Tweet @thebluebeards using the #straightrazorproject hashtag.
- Leave a comment on their Facebook page – The Bluebeards Revenge

Check back next soon for the latest update on how the razor is progressing.


How to shave properly with a double edge safety razor – Simple shaving techniques & tips

By Aaron Wolfenbarger on June 13, 2014

Posted in Double Edge Shaving, Shaving Tips | Comments (0)
les shaving How to shave properly with a double edge safety razor   Simple shaving techniques & tips

Shaving with a double edge safety razor should be an enjoyable experience

So often the questions that come to us here at The Shaving Shack are from gents, and sometimes ladies, new to the wet shaving experience. They ask for information regarding a more luxurious way to take care of themselves, information on how to start wet shaving, however most often the questions revolve around improving their current shaving regimen. Bits and pieces of information have been shared in our Question and Answer section but we thought a more comprehensive review of technique was in order.

Grain direction

First we address the topic of shaving “with the grain”. Shaving “with the grain” means following the direction of hair growth with your razor. For instance, if the hair on your upper lip grows straight down towards your mouth you would shave towards your mouth from your nose to shave with the grain. The importance of following the direction of hair growth lies in the ease of cutting the hair. It causes less distress to the hair, hair follicle, and skin underneath while also offering the path of least resistance. Following this technique if your skin in prone to breaking out with spots or ingrown hairs is especially helpful.

Passes

Discussion of grain direction leads us into the next technique of reducing the beard by separate “passes”. Often you will see these passes referred to as “with the grain, across the grain, and against the grain.” Following the order of passes serves to reduce the hair in steps to get as close to the surface of the skin as possible. Going with the grain we discussed above. Shaving at a 90 degree angle, or perpendicular to the direction of growth will follow a path across the grain. Shaving in the reverse direction of growth goes against the grain. Often you see debate as to whether this last step is necessary, however most folks will find that shaving against the grain will top off their shave with the smoothest finish. If you find that your skin is sensitive, or you are new to wet shaving, leaving off this last pass until you are comfortable with the technique and blade angle is advisable.

RazorMain 1682906a How to shave properly with a double edge safety razor   Simple shaving techniques & tips

A safety razor will give you a much close shave than a multi bladed cartridge razor

Blade angle

Speaking of blade angle, what is a good angle to hold one’s razor? The first caveat being if you are using a disposable cartridge razor, the angle of the blades is pre-set and you need not worry about it. However to those shaving with double edge razors such as The Bluebeards Revenge Scimitar, Merkur 37c, or other fine razors this matters a great deal. Too shallow an angle and you are not taking off as much beard as you can, too much and you end up scraping skin instead of cutting hair! Neither outcome is advisable! If measured out properly the angle comes out to somewhere close to 30 degrees. However different razors can have differently shaped heads and this angle can differ. The best way we have found is to hold the razor with the handle sticking out perpendicular to your face, and as you slide the razor gently down your face I sharpen the angle so the blade edge nears the hair. When you feel the blade edge begin to catch and cut the hair you have found the correct angle.

Pressure

Hand in hand with this is pressure. No one likes pressure at work, home, and especially when a razor sharp blade is against your face. Unless perhaps you’re 007! Using as little pressure as possible no matter your choice in the style of razor is best practice. Because of the hinge on most cartridge razors more pressure will be needed than for a double edge razor, however a light hand will still go a long ways. “What kind of pressure is too much or too little?” We hear you ask? Allow the razor to just set on your face with its natural weight and letting gravity draw it in the direction of your pass is the easiest gauge.

chris2 How to shave properly with a double edge safety razor   Simple shaving techniques & tips

These basic techniques will help set your shaving for smooth success!

Another small piece of technical advice that will help you on your journey is to keep you arm straight, locking your wrist, and use the movement of your whole arm to control the razor. This will help you control angle, pressure, and prevent painful gouges. (Ouch!) These basic techniques will help set your shaving for smooth success! And smooth is what we are after, right? Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more in depth looks at wet shaving technique in articles to come.


The Bluebeards Revenge straight razor project – Crafting the blade

By Tom Trueman on June 13, 2014

Posted in Straight Razor Shaving, The Bluebeards Revenge | Comments (0)

Last month The Bluebeards Revenge announced to the world they would be embarking on an exciting new straight razor project. Not wanting to do anything by halves, the leading British male grooming brand have searched high and low for someone that possesses the quality of craftsmanship they feel a project like this fully deserves.

We first looked at the creation of the 192 layer razor billet – a mixture of both Shirogami (White Paper Steel) and 1.2842 (US 02) steel, which is an Hypereutectic Industrial Tool Steel. We then sat down with the company to discuss the development of the tang and shank.

This week we talked to The Bluebeards Revenge about the crafting of the blade. In this week’s post you can begin to see the shape of the blade, and although a long way from finishing, it’s great to see a bit of life and character being added.

With the tang formed, the bar is now cut into a suitable size. This could be done earlier in the process, but the Bladesmith finds forging easier with a longer piece of metal to hammer.

Here we see the creation of the ‘Point’ of the razor. There are many different ways the Bladesmith can fashion the toe, point and nose in the creation of this straight razor – Some familiar ones might be the French or Spanish point. As yet, the brand are still undecided on which one to use.

The blade is now heated to around 1100 celsius. For those following the posts on this project, you might have noticed that The Bluebeards Revenge started with a whopping 1400 degrees but they are slowly getting cooler as they go. Basically, the Bladesmith has pointed out, that when he is creating the razor, and it gets to the more intricate parts, he needs it cooler, as this is better to refine the steels grain structure.

The raw hide mallet moves steel without putting any dents or hammer marks into the flat surface . In this video we see the straightening of the spine and tang. This is the final touch before special heat treatment in the heat treat oven.

The razor is placed in a heat treat oven, the temperature is raised to 660 Celsius. Held at this temp for 30 minutes then allowed to cool slowly inside the heat treatment oven to room temp. This slow cooling anneals the steel and creates a spherical grain structure, important for machining the steel before hardening and stopping the blade warping.

cuthtroatandyjord The Bluebeards Revenge straight razor project   Crafting the blade

“We’ve just received the next installment of videos and images from the Bladesmith, which have really excited us as they show the grinding of the blade (making it all shiny!). A lengthy and time consuming process, but ultimately the end results look stunning,” the brand told us.

Exciting stuff, and we will be reporting more on the development of the razor next week.


The Bluebeards Revenge straight razor project – Tang & Shank

By Tom Trueman on June 2, 2014

Posted in Straight Razor Shaving, The Bluebeards Revenge | Comments (0)

Last month The Bluebeards Revenge announced to the world they would be embarking on an exciting new straight razor project. Not wanting to do anything by halves, the leading British male grooming brand have searched high and low for someone that possesses the quality of craftsmanship they feel a project like this fully deserves.

A few weeks ago we looked at the creation of the 192 layer razor billet – a mixture of both Shirogami (White Paper Steel) and 1.2842 (US 02) steel, which is an Hypereutectic Industrial Tool Steel. With the razor billet ready, The Bluebeards Revenge is now developing the razor’s tank and shank.

We recently sat down with the company to discuss this process in more detail.

In this video, we see the Bladesmith set out a groove for the razor. Basically, this is where the yellow blob is in the image below. This is also where the shoulder of the blade will go (if we go with a shoulder, we might look at shoulderless).

straightlabeling1 The Bluebeards Revenge straight razor project   Tang & Shank

Here is a diagram The Bluebeards Revenge has produced of the different parts of a straight razor. If you search the web you’ll find these sorts of diagrams everywhere, but you might see different areas of the razor labelled differently.

Once the groove is made, it is then time to start on the tang and shank. Damascus is notoriously difficult to forge and can split easily, so a great deal of attention to detail is needed.

Here, we see the tang actually take shape. The hammer and anvil work is purely exquisite, and shows the attention to detail and craft needed to create something like a custom straight razor.

Further refinement of the tang is needed, and the process of using hammer on anvil is a long one. As it gets closer to finishing the shank and tang, the Bladesmith uses lighter blows to add the finishing touches.

Next week, we will hopefully have more on the forging of the blade.

“Please remember that everything at this point in time is in the development stage – so shape of the tang and shank could change in its final stage. We are merely trying to create the best possible razor, and we’re looking at every option as we go along,” The Bluebeards Revenge told us.


The Bluebeards Revenge straight razor project – The Billet

By Tom Trueman on May 16, 2014

Posted in Straight Razor Shaving, The Bluebeards Revenge | Comments (0)

Last week The Bluebeards Revenge announced to the world they would be embarking on an exciting new straight razor project. Not wanting to do anything by halves, the leading British male grooming brand have searched high and low for someone that possesses the quality of craftsmanship they feel a project like this fully deserves.

They told The Shaving Shack: “Obviously, we’re rather excited at Bluebeards HQ about the prospect of this razor; a razor fully deserving of our branding. The process is a long but enjoyable one, and we hope you enjoy coming along for the ride with us.”

We sat down with the brand to look at the development of the razor billet and the different stages behind it.

1. Initial billet of 12 plates , 6 of white paper steel , 6 of 1:2842

TSRblade1 The Bluebeards Revenge straight razor project   The Billet

White paper steel is also known as Shirogami, and descends from Japan. The steel itself is made from sand iron, and is the same sand iron that makes the legendary steel Tama-hagane. The steel is very pure, with hardly any alloys, and is very popular in Japan in the making of high-end kitchen knives. When hardened, it has a very fine grain structure.

1:2842 steel is the equivalent to the U2 02, a tool steel that has been around for years in the industry, and is known for it’s durability and good forging potential.

Over his many years in the industry, our master bladesmith has combined these two steels many times before. The plan with this damast is to then coat the blade with TiAIN (Titanium Aluminium Nitrate), which brings up a particularly nice pattern.

The overall feedback is that ‘Shirogami’ white paper steel and 1:2842 combined has a tough and aggressive cutting edge.

2. Heating in gas forge of initial block of 12 layers of steel

TSRblade2 The Bluebeards Revenge straight razor project   The Billet

The gas forge is heated to around 1400 degrees.

3. 12 Layer forge welded together

TSRblade4 The Bluebeards Revenge straight razor project   The Billet

4. 12 layers drawn out to make second welded billet

TSRblade5 The Bluebeards Revenge straight razor project   The Billet

The forge welding process is conducted either on a hydraulic press or an air striking hammer – Check our Facebook/Instagram page for the videos.

5. Second forge weld 4 x 12 = 48 layers

TSRblade6 The Bluebeards Revenge straight razor project   The Billet

The billet is then once again separated into 4, and the parts are stacked on top of each other. The process of stages 1 to 4 is repeated to create a 48 layered billet.

6. Heating in the gas forge for second forge weld

TSRblade7 The Bluebeards Revenge straight razor project   The Billet

7. Second forge weld completed

TSRblade9 The Bluebeards Revenge straight razor project   The Billet

If you look closely, you can even see where the two different steels are parallel to each other.

8. Drawing out of second weld

tsrBLADE10 The Bluebeards Revenge straight razor project   The Billet

9. Third forge weld billet stacked ready for welding in forge

TSRblade11 The Bluebeards Revenge straight razor project   The Billet

The billet now consists of 192 layers (12, 48, 192). Again, if you look closely, you can see the layers of the different steel.

10. Third forge weld heating up in gas forge

TSRblade12 The Bluebeards Revenge straight razor project   The Billet

11. Length of 192 layers

TSRblade13 The Bluebeards Revenge straight razor project   The Billet

To think, this will eventually be a straight razor.

12. 192 layer being drawn out for razor billet

TSRblade14 The Bluebeards Revenge straight razor project   The Billet

13. Razor billet ready

TSRblade16 The Bluebeards Revenge straight razor project   The Billet

14. 25mm wide 6mm thick 192 layers finished ready for next stage

TSRblade17 The Bluebeards Revenge straight razor project   The Billet

Finally, the 192-layer razor billet is ready for the next stage. The craftsmanship that has gone in to just creating the billet at this point is 6 hours – Blood, sweat and tears have gone into getting it ready for the next stage of creating the blade.

Hopefully next week we’ll be able to bring you more details on the creation of the blade itself.