Discussion in 'DE Razors' started by Roy, Sunday August 27, 2017.
get a slant instead
Tonight used my ATT S2 open comb razor. I should have held off until OCtober but it will wait until it gets another turn towards the end of next month.
So after an informative break it's back to Open Combland. The first pairing this week will be a Gillette New SC and a Fatip Grande.
Gillette New SC on left, Fatip Grande on right:
The blade is the same Feather so this is shave four. The brush today was a MadeRite 500PB pure badger and for soap it was the old puck of Old Spice in the Old Spice mug yet again.
Fifth from left on bottom shelf:
The result was a PDG near perfect two pass and touchup shave. This razor is showing it's age more than the LC from the last pairing but is still good looking.
Well, yet another surprise.
We are on the next to last pairing of the first round; a Gillette New SC vs a Fatip Grande
The Gillette New SC was very nice but the Fatip Grande was every bit as pleasant and even more efficient.
There have been several reports of difficulty aligning the blade in a Fatip but in this case I just dropped the same Feather that I used in the Merkur 25C and it aligned perfectly. The result was a PDG+, near perfect two pass shave with minimal touchup and no nicks, weepers, cuts, scrapes or irritation. I've got to say this round went to the Fatip. The Gillette New SC was really nice but the Fatip was GREAT.
Today was once again old Old Spice and the brush was a Strongset wood handle boar. Strongset was one of the brands from Leopold Ascher in New York and this is an unnumbered brush. It is, like so many boar brushes from the period, a fantastic brush to build lather.
Sixth from left on bottom row:
I really expected the New SC to blow away the Fatip, but I was very, very wrong.
What's been interesting so far is that by using the razors alternating each day I notice things I had not noticed when the razors were just next up and not really paying attention to how they differ.
Today started the last pairing for the first round. The summary so far:
RR Old Type was nicer than the 1918 Gillette Old.
a No Date Code or Serial number Gillette old was just slightly nicer than the Merkur 1904 but the deciding factor was the gold still on the Gillette.
a Gillette New LC was slightly nicer than the Merkur 25C.
the Fatip Grande was just slightly nicer than the Gillette SC.
Today is the pairing I've been looking forward to, a Gillette Sheraton against an Above the Tie S2. I'm still using the same razor blades, a Feather, and this will be the fifth shave on each blade.
As always, the Sheraton simply shined and the result was a PDG+ near perfect two pass and touchup shave. This old beauty still shows gold on the cap top even though it is only hinted at on the handle. I keep thinking about getting it replated but it is so nice like it is and while showing it's age still performing like a All Star.
The soap is still just old Old Spice but the brush is a pure badger from Century. Century, like yesterday's StrongSet was one of the brands used by Leopold Ascher Company from New York. Leopold Ascher was one of the last active US Shaving Brush makers.
Seventh from left on bottom shelf:
Tomorrow will be the start of the last week for experienced brushes in this round as well as the last pairing in this first batch and honestly, I have no idea if the ATT S2 will be able to best the old Sheraton.
The next iteration will place the best from this first round against five new Open Comb challengers.
Well, the first phase of comparisons is done and today's shave was almost a complete bummer. Major disappointment!
The saving grace was the brush and old soap. I'm starting on the last week of these experienced brushes and today it was one of my Rubberset 400s.
Seventh from the right on the bottom shelf:
An earlier picture of today's razor with the old Old Spice soap and mug:
Today's matchup was between my Gillette Sheraton and a newer Above The Tie S2 slant open comb. I love my Sheraton and it has never failed to give me close comfortable shaves or not feel great against my skin or to have a hard time getting those difficult areas. It's about a close to a perfect razor as I had ever found and yesterday's shave just reinforced those opinions.
But damn it, the ATT S2 shaved closer, easier, faster and even required fewer touchups than the Sheraton. The pairing of my no date code or serial number Gillette Old vs the Merkur 1904 was about as close and there I called the Gillette Old the winner because it was still shiny and had almost all its original gold finish but today, even original gold surface is just not enough to offset just how good the ATT S2 really is.
I really thought it would go the other way but I just have to accept that the King is dead, Long live the King!
For the next phase I will pair the best from Phase 1 to five new challengers.
Rock Old Type vs a different 1918 Gillette Old
No Date No Serial Gillette Old vs GEM MMOC
Gillette New LC vs Durham Duplex DE
Fatip Grande vs Valet AutoStrop B2
ATT S2 vs ATT SE2
Today starts Phase 2 of OCtober. Those of you who have been following along might remember that in Phase 1 the first pairing was a 1918 Gillette Old and a RazoRock Old Type and it wasn't even close; the RazoRock Old Type was simply hands above the Gillette Old.
Ordered from right to left.
That was a major surprise and so for this time I am trying another 1918 Gillette Old against the RR Old Type.
First up is the 1918 Gillette and the blade is a no-date-code US made Gillette Platinum Plus blade from 1970 give or take a year or so.
The brush is an EverReady two-tone pure badger 300PBT from sometime before 1957 and the soap is Old Spice in an Old Spice shaving mug.
The end product was an almost PDG shave, got all the hairs but simply not as comfortable as usual. This may be the blade and I'll use the same blade tomorrow to see if the RR Old Type is as nice as it was in Phase 1.
Today was the same old Gillette Platinum Plus blade from around 1970 plus or minus a year or so that was frankly unpleasant in the Gillette 1918 Old. In the RazoRock Old Type though it felt like the best blades made today, slicing not dicing and smooth as silk. Totally different experience. The end result was a PDG bordering on perfect shave that was just plain easy peezy and fun.
As much as I dislike the fact I have to admit the RazoRock Old Type is far nicer than my 1918 Gillette Old Style examples.
Today's brush is another nice old Rubberset no number but about the size of the later 200-2 boar. Like all my Rubberset brushes it is a lather maker par excellence. It doesn't seem to matter if they are boar or badger they just work well.
Tomorrow begins the mix and match series with a later made Gillette Old compared to an MMOC.
We're in the second pairing of the second Phase now so beginning comparisons between blade types as well as razors. Today it is one of my GEM MMOC with a GEM Stainless (likely coated) blade that will be the first shave on that blade. I did palm strop it before starting.
Second pair from the right:
As usual, the MMOC was less efficient on the first pass than my DEs but more efficient on the second against the grain and diagonals strokes pass. The result as expected was a PDG near perfect two pass and touchup shave but maybe slightly less pleasant than with the Gillette late model Old. It was not really a matter of either being unpleasant but rather with the Gillette late model Old I really hated not being able to find one more spot to touchup or one patch I missed.
Today I returned to the Old Spice soap and the brush is what seems to be a miss labeled Vie-Long, sold as the lessor grade but actually only pure blonde horse hair. It's another brush I really enjoy but I have to admit I've never noticed the funky smell some folk claim. Maybe it's just that I got to spend a lot of time around horses (she loved to ride and so I rode too) and remember one great jumper, a strawberry roan. Well actually she stopped right before the jump and it was I who cleared all three rails without even brushing a bar. I walked the roan back to the barn even though the roan was more than capable of leading me all the way and the vision of heaven rode beside me and hardly even laughed. (but she sounded so cute when she laughed, the vision not the roan though she laughed too, I had to laugh and that really really hurt).
I ended with some Clubman.
The two shaves were equally good and there was nothing wrong at all with either but the late model Gillette Old was just plain more fun to use, but only slightly.
Today was a bad day for Gillette.
The razor pair now on the course are the Gillette New LC that very narrowly beat out the Merkur 25C because while both shaves were fantastic, the Gillette New LC still has most of its original gold plating and was prettier than the Merkur, and the razor for tomorrow is a Durham Duplex with a modern compatible blade.
Third pair from right:
Today though it stumbled out of the gate and never recovered. The first pass was so uncomfortable that I stopped and simply set the Gillette aside, tossed the blade in the can and finished up with the Above The Tie M1 that I had handy.
I know the Gillette New LC can do better but today it was simply off its feed.
The final shave though was another near PDG two pass and slight touchup success but a couple scrapes where the Gillette stumbled on the track marred the day.
The razor today is another old one I found recently, a Simms from Canada and most likely boar. It appears never used and did lose three hairs in the first shave. It sold for $5.00 Canadian most likely during the 1950s so was not an inexpensive shaving brush for its day.
Paper Price Tag still attached:
This pairing continues to surprise me. It is between a Gillette New LC and a Durham Duplex (I have a second one listed in the auction; wink wink, nudge nudge.) and I really expected the Gillette to absolutely be a run away winner; 73-0 US Football match.
'taint gonna happen.
Third row from right:
And a top view:
The Gillette New stumbled right out of the gate (let's see how many sports references I can mix) and never came out of its corner for the second round. It was a total wipe out and I even had some coral scraps to show for it.
The Durham Duplex shouldn't have had a chance. It is super light, likely aluminum handle and both top and base plate just stamped metal. It's two full lanes wide and needs warning flags and police escort to be legal on most city streets. (Let's abuse meta4s equally). There was no way something even wider than an AC format razor was gonna work.
But it did.
It took me part of the first pass to figure out that you shave with this just like it was a Single Edge razor, head flat on your face and super light hand. By the start of the second pass I had the technique down and whiskers just seemed to disappear. It was smooth, effortless, efficient, comfortable; kinda cool.
Getting the hard to mow little spots took some effort so I went ahead and did an Alum rub down to help stretch the skin and touchup became fun.
What I learned:
Head flat on face.
To load the blade, first put the blade on the base plate, then the top cap on the base/blade assembly.
Take extra time around nose, lips, chin and try to match strokes to the contour. More up and down then ear to nose.
The cream today was Tabac in the Heather n fern shaving mug with another old brush I found online. This one is a "Nobility" brand and almost certainly started life in a PX after WWII and before the early 1970s.
The key things that lead me to that conclusion is that the label is an export type label, written in English but US as opposed to British English (sterilized with a "z") and "Made in Germany" not "W. Germany". From the division of Germany after the war until the early 1970s neither West Germany nor it's allies recognized East Germany as a legitimate State. For Nations outside the Soviet Bloc there was only Germany and "Occupied Germany".
Putting it all together points to a German made boar shaving brush meant to be sold to US English speaking customers and the most likely route through a PX.
The brush did great by the way but did shed about three bristles, one obviously broken.
Well we are halfway through the second phase for OCtober and today starts the fourth pairing, a Fatip Grande and a Valet AutoStrop.
Fourth from right:
During the first Phase the Fatip Grande was pitted against a Gillette New SC and honestly shaved me even closer and more comfortably than the Gillette New SC; 'twern't even close.
Today's shave was a repetition of the Phase 1 shave, super smooth, super efficient, super comfortable PDG+ near perfect. My Valets usually do a good job but it will need to do a great job tomorrow to stay in the running.
Today started with a wash using Herberia Bay rum for soap, Speick Shaving Cream in the Heather n fern shaving mug. I used the Gibbs boar brush and this is it's third break-in session. After the shave I used the Speick Balsam balm followed by Chatillon Colonia Basalmica aftershave.
The Fatip Grande has really impressed me every time I've used it and I have a Fatip Piccolo lined up against an ATT R2 as the final pairing for OCtober. Now that should be very interesting.
Well today is another bummer experience. We are starting the last three pairings for the month and this set pitted a Fatip Grande against a Valet AutoStrop VC1 using a despined GEM blade.
Yesterday's shave with the Fatip Grande was another fantastic very near perfect shave and I pointed out "Today's shave was a repetition of the Phase 1 shave, super smooth, super efficient, super comfortable PDG+ near perfect. My Valets usually do a good job but it will need to do a great job tomorrow to stay in the running."
Third pair from left:
Well it did. In fact the two results are so close together it will be tough to pick a winner.
Today started again with shower using Herberia Bay Rum soap followed by Old Spice lather made using a Vie-Long horsehair brush. Then the shave itself using the Valet AutoStrop and the despined GEM blade. It was a two pass shave then rub face with alum (still tastes bad). I let that dry while I flushed and fluffed the brush then wiped up any water on the sink. With my face dry and the alum making stretching easier I did a few touchup strokes around the always tough to get spots.
After shave was Chatillon Vide Poche aftershave.
Last it was time to clean up the razor and put it away and finally, that was when I determined the winner.
To fully rinse the blade in the Fatip Grande you have to take it all apart and rinse the parts individually. To rinse the blade in the Valet AutoStrop VC1 you push the lever up, swing the blade and carrier up and run both side of the blade under the faucet. Easie Peasie. WINNER.
But it really was that close. There was literally no difference in the shave comfort, efficiency, speed; nothing. Since there had to be a winner the ease of cleanup with the VC1 is the only real advantage to either.
Yesterday I used the ATT S2 open comb slant and today it is the AC open comb razor from ATT, the SE2. Yesterdays shave was near perfect and today's was almost as good. I got careless today and put the razor to my face blade first instead of head first right at the corner of my lip. The result was a clean eighth inch nick. Definitely my bad just not paying attention. A quick swipe with the alum block and all was once again right in the world.
Top Row second from left:
Tomorrow will complete the trilogy with the razor on the far left top row, an ATT R2.
I guess of all the possible blade formats out there the AC blade is near the bottom of my list, with only the Schick Injector beneath it. Today it was a Feather Professional and I also have some Kai and Schick Proline AC format blades I'll try in it but while I love my ATT razors the SE2 is likely the one that will get the least face time.
The brush today is a Zenith 506 Horse Hair on it's first post Spa Day actual shave use trip and it did shed more hairs than any brush I have ever owned; ten or eleven hairs. I hope it will stop but if that continues I will need to contact the seller. I have quite a few Zenith brushes and even quite a few with the 506 handle; a Finest and a Manchurian Badger as well as a Boar and they have not shed any hairs.
Soap was from Above The Tie, an Orange Blossom and Jasmine and aftershave was Pre de Provence balm then Pinaud Bay Rum.
Today was the third Above the Tie razors in Phase 2, a DE R2 which is the medium plate with open comb. The three ATT razor are the left most pair on the top shelf and the second from the left on the lower shelf.
Yesterday was the SE2, an AC format using a Feather AC blade and I managed to nick myself. Today's shave was the sixth shave on this blade and the blade was tugging. The final result today is only OK, not great but mostly because I was still irritated from yesterday and the blade was at the end of it's useful life. It ended up in the Used Blade bottle.
Today's cream was TOBS Lemon Lime and I used the Gibbs boar brush. It's pretty much broken in already and so will move into the regular rotation. I finished off with some TOBS St. James spray stuff.
We are also really near the end of OCtober and tomorrow will be the last of the classic Open Combs, a Fatip Piccolo. I have a Rolls I'll likely try to work in Monday or Tuesday to close things out.
The Month in Review:
This month was a series of comparison pairings with Open Comb razors that was broken into two parts. In the first Phase five Gillette OCs were paired with five newer OCs. Surprisingly, the newer razors actually came out on top in three of the five pairings.
The first phase:
RazoRock Old Type vs a 1918 made Gillette Old Style and the RR was significantly more comfortable and more efficient.
Merkur 1904 vs Gillette No Date Code No Serial number Old Style and they were really close but the Gillette just slightly better.
Merkur 25C vs Gillette New LC; this pair were so close it was just the Gillette still showing original gold plating that made it the winner.
Fatip Grande vs Gillette New SC and the Fatip Grande was significantly more comfortable with the same shave result.
Finally an ATT S2 vs a Gillette Sheraton where surprisingly the S2 was more efficient than the Sheraton.
The second phase:
In the second phase the best from the first phase were pitted against five different OC razors as well as different blade formats and three additional OC razors added at the end.
The RazoRock Old Type against a different 1918 made Gillette Old Style and again, the RR rocked.
The No date code Gillette Old Type vs a GEM MMOC; close but the Gillette was more comfortable.
The Gillette LC vs a Durham Duplex and surprisingly the Durham Duplex was much more comfortable and as efficient.
The Fatip Grande vs a Valet AutoStrop VC1 with a despined GEM blade; close again but the Fatip slightly better.
This is actually a trilogy with an ATT S2 vs ATTSE2 with a Feather AC blade & a R2 with the same blade that was in the S2; of the three the S2 was by far the most comfortable.
The final two were a Fatip Piccolo and one of my Rolls Razors and again those were pretty close.
So that was OCtober 2017.