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Open combs

Discussion in 'DE Razors' started by Roy, Sunday August 27, 2017.

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    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.
     
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    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:
    [​IMG]
    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:
    [​IMG]
    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.
     
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    Well, yet another surprise.

    We are on the next to last pairing of the first round; a Gillette New SC vs a Fatip Grande

    [​IMG]
    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:
    [​IMG]
    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.
     
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    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.

    [​IMG]
    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:
    [​IMG]
    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.
     
    donnie_arko likes this.
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    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:
    [​IMG]

    An earlier picture of today's razor with the old Old Spice soap and mug:
    [​IMG]
    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.

    [​IMG]
    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.

    1. Rock Old Type vs a different 1918 Gillette Old
    2. No Date No Serial Gillette Old vs GEM MMOC
    3. Gillette New LC vs Durham Duplex DE
    4. Fatip Grande vs Valet AutoStrop B2
    5. ATT S2 vs ATT SE2
     
    Boru62, Blademonkey and donnie_arko like this.
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    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.

    [​IMG]
    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.

    [​IMG]
    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.
     
    Boru62 likes this.
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    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.

    [​IMG]
    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.
     
    Boru62 likes this.
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    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:
    [​IMG]
    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.

    [​IMG]
    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.
     
    Boru62 likes this.
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    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:
    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]

    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:
    [​IMG]
     
    Boru62 likes this.
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    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:
    [​IMG]

    And a top view:
    [​IMG]

    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.
    • No pressure.
    • 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.

    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]
     
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