SoTD ~ 18Dec14

Some new items today. Stirling Soap Company’s Stirling Clubman and a Marvy boar brush. I know Marvy is a very cheap brush, but I love brushes. Previous to the Stirling Clubman and a few others, the only exposure to Stirling that I had was to their Texas on Fire soap. Super strong scented! This Stirling Clubman seems less powerful. To my nose it doesn’t quite match, almost a cherry cola scent to it I suppose. The boar, being never used, had quite a funky smell to it once water was applied. The combination of the two wasn’t that pleasant. I’m going to blame this on the brush. Should also note that the bristle loft is much shorter than any brushes I have. I think what I will do is start breaking it in by palm lathering and saving it to convert someone to traditional wet shaving in the future. I’m betting it just needs to be broken in. It isn’t good at all in its current state. My lather wasn’t too thick, but I blame that on the brush. A full size puck fills my Ikea tin to the brim as seen in the background.

  • Soap – Stirling Soap Co. – Stirling Clubman
  • Brush – Marvy boar
  • Razor – 1912 Gem
  • Blade – Treet Super (2)
  • Alum block rub
  • Aftershave – Pinaud Clubman



7 thoughts on “SoTD ~ 18Dec14

  1. I came across your site by accident but am loving your posts! At first I thought, “wow this guy is really into shaving!….Wait, that’s kinda cool…hmmmm what’s that??”

    Do you have recommendations for someone who wants to enter the world of safety razor shaving and using a brush to apply soap, etc….perhaps anything on amazon?


    • Hi Mark! I can indeed point you in the right direction. Not at my computer right now and typing from a cell phone is tedious. Give me a few hours and I’ll help you out.


    • Okay. At home and have a few minutes. A couple of sources that you should look into before you start.
      1.) – Go look at mantic59’s videos. Load all videos and jump to the first two to get started (posted 8 years ago). Here is where it all started for me and many others.
      2.) – Go to and register, checkout out the shave clinic and general shaving discussions. This is a great place to go if you are having problems with your shave. Lots of really good folks there. Make sure you read the rules as they are strict. There is also a review section somewhere there. I am on there also, I post mainly in the head shaver’s check-in. User name is lamar (I couldn’t come up with a cool name like everyone else). Be prepared to get a lot of different answers if you ask a question. Shaving this way is a YMMV (your mileage may vary) adventure.

      Now we come to hardware. There are three roads you can take. Cheap, Average and Expensive. I went into this to save money so I try to avoid the expensive route.

      –The cheap route can be done locally. Some stores carry what you need. Not knowing your location this becomes a bit harder for me to recommend. Here in Georgia I can find all I need at 2 stores, Publix (or Walmart, it depends on where I am at) and a Sally’s Beauty Supply store. This is the cheapest of the cheap and really, potentially, only two downsides. At the Sally’s you can find a TTO (twist to open) cheap razor for about 8 or 10 dollars I think it was. I had one given to me and it worked just fine actually. Very mild, more mild that I cared for and I gave it away. Also you can find Personna blades. I believe that these are the lab prep blades and not the med prep. Blades play a big part in shaving as they are NOT created equal (more on this later). I have heard (not seen) that some Target stores carry Van der Hagen double edge razors now. Probably a good alternative. You can also find DE blades at your local drugstores in the shaving aisle but I will tell you that most all the time it is unbranded Dorco blades. Some folks can do fine with them but they tore me all up and I wouldn’t recommend it. Now we need soap and brush. Easy. At one of my Publix stores and at one of my Walmart stores there is a Van Der Hagen kit. This gives you the deluxe soap, boar brush and bowl. I personally find their Deluxe soap very, very nice with a decent scent. It lathers very nicely and provides all that I need. The only downside of this is the brush. Once broken in it is very soft but some are not well made. Hairs fall out all the time and the one I had disintegrated after 2 years of off and on use. The upside to all this is you spend about 25 dollars for all that is needed.

      – The moderate route I am about to suggest is what I think will give you the shave that will let you know if it is worth continuing. Beside Amazon there are various other places online to get all that you need. Here are just a few of some good places to go: , , , . I personally have not tried Italianbarber….yet. The next set of help is from looking at Maggardrazors unless noted.

      — Because blades do vary in sharpness and smoothness, the best thing to do is order a sample pack to feel the difference and see which works best for you. There is a 50 blade sample pack that looks pretty good, or you can make your own. If you make your own then I would suggest a ten pack option with the following: Feather New Hi-Stainless (the sharpest),Gillette Silver Blue, Red Pack Personna, Astra Stainless, Astra Superior Platinum, Rapira, Crystal, Derby Extra, Kai, and Pol-Silver. When you start, start with the Derby (least sharp but gets the job done) or Astra (sharp but nowhere near a Feather). A Feather blade should be your last as you really need to know what you are doing first. The above build your own sample is about 20 dollars and averaging 3 shaves per blade is 180 shaves
      — For a brush you probably don’t want the hassle of a break-in period like a boar so that leaves you with badger and horse. The badger I used today (12/19/14) would be a good starter. No loss of hairs and holds lather very well. It is the Semogue 740….which isn’t on the site I am looking at. It is on Amazon for about 47 dollars. A decent cheap badger would be the Parker pure badger. I have a feeling that their pure and my best are the same brush. Mine lost a few hairs each time until almost 2 years worth of occasional use (which is probably 4 or 5 months worth) and is a fine brush for the price. If you want a boar then go with the Semogue 830. It breaks in really fast. I think it was partially broken in when I got mine new and it has never loast a hair.
      — Soap. Oh boy. This is one of the things you got to be careful in. The amazing scents can grab ya and cause you to go on spending sprees. One that I think you can’t go wrong with is the RazoRock line (I’m looking at this from price and performance). I’m a big fan of many soaps, but the price on this is fantastic and the performance is one of the best in my opinion. As for scent I’d go with the Zi’Peppino. It’s a fresh clean scent that I think you will find pleasing. As a matter of fact, I was entered on a PIF (did not win) and the fella asked everyone their top 5 soaps and off 110 soaps from 44 companies, the Zi’Peppino was #5. I used this today with 20 second load time and got more than I need for 4 passes. A really cheap soap would be Arko but many find the scent unpleasant. The Razorock is one that just works and the price is right.
      — Razor. this one is tricky. Just like blades it is a YMMV. Some have a large blade gap , some small and some adjustable. Most razors will outlast your lifetime (brushes could potentially outlast you too). There is an Edwin Jagger that many people recommend for first timers but I can’t remember which. The one I started with and still use often is the Merkur 23c. I find it a medium razor, and of course it depends on which blade is loaded. Maggard’s has a MR8 that is brand new, low cost and heavy. It is one that I want myself but haven’t bought yet. Heavy is a good thing as it really allows you to use the weight of the razor on your pass and can help with the shave. Go with the MR8. I see it has been reviewed by people I know and trust and they love it.
      — Bowl – It depends. I rarely bowl lather (load soap from puck and then swirl brush in bowl making lather) unless it is a cream. I much rather load soap on brush and swirl on face, added a drip or two of water to tips when needed. This gives me a lot of feedback on the quality of my lather
      — Alum block – Yes. get it. Maggards for under 5 dollars. After the shave, wet face a bit and then rub it all over. If it stings then you were too aggressive on your shave and you took a layer of epidermis off, or you nicked yourself. It helps seal the smaller nicks very well and after the rub it makes rinsing off so much easier. Tightens the skin some so an aftershave or balm would be nice. I got the cracked Alum from them for under 3 and most of it is intact but for a beginner, go ahead and get a good one.
      — Aftershave or balm? Depends on you. My favorite for irritated skin is The Body Shop Maca Root Razor Relief balm. The price is good and it really does calm a bad shave down. The downside is many might find the scent unpleasant. Many have referred to Maca Root as Stinkweed. A cheap one would be Nivea for sensitive skin. This one didn’t work for me in the beginning as my skin was raw and it just stung all day. The next two are fantastic balms, RazorRock (you can get the matching scent!) or Soap Commander. Now I AM partial to Soap Commander as he is former Navy like myself and we talk fairly often but it is good stuff! Most aftershaves contain alcohol, this means burn if you have a bad shave. Frankly, run to the drug store and smell some Pinaud Clubman. It’s about 8 dollars. Not your style? Smell Brut, Skin Bracer (a favorite of mine) or Aqua Velva. This three have some menthol for a cooling feel. Dollar General and Family Dollar actually carry cheaper alternatives to those three also. Also Old Spice.

      – Oh, so you would like to drop some big bucks on this and hope for the best? Fine. Blade sample pack, Scuttle, Alum, Styptic pencil (for those big bleeders), Silvertip badger brush, Merkur Progress (the good thing is it is adjustable and you can “dial down” for the final pass), Martin de Candre. The soap and razor are very, very good items. The soap is much too expensive for me and the scent didn’t do anything for me.

      The moderate route may seem a bit expensive but you have to remember that the brush and razor can potentially last a life time. I have razors older that are working perfectly. I have a few brushes that are probably over 50 years old and used and I use them too.

      Any other question just ask. I think the videos and the forum will clean up any other questions though. Thanks for stopping by!


  2. Just went through your advice – love the youtube channel you suggested! I am going to go cheap at first and since I am on Long Island here in NY I have every store somewhere around here.

    I think the big changes for me will be a nice lather and close shave. Thanks again!


    • Not a problem. There is a place called… I think it is Pasteur’s Pharmacy in New York that is a very popular place among the traditional wet shaver community in that state. Lots of big name brands that you can’t find elsewhere. You should visit it and smell some of the goodness. Don’t think they carry any of the artisanal soaps that are popping up here in the states. They have brushes too so you can feel the difference probably.. I don’t know the store policy about opening up a box and just feeling. But the cheap way is still a good way. I still use the bowl (see today 12/21/14 shave) for samples and creams, and I have the brush that I use from time to time (hopefully this one doesn’t fall to pieces) and it seems any razor will work if you give it time to learn.


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