Thursday, January 27, 2011

Pause for thoughts

Like many, I was doing some research to select a new razor and stumbled upon discussions on shaving forums. I could not believe that such a simple subject as shaving could generate so much interest and enthusiasm. I soon started to buy many of the products suggested and to try out new approaches to shaving.

Already a keen blogger, I thought I would start this blog about my own journey into this crazy world of ours.

One thing led to another. I started to buy a variety of shaving brushes. Then having already published Fido's Bell Collection Blog I decided to publish Fido's Shaving Brush Blog. And with the knowledge I gained I started New Forest Brushes. So in less than two years, I've gone from taking no interest in shaving to it becoming a major part of my daily life. Mad or what? I still have many other interests and I think it's about time I started to pull back a bit from the time I'm spending on this. My New Forest Brushes business is now developing nicely so for the time being I will be focusing on that and will post less frequently here.

I am also going to spend less time on the shaving forums. They are fun, some can be a bear pit, others, extremely friendly and funny. The latter is where I will be from time to time.

And having tried a wide variety of products, I want to settle down with just a few special favourites. Too much variety is not necessarily a good thing. OK to start with, but eventually it's better not to change things too often.

So there we are. I'm as enthusiastic as ever about this hobby of ours but for now, I'm going to slow down a bit, post less often, and enjoy a few other things.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

New Forest High Mountain Badger 2221 - so far, so good!

This blooming brush has challenged my prejudices! I like reasonably dense brushes with adequate backbone - not too stiff, not too floppy,with soft tips. This makes them suitable for soaps and creams and lathering and applying it in a variety of ways.

This New Forest High Mountain 2221 isn't like that. It's what aficionados might describe as rather floppy or flexible, depending on how tactful they wish to be. That's what it would be to someone who strongly favours a dense knot with a firm backbone.

Among general shavers, softer, more floppy brushes are very popular. Edwin Jagger and Kent Brushes have several best sellers in this category.

Before offering these brushes for sale I wanted to give one a thorough test so that I could give a true description of how it performs. I have been pleasantly surprised at how quickly I have adapted to this brush. Without doubt it is best suited to lathering with creams in a bowl. It quickly delivers all the lather one could wish for. I then apply the lather to my face with swift to and fro motions using the tips of the brush, apply a few gentle circular massages then gently smooth over. This is in direct contrast to a vigorous session of scrubby face lathering, mashing down with the brush head so favoured by some. My approach has been to adopt the method favoured by Simpsons and illustrated in The Gentleman's Shop shaving video. The hair used in the making of this brush is exceptionally soft and the tips are so, so comfortable on your face. Pure luxury. 

So it's so far so good. I'll decide in the next week or two when and how I will start selling the brushes. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Shaving 101 - a really great site.

This blog is really a bit of fun for me, sharing some of my random thoughts and shaving experiences. I might stumble upon something useful but it's not my purpose to educate, you probably know more than I do about most things shaving.
There are some excelllent sites which set out to inform and educate. Mantics journal and videos are legendary. But if you really want to get some in depth insights on a variety of shave related topics, Shaving 101 is a really excellent site to follow.
Take this article on the care and use of shaving brushes, a subject of great interest to me just now as I develop my New Forest Brushes venture.
This is relevant to my previous post about the Simpsons advice. A couple of comments there are worth reflection.

But do take a look here, too:

Avoid brush damage ...

And at a discussion I started on SMF.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

How to use your shaving brush

And how many of us follow this old advice offered by Simpsons for the use of their brushes?
A brush does actually do a very effective job used like this. But most of us cannot resist a nice scrub and using circular lathering motions. Perhaps I'll give the "right" way another try. 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

King of Shaves

I haven't used any King of Shaves products. But you have to admire their operation. I've just been browsing their website and blogs. Perhaps I might try some of their stuff for a change.

Quite a lot of choice:

Thursday, January 13, 2011

My new brush

This is my New Forest High Mountain brush, as new and after a few lathering and shaving sessions. I'm not giving it a number, yet. I would describe it as a cross between an Edwin Jagger Silvertip or Super and a Kent BK 4 in terms of backbone, which isn't a lot. I'm well aware that they have a strong following but I like my brushes to have a firm compact head. I've been using it for a few days now. It lathers superbly, releases it well and has incredibly soft tips. I've built lather in a bowl, painted it on, massaged my face with circular motions then smoothed over with to and fro strokes. The bloom illustrates that this has a larger feel than a typical 22 mm knot with a loft of just 47 mm. That's due to the extreme softness of the High Mountain Badger hair and the fan shape of the brush.

I'm going to continue to use the brush for a while before deciding if, when and how I will sell the brushes. In the meantine I am having more samples made for testing. And more brushes made locally in the New Forest. When I have some more, I will post details on my New Forest Brushes Blog.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Fido's bad hair day!

Always expect the unexpected!

My two recent posts here tell the story.

New Forest Brushes Blog

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Palmolive Supersoap!

Three palmolive soap sticks - around £1.60 in the UK - stuffed in a mini casserole dish, this arrangement works perfectly in enabling superb lather to be created. Today, my New Forest Finest Silvertip did the job. The palmolive lather is a match for just about any soap for any price. An added item today was a pre shave soap supplied as a sample by an artisan soap maker. I have no idea of the ingredients but my face after todays shave was softer than ever.  I'll comment again about this soap when I find out more about it. I really must get some more Proraso balm!

Badger & Hone

This site is worth checking out. I have bought some great value products and received excellent service from these guys. They are building a business whose ethos I share. Enthusiasts serving other enthusiasts and delivering quality products at great prices - free delivery in UK and very competitive international shipping. 

They know nothing about this post on my blog, I just think their recently revamped web site is well worth a look:

Friday, January 7, 2011

Martin de Candre

This is one of my favourite soaps. But expensive. And they charge 19 Euros (about £17) to ship to the UK. If I shipped it back to them it would cost about £4.

 A member of the Shaving Room Forum enquired about the possibility of a group buy. The reply?

Dear Sir,

Since we are a small scale family structure who prioritize individual customers, 
we are at a maximum capacity/resources and we don't sell to other resellers. Their words.

And we don't like selling outside of France so we charge an excessive amount for shipping to discourage demand. My words.

What a great position for a business to be in! But I'm unlikely to reorder when my soap is used up.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


One of the famous names in wet shaving products, here is a concise summary of the history of the name to the present day:


And here is my stock of the old Coates Shaving cream. It's wonderful stuff to use. It's good to know that if I do run out (I have an extra Sandalwood, too) it will be possible to get the latest Coates creams from The Gentleman's Shop, Hungerford, UK.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Old favourites

A bit of a daft title really. All my shaves are with old favourites these days. My Simpsons Chubby 2 Best is about as large a brush as I can cope with. It tends to overwhelm the soap or cream and soon whips up some great lather. The soap is Arko - cheap, a scent not to everyone's liking, but magnificent creamy lather. I stuffed 3 Arko sticks into a mini casserole dish and it works a treat.
Jagger Chatsworth and Red Personna and Proraso Balm complete the set up. Time to order some more of the balm.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The last squeeze

No - this is not me! Might have been once, long ago.

I lather up three times for my shave. One pass down my face, one pass up. Then one from sides to centre across.

Then I gently squeeze out the lather still left in my brush, smear it over my face with my hand and do a final tidy up pass.

How I enjoy that last squeeze! And the quality of the lather that comes out.

Monday, January 3, 2011

First SOTD of 2011

2011 - a 22 mm New Forest Finest Silvertip? Not yet!

The ever popular Rooney 3/1 - this is a UK Silvertip - is a very practical 22 mm knot with a loft of 48 mm. It delivered a fine lather with the new DR Harris Rose cream introduced last year. The Jagger Chatsworth razor was matched with  Red Personna blade. A perfect combination for my skin. The soap in the brush mug is a lavender I use for a pre shave rinse after showering and drying. And the Proraso Balm is a great value after shave application.