Monday, December 31, 2012

Lathe turned handles

You often see references to shaving brushes having lathe turned handles as a badge of distinction. But there is a world of difference between handles turned out on lathes which are preset to produce large numbers of identical handles compared with those individually shaped with hand tools on an old fashioned lathe.

Here's a CNC lathe:

This will produce handles very cheaply to a high consistent standard.

This is the old fashioned lathe used to produce New Forest Brushes handles:

Each handle is individually made using hand tools to shape. Turning handles to a consistently high standard is a skilled job and it's labour intensive and the main reason why these hand made brushes will be more expensive to make compared with those made on automated lathes.

So when you see references to lathe turned handles - it's only part of the story.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

And then there was none.

All gone at last. No more of any Coates creams remain in the Fido stash.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A sad day

Gone. Last shave with it today.Now long discontinued. this was one of the very best creams from an old established English brand. If you ever find an unused pot, snap it up. Even if a bit hydrated, it will still deliver fine lather.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Straight razors

I never cease to be amazed by the amount of work Mantic puts in to help fellow shavers. Take a look at this recent article in his Sharpologist newsletter:

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Day 22 November 2012

To all for whom this day is special, enjoy!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Razor blades

Continuing my round up of where I'm now at, these are the blades I now use exclusively after trying more than I can remember.

They are Personna Platinum Chrome made from Swedish super stainless steel. I  bought mine in boxes of 200 from The Gentleman's Shop in Hungerford when visiting the shop.

Monday, November 12, 2012


Like many, I have spent a small fortune on razors described in earlier posts on this blog. I have sold most of them. This is now the razor I use practically every day:

This has a head from an old Gillette Tech and the handle from a cheap Lord razor. This is a relatively mild razor which I can use in comfort, rarely getting a nick, even with a new blade. The handle is a bit longer than the standard Tech which suits me as well as the weight of the razor which is just 40g - much less than the Chatsworth I once preferred. It took me a long time to settle on this razor. I occasionally use another but quickly return to my hybrid.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Shaving creams

These are now the creams which remain among the many I have tried these past three years. They are not necessarily those I will continue to replace. The Coates are now no longer produced but are among the finest creams I have used. I will probably replace the others and occasionally try new products. I suspect I will retain some TOBS creams - about the best value among the quality brand names. Unlike soaps, I have not found a very cheap cream I like as much as these.

Monday, November 5, 2012


If you followed my blog from the start you will see that I have tried many soaps. These have included nearly all the most popular brands across price ranges. The most expensive, partly due to shipping costs, being Martin de Candre.

Only two now survive in my rotation. Both are soaps sticks which I simply stuff in a small casserole dish.

Both these soaps create lather as satisfying to me as any of their much more expensive rivals. Both still cost well below £1. But I don't buy them because they are cheap. It's because they are very, very good.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Three years on ...........

Time moves on.
I started this blog on 11 September 2012 to record my journey into the world of traditional wet shaving. I think it's now time to wind things up for now or at least reduce the frequency of posting, as indeed I have done in recent weeks. My next few posts will sum up where my journey has taken me and include a few lessons I've learnt.

To be continued...........

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

As others see us.

This is how I am used to seeing the world:

And this is how it can be seen on the Frank Shaving website:

Suddenly the UK is an outpost!

Interesting to see things from different perspectives.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Calvin Klein Obsession AS

I've been adding some aftershaves to the stash recently. This is one of them. Not sure I quite see it the way it's described here. It certainly packs a punch!

"CK Obsession is a powerful statement of masculinity, introduced by Calvin Klein in 1986. CK Obsession contains top notes of coriander, lime, lavender, bergamot, grapefruit, and cinnamon; heart notes of nutmeg, carnation, sage, red berries, and jasmine; and base notes of amber, vanilla, vetiver, sandalwood, and musk."

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A great shave?

Another site worth a look:

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Lather hog

Why a poor old hog get's associated with shaving is a bit odd. Some brushes are labelled lather hogs because lather tends to become embedded in the brush and is a bit reluctant to release it onto your face. It's usually a characteristic associated with dense brushes.

I think a lot of people tend to mash down too heavily in creating lather. It's really best to use the tips of the brush with minimal downward pressure when making lather in a bowl. The right balance between product and water will produce plenty of lather. And when lathering directly on your face the same technique of using the tips and light pressure can be very effective. So if you think you have a brush that's a lather hog, try using a little less pressure. It's worth a try.

Friday, September 28, 2012

A Rooney Finest fan?

And you thought you were a brush enthusiast! Click on the photo for the complete picture.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Nivea Balm

On offer at £3.33 in a local supermarket. What's a chap supposed to do?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

And I still have my vintage Kent brushes. The real ivory on the right is now used in my rotation. But I have still resisted the Kent V16. Still unused.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

I'd forgotten I still had this Trumpers real buffalo horn. A lovely soft silvertip.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

And I decided to keep this one for my occasional travels.

A bit more about it here.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Simpsons Duke 3 Best Badger

Another one of my keepers - perhaps the most popular Simpsons brush. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

This is the famous High Mountain White for which you pay a premium price. £189 for a 20mm knot brush - six times the price of a New Forest brush of similar size. The Plisson logo and the tiny ring around the top of the handle are very distinctive. And the hair? It is softer than most silvertips but only marginally. But it is a Plisson and it's staying. And it is a delight to use. With its 51mm loft the brush is a very practical size.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Simpsons Astor

The best Simpsons Two Band hair that I found in this limited edition brush made to mark the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Simpsons brand. Still in my cupboard and used regularly.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


I bought a lot of brushes to include in my Fido's Shaving Brush Blog. I used them all to ensure I was able to give each one a fair assessment. Some I passed on or sold but I kept quite a few until fairly recently. I'm reaching the time of life now when it's perhaps time to enjoy passing on some of the things that I have accumulated through the years. Collections of bells, radios, telephones have all now been substantially reduced. But I always keep a few special favourites. Someone asked me recently which brushes I have kept. So I'll now start to list them. In no particular order, this is one that's still with me:

Rooney these days continues to be shrouded in mystery. No longer available in the Uk but a few brushes still sold on a couple of websites in the USA. The Rooney Finest is no longer available anywhere. It is a unique brush with hair like no other currently on the market. I wasn't over impressed when I first got it. But it is now one of my favourites that I've decided to keep.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Razor Emporium

Some really interesting information here for vintage razor fans:

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Spotted on a shaving forum. Someone decided to create a new handle for an old brush. There's some clever folks out there.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

New Forest 2223 High Mountain Badger

After a pleasant August break it's time for more action! Here is the latest High Mountain Badger brush from the New Forest:

All the details can be seen here:

Thursday, August 16, 2012

11 August 2012

As an athletics fan, I was thrilled to be able to attend the last night of the athletics last Saturday. From my shave at 4.30am to returning to bed at 2.00am the following morning, it was pure magic. The first thing I did on returning home was to watch a recording of the 5000 metres won by Mo Farah of GB to complete a historic double. An unforgettable day.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

London Olympics 2012

As a sports enthusiast I may be distracted until 12 August when the games end. I'll be attending the last night of the athletics on 11 August. An event that will rank with my attendance at the World Cup Final at Wembley in 1966 when England beat West Germany.

For me the excitement will begin with the Cycling Road Race this Saturday when the Great Britain Team will attempt to help Mark Cavendish win GBs first gold medal. With 4 out of 5 being stage winners at this year's Tour de France including the First and Second placed competitors in the overall Tour - we stand a great chance!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Old soaps and creams

Don't hesitate if you come across old soaps and creams. I was given some Yardley's soap that had remained unopened since given as a gift in the 1960's. It was superb when I used it a couple of years ago. And I'm still working my way through these old Coates creams that have long ago ceased production. Wonderful creams - as good as anything available today. And no deterioration.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

And I thought I'd got rid of nearly all my razors! The survivors include: Gillette Twist, Gillette Tech. Gillette New, Shavex, Merkur 38C, Jagger Chatsworth. Lord, Mach 3 and Hydro 5. So I still have a few options. And a lone straight - somewhere.

Monday, July 16, 2012


Buy, sell or trade. A term seen frequently on shaving forums. If you are looking for a fair deal, either buying selling or trading (swopping) it's well worth checking out shaving forums. But many have restrictions on who can be involved in BST transactions. Don't expect to just turn up and buy or sell. Check out the rules. Many forums require a minimum number of posts and a demonstration that you are an active member of the forum before you are allowed to buy or sell.If you intend to use a forum to promote your goods as a vendor you may need to pay a regular fee.

Shaving forums are great places to find out and exchange information about shaving products. And to buy and sell. But be warned - before you try - check out the rules.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Comb your brushes

I wince when I see some "Shave of the day" photos of bedraggled damp brushes. Not many women would like to be photographed soon after leaving the shower. So after using a brush I shake out the water then lightly run it over a towel before combing through. Sometimes it's a good idea to give a brush a vigorous combing to remove loose hairs. It's quite common for many brushes, including the expensive high end brands, to regularly lose hairs and it's a bit irritating if any turn up on your face while lathering. So selective use of a comb on your brushes is worth doing.

This lovely shavemac 177 has responded well to a recent combing just after I used it. On the other hand are those a couple of loose hairs I've just spotted?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Independence Day shave

I'm really pleased I finally decided to use the old Kent real ivory brush originally made in 1919 and reknotted in the 1970s. It lathered up the Arko superbly (soap sticks stuffed into a mini casserole dish) The Gillette Tech and Bay Rum aftershave made it an old fashioned mix for my Independence Day shave.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The first New Forest

After I had started collecting shaving brushes I thought I'd get one made to my specification, little thinking what it might lead to. I bought a knot from The Golden Nib and contacted a turner on a shaving forum and he agreed to make the handle and complete the brush. This is it. At the time we christened it the Fido LE. I later added the logo when having a batch of New Forest brushes pad printed.

This brush had these dimensions:

Height 104mm, loft 55mm, knot 24mm with extra hair.

The brush delivers great results. But I wouldn't have used an extra hair knot if I had realised how firm the backbone would be.

Some time after I had this brush made and had completed the research for my Fido's Shaving Brush Blog I decided it would be fun to establish a new brand of brushes. The New Forest 2201 was launched in 2010 and sold out within a few weeks. I operate the same principle used for my first brush. I decide the type of knot and how many I want, and  my handles are made by a craftsman in a small workshop just outside my New Forest village.

As the saying goes; "Mighty oaks from little acorns grow"

New Forest Brushes will never be one of the big boys. But it ticks along nicely.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

What a relief to get back to DE after a day off yesterday. In a rush so a quick one pass shave with a Wilkinson Hydro 5. Felt really rough by the evening. My shave with this combination will last all day - it's that close - and comfortable.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A blooming brush!

Some like to see a brush which blooms. Others see it as a sign of floppiness. This is the Vie Long 16510 silvertip. It has a 23mm knot set at a loft of 60mm. It is the softest haired brush I own. And it is floppy and unsuited to face lathering. But as usual, today I made my lather in a bowl and just gently painted it on. Simply sumptuous.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Changing the ritual

I've been following the same routine for a couple of years now - what I guess is a four pass shave. Down, up, across then a final tidy up mainly across with the last bit of lather squeezed from the brush and applied by hand. It's a BBS every time.

But on days when I'm in a bit of a hurry - not often in my retirement - I change the ritual to save time. So today I started with my usual down (with the grain) then did just one careful across my face (From right to centre, then left to centre) mainly against the grain. This saves a few minutes and still gives a fine acceptable shave.

I'm a creature of habit. And one of my habits is never to get stuck in doing the same thing indefinitely. So I like to vary things from time to time. It's why I enjoy having a collection of brushes, razors, creams and soaps. And varying the ritual.

History of 7 O'clock razors

This might provide a lead to someone doing some research:

Saturday, June 16, 2012

"Only the smallest amount of cream is needed with the generous addition of water to produce a rich, creamy, silky smooth & extremely decadent lather resulting in a remarkably close shave."

This is the opening sales pitch for a new cream just launched by Simpsons.

It reminded me of something I've thought about recently. I always seem to end up with more lather than I need. Typical advice is to use about an almond size blob of cream to make lather in a bowl. I guess my almonds are on the generous side because I produce a lot of lather with most of my creams.

Fact is, you really do need only a small amount of cream, so to get better value from the more expensive brands perhaps we should take more care to get them to last a bit longer.

But I guess this applies to many things we regularly use?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Used pots

I posted a thread on TSR about used pots. Some useful suggestions were made. The container on my computer desk is the inside of an old Coates pot. The original pot is on duty in my wife's sewing collection.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The New Forest Tubby 2 is one of my favourite brushes. The two band hair really is a match for the Manchurian I was using last week. Not much left of the wonderful Coates cream - but some other pots still in the stash.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

It's been busy here!

Friday, June 1, 2012

No time to spare

So back to my "old" way.

Five minutes, including a shower. I looked as though I had a shave, but I'm looking forward to having more time tomorrow for a decent shave. Not that I couldn't have improved the shave with what I used if I had given myself more time. If I was still working I would probably still be a goo and cartridge man. But having time for pampering is one of the great joys of my retirement.

Monday, May 28, 2012

It's great to receive a message like this!

"In March, I ordered a 24mm knot New Forest Super Badger Two Band brush. During the first shave, I thought "this is a very good brush." Within a week, I knew I had purchased a great brush. Two months later, I'm wondering how I lived all of these years without a Fido brush? This is the best darn brush I've ever used! 

For the past 15 years, I've been exclusively lathering with an inexpensive hard soap sold in the U.S. (Williams Mug Soap $1.57). I prefer this soap over more expensive soaps because it is very mild and leaves little residue on the face. I have tried more expensive creams, but I find that creams get caught up in the hairs of the brush, and I don't like the residue left on my face. In the winter, I apply a mild lotion (Molton Brown Ultra Light Bai Ji Hydrator) after shaving."

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Simpsons Rover Manchurian

(A thread I started on The Shaving Room forum)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Shaving brush hair

When running your fingers through the hair of a shaving brush when dry you will notice significant differences. Some may feel silky smooth, others may be a little prickly or "scritchy" - almost rough. This is rarely a guide to how the brush will feel when lathered up and applied to your face. Some of my most expensive top end brushes feel quite scritchy when dry, including my Plissons, Simpsons and Rooney - High Mountain White, Super, Two Band and Finest. Yet these most often have the softest tips and feel exceptionally comfortable on the face.

So when you first feel a brush, don't rush to judgement before you use it.

I did read an explanation for the cause of scritchiness in a brush when dry. I cannot recall it now. If anyone can come up with something post a comment!