I am continuing with my experiment, using nothing but straight razors for one month and working on both my shaving and honing technique. Today I return to my 1880s P.H. Hahn 5/8 Full Hollow. I spent a good amount of time honing this one on the lapping film, but was feeling unsure of the results. I figured that if I hadn’t done the job properly then I would know pretty quickly once I began to shave, so I stropped the blade, soaked my brush, and jumped into the shower to prepare for the shave.
I decided to go with some easy to use gear again today. My Omega 11137 is a pretty good boar brush with a fairly high loft and a lot of spring to the bristles. it works well with thick and copious lather, but not so well with anything that requires a lot of work to come out properly. The dark ash wood handle looks great and is easy to hold, but it has a grainy feel to it and is not finished with any kind of clear coat. The Omega stamp also seems to be easily rubbed away with some use, so I can’t help but wonder why a little extra effort was not used in the manufacture of this brush. With a little extra polishing and a clear top coat the Omega 11137 would be a truly great example of a boar brush. As it is, I find the Omega 11137 to be a serviceable, but not exceptional, piece of gear. To allow my Omega to work well I chose to use some Ikar Tornado shaving cream. This cream is one of the many amazing shaving creams made in Bulgaria. The Bulgarians really know how to make a good cream and Ikar is no exception. This stuff explodes in lather and provides an excellent amount of cushion and glide. The cream has very little odor until it lathers up at which point it begins to exude a subtle sandalwood sort of scent. I normally do not like sandalwood, it tends to burn me and the scent is just too sharp for my taste, but Ikar Tornado manages to pull this scent off without it burning or coming out too sharp. It is one of the few “masculine” scents that I actually enjoy.
I did a two pass with the grain/against the grain shave followed by a cold water rinse. The shave was a bit rough, but serviceable. My razor shaved, but not smoothly or comfortably. I really hoped that my experiment with lapping film would turn out better on a full hollow blade, but it seems that I am just not where I need to be in my honing abilities yet. In spite of my razor’s poor performance my Ikar Tornado left my skin fairly smooth and hydrated and with a minimum of irritation. With a well honed straight razor or a typical safety razor this cream works amazingly well, so all I can say is that it did the best it could with the situation that I put it in. I will try one last attempt at using a self honed blade tomorrow, but I have a feeling that I will have to send my razors off to be professionally honed. If that turns out to be the case, I will just have to use my Union Cutlery 5/8 until I can get my other razors properly set up. The Unin Cutlery was honed for me by Larry at Whipped Dog. Larry’s honing was well done and inexpensive and I highly recommend Whipped Dog to anyone looking for a professional honing. I plan to continue working on my honing, but it may have to wait until I can buy some traditional stones rather than lapping film. Today was another learning experience. As I have said before, straight razors have a long learning curve and take a while to master, but I am looking forward to the day when I don’t have to worry about trying to get things right and can just concentrate on the shave.
Pre: Hot shower and warm water splash
Razor: P.H. Hahn 5/8 Full Hollow
Brush: Omega 11137
Soap: Ikar Tornado
Post: Cold water rinse
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