I purchased an old style scuttle off of eBay for the amazingly low price of $9, with free shipping. Many folks discount the idea that an old school scuttle can produce hot lather and simply write them off as a novelty, but I have read a few posts that contradict this idea. I wanted to try one out for myself before deciding whether or not to purchase a more expensive modern style scuttle or even one of the low profile old style scuttles, some of which are being manufactured currently and, like the new style scuttles, do not have drain holes in the soap deck.
I have been experimenting with the scuttle since its arrival and have found that there is only one relatively good way to succeed in creating warm lather. The way to do it is the more or less traditional way that scuttles have always been used. I use a bit of soft soap or a small puck of hard soap, placed in the soap deck as per usual. Once I have my soap in place, I heat a small mug of water in the microwave, pour that heated water over the soap and into the reservoir, and then slide my brush into the holder to soak and heat up. This way produces some fairly hot lather, but requires either a dedicated soap for the scuttle or the constant replacing of soap. It works, but it’s kind of a pain and it kills the soap much quicker than normal use does.
In all of this experimenting I have found a few truths about old style scuttles:
1) Old style scuttles can be used to make warm lather, but their ability to do so is fairly limited.
2) Old style scuttles do a poor job of keeping a brush warm while it sits on the soap deck.
3) Low profile old style scuttles would likely be much more effective and look cooler.
4) If you’re looking for a scuttle, then a new style scuttle or a low profile old style scuttle are absolutely the way to go.
5) I’m glad I tried out an old style scuttle, and found a way to make it work, but this style of scuttle is not for me.
The biggest issue that I have with the old style scuttle is that it does little to heat the soap deck. The deck is simply too far removed from the hot water to be effectively heated, unless the hot water is poured directly onto the deck and even then the heat does not last.
In the end, even though I did find a way to make an old style scuttle work, it did not work effectively enough, nor was it usable in enough situations to make it worth the effort. I will try a different type of scuttle in the future and just use the scuttle that I currently have to warm up the occasional soft soap.
For my shave today I used Kell’s Original Ultra Aloe Vanilla Bean soap, a Hawk disposable blade straight razor with a PolSilver Super Stainless blade (on it’s third shave), and my trusty #6 Turkish Horsehair brush. Following my usual prep (and setting up my scuttle) I performed a three pass with the grain/against the grain/across the grain shave and finished up with a cold water rinse and a splash of T.N. Dickinson Witch Hazel. I ended up with an acceptable shave, zero nicks, and some moderate irritation on my neck and jaw line. The lather was nice and warm and did an excellent job, but nothing could save me from the wrath of the PolSilver SS blade. These blades are amazing in DE razors, but awful in DBSRs. The shave was OK during the WTG pass, but was like torture after that. My cheeks, upper lip, and chin turned out well, but my neck and jaw line were too irritated for me to get a properly close shave. The Witch Hazel managed to cool the burn to acceptable levels and helped me to stave off what would have been red, blotchy skin. The razor its self performed well, as per usual. I am starting to get a handle on which blades work well in my DBSRs and which ones feel like torture devices. It’s just a matter of time until I discover the perfect DBSR blade, until then I will continue to experiment and hope for the best. I think I will skip ,y shave tomorrow and allow my skin a little time to heal up.
Pre: Hot shower and warm water splash
Razor: Hawk DBSR
Blade: PolSilver Super Stainless
Brush: #6 Turkish Horsehair
Soap: Kell’s Original Ultra Aloe Vanilla Bean (hot lathered)
Post: Cold water rinse and T.N. Dickinson Witch Hazel
A modern made, old style scuttle (notice the soap deck is sunk into the mug and can be easily heated by the warm water, also there are no drainage holes so that creams can be lathered as well as soaps).
A modern new style scuttle with a brush soaker from Robert’s Feats of Clay.
A more common style for the new style scuttle, also from Robert’s Feats of Clay. This one has no brush soaker, and a stopper and lid to keep the heat in.
Scuttles by Robert’s Feats of Clay:
#6 Turkish Horsehair Brush:
Kell’s Original Ultra Aloe Vanilla Bean Soap: