Posts Tagged ‘shaving’

Quick Take: Razorock Gold

Posted: October 18, 2017 in Shaving Articles
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Last Razorock soap for a while, I promise.

Performance: 

Again, we see good performance from the soap, with easy lathering, voluminous results, and clean rinsing. The upshot of all of this is that, if you like any of the RR croaps, chances are that you’ll like any of them.

Scent: 

The Gold scent, to my nose, strikes me as one of those moderate priced cologne scents that are popular with the young dudes. Not a bad scent. Rather forthright. Nothing too challenging, nothing too old-fashioned. It isn’t a scent I feel will become one of my daily picks, but it smells nice, and is certainly not the topic of any buyer’s remorse on my part. I’d call it leather, a little spice, a little musk. A warm scent.

Overall:

For a different shaver, perhaps a guy in his late 20s or early 30s, it might key into his scent preference better. For me, I tend to like citrus-based or spicy products a bit better, with the occasional foray into woodsy scents and fouger.

Anyway, the soap is good, and available for a reasonable price. It basically conforms to all the good things I’ve seen in all the other reviews of RR soaps. I’ve A/B tested RR soaps with tons of different brands and price ranges, and rarely found that they were thoroughly outclassed by another soap. Sometimes bettered in some areas, but not rendered obsolete or undesirable.

I’ve read that other people do not have this experience, and find that most of the RR soaps leave something to be desired for them. I’m sure that their points are valid, as everyone has a different skin composition and level of sensitivity to various chemical components. I have frequently handed a soap that I have great luck with to someone else, only to find them far less impressed. And that’s okay. There are so many products out there. The journey IS the destination, and some just have to look in different places.

Cheers, and Happy Shaving!

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I make no apologies to anyone. Razorock soaps are the most numerous in my stable. Why? Because they work well for me, come in at a great price, and allow me to try a lot of different scents. Also, Italian Barber has always treated me right in terms of getting the stuff to me on time and in good condition. I have no direct relationship with the IB people. I’ve never spoken directly to them, and I am provided no promotional considerations. Everything I review here was purchased for normal cost.

I am a big fan of sandalwood scents. That said, my tastes run to a woody scent without too much musk or foofy cologne scent along with it. Proraso Red or Captain’s Choice, for instance, are my ideal examples of what I like.

Santal Royale is…different. It’s a good scent. A complex scent. It might be just a bit pungent for me. This isn’t an issue with the soap itself. The transitory nature of a soap scent will typically not cause an issue, even when stronger than normal. This is the case with the Santal Royale.

I found that, though there is a component of sandalwood here, there are so many other elements at play that it doesn’t quite give me that “thing” I am looking for. I would call the scent more of a “dark” cologne scent than exactly a sandalwood. I get the sense that there is some similarity to the Oud scent profile you might find in “The Stallion”, but it isn’t quite as powerful as that particular soap.

Performance of the soap is up to the standard for this line of products, and I have no complaints about it.

Overall, this is a recommended product, as long as you’re not looking for the Proraso Red style, or the Taylor’s style sandalwood. It is very different from Proraso, and far more potent than Taylor’s. This is all related to how my nose works. You may have much different feelings about all of this.

I ended up PIFing this soap to a friend, as I have a number of scents that I prefer over the Santal Royale. Particularly with the companion aftershave, I just found it a bit too pungent for my taste. We try things. They don’t always suit us. It’s part of the game, and part of the fun (provided that you’re not spending yourself into the poor house.)

Cheers, and Happy Shaving!

RazoRock Son Of Zeus Artisan Shaving Soap-RazoRock-ItalianBarber

I know, I know. All these Razorock soaps? What the heck?

If asked to account for my actions, I can only say that, for my use, RR soaps work great, lather quickly, and have a ton of different interesting scents. All of them are priced well, and my interactions with Italian Barber have always been positive. Joe A. even sent me a letter, thanking me for repeat purchases. I like their style.

The Son of Zeus scent is based upon the cologne Terre d’Hermès, from what I understand. It is, to my nose, a wonderful scent. It has a component of orange, as well as some sweetness and spice. There are elements of “cologne” scent below that, but it isn’t pungent or overpowering. I’d call it reminiscent of the Colonia-style Italian scents. In the same ballpark as Aqua Di Parma Colonia. A little less intense than something like Creed Aventus. Masculine citrus, but not too musky or skunky.

To me, this is one of the best scents RR does. It’s up there with The Dead Sea, Emperor, Santa Maria Del Fiore, and XXX. The soap performed just as expected, and I had great shaves with it. The matching aftershave splash matches the scent well.

This stuff is great. Perhaps emblematic of how good it smells is that I was almost underwhelmed when I A/B tested it with XXX, which had always been my favorite in the RR lineup, in terms of scent.

The price versus performance quotient, as always with this brand, is killer. If you like the original scent, or a citrus-infused profile, this should be an easy win for you. As a side note, this stuff blends great with Lucky Tiger aftershave tonic.

Overall, one of my very favorites from RR (I know, I’ve said that a few times.) There are other makers using this scent profile, such as Fine’s L’Orange Noir, which are also excellent, and will be reviewed as time permits.

Cheers, and Happy Shaving!

Ease of Lathering: As with every other Razorock soap I’ve ever used, this soap springs into lather quickly. It can be loaded quickly, taking no more than twenty or thirty seconds to get a productive amount of soap. Perhaps even less than that, with a firm hand and a brush with some backbone. It does appear to be a little thirsty compared to many other soaps in the same line. More on that later.

Protection: After getting enough water into the soap, this is another voluminous lather, a feature that Razorock soaps typically evince. Once again, this is another alternative version of the RR soap base. They seem to have any number of slightly different formulas. In this case, it appears to start as a vegan formulation, then features argan oil, shea butter (which is a newer thing for RR) and lanolin (which sort of runs against the idea of a vegan soap). It’s an interesting formula, as most soaps that feature lanolin are a tallow base, in my study of these things. In any case, this is a good soap base, and has the face feel you might expect of a soap which features the ingredients listed above. The main difference you might notice, though, is that a little extra water is needed.

Residual Slickness: Very good slickness and face feel is on display here. Despite all the different variations of the soap formula you might find in the Razorock line, they are trustworthy, and all of them work well. (In my experience. I have heard of some shavers who do not get along with Razorock. Sometimes this takes the form of being sensitive to an ingredient, others having issues with lather or slickness. There is no single product that will suit everyone, and I can only give you my own experiences here.)

Your favorite will likely have as much to do with your preference for the scent. Most of the formulas perform well, right from the older, simpler formulas to the “Super Tallow” they recently unveiled. It’s just a matter of degree.

Scent: The Don Marco soap is a bergamot and neroli scent. I’m told that this is a scent that has a long history in the realm of Italian scents. Many have said that this combination smells like a one of those orange dreamsicles. That’s an apt enough description, but I don’t know if it does absolute justice to the scent.

Bergamot is a fresh, citrus smell. If you’ve smelled a freshly-brewed cup of Earl Grey tea, you’ve smelled it. The neroli element seems to add a sweetness, a mellow, vaguely vanilla flavor. The scent strength on Don Marco is present, but somewhat mild. If you would prefer a scent to not reach up and drive a punch up your nostrils, this one isn’t too potent. A fresh smell will suffuse the bathroom during the shave, but you’re not going to think to yourself, “Is this scent ever going away?” To me, I really like it. I didn’t have huge hopes for this soap, but it’s probably one of my favorites of the recent acquisitions from Razorock.

Production/Value: Razorock has made a name for themselves with the value of their products. This is no exception. This soap is less expensive than some of their “premium” normal soaps, such as the ones that have the “super tallow” formula. It could be said that this formulation is just as good as the RR tallow soaps that are more expensive. The inclusion of lanolin and shea butter is unusual in a soap of this price. No reservations about the value here.

Notes: Razorock knocked it out of the park when they created the scent profile for the Don Marco soap and aftershave. It’s truly a treat, at least for me. I like the fact that it isn’t so powerful as some of their other scents, and that it gradually fades away over the course of several hours. If you put this on before breakfast, it’ll still be hanging around a bit by lunch. By dinner, though, it will have basically faded down. That’s perfect for me. If you like a bright, fun scent with some sweetness, I would highly recommend the Don Marco.

Thanks, and Happy Shaving!

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If you’re a vintage razor fan, now and then you’ll find one that is the exact model you want, but there’s a hitch. Yeah. It’s all beat to hell, and looks like it’s ready for the trash can. Many of these razors are old. Fifty years old, or more. Beyond that, they were consumer items that weren’t that expensive when purchased. For instance, the vaunted Gillette Fatboy was only a few bucks when it came out in the late 50’s. As a result, many owners didn’t take very good care of them. In fact, some treated them in a way that our hygienic current era would look at as a health hazard. Shrug. Things become collectible because people treat their stuff like rental cars.

So where does that leave us, when we have an otherwise-desirable piece, but it’s seen better days?

If you have a little patience, sure, you can rehabilitate them to some extent. Sometimes, stuff that you can do as an average duffer at home will get the razor up and running, and even get it most of the way toward looking sweet again. That’s actually one of the joys of yard sale or antique store finds. The challenge of cleaning off the gunk and polishing away the verdigris.

You can’t altogether turn back the clock, however. There’s only so much you can accomplish with elbow grease, solvents, and polish. Actual physical damage, pitted finish, and so forth will always tell the sordid tales of yesteryear.

Lucky for us, there are a few services out there that will take an old razor, even one that looks like a total derelict, and tune it up for you. They’ll do the things that we may be unable or unwilling to do. The things we don’t have the time, mechanical acumen, or possibly equipment to accomplish.

One of those services is called Delta Echo Razor Works. You can buy a razor straight from them (depending on what they have in stock), or you can send a razor to them, pay the cost, and they’ll fix it up.

Here’s what they do:

1) They disassemble and clean up the razor, killing off all the accumulated grunge of the ages. Yeah. Even inside the mechanisms, such as they are.

2) They strip down the coating to make the piece ready for “a new coat of paint”… (As it were.)

3) They coat the razor with a type of hard-shelled coating that is usually used on firearms. I’m not sure if it is Dura-Coat, specifically, but it is something along those lines. Essentially, it’s a sort of finish that will withstand extreme rigors. There are a number of different color schemes available, from quite subtle to highly colorful.

4) After the coating is cured, they reassemble and re-tune the razor, setting the blade gap and alignment.

Depending upon the design of the razor in question, the complexity and resultant cost of the operation can vary quite a bit. With a standard 3-piece razor, it’s all pretty simple. An adjustable Gillette? Not so much.

I sent my F2 Fatboy, which had iffy alignment, less-than-perfect adjustment, and a lot of cosmetic damage, to Delta Echo. I ordered the Ink Edition colors (as seen above), and waited about two months. Currently, (Summer ’17) that’s about what to expect in terms of interval.

Here’s what happened:

Delta Echo fixed everything with my razor.

The finish looks great. It is a slightly matte finish, with just a hint of texture. The character of the coating seemed to fill in virtually every battle scar on the old veteran.

The movement of all the parts is smooth, the blade gap is even and correct, and the alignment of the razor is right on. The coating lends a slightly different feel, both in tactility and in sound when the moving parts rub together. This has no negative impact on the glide of the razor when in use, however.

After having used the razor as my primary for weeks, I can tell you that it performs great, and is easy-care in terms of keeping it clean. Unlike some paints, the rubbing alcohol I use to clean off the soap scum doesn’t seem to have any negative reaction to the Dura-Coat type finish.

Would I recommend this treatment to others?

Yes – if you’re willing to sink that kind of cash into a vintage razor. (Many new razors can also be sent in to have this treatment done to them, if you like the snazzy colors, but would prefer a new-made base razor. Please check with Delta Echo for models they are able to work on.)

You can buy a really nice razor, like a Rockwell 6S for the same cost as the refinish. That’s if you have the razor already. It’s more if you want Delta Echo to furnish the donor. Probably not the thing to do if you are a shaver on an extremely tight budget.  On the other hand, if you have a vintage razor much in need of refinishing, it is less than the services that replate razors with precious metal. It also, of course, lets you have fun with exciting color schemes and so forth.

So, it’s expensive. Cheaper than some other options, but expensive.

What do you get?

The exact razor that you want, in perfect running order. The qualities that allow the coating to survive the impact, heat, chemical solvents, and general abuse of a firearm should make it survive just fine on a razor. Unless your razor lives a highly interesting life, it shouldn’t encounter anywhere near the same rigors that a gun would.

I’m super pleased with the service. If you have the patience to wait for the turnaround and the cost doesn’t deter you, I’d recommend it highly.

Cheers, and Happy Shaving!

There are a few different services out there that will tune up and cosmetically improve old razors. If your preference is to have the razor brought back to original or “aspirational” conditions, Razor Emporium may be the service to look at. They will tune up and replate your razor, or sell you one from their own stock.

What Razor Emporium’s Revamp consists of:

1) The razors are cleaned, disassembled, and their old finish removed.

2) Once everything is down to “bare metal”, they electroplate the parts. Razor Emporium offers nickle, rhodium, 24 carat gold, and sometimes rose gold.

3) Finally, they assemble the razor and set all the tolerances to where they should be.

By the time Razor Emporium is done, the razor is as good as it can possibly be, considering that they are vintage models from the days of yore.

I ordered razors from RE’s stock, using the “Made to Order” methodology. I ordered a Fatboy, a Slim, and a Superspeed Red Tip. I had them plated with rhodium, gold, and nickel, respectively.

Short story: they’re all beautiful. Better plating than you would have seen from the factory, in all likelihood. They all shave great and look fantastic.

Downside? This service ain’t cheap. At all. You have to commit to it if you’re going to go this direction. You really have to be into vintage razors to go in this direction. If you’re willing to fork over the long green, you’ll find yourself the owner of some pretty amazing razors. Money no object? Highly recommended.

Cheers, and Happy Shaving!

The Lengthy Preamble: 

There’s a certain cachet about titanium. It’s a strong, fairly light, non-ferrous metal. It’s biologically inert for most people, doesn’t corrode in water (even salt water), and has exceedingly good heat resistance. It’s come to be synonymous with high technology, jet-age coolness. It appears in racing cars. The SR-71 was built from it. ‘Nuff said.

In the usage case of a razor handle, there’s nothing particularly compelling about titanium. It’s a low duty cycle part. It doesn’t need high hardness or heat resistance. Biological inertness is great for something that touches the skin, especially for people with nickle allergies. The corrosion resistance is on point, of course. Plenty of upside, but probably overkill, considering the requirements of the application.

The classic metals for razor handles are brass, stainless steel, and zinc alloy. Zinc is a cheap material, and corrodes easily if the coating (usually chrome) is compromised. It has decent weight. It’s very easy to work with and common. It suffices for an inexpensive build, but isn’t necessarily optimal.

Brass is typically coated with gold, nickle, or a few other options. Brass is quite heavy, and though it can corrode, it doesn’t rust. The coating will typically protect it. Brass is easy to work with, having a much lower melting point and being far more ductile than some other options. Nickle or gold plated brass isn’t a cheap choice of materials, though. It’s also not particularly sturdy. Impact stress can harm a brass razor. Treat it right…it’ll last forever, but not everyone treats their stuff right. Some barbarous heathens leave their stuff dirty, and sometimes hurl their razors upon the floor. It is possible that they have forgotten the faces of their fathers. That’s not for me to say. Moving on…

Stainless steel isn’t super expensive to buy, but it’s expensive to machine, because it’s…steel. High melting point. High hardness. If you want to machine it, you have to use harder steel, with tungsten carbide or the like. Steel has great weight, great toughness, lots of finish options, and no need to coat the material. It’s generally considered to be the best material around. It’s not particularly workable for complicated parts, unless you have really significant engineering acumen. This is why no one is making a twist-to-open razor out of the stuff. The razor would cost something like 300 bucks.

Back to titanium. It’s lighter than steel, but not feather light, like aluminum (another material you’ll sometimes see). It can be polished, bead blasted, coated, or anodized, so many finish options are available.

Why do we like it? Long and short – just because it’s cool. It’s a space-age material that just gives us the warm fuzzies. Titanium, even the very name itself, evokes a mythic bad ass nature.

The Actual Review:

Which brings be around, at last, to the actual topic of this review. The HALO handle. Razorock has managed to bring us a titanium handle for a great price. From the the promotional material, I couldn’t determine if this is pure titanium, or if it’s the more typical 6AL4V alloy. That, I suppose, has little or no bearing upon its quality as a razor handle. The Halo handle features milled bands, rather than standard knurling, and has a smooth, hard finish.

I find the weight to be just about right, the length to be comfortable, and the traction to be better than it has any right to be. Even with wet and soapy hands, there is no issue with keeping a grip on the handle. It doesn’t have any “twist”, like some traction patterns do. Overall, it’s a surprising and effective design.

The finish is a polished gunmetal gray, and has no flaws or imperfections on the model I have. At least with my example, the photos online make it seem like a much brighter, chrome-like finish. I have no positive or negative feelings about this. Just a data point.

I’ve used the handle with both the German 37 from Razorock, and the Maggard V3A (with which it matches perfectly, color-wise), and the Razorock Hawk. In all cases, it acquitted itself beautifully. It’s right up there, in my book, with the best handles I’ve used on 3-piece razors (AS-D2; Maggard M11). For those familiar with those models, that’s not an inconsiderable statement.

Verdict: We may not NEED titanium for any rational reason, but this is a great handle. I could confidently say that I could put all my other handles in a shoebox and use this as my dedicated handle for all 3 piece razors. Yet another home run for Italian Barber/Razorock.

Cheers, and Happy Shaving!