That Sun Ray razor with that Damaskeene blade must represent the very pinnacle of vintage shaving.
I agree Marcus, it's absolutely stunning. I like the 1912 design and I love the Art Nouveau style, especially the work of Alphonse Mucha....and well, this Sun Ray 1912 looks like it could have been decorated by Mucha himself!
Last Edit: Sept 13, 2015 13:02:16 GMT -6 by Petrvs
"Good is something you do, not something you talk about. Some medals are pinned to your soul, not to your jacket." - Gino Bartali
Two things: first, I think my stubble regrowth was different from the first shave with the blade. Second, I also think there is something just a little different about the blade hooks and the comb on this Sun Ray. I have a Star which has a peculiar guard, peculiar in how it flows, and it gives a very different shave.
I am so enjoying these shaves.
I've come to the conclusion that I'm an old-fashioned sort of shaver. I suppose I should just go straight and have done with it, but something sets my heart racing with these lovely flip top razors. I'm an old-fashioned shaver, in that I am not after baby smooth but do want a good shave that will make me clean and presentable, largely for work. I am honing to get to the point that I can be a single pass shaver, daily. Presently, it's a two pass and every other day. I am so close to getting there.
Aftershaves, I love the classics. Soaps, I love the old-fashioned style. Razors, I just love these flip tops and it's the 1912 which really is my absolute favourite - I do say the 1914 is, but she's a different kind of shave; the 1912 really is my true love, and it's the post-1919 straight cap that does everything right for me.
Using the original blade with these razors is such an eye opener. I think I will probably half shim modern GEMs when I use them now as that slight angle change with the thicker spine really does something different. Modern blades are also thinner and I don't quite know what I'm going to do about that - this little fling with a vintage blade really is going to leave me wanting.
In other news, I scored a vintage Pinaud Lilac Vegetal gift pack with vintage veg' aftershave, talc and soap. I'm going to reserve that kit for fencing competitions.
Cult of the past.
But yes, I really am an old-fashioned kind of shaver.
Well, when I first came to traditional shaving I saw one of these kits and it went for more than I thought was reasonable to spend on "an old razor", but what did I know? I also didn't know how infrequently these things come up and so did not chase it.
I have spent two years looking for another and so when it came up, I chased with without fear of consequence.
It is truly a lovely set and the crown of my (little ) collection, certainly more so than the Streamline or any of my late 1800/early 1900 lather catchers. I have an Art Deco handle brush and a lovely Art Deco style shaving pot, two articles which together with this Sun Ray set make the perfect shaving kit. Puck of Mitchell's and a vial of Lilac Vegetal, it's all there ... my kit.
So, back to these 'ere Damaskeene blades ...
What other razors are folks planning to use with their blade? I'm going to finish with a strong recommendation for stropping on leather as a means to prolonging the fun.
EDIT: Bob replied in the meantime. Yeah, I was aware there was another set on eBay and was quite tempted to chase it myself as a backup, but £117! Wow! I can certainly understand why ... and think I would have been prepared to chase the set I bought to over £100.
Last night I returned from a weekend getaway (okay, a bit more than a weekend) to find that the Damaskeene blade had made its way across the ocean to my mailbox. Let the fun begin.
I broke out a couple of Damaskeene razors in which to use it; a Gem Cutlery Co. curved top model, and one of the prizes of my collection, an open comb Damaskeene. I will also be using a Damaskeene stropper, and a vintage strop with no markings but the right size for the stropper. The strop has a light coating of .1 micron FeOx.
The OC is on the right.
I couldn't resist putting the "new" blade under the microscope. This image is the blade exactly as it came from the packaging, with no cleaning or stropping or, well, anything.
(Note: The reddish coloration on the right side is some sort of glitch in the microscope or the software, not something on the blade.)
Not bad for being around 100 years old. Surprisingly no rust at all, and no visible deterioration of the blade edge. Interesting that even back then they were using a 2-facet grind. It also appears to be hollow-ground.
Based on the experience of others in this thread, I loaded it into the Damaskeene stropper and gave it 50 laps.
I decided on the closed comb Gem Cutlery Co. Curved Top Damaskeene for shave No. 1, and stuck with proven classics - Valobra soap, Pinaud Lilac Vegetal AS. Okay, so I used a Plisson synthetic brush.
The stropping seems to have eliminated the tugging issue. The additional thickness of the blade was noticeable. It felt like a cross between a good quality carbon steel blade with a couple of shaves on it and a well honed/stropped wedge blade.
The result was a DFS, approaching BBS except in my usual trouble areas. More importantly (to me anyway), no nicks or weepers and very little irritation - a surprisingly smooth shave.
Tomorrow I'll give the Open Comb Damaskeene a shot.
I'm wondering if I should strop before each use like a wedge. Comments?
Day 2 with the Damaskeene blade went even better than day one. I opted to load it in an open comb Damaskeene razor for this go-round, and have decided that "Use Only With Gem Damaskeene Blades" may be more than just advertising hype.
My previous experience with the open comb Dammie found it to be a bit on the mild side compared to the closed comb versions that came later. With the NOS blade, mildness becomes smoothness - a pleasant effortless shave that was closer than I expected.
Before this shave I gave the blade another 50 laps in the Damaskeene stropper. Here is the blade after the stropping but before the most recent shave:
I figured out how to squeeze some additional magnification from my inexpensive digital microscope.
I haven't decided what to do next - possibly a Junior Lather Catcher?
Last Edit: Sept 18, 2015 11:07:47 GMT -6 by spidey9
For today's shave with the vintage Damoskeene blade (#3) I loaded it into a Gem Junior Lather Catcher. Not too much of a stretch - Waits shows a Junior Bar set with a Damoskeene blade case.
I experienced noticeable tugging during the shave, this despite a thorough stropping in the Damaskeene stropper prior to loading the blade. Oddly, this had little effect on the quality of the shave, a solid DDS.
A look at the edge under the microscope didn't reveal much. This is after the third shave:
Some deterioration of the edge can be seen, but it doesn't look a whole lot different than earlier images of the blade when it was shaving smoothly. I guess it doesn't take much.
Tomorrow I'll probably put it back in a Damaskeene to determine if the razor itself had anything to do with the tugging.
Shave 3 with a 1914 was one where I wished afterwards that I'd tried against the grain on my chin. Shave 4 was one where I did, with a 1924, and was well rewarded. Shave 5, with an open comb Damaskeene, was a simple one down, one up and that was a phenomenal shave.
With only a couple of shaves, the blade has mellowed and by five shaves it has mellowed to the point that against the grain is an absolute pleasure, much like the Durham Duplex in terms of feel and stubble regrowth.
I usually change blades at 5 unless the blade itself is demonstrating that it continues to be keep - my test is to see if the middle of the blade will easily shave a thin sliver of skin from the harder skin at the top of my thumb. If it doesn't, experience tells me that I will have a less than satisfactory shave and will have some irritable regrowth. By five shaves, a modern GEM is usually struggling. This vintage Damaskeene blade is NOT struggling; with stropping it is as keep as shave 3 and I think it will go on for a good few shaves yet.
Stropping? I'm stropping 50 laps after shaving and a good 20-30 before shaving.
wchnu: If I liked him more I might actually feel bad about that.
Sept 17, 2017 18:54:02 GMT -6
wchnu: Did I type...THAT... Outloud???? Oops
Sept 17, 2017 18:54:28 GMT -6
birdlives: I hear nothing....I see nothing.....Hospital Koodies.......Yeaagh!!!! A DE with a Derby!!! NOPE!!! I hear nothing...I see nothing...If I go under the anesthesia, I'm taking someone I can trust to WATCH all that business....I can trust you guys, RIGHT ?
Sept 17, 2017 19:18:03 GMT -6
wchnu: Why yessss you can...uhhuh,..sure can...most the time anyway.
Sept 17, 2017 19:35:00 GMT -6
birdlives: What about that Canadian Rocket Dood? Can I trust him too?
Sept 17, 2017 19:38:22 GMT -6
wchnu: Hard to say....but prolly so.
Sept 17, 2017 22:40:17 GMT -6
GarnerPW: I just read what you wrote there Fuzz or should I say Mr. Fuzz. And all this time I thought you liked me.
Sept 18, 2017 4:38:29 GMT -6
GarnerPW: Don't trust him there Bird. You know what they say, "You can't trust the Man/Fuzz". The Canuck, is alright though.
Sept 18, 2017 4:43:20 GMT -6
birdlives: I don't know......Have you seen what that crazy Canuck does in a bath tub?
Sept 18, 2017 13:31:26 GMT -6
GarnerPW: No what???
Sept 18, 2017 13:33:24 GMT -6
Alan: Boy, I thought I was going nuts, so I stared at it for a while and realized Riverruns avatar winks.
Sept 19, 2017 21:29:17 GMT -6
birdlives: ALAN!!.....Uh...Oh....you're right! That could be dangerous! This might be a case for the avatar police! I stretched his avatar as big as my i-Pad screen...Bam! It blinked and I jumped...lol!
Sept 20, 2017 2:04:25 GMT -6
wchnu: Garner..did I type That outloud..darn. the SE dude is a good guy though.
Sept 20, 2017 17:33:32 GMT -6
wchnu: Alan!!! Good to see you. I will check out that avatar. Sounds spooky.
Sept 20, 2017 17:34:08 GMT -6
wchnu: It really does wink!!
Sept 21, 2017 0:47:42 GMT -6