TGN Silvertip Badger Shaving Brush Knot Macro Photo Analysis

Posted by the dood on Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

Its always interesting to see the variation that we find in the different types of TGN (The Golden Nib) knots out there, especially with so many different types sharing so many similar names and descriptions on the TGN site. In addition to The Golden Nib Badger Knot reviews I have written, which I feel are some of the most in-depth comparisons of the TGN knot line, I felt that it would be useful for you guys to see what the Badger knot hairs are like close-up. This will be useful in seeing which ones have the desired “gel-like tip” qualities and also which ones have thicker hair shafts creating more backbone.

1. TGN Silvertip Grade A
First one we have here is the TGN Silvertip Grade A. As you can see, lots of hooked tips, which contribute to this knots gel-like tips. The hairs are very fine.

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2. TGN Super Silvertip Badger
Next up is the Super Silvertip Badger, which is also a very good knot. You’ll notice some, but less hooked tips than the Grade A. It has some VERY fine tips on some of the hairs, which you might notice have split. This is not necessarily a good thing like it is on Boar brushes as it means the hair tip will break eventually and lose softness.

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3. TGN Silvertip Premium
Hooked tips Galore! The Silvertip Premium is the softest TGN Knot I have owned. I have not tried High Mountain White yet, so keep that in mind. This is an incredibly dense and soft brush, with very luxurious gel-like tips. Initially I had indicated that the Silvertip Grade A had the finest hairs of the TGN Brushes I tried, but I am starting to think the Premium may actually have some that are finer. It seems to have a mixture of finer and thicker hairs.

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4. TGN Super Badger
While it is not listed in their Silvertip section, it is a treated silvertip badger knot. I think its a great knot and has great face feel. A bit springier than I like, but still very nice. As you can see, not a lot of hooked tips, and it doesn’t gel. It is a great knot, however and is very well packed.

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So I hope you enjoyed the TGN Silvertip Knot photos, and found them helpful in your continuing search for the perfect shaving brush. I always find it interesting to see what the hairs look like up close and how they differ. TGN Knots have also been known to not be always consistent, especially the Finest knots. The Silvertips seem to be relatively consistent for me over the course of the last two years.

Fitjar East Indies Shaving Cream

Posted by the dood on Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

Fitjar East Indies Shaving Cream
Product: Shaving Cream
Size: 175ml
Origin: Hand Made in Norway
Street Price: $30.00US
Price Per ml: $0.17

Fitjar is a premium shaving cream product that is hand made in Fitjar, Norway – the cream’s namesake. It comes in a white plastic jar with an embossed aluminum lid featuring the Fitjar logo. At 17 cents a ml, it is on the pricier side, but not as pricey as the most expensive of the shaving creams. But since the stuff has to ship from Norway, it can cost a pretty penny overall if you’re in North America.

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The cream has a fairly soft consistency, similar to Proraso cream, but in a tub. It also has that metallic sheen to it, though not quite as much as Edwin Jagger. The scent is called East Indies, and smells like a blend of Rose, and some other herbal spices. I even detect a hint of bay leaves, though quite subtle. Rose is definitely the dominant scent here.

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An easy swirl with the shave brush and I start whipping up the lather. This cream lathers like a champ, just as easy as the other popular creams out there, though doesn’t need quite as much water as some. This stuff has a fair bit of water content in it already. I’m using my Joris re-knot brush with the TGN Finest fan knot in it. Its a fantastic brush and an efficient latherer and whips this Fitjar into rich, slick lather in no time.

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This stuff lathers easily, and really moisturizes the skin. I would say that Fitjar is one of those most moisturizing shaving creams I have used, and also quite slick. I do find that you need to be careful with the water on this one. Don’t add too much or you will get quite a bit of froth in your cream.. too much for my tastes. I also found that while I used a scuttle with texture on the bottom to lather this cream, I prefer it in a smooth bowl or face lathered as it froths up very easily. I would rather have that slick yogurt-like lather than the frothy stuff.

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Overall a superb soap that if you can snag it without huge shipping costs is a very decent value. The tub is a decent size and it has a very nice and strong scent. The shaving soaps do not have quite as strong a scent, but the creams seem to be quite fragrant. The fact that it is a small-batch handmade product, from a little town in Norway gives the product some charm. While the East Indies scent is very unique, the performance of the product is not. If you’re just a no-nonsense guy looking for a good product, you will not see the value in Fitjar – stick to Tobs and Proraso. If you want some unique scents with some interesting history, then this might be the cream for you.

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Ingredients: Potassium stearate, Potassium cocoate, Glycerine, Olea europea, Essential oils

Scent: 8/10

Lather: 9/10

Cushion: 7/10

Glide: 8/10

Moisturizing: 9/10

Packaging: 7/10

Value: 8/10

Overall: 8/10

Associated Products Used in This Review: Joris Re-Knot TGN Finest Brush, Shaving Bowl.

Above the Tie ATT Atlas M2 DE Safety Razor Review

Posted by the dood on Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

Above the Tie ATT Atlas M2 DE Safety Razor Review
Price (At Time of Review): $185
Handle: 303 Grade Stainless Steel
Head and Base Plate: 303 Grade Stainless Steel
Weight: 56g (Handle), 94g (Total)
Length: 3″ (Handle), 3.25″ (Total)
Made in USA

Above the Tie Razors are produced in the USA by Above the Tie, or ATT for short. They are precision crafted, high tolerance machined stainless steel Razors that perform among the best available. Available in several configurations, they are perhaps the most versatile stainless steel razor on the market, with 6 different head configurations available and three different handle styles available, not including all the aftermarket choices out there.

The model I am reviewing is the M2, which is the Mild Open-Comb version of the razor. It is definitely a mild razor, but with an open comb twist. My biggest qualm with this open comb design is that it traps a lot of stubble and shaving cream between the blade and the base plate where you can’t see it, so it really must be disassembled and cleaned between each shave if you’re as anal as I.

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The back of the base plate is machined with “Made in USA” and “Above the Tie” followed by the year of manufacture, which in this case is 2013 even though I purchased it this year (2014). I have seen some 2014 manufacture base plates recently, though I don’t believe there is any difference. It also has the head model (M2) machined on it.

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This ATT is the Atlas handled version, which features the shorter bulldog style handle with the Barber Pole knurling. Overall finish on this razor is a satin finish, with a slight polish to it. The handle has a typical shape, with a thicker base, and a knob on the end, also featuring the same knurling.

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Here’s a closeup of the knurling on the handle, which shows some machining marks still, but is still quite well done. This is probably my favourite of all the the current handles out there that I have used. It measures 3″ long and weights 56 grams.

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The head is one of the more interesting parts of the Above the Tie razors, in that it has a fairly different shape/curve than just about every other DE razor out there. If you look closely, you will notice that the curve on the top of the head is more severe than a standard razor. I’m not sure how this affects the shave directly, but its an interesting design. The blade gap is only 0.25mm since this is the mild version. Blade gap more than doubles moving to the regular versions.

The ATT also has the heaviest base plate on the market, with a very solid ultra-thick construction. Very little material is removed from the base plate, putting its weight at 38g.

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The top of the razor head is smoothly satin finished, but better than the finish inside and on the back of the head, which is a rougher, manly-looking machined finish. As you can see, the razor head does not cover the sides of the razor blade, which was a bit of an oversight on ATT’s part. I think covered the sides would have given it a more polished look. The razor cuts very well and naturally, and is quite mild. Comparing it to the solid bar M1, it is similarly mild.

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Here is a shot of all the pieces, with the inside of the razor head visible. As you can see, the machining is a bit rougher here inside the head when you look at it, but it doesn’t take away from the precision of the razor, everything is fitted perfectly, and the razor shaves like a dream. Finishing on the base plate is a bit rough as well, but still presentable and has a cool manly machined looked.

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The construction is the typical 3-piece design, with the handle screwing into the top plate, securing the base plate between them. The precision is superb, and the feel and balance of the razor is excellent. Due to the heavier razor head design, the ATT razors take to heavy handles better than other razor heads I have found. Overall a superb razor that gives you tons of versatility in head choices, even though I am reviewing the milder M2 Mild Open Comb version here. The price point is very high, and puts it at the top of the stainless razor price range, if you’re not counting the PILS.

Above the Tie ATT Atlas DE Safety Razor Ratings:

Handle Comfort: 9
Uncomfortable Comfortable
Aggressiveness: 3
Mild Aggressive
Weight: 5
Light Heavy
Balance: 9
Unbalanced Balanced
Finish Quality: 7
Poor Excellent
Value: 4
Rip-Off Steal
Overall: 8
Mediocre Excellent

Oasis Time Flies 1994-2009 Vinyl LP Set Review

Posted by the dood on Sunday, April 13th, 2014

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The most recent addition to my Vinyl collection is the Oasis Time Flies box set. Seeing as the majority of Oasis Vinyl LP Releases are costing in the hundreds for a single album, this album seemed like a steal for $250. Not only does it have almost all my favorite Oasis songs on it, but its also a limited edition box set that might actually increase in value, even if I listen to it!

I rarely spend big money on box sets, but Oasis is a band that I grew up listening to in High School and University and helped define me and shape the person I am today. Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but I sure as hell listened to a lot of Oasis when I was younger.

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The beautifully boxed 5 disk set features beautiful artwork and photography on all the sleeves and box covers. It includes just about all their major songs, including the fantastic yet elusive single “Whatever”. Oddly missing from this set is “Champagne Supernova”.

A1. Supersonic 4:44
A2. Roll With It 3:59
A3. Live Forever 4:36
B1. Wonderwall 4:19
B2. Stop Crying Your Heart Out 5:02
B3. Cigarettes & Alcohol 4:51
C1. Songbird 2:08
C2. Don’t Look Back In Anger 4:50
C3. The Hindu Times 3:52
D1. Stand By Me 5:59
D2. Lord Don’t Slow Me Down 3:19
D3. Shakermaker 5:10
E1. All Around The World 9:41
E2. Some Might Say 5:29
F1. The Importance Of Being Idle 3:42
F2. D’You Know What I Mean? 7:44
G1. Lyla 5:12
G2. Let There Be Love 5:26
H1. Go Let It Out 4:38
H2. Who Feels Love? 5:44
H3. Little By Little 4:53
J1. The Shock Of The Lightning 5:04
J2. She Is Love 3:13
K1. Whatever 6:20
K2. I’m Outta Time 4:09
K3. Falling Down

Sound Quality
I’m an audiophile, so sound quality is very important to me, and often the most disappointing thing when it comes to buying newly pressed Vinyl LPs. It seems like ever other record I buy is a junk pressing, so I’m always scouring for information on whether certain albums are good pressings. I read a couple small reviews that said this was a good one, but I didn’t know if these were guys that were playing then on a Sony USB Turntable or true vinyl aficionados. I can tell you without hesitation that this is a FANTASTIC album sound quality-wise. They are superb pressings and sound better than any of the other Oasis Vinyl I have ever heard… which isn’t saying much since I’ve only heard two of their later albums which I own.

Having said that, these are fantastic, and I couldn’t be happier with the quality. Having spent about $280US to have these shipped here from the UK, I was taking quite the gamble. And seeing as this is a limited edition of 1500 copies, I don’t expect a lot of people to be reading this review anyway, but hey.. its here anyway.

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Each disk comes in a paper sleeve with color-coded artwork on it. I always re-sleeve my records in archival quality poly sleeves to reduce the amount of scratching, as pulling them in and out of paper can cause damage in the long run. If you’re an Oasis fan and a Vinyl fan, you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t pick up this box set… absolutely outstanding.

Weber DLC Head DE Safety Razor with Classic Handle Review

Posted by the dood on Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

Weber DLC Head DE Safety Razor Review
Price (At Time of Review): $70
Handle: 316 Marine Grade Stainless Steel
Head and Base Plate: 17-4PH Stainless Steel DLC Coated
Weight: 3.4oz
Length: 98mm (Handle), 106mm (Total)
Made in USA

The Weber Razor was the first of the Stainless Razors to hit the market, and entered at a very affordable pricepoint at the time, around $55. Since then its increased in price to $70. Interestingly, at the time the Weber was released, many gawked at the price, saying $55 for Stainless Steel with little to no performance increase was not worth the money. Now a couple years later, many people happily pay well over $100 or even $150 for many of the other boutique stainless razor brands – including myself.

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I tried to capture the spirit of the razor, but realized that DE Safety razors are inherently difficult to photograph. This configuration is with the classic handle, which is slimmer and longer and also slightly heavier by 2 oz. As you may be able to see I had it loaded with an Astra SP blade at the time of the photograph. I have a lot of bulldog handles that I am able to switch onto the Weber if I want a shorter, stouter feel.

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Here is the razor from the front, showing the proportion of the handle to the razor head. Definately a slimmer look compared to the more popular Bulldog style that has been all the rage the last year or two. The handle has the typical curved neck, and then cross-hatched middle section, along with the knobby textured end which aids in retention and grips very well in most conditions.

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As you can see below, the texture of the 316 Marine Grade Stainless Steel handle under higher magnification, is not finished particularly well. Its certainly acceptable, especially when all of the other better finished handles cost more money. Weber currently sells the handles for $38, whereas most others come in around $50+. The handle measures 98mm long.

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I was able to get a decent photo of the blade gap here, and you can see that it is similar to most non-stainless razors and in particular very close to the Merkur 34c and Edwin Jagger 89l that I have used. The head shape in general seems to have been loosely modeled after the Merkur in particular. I found the aggression level of the razor to be on par with the Edwin Jagger and Merkur razors mentioned, and in general is a mild-to-medium level shaver, but you can adjust that level by changing your angle.

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Here’s a shot from the front, showing the amount of blade exposure. It has more blade exposure than most of the newer style Stainless Razors which minimize blade exposure and blade gap. I find that the smaller blade gap and exposure reduces the change of cuts and razors burn from incorrect angle… essentially making the razors more “fool-proof”. While I rarely cut myself shaving anymore, I still like there is less leeway with the Weber than with the other stainless razors on the market. The Weber gives good audible feedback, which aids in making sure I have the right angle when I am shaving.

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There is a disassembled shot, showing the inside of the razor. The head comes in several version, this being the black DLC one, and also one of the more sought after versions of the Weber head. Its also available in a special ARC finish as well as standard polished. All versions of the razor head are made from 17-4PH Stainless Steel.

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The back of the Razor head is engraved with the words WEBER and USA. The Black DLC coated version of this razor always has black rubbing off at the base where the handle contacts the head. Being OCD, this bugs me a bit but I understand that it is the nature of the beast. Overall this is a very nice razor, and a very good value for $70. However, there is a substantial improvement in finishing level and overall production quality when moving to other stainless steel razors like the Feather, iKon and ATT razors.

Weber DLC Head DE Safety Razor Ratings:

Handle Comfort: 5
Uncomfortable Comfortable
Aggressiveness: 4
Mild Aggressive
Weight: 6
Light Heavy
Balance: 6
Unbalanced Balanced
Finish Quality: 6
Poor Excellent
Value: 9
Rip-Off Steal
Overall: 8
Mediocre Excellent