Stainless Razor

Aaron’s Pick- Asylum Rx SE: By Ronald Davenport Sr.

The Asylum Rx like many new production razors, are modern “SE” or, injector light styles. The Asylum Rx, IMHO sets itself apart in many ways from looks to the shave itself.

Our friend on the WSR Facebook Page who is equally as unique in a good way, has an opinion, and he is not afraid to voice it ! In steps Ronald Davenport, a Renaissance man in many ways, and a observant practioner of observation, as well as trial and error; will find every nook and cranny of his ever growing wet shaving collection; often posting these musings on the Facebook page. In steps Ronald in his own words about the Asylum RX !! Thanks for your contribution good sir !

 

 

Asylum RX Razor I would start off with good Pre-Shave discipline. Using a stiff Boar for a well exfoliated growth area. Then Pre-shave Oil followed by hot towels. Then my favorite Boar, but that’s just me. Remember, you get out of a shave what you have put into it (IMHO). If you are in the workforce and have a busy out the door routine, well maybe save this experience for a day off or at night. Out of the box one will notice the fine finish on this pleasantly satin metal. That and the style. It’s like a Jaguar sitting there ready to start. The fit of parts are so tight which makes this Razors curves smooth and sleek. We could hardly ask for a more sweet sexy looking instrument. As I write this, I still have a BBS face, well almost, and I shaved last night at 8 pm. It’s now 2:30pm, I have a medium to heavy beard too. Yes I chase a BBS Shave. As far as numbers? I don’t have a number where I get to and then done.
Sometimes I reach a four pass and touch ups, because touchups are a pass in themselves. When I get to a point that I’m happy with the shave, then I’m done. Much has been written on the topic of “ Comfort vs. Closeness”. However the less scraping on our faces the better. That’s where this Asylum RX SE comes in. With a Feather Professional SE Blade ( subjective ) I think one will find an instrument which reduces the amount of work it ( razor ) is tasked with. Without reservations I can honestly say this razor gave me the best shave I have ever had, from any shaving system. This in itself, in my world is a feat, as I am a (BBS chaser), and I never expected to have this razor give me a shave even approaching a straight shave. The weight and balance are ideal. Not all of the heft is balanced, top is lighter and mostly in the handle, which speaks of how well it maneuvers in all those tight spots. Handle length is just right for a big hand but not to long for a Lady’s hand. Something about angle. Just with the eyeball it may appear to be an extreme slant when compared with some modern SE razors. However when compaired with most vintage SE standing up on the base of the handle, the angle of the blade will be very familiar, pretty close to most Vintage SE.
It was designed to take the Feather Pro-Blade or equivalent, however the Pro-Guard blade will not work. Speaking of blades, most SE blades are rounded on the ends, right? also on the safety bar there end guards or stoppers to hold the blade even. We find this feature on most Vintage SE like MMOC by Gem. Good feature. One person from a well-known talk-ey forum said this; “Well, if you like aggressive razors the Rx is right up your alley. I enjoy my Rx. Incredibly efficient with a Kai blade, whether a Captain, Titan Mild Pink or the ProTouch MG. All provide smooth and clean shaves. The Feather Pro and the Rx? Now that’s when it really shows its true colors. Viciously sharp, but efficient and if used with a very light touch and care, amazing.
A friend sent me a couple samples of the Pro and I bought 3 boxes with a coupon code from a vendor I purchase from. For me, it’s the pinnacle in achieving a fantastic, BBS shave daily. Only my 2 prized straights, Wade & Butcher Wedge and Boker Celebrated are on par with it”. This Razor is at the top of the Food Chain, alongside Muhle R41 (2011), and the Icon ShaveCraft Tec,. ATT H2 and lest we forget, the most aggressive adjustable, MERKUR VISION 2000.
Thank you again Ronald, this is what we at the WSR are all about, our members helping the wet shaving community; you have the hands on knowledge. It’s an honor to us to post your review. – Aaron
If anyone is looking to have a review on any Grooming, Wet Shaving, Pipes, Pens or, anything that you are passionate about; please contact Aaron Schecter either on the Facebook group page or, at aschecte@gmail.com

Review: Above the Tie razors

This is easily the most exciting, and at the same time challenging review I have done to date. I say this as there is a lot of ground I could cover as the Above the Tie 303 stainless steel razors are probably the most complete stainless double edge razor on the market. Above the Tie offers what I like to look at as  a “system” of razor that are really revolving around the base plates and top cap. There are multiple plates and multiple handles; this is the buffet style razor to meet any shaver needs at an incredible price point considering this is all American made in Tennessee by hand in the USA by real adults that are highly trained. This is a review but also an overview of the Above the Tie system, I will try to keep to the standard format I use for a razor review, and I hope you enjoy the read !

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Overview

The Above the Tie razor comes from either the factory or, authorized dealers the price is always the same which is great as it supports fair market pricing, no gouging anywhere among distributors so the field is even. When thinking of the ATT razor it comes in three separate levels of aggression the M for mild R for regular and H for heavy, and I speculate that means aggressiveness. All these plates come in an open eg. R or R2, M or M2, and finally H or H2, and closed come variation with just an M, R, or an H. Now all of these plates use the same top cap, and I recommend getting 2 caps so you can have versatility without fully switching things up. This is a luxury and by no means “needed”. Now the rest is simple as can be there are three handles that vary in length and weight. You have the Atlas at 3″ and 56 grams in weight with a spiral knurling, the Kronos at 3 1/2″ and 71 grams with more of a traditional diamond full body knurling and finally the big boy the Colossus at 4″ and 86 grams with similar knurling to the Kronos, but separated at about 1/4 from the bottom by an indented circular separation. That is a simple overview the finer details are to come.

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Appearance

As a “system” that can distinctly be 3 separate razors this is a hard category to cover so I will give an overview.
All ATT razors are 303 stainless steel which is machinable stainless steel. 303 SS has a matte finish and has a different carbon constitution than let’s say 316L which is a marine grade SS. I am not sure how many of us shave in the ocean 🙂 ! I will say though if you have chlorides or live near salt water 316L is preferable. Now back to the appearance. The machining of this razor(s) is flawless a 10/10 there tolerances are ridiculous, I have never seen a razor so exact in 20+ years of doing this. You will notice a perfect alignment with every blade you place in the top cap which has 2 small nipples that marry to indentations in the base plate. Repeatable results zero hassle every time. The heads for all purposes look the same and are fairly basic in design. The handles are similar between the Atlas and Kronos though there is a 1/2″ difference in length and a spiral on the Atlas versus a diamond cut on the Kronos. Finally the Colossus is completely different with a 4″ length, and a flat bottom and the look of  two distinct “pieces” it IMHO is an attractive handle though longer than most shavers hands would accommodate.

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Ergonomics

Again there are three possibilities here, but the really neat thing about the ergonomics of these razors are that the feels no matter which you use is outstanding ! The big decider with the handles is a preference of spiral versus diamond cut as well as your hand size. Above the Tie was smart enough to give 3 options for your hand size so buy the one that meets your needs or, as I did buy all three, and enjoy the diversity. The heads now here is the selling point so to speak of these razors…..the M plate being the mildest has a gap of only .25mm a very mild shaver, and my least used as I have a coarse beard that grows fast, but I do have it. Next is the R at .58mm and is similar to a DE89 for example but because of the handles weight has a completely different feel. Finally and this is big literally the H plate which has the distinction of having the largest gap in a non-adjustable razor on the market so forget the R41 the H plate destroys it at .91mm !!! that is almost a millimeter gap ! I used the H plate today and it was a 1 pass near BBS shave and comfortable as can be. I do not recommend the H plate to a new wet shaver. So what I am getting at is YOU the shaver control EVERY aspect of your shave with a razor that will literally live almost forever in the right conditions and can be an heirloom razor.

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Aggressive nature

This is a criteria for my reviewing style, but I would be redundant to repeat what I said above. I will only repeat that you the shaver are in control based upon your purchase EVERY step of the way.

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Value

Now this is the part everyone wants to know. Upfront quality is not cheap but this is a razor that can be a lifetime investment and only “system” you ever need. This like a few others on the market is stainless steel, it is handmade in the USA, and is made by skilled trained artisans so yes it carries a premium. I said earlier it makes no difference where you buy it so the base if you were to buy lets say an Atlas with a R (closed comb) plate it is $185 dollars plus tax and freight. the handles are remarkably cheap in my opinion at $56 so if you know the R plate is for you it is only a matter of adding a different handle for variety if desired not needed. I personally own all plates and all handles as I really believe in supporting  USA made razor company of this caliber so yes it is not cheap but I find it to be worth every penny due to the comfort, quality, and design of these razors. They may not fall into an immediate price point (they did not for me), but I saved for the set and it was worth it. Of course YMMV so please don’t spend $500 but this is where I mention they have a 30 day buy back policy no questions asked just return it in the original packaging ! so for $185 it is a razor of a lifetime, and if it’s not for you within 30 days just return it ! you can’t beat that for a company that stands behind their product.

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Overall

When you buy a stainless steel razor of any type, you are buying for quality and longevity, as well as comfort a design. I will say ATT razors are not shiny nor are they even that overly attractive with bells and whistles. The design is simple and it works. I do find beauty in the simplicity of these razors as we live in a society of excess and unneeded highly marketed and horribly built products that are way over priced. The Above the Tie razors are a refreshing and astonishingly superior razor. I recommend this razor or, razors highly as they are an investment. Not many razors can say that or, even close.

 

 

 

SOTD: October 16th, 2014 “RazoRoctober I’m finally here !”

RazoRoctober ! I am finally jumping into the fray ! I for the first half of the month used my dedicated rotation that I am trying to make a dent in. For the rest of the month it will be 100% RazoRock centered EXCEPT WSR Wednesday. I must say here it is Thursday and I will openly say this has been the best lather so far this week. Here are the details !

I own 4 RazoRock soaps… not the biggest RR collection by a long shot, but everyone of them  is a top-notch performer that outperform soaps literally triple the price I paid for the RazoRock line. Today I broke out the XX, I really like this scent a lot it’s very what I call sophisticated cologne like in fragrance. In other words I can’t see this being a scent that a 18 year old is wearing to the club, I literally can see a Italian businessman talking a client to lunch wearing this scent. sophisticated is a really good descriptor as well as Mediterranean with both citrus, and green notes to it. The lather was amazing only a cream coming remotely close to how well this lathered. I am always amazed this is not a tallow soap and is vegan as it lathers just like tallow and feels like tallow as well it’s simply put a great soap. I face lathered using my WSP Stubby ! Another great product the Stubby holds the heat and just releases soap easily…. another great performing part of a near perfect shave.

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I am still using that Above the Tie razor aka the “Atlas” handle and I stuck with the “R” plate as it is what I needed. as a daily shaver this and the “R2” will be the most used of the lot without a doubt. Starting next week I will start using the “Kronos” set up and maybe a “M” plate as the weight distribution is different etc….and after that the Colossus set up. This all boils down to me deciding if I want to dedicate myself to a 90% of the time daily driver….. I will say since I have only been using the ATT setups… my shaves have improved 100 fold. Where I used to get irritation is 100% gone, where weepers would form; nothing happens. It really has made my shaves better for whatever reason Moving on I used  a Rapira Platinum Lux now on use two. I must say I hear a lot of negative about this blade and I either got a good one or, these blades are a good blade for my needs and I’m lucky. I never review a blade though until 12 uses, so take what I said with a grain of salt.

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Finally to end my shave was great and so simple. A cold water rinse, RazoRock alum block. Followed up by FINE Platinum after shave, and finally the XX after shave balm. This and yesterdays shave were basically for all purposes near perfect shaves and near perfect BBS shaves. I know RazoRock has new labels but I am running low on XX, so when the time comes I hope the formula is still the same as this is a great soap.

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As always I hope everyone had a great day and a great shave ! – Aaron

  • Pre: Hot shower w/ Clinique facial bar
  • Prep: Glycerin
  • Croap: RazoRock “XX”
  • Brush: WSP Stubby in HMW
  • Razor: Above the Tie “Atlas” w/ “R” plate”
  • Blade: Rapira Platinum Lux (2)
  • Lather: Face
  • Moustache: Handlebar
  • Wax and Pomade: Pinaud natural and Crew molding clay
  • Post shave: Cold water rinse and RazoRock alum
  • After shave: Fine Platinum
  • Balm: RazoRock “XX”
  • EDT: Versace “Eros”

SOTD: October 13th ,2014 “Menthol Monday”

Happy Columbus day everyone ! I had to work, but I hope everyone that had off had a great day. So today is the infamous “Menthol Monday”, and I must say while a great shave; I was utterly disappointed in the menthol aspect. I have learned today a few things …like what not to do again. So this will be a very short post, but hopefully informative none the less.

I decided with all my talk about lather types lately today was an Uber-Lather day or, if you did not read yesterdays posts a combination of a hard soap, cream(s), and liquid glycerin. I went overboard today, I am trying to hold onto the summer. I used Castle Forbes “Lime” which was the dominant scent, I rarely use but thought it was supposed to be cold as it listed menthol, an Indian brand called Dettol cool, and finally for the soap Mitchell’s wool Fat. I added about 5 drops of glycerin. This was an amazing lather that I will give it.. super slick and very protective and if you like lime this was about as good as it gets especially with the added glycerin it brought the lather itself to another level . What made me unhappy was that I used either too many soaps and creams or, Dettol cool is not really all that cool at all. on a scale of 1-10; Ten being the coldest this was maybe a 2. I used my Marting custom silvertip which performed exceptionally well, and for that zero complaints. Like I said great lather and a great shave, but nowhere near a Menthol Monday shave.

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I also decided to kick the week off strong using my favorite Stainless Steel razor, the Above the Tie “Atlas” and I used the R head assembly which is the closed comb design and similar in aggression to a Edwin Jagger DE89 or Muhle R89. Great razor from the handle knurling to the feel and how flexible, and easy it is to use. this razor is always in perfect alignment and encloses the entire blade. What make the ATT even better to me is it is all handmade right here in the USA in Tennessee by skilled artisans ! this is truly an artisan handcrafted piece of mastered engineering in the world of razors. Now here is the second wow moment I am still using that Voskhod now on shave 11, and still no tugging. Not even a weeper or, the slightest irritation or, reddening of my skin.

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Finally I have finished this great yet non-mentholated shave so I did what I could. Cold water rinse, Shavex alum. I then reached for the Proraso splash ! it has menthol and while only a little cold and very short lived it was enough for me… I also used 2 parts Captain’s choice “Lime” after shave. After a nice dry down I added Truefitt & Hills “Trafalgar” balm which has a very lime like aroma and married up to today’s shave perfectly.

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Well all I can say is great shave and super close, but I failed all of you for it being a Menthol Monday, but not for  lack of desire, it just kind of turned out that way. I hope you all had great shaves and way colder than mine. – Aaron

  • Pre: Hot shower w/ Clinique facial wash
  • Prep: None
  • Cream(s): Castle Forbes “Lime” and Dettol “Cool”
  • Soap: Mitchells Wool Fat
  • Brush: Marting custom silvertip
  • Razor: Above the Tie “Atlas” w/R style closed comb head
  • Blade: Voskhod (11)
  • Lather type: Bowl
  • Moustache type: Handlebar
  • Wax and Pomade: Joe Grooming compound wax and Murray’s Superior Pomade (PB)
  • Post shave: Cold water rinse, Shavex alum
  • After shave: Proraso and Captain’s Choice “Lime”
  • Balm: Truefitt & Hill “Trafalgar”

SOTD/Trial: October 11th, 2014 ” Almond Cavendish Delight”

 

What happens when you mix a great classic British soap house’s cream and an American Artisans soap ? Some really amazing stuff ! I know we call these Shaves of the day, but as of late I have been trying to push the envelope trying new combinations, and today was one of those days. Now I wasn’t sky diving or, going face first down the Flume; we are talking about super-lathering again, but to me this is just as exciting as this may be a combo you may want to try, it is that good !

Today I decided to use my Ikon modular OSS mounted on the 316L stainless steel bulldog handle that came with the open comb head. Recently a member of the WSR had asked about the OSS head, and I wanted to reply, but for once I did not know exactly how to reply. Traditionally I would say for multiple passes the open comb is great initially for the reduction pass followed by the closed comb for the remainder. Today I would not have said that. I did 100% on the closed comb side. I did not need a super aggressive shave so I stayed to the one side . I did not find this to be a hindrance at all I found that I could get about 3 passes between rinsing, and it did not to my internal clock extend the shave at all. I to be honest found the Ikon to be quiet pleasurable to use. I will say though with a heavier growth than I had today I would have started on the Open Comb side. I paired the Ikon with the Voskhod now on use 9 !! not a drop of a problem, I average 10 shaves, but we are going to see if we can shoot for 12 just out of again a “trial”.

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now this is where some real magical stuff happened ! It came to me last night while just thinking about certain scents that would compliment each other. This was a result of a great Q&A with Frances from Petal Pushers Fancies who made me think a bit about how scents for soaps are made. The jist of what was said was a lot of bad soaps happened before the good soap was finally made…. in other words trial and error. Now I do not have the patience Frances has, but I do have a huge soap and cream den ! So while I was up thinking it came to me I am focusing on Geo F. Trumpers “Almond” and I thought “I wonder how a combination of GFT “Almond” and Synergy “Cavendish” would be ? So long story short it happened today. All I can say is I cannot believe how perfect this super lather was ! GFT “Almond” is a strongly scented and sweeter almond scent and “Cavendish” is also a strongly scented soap. Neither of which dominated the other nor, did it feel like there was a struggle for scent dominance. The lather had the best of both the cream, and the soap; super slick, massive cushion, and unique and smooth in aroma that stayed throughout and even after the shave. I made the magic happen with my Semogue 1305 which is my traditional “Cavendish” brush ! Great combination that I cannot recommend highly enough, just remember to use a sweet almond like GFT not a bitter one like Cella … I’m not sure about that one.

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To end this great shave full of “trials” why would I end any differently ? I did the classic cold water rinse, and Shavex alum rub. I had zero irritation and great feedback. This really was a great shave. I then moved over to a more traditional toner and used the HTGAM alcohol free “Cavendish” after shave, but after drying I mixed a homemade Corn Huskers lotion and Almond essential oil mixture with the HTGAM “Cavendish” lotion and it made again a really great aroma where both the almond and the Cavendish scent stood out wonderfully. The mixture left my face silky smooth feeling and ultra moisturized. Now would I go through this effort every time I use Synergy “Cavendish”, but it sure will be a nice treat every so often and now that I know this combination works, it gives me an option I didn’t have yesterday.

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So that ends my SOTD so I learned today that I can just use one side of the Ikon OSS without any problems, that GFT “Almond” and Synergy “Cavendish” make a GREAT super-lather and finally a similar combination of CHL w/ almond EO and HTGAM “Cavendish” lotion also make for an outstanding after shave.

Great shaves everyone and enjoy the weekend ! – Aaron

  • Pre: Hot shower w/ Jack Blacks facial wash
  • Prep: CHL & Almond essential oil
  • Cream: Geo F. Trumpers “Almond”
  • Soap: Synergy “Cavendish”
  • Brush: Semogue 1305 boar
  • Razor: Ikon modular OSS head on 316L stainless bulldog handle
  • Blade: Voskhod (9)
  • Lather type: Apothecary mug
  • Moustache type: natural flow handlebar
  • Wax and Pomade: Brooklyn Grooming “Williamsburg” wax & Old Spice ” Spiffy mixed with Tres Flores Brilliantine
  • Post shave: Cold water rinse, Shavex alum
  • After shave: HTGAM alcohol free “Cavendish” aftershave tonic
  • Lotion: CHL + Almond EO & HTGAM “Cavendish” lotion
  • Deodorant: Petal Pusher fancies “Cavendish”