B&B CONFIDENTIAL - #5
Hello B&B'ers and welcome to the B&B Confidential.
This is a feature where you can read articles about what is going on in and around Badger & Blade.
For our fifth installment we present you with what we hope to be our first of many member interviews featuring some of the members of most AD afflicted members:
If you have any questions for SRock feel free to post them in your replies to this thread.
How did you find B&B?
When I deploy to austere conditions I frequently shave my head for both comfort and hygiene purposes. While on a deployment to Iraq in 2008 I was searching the internet for better options/products to use for shaving my dome. That lead me to a small head shaving forum. After joining that head shaving forum I quickly realized that most (if not all) of the members on that particular forum also frequented another forum called Badger & Blade. They all had such great things to say about B&B I had to have a look. I was flabbergasted to think that private individuals actually shaved with such old school methods. After spending just a few short days on B&B I never looked back to any other forum I'd ever belonged to (sorry little head shaving forum ). Everything I need can be found on B&B. We have great men from all walks of life with insight, knowledge and wisdom on a myriad of subjects.
How did you get into wet shaving?
B&B baby! Is there any other way? After I joined B&B I was quickly welcomed by several members of the board. I made friends around here fast. Mr. Scruffy once told me that I had the most 'friends' on B&B. I never really compared but I know that many great guys like ThirdEye and TimmyBoston were quick to welcome me to the board and show me the ropes. In fact, if it weren't for Suzuki, I probably wouldn't be here anymore. I made some 'new guy' mistakes and posted some things that weren't totally appropriate for the B&B family but the great moderator team showed me the ropes, explained the expectations and set me on my way to a much more productive membership here on B&B.
What was your first shaving setup?
First, or first real? I believe I started my shaving journey, like so many others, with a Gillette Mach 3 and some can of goo, likely whatever had the best advertising at the time. Like many others I wasn't really taught the right way to shave. I think many fathers today feel as though you can't mess up with a cartridge and can of goo. I don't blame my Dad for this, though I have taught him the right way to do things since finding B&B. As far as my first real shave is concerned I started off with a Feather Portable DE and several small samples of various creams/blades. My first high end soap came by way of ThirdEye who very generously mailed me a puck of GFT Limes in the wooden bowl. I think the old softie took a liking to me because I was active duty serving in Iraq. It was a nice Christmas Gift and a great introduction to some of the finer products available.
What's the best thing about B&B to you?
The family. That's really what this place is. I'm not sure I know of any other place where I can literally name hundreds of fine gentleman that I consider friends. This board has so many great members I couldn't even begin to name all of the fine gentlemen we have here.
What's your favorite thread?
My favorite thread has to be the SOTD thread. I love seeing what everyone is using as well as the photographic compositions they come up with. I've gotten so many ideas about what I'd like to try in the future from the great presentations our membership has come up with in the SOTD thread.
What's your favorite thing about being a moderator?
Helping others. I get dozens of PM's daily with questions about wet shaving and what is/is not acceptable on the forum. I enjoy knowing that if I can't help someone right away I'm part of a team that can and is always happy to do so. The Moderator team is like a second family. We all work for the common good of B&B and all want the very best for our entire membership. We lean on each other to do what is right to the best of our ability.
What's your 'desert island' shaving setup?
This is really a difficult question for me to answer. There are so many wonderful products out there. I'm a huge fan of just about anything from Penhaligons, GFT, Truefitt & Hill, D.R. Harris, ToBS, Gentlemen's Best and the list goes on and on... I guess If I were forced to pick just one I'd say Gillette NEW Improved, Gillette 7 O'clock SharpEdge (Yellow), GFT Limes Shave Soap, GFT Limes Aftershave, and GFT Limes Eau De Toilette. It worked for me in Iraq so I assume it could work for me just about anywhere.
What is your next big acquisition?
Ironically my two most recent "big" acquisitions aren't even shaving related. My biggest acquisition as of late was definitely my Ducati. I've been without a motorcycle for nearly a decade so finally getting back on two wheels has been very invigorating for me. As far as my next big acquisition is concerned, believe it or not my next big acquisition isn't actually shave related either. I have so much shave gear I can honestly say I don't have room for anything more. Like many others on the board I'm trying to finish a great deal of product before I buy anything else. So, what am I buying? I'm currently working with Dave Mitchell of Mitchell Leather on a custom briefcase. I'll be sure to post pics once it arrives.
What does your wife think of all your shaving kit?
In the beginning my wife thought I was a bit crazy, but she quickly found that she thoroughly enjoyed my great shaves, the many great scents and the great mood I always start my day with after a proper shave. Plus, she knows that if she runs out of gift ideas she can always order me more shave goodies. I'm very fortunate to have a loving wife who is very supportive of all my various acquisition disorders. She must be a keeper, I mean, guns, motorcycles, custom suits, custom leather goods and a never ending sea of shave goodies are what keep me afloat! She knows that traditional shaving implements are one of my big hobbies (and ironically one of my cheapest) so she doesn't mind at all.
What are the benefits of traditional wetshaving (i.e., why is it worth the extra effort)?
I think the benefits of a traditional shave vary from person to person. That said, personally, I noticed several great improvements. My skin looks and feels much healthier. My shave is smoother and longer lasting. I enjoy the cornucopia of great products and great scents. Above all else and most importantly for me, is the end to irritation. When shaving with a cartridge I always have some level of irritation along my neckline. When I shave by traditional means my neck is smooth and irritation free. Nothing is greater than a SE, DE or Straight Razor BBS shave with top quality products to start (or end) your day.
What is your position on DE vs. Straight?
In my mind there is no vs. and to be honest no real comparison. I think both have advantages and to a lesser degree some disadvantages. Individuals can and many do use both and ultimately it just comes down to personal preference(s). I know that I personally enjoy shaving with SE, DE and Straights. My mood and the time available to me often determine what I'll be shaving with. I think for many there is a natural progression and increased interest from SE/DE towards straights but just like taste in products taste in razors will always vary from person to person. I've tried nearly every DE on the market and shave the majority of the time with a DE but one of my favorite shaves comes by way of a straight razor restored by Bill Ellis. I recommend that anyone who is interested in any type of shaving outside of their norm give it a try. It doesn't matter if it is SE, DE or Straight but remember to give it time and learn the best technique for whatever shaving implement you are using. Changing from one to the next often requires some practice and adjustment. Technique improves daily and I think even old veterans still have something to learn with each and every shave.
What is your position on Boar vs. Badger?
Most who know me, already know I'm fairly vocal on this issue. Like many on the board I've tried just about everything. I own or have owned, Simpson's, Kent, Shavemac, Semogue, Rooney, Vulfix, Savile Row and on and on. I've tried Badger of all grades, Boar from various manufacturers and several different synthetics. I've never found a synthetic that I liked and only a couple of Boar brushes that I felt worthy of keeping in my den. Presently, I own both Badger and Boar and I see the benefits of each but for anyone who can afford quality Badger that is the way to go in my opinion. Both can exfoliate your skin and soften your beard quite well but there is nothing that feels as good as a top of the line two-band Badger brush on your face.
What are your thoughts on the ongoing disappearance of tallow-based products?
I think it is very unfortunate. Tallow soaps are by far and away the best out there in my humble opinion. I understand that some people have moral objections to using products made from animals but I think it is silly that so many manufacturers are catering to a small minority. Personally, if I have personal issues with an item I simply avoid it. I would never expect a manufacturer to stop offering it to appease me. That said, I tell people all the time, if you find a quality Tallow based soap that you truly enjoy, stock up! I currently have enough Tallow first Penhaligon's Soaps to last me a lifetime (no PM's please I won't let 'em go! ).
What is the future of wet shaving?
Cartridges. What? Yup, I think the writing has been on the wall for at least 40 years. Major marketing will continue to convince the masses that multiple blades and cans of chemicals are the way to go. Clearly there is more money to be had from cheap plastic razors that require frequent blade changes. That said, I'm enjoying the resurgence in traditional methods that we've seen in recent years and I hope that at the very least there will always be a niche market for those of us wise enough to shave like our forefathers. We've seen an increase in cottage soapers, if you will, and even an increase in brick and mortar shops catering specifically to this interest. I think it is great and hope it lasts, but I've no doubt that carts and goo will reign over the masses for years to come. Fortunately, those of use who call B&B our home away from home don't have to worry about that as we know better.
What is the future of B&B?
You and all of the members of this board. The reality is this membership is second to none. It is a family of sorts and B&B's owners, Stewards and Moderators will continue to do everything we can to keep this family happy. We all enjoy pics, reviews, contests, prizes, group buys, gentlemanly discourse and charitable activities. I think B&B will be around for many many great years because we have over 30,000 of the finest people on the web who call this their home away from home.
Do you have any pictures of your gear or at least some of your favorites that you are willing to share?
Absolutely, attached are some of my shave goodies and some of my personal favorite SOTD pics! I'll be happy to add more pics in the replies if there is a demand/interest.
Do you have any final thoughts you'd like to share with the membership of B&B?
Definitely. As everyone around here knows the world recently lost an Angel. Sue Moore passed on 2 Nov 10 and the shock was felt around B&B. I'd like to ask that if you haven't taken the time to do so, please follow the pink link below and make a donation to the Susan G. Komen foundation via the Sue Moore memorial fund. B&B set a goal to raise $10K in honor of St. Sue and we are over 60% of the way there. Help us honor this amazing woman.
Thanks SRock - you're a good mod and a great friend. It has been my honor and priviledge to interview one of B&B's finest.
Also, I'd like to take an opportunity to thank all those who have found it in their hearts to contribute to this great forum so that we can keep it the amazing forum that it is!
More like this soon!