Dalliance With Open Blades

I relaxed this Sunday with some shaving-related explorations. I froze the last pumpkin juice ice pops from this year's jack-o-lantern, in an experiment to determine which part of the pumpkin has the "good stuff." Is it the slimy "guts," or the spongy flesh? The halloween extras had been frozen in gallon freezer bags to compensate the loss of an intact rind, and the liquid extract re-frozen in cake frosting cups, then thawed and allowed to settle. The slimy part was problematic, in that it had the consistency of refrigerated gravy. I couldn't decant the thin layer of clear liquid on the outer edge, so I just scooped out as much congealed vegetable mucus as I could. The flesh yielded much more actual liquid. Either could give you your year's supply of two or three pumpkin juice freezer pops, though, so stay tuned for those results.

I applied the ceramic mug-bottom knife sharpening method to a cuticle knife and an acne lance, then went crazy with it and put an edge on three (3) Dollar Tree kitchen knives. (I have a nice big sharpening stone, too -- never used it.) One had a crappy spot that could not be ground out, giving me my first inkling of what "won't take an edge" might mean,  but it was probably my most successful knife-sharpening experience ever. After honing on cardboard, I (of course) considered taking the little "santoku" to the next level with newsprint, and shaving with it.

Nah. A better option has been lurking in my closet for a few months: the Sedef shavette, loaded with half a Racer. I shaved with it a couple times, I think. While still capable of cutting hair, making me uncomfortable with the idea of throwing it away, I never felt quite up to using it. Having taken the Rimei blade to its limits was just the confidence boost I needed.

Not knowing (or caring) about established forms, it always takes me much longer to shave this way, and I take a little damage. I usually blame the razor (can't see), soap (too dry) or the blade (too sharp, too dull). But this time I knew it was all me; and this time, I didn't hurt myself. I don't think that was a coincidence. But I was still detached from my hands, almost as if I were an observer of my own "muscle memory." Disproving that idea: I don't practice with the shavette. My fingers were subconsciously adapting what I had just recently learned from safety razors!

Initially they tried the lowest angle, pitching down until the blade caught hair. But not -- and this is what was new -- into the danger zone, the moderate angles where one fishes for BBS. Better to draw the blade, they seemed to calculate, with hardly any intent on my part.

Next trying the steep angle, they tightened to a rock-hard grip, which made me realize I had been holding the blade rather loosely at the low angle, just like my loosened safety razors. My hands sucked eggs at this part. But still they refused to hurt me, not letting the edge sink in.

So I have this wierd shave, barely close enough, and some BBS spots. I blamed the blade (hypocrite that I am) and slid it out of the holder with the back of my comb. Best shavette shave ever.

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