Grooming products are on the rise and many modern men are looking to the classic shaving tools of their forefathers. There is currently a collection of vintage brushes lined up along our bathroom window sill, however the terrible design of the plastic razors left me wanting. With this in mind, and finding a handle and brush kit in the Lee Valley catalogue, I ventured to design my own shaving set. I couldn't resist the beautiful badger hair and the practicality of a razor head built for the standard Gillette Mach 3 blades. This kit is designed as a woodworking project, but I thought I would try and fit the hardware to ceramic.
Both pieces are hand made. I made approximately 5 versions of each the razor and brush handle to ensure a perfect form and size. The clay I use shrinks 13% from wet to final firing, so I have to do the math and size up when I'm fabricating. It can be tough to hit a perfect fit as there are so many variables when clay goes into the fire. It's also hard to refine a form to match a pre-existing object when you're working in a scale that is 13% larger. Make extra. More is always better.
The brush handle is thrown on a potters wheel out of a solid piece of clay. I rough out a form with my hands, wait for it to firm up a bit, and finish by using trimming tools to refine the shape in a similar process to turning wood on a lathe (the rotation being vertical rather than horizontal.) The razor handle is made by rolling out a coil of clay, cutting it to a desired length, and leaving it to firm up. When it is at the 'leather hard' stage I use a drill bit to hand drill a hole, and use a rasp/sure form to refine a straight rod form and to rough out a tapered end. Once bone dry, I'll clean the forms up using various grades of sand paper. I then fire once to bisque and fire a second time to glaze. The clay is my preferred white, with my preferred clear glaze.