Review: Shave Nation XL Chromium Oxide Bar ($18.99)
(2017) Several years ago I heard commentary at a ski jumping event at the Olympics. One of the jumpers was quoted as stating he was using wax that day he had toted around for seven years. I can’t imagine what his thoughts were that day. He was either extremely shocked at being prepared seven years in advance, or he was running low with some other type of wax and produced it with alacrity. Either way, it must have felt pretty good to use such a condition specific product.
The race season is upon us. Those who let their pistons grow out or generally relaxed the regular shaving find themselves smoothing up for the 2017 season. With the lengthened duration of style of the 5 o’clock shadow, the shave shelf at home starts to get cluttered. And let’s not forget wedding season starting soon.
If you’re a wet shaver like myself, sooner or later all that hair will dull the blade. If you scrape facial and body hair with a double-edged razor, the simple act of swapping out a fresh blade takes all of fifteen seconds. However, if you’re a straight razor gunslinger, there are steps to take to preserve the keenness of the blade. In between the age old pre shave slide and pop of the leather strop and a 12,000 grit stone, there is a step that one can take to preserve that gleaming edge.
Should you need to hone your blade, most razorsmiths go to a 12,000 grit stone. If the edge is in real tough shape the smith will start even lower with a 4000/8000 grit stone and finish with the 12,000 grit. The 12,000 grit stone sells in the neighborhood of $90, comparable with the charge of approximately four honings. It will wind up paying for itself. But what about that green bar one can apply to the backside of the strop?
A simple application of placing the strop on a towel and rubbing the chromium oxide evenly is all it takes. According to straight razor enthusiasts the chromium oxide can be applied either to the backside of the leather or the backside of the linen strop. Making just a few passes with the straight razor is all that’s necessary. The paste is roughly equal to a 30,000 grit stone. That’s a good start to prolong the necessity of honing the blade. Once finished the twenty passes on the chromium oxide, simply start your pre-shave stropping routine before shaving. You’ll notice the tugging has subsided.
Eventually you will have to get the razor honed, but this is another tool to make sure the blade is maintained and protected. For fewer than twenty bucks, or the price of one hone, it’s a good buy.
Here’s the best part: No one knows a single person who has ever finished one of these chromium oxide bars. Once the green fades simply reapply as necessary. Your first application will give you the realization that this bar will last a real long time. Perhaps seven years from now, while shaving the pins for the start of the 2024 season, you’ll glance at the chromium oxide bar and try to remember just when exactly you purchased it. I doubt you’ll need it enough to tote it around to competitions like that ski jumper’s wax in the introduction.