Next week, my son will be going off to college for the first time, so I’ve made him a practical gift as he heads to the dorm. In his brief shaving career, he has become accustomed to lathering his face with a brush loaded with soap from a wooden bowl.
I carved the one we use now nearly ten years ago, and it makes a lot of sense. No more buying, and throwing away, can after can of aerosol shave cream. Plus, the brush is a much more pleasing and efficient applicator than my hand.
When I first made the switch, I bought a little round shave soap cake and popped it into a ceramic mug. Works fine, but I prefer the wood bowl. First of all, there’s no annoying clinking of the brush against the mug early in the morning. The wood is also warm and comfortable to hold in the hand. I buy shaving soap in bulk one-pound blocks — which are only around $4. I cut it in about half and melt it in the microwave (a glass measuring cup works great for that), then pour it directly into the bowl. You can even mix a little fragrant oil in there if you please. When it cools, the bowl is filled with shaving soap and ready to use. That one pound block lasts at least a couple years and the only waste is the small bit of plastic wrap from the block.
Have fun making one for yourself or another shaver. There are lots of possibilities for texture, color, and decoration. This one is in cherry, 5.75 inches in diameter and 2.5 inches high. Of course, you can make one in any size you find convenient. The layout for carving a round bowl is simple. I wrote about it here.
It will be a bittersweet day next week. I’m proud of Noah and excited for him. I’m sure he will, and should, have other things on his mind next week, but I expect that my thoughts will drift back to a time when this was his shaving kit: