Feb 062016

chisel1I heard from the Chisel Shave Club folks about a month ago. Lauren, a member of their press team, had seen my Harry’s reviews and asked if I’d be interested in trying traditional wet shaving with their products. I replied and let Lauren know that I’d be glad to look at the Chisel Shave Club experience, but that if I wrote a review I would be honest in my assessment of the products, and that I would disclose that I had received them free of charge. She agreed, and there is that disclosure.

The box makes a masculine and elegant first impression. There are wonderful and earthy smells in here, from shave soap, face wash, and such. The brush and the razor immediately feel like items you’ll have for a good while, without even a whiff of cheapness on them.


My initial impression was that this is definitely nice stuff, but am I supposed to bother with all of this every day? How much time do the Chisel Shave Club people think I have—indeed, think men in general have, in the morning? Read on.

I’ve been shaving since 1987, and I’m certain I’ve never used a classic safety razor. This is a hefty chunk of stainless steel. The handle screws into the two parts on top, securing the blade in place. After I loaded it, I eyed it warily for a moment. What if I slice my face to ribbons?


Ha! No worries. I followed the excellent directions, lathering up the brush with the shave soap and spreading it liberally on my face. Then I shaved first with the grain, and then against. So what do we have here?


The shave is excellent. You know that clogging you have to deal with when you use a razor cartridge with multiple blades? That is totally absent from this experience. A simple and quick rinse of the blade every few strokes, more for aesthetics than anything else, was all I needed. A rinse, a dry, and an aftershave, and the smoothness is impressive indeed. (No blood, either!) Also, my skin doesn’t feel or look the least bit angry. I will use the Chisel Shave Club products exclusively until I exhaust them so that I can report on skin effects over time, and post a follow-up comment.

So, as I said above, I was initially skeptical about how well wet shaving would fit into the typical rushed weekday morning. After I actually had the shaving experience, I relaxed on that point a good bit. I think this will probably always take a little bit longer than shaving gel and a disposable razor or cartridge, but I suspect only minimally so when it becomes routine.

The Chisel Shave Club experience is unambiguously one of luxury. Each month, you receive a different selection of shave soaps, blades, lotions, and other related products. The cost is $26.99 to $29.99 per month, depending on the length of the term for which you sign up. The six-month and year plans include the safety razor and the shaving brush, or they can be purchased separately. BoWilliams.com readers can receive a 10% discount on their first order by using the coupon code BOW10.

Chisel Shave Club isn’t going to win any head-to-head budget battles against more common alternatives, but it’s not designed to. There is a masculine ritual here that I enjoyed and had not experienced before. Are you interested in slowing it down just a bit with a high-quality, “retrotech” solution? Maybe you’ll go to a bit more trouble for something warmer and more satisfying? Maybe you’re a tube amp or mechanical watch kind of guy too? This is a fine experience.


 Posted by at 10:12 am
Jan 152016

I was fascinated by this recent story of a fellow who runs a Silicon Valley startup, yet doesn’t own or carry a smartphone (or, indeed, any mobile phone).

Certainly, there are parts of the narrative that sound appealing. He speaks of thinking more clearly, and rediscovering peace.

But–but!–he does confess that he makes occasional use of companions’ phones in order to function in society. He gives the example of asking a friend to order him an Uber ride. He further says he needs a phone and uses a friend’s “four or five times a month.”

Well, weekly usage is sparse usage, to be sure, but it isn’t “phone-free.”

It also reminded me of taking a guys’ family trip several years ago, on which my uncle didn’t have a smartphone. “Never needed one,” he said. Well, it became clear that he “never needed one” because he was all the time calling out to the car “hey, one of you look up x” or “somebody find out where we check into the show” or…yeah. Not phone-free either.

I love having all of this technology at the ready. I have no interest in going phone-free. But perhaps there is something to be said for discipline. I think I look at it similarly to the blogging question of which I’ve occasionally written. Am I doing something more because I want to do it, or more because I can blog about it? It’s a blurrier line than you might think.

Am I using my phone to help me do something I want to do? Or is my phone the something I want to do?

The latter doesn’t sound right, does it? I might need some rules.

Any readers tried any sort of usage regimen with your mobile technology? I would love to hear your stories.

 Posted by at 12:09 pm
Sep 292015

I think this morning I finally had my Eureka! moment on why I’ve been bumping along. I’ve been wasting time. And it’s generated formidable guilt. How have I been wasting time? Oh, just in a general kind of way. I’ve not been making consistently good decisions about what I allow to capture my time and […]

 Posted by at 9:04 am

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