Search This Blog

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Vintage Shaving Shoppe & Little Stropper Get Vocal With Our Toll Free Number!

In order to provide even better support to our current and prospective customers, Vintage Shaving Shoppe and Little Stropper can now be reached by phone - toll free at 800-636-9670.  So all of you folks that would rather talk to a person rather than send an email, now have a number at which to do it.

Speak to you soon!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Don't Strop Under Stress!

I give good advice.  The problem is that sometimes I don't take it.  It's 1AM and I'm stropping razors after honing up a whole bunch.  That can be a very bad idea.  After performing the same "blade first" motion several hundreds of times on the hones, it can be hard to switch gears and go into the "spine first" motion required for stropping.  "Muscle memory" is a bitch.  Unfortunately, I am quite good at honing and on one stroke I forgot to turn the razor around - needless to say I soon had an irreparable slice across my strop.

Now had I been using my traditional $65 hanging strop, I would have been quite angry with myself.  Fortunately, I was using my Magnetic StropBox system with a leather StropTop.  While I wasn't happy about slicing my StropTop in half, at a retail price of $19.95 (and since I manufacture them I get a bit of a discount) I can only get so upset with myself.  I simply pulled off the damaged Leather StropTop and placed a new one on the box.  The whole operation took about three seconds.  Although afterwards, I did take a bit of a break to get my mind into stropping, rather than honing, mode.  Now I am happily stropping away on my newly replaced Leather StropTop.

If you haven't already done so, why don't you take a look at the Magnetic StropBox system?  It's what I use to finish and maintain the razors I send all over the world.  You will still be annoyed if you cut into your Leather StropTop, but there's a whole world of difference between being $19.95 annoyed and $65 furious.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Be An "Early Adopter." Get A Sharp Edge & Support Entrepreneurship Worldwide!

I have been blogging for the last week or so about our new StropBoxTM system for maintaining the shave-ready condition of your razors and for putting the smoothest edge on your knives.  Perhaps because our products are so new and unlike others on the market, some folks have been reluctant to put a toe in the water and try this new product.  It’s as if everyone is waiting for someone else to go first, before they are willing to take a chance.
There is a rare breed of people known as “early adopters.”  These are the men and women from every class and every part of the world who seem to be the first on their block to try something new.  While they risk being disappointed with what they find, they do seem to be just a little happier and a little more interesting than other folks. 
“We live”, as old Chinese curse says, “in interesting times.”  Many of us are reluctant to take chances due to the bad economy, high unemployment, terrorism, global warming – the list goes on, but I’m sure you get the point.  There are those who, through their crafty use of statistics, rhetoric and threats, seek to keep us afraid and off of the frontiers that will lead us to success and independence. 
But there are people out there, people like me and perhaps like you that are willing to take chances…to try something different even at the risk of failure.  It is a trait that has usually been ascribed to Americans – such legends as Thomas Edison, Bill Gates and Amelia Earhart; but I believe that this quality is a part of every culture and every walk of life all over the world.  I bet that you personally have some great ideas rattling around in your brain dying for attention.

I made the choice to invest my time, considerable money and some ego at a time when I was low on all three, to take an idea and bring it to life.  What to you looks like a newfangled idea for maintaining your razor is, for me, a chance to bring something new into the world.  To build a business;  to put people back to work; and to prove that innovation and guts are alive, not just in America and not just among those wealthy few with research labs – but on the kitchen tables and in the basements of  average homes.

When you buy a StropBoxTM or any of our Little StropperTM products, you are supporting innovation in a nervous world.  I love being a part of that and I invite you to join me.

I recently learned about a unique enterprise called  You may have heard of it, as it was featured on Oprah Winfrey’s List of Favorite Things of 2010.  Kiva provides funds to institutions that make “micro-loans” (small loans) to some of the poorest people around the world who are trying to lift themselves up out of poverty through entrepreneurship.  $125 may not seem like a lot to you and me, but in countries like the Philippines, Haiti or The Congo, that money can go a long way towards helping an entrepreneur start or build a business.  It can employ people who are starving, and allow them to provide food for their families and dignity for themselves.  Many of the business that receive these small loans fail, but others succeed - providing jobs and hope for entire communities in places where hope is all but dead.

So I issue you a challenge:  Buy any Little StropperTM product from The Vintage Shaving Shoppe, LLC. between now and December 31st and I will take 10% of the price you pay for the product – NOT 10% of the profit, 10% of the price YOU PAY for ALL Little StropperTM products, pool it together with that of other  “early adopters” like yourself and use that money to make micro-loans to businesses through  I will even keep you posted on our blog, tracking the total amount collected and the total amount invested.  Any monies that we loan that are repaid, will be re-invested in other businesses.  Not one dime will go into my pocket.  You and your fellow “early adopters” can be part of something big, by buying something small.  To get the ball rolling, I have invested $25 of my own money in a loan to a young man in Colombia who is trying to expand his manufacturing business.  Should this loan be repaid, the money will become part of the pool which will be built up by your purchases of our products.
Currently, Little StropperTM products, especially the Magnetic StropBoxTM and StropTopsTM can be purchased on eBay by clicking here.  We should have our dedicated website up and running shortly, at which point we will transition to selling there.

Be a part of something bold.  Buy one of our Little StropperTM products today!

Little Stropper Website & Store Finally Up And Running!

It's been rough, but I FINALLY have our NEW Little Stropper website up and running WITH a dedicated store! That's more going through eBay to buy our products. So check out the store and make your purchase today!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

New Product Launch! Read Carefully For FREE Offer!

Dear Client,

This has been a very exciting week at The Vintage Shaving Shoppe!  Now that we have finally filed for our patent, we can let the "cat out of the bag" on the newest and most innovative product available for maintaining your straight razors and fine knives. The Magnetic StropBoxTM along with our Magnetic StropTopsTM, part of our Little StropperTM brand, provide a low cost, easy to use system for keeping your blades shave-ready longer than ever.  And you will never have to look for a place to hang a strop again! For a long time, I have been telling my customers about the benefits of stropping on surfaces with varying degrees of abrasiveness.  But that used to mean having a whole bunch of strops hanging in the bathroom – not a wife-pleaser.  It’s also a very expensive way to maintain your razors, with strops running $30 to $70 each.

Those days are over.

Using the power of flexible magnets, the Patent Pending Magnetic StropBoxTM and Magnetic StropTopsTM create a completely swappable straight razor, knife and tool maintenance system that can be carried and used anywhere!  And since the 8.25” X 2.5” X 2.0” Magnetic StropBoxTM unit has a sliding door on the bottom of the unit, it’s perfect for storing a razor, a shaving brush, a barber’s hone or a small tube of abrasive paste – if it fits, it is secure inside the Magnetic StropBoxTM.  And the system  couldn’t be easier to use! The top of the Magnetic StropBoxTM is covered with a vinyl magnet, similar to the kind you might find on your refrigerator.  Just apply an 8.25” X 2.5” Magnetic StropTopTM available in fine stropping leather and 100% hard wool felt, to the top of the box and you are ready to strop.  And since each Magnetic StropTopTM also comes adhered to a flexible magnet, changing from one Magnetic StropTopTM to another is as easy as putting a magnet on your refrigerator door (in fact, it’s a handy place to keep them)! Hard wool felt is the PERFECT surface to use with abrasive pastes and sprays, so buy one leather Magnetic StropTopTM for final finishing and several hard wool felt Magnetic StropTopsTM pasted with different abrasives, for a COMPLETE system to keep your straight razors, knives and tools at their best.  You can apply these abrasives yourself or we can do it for you.  It is the IDEAL system for touching up that razor that seems a bit dull.


If you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to email us at

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Close Shave With Death - The Truth About Those Fancy Shaving Mugs

In the last few years, increasing numbers of collectors have been taken by the beautiful variety of shaving mugs that used to grace barber’s shelves by the dozens.  Of particular interest are the so-called “occupational” mugs – those that depicted the various occupations of the people of the town.  There were mugs for the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker, each featuring images that illustrated their occupations and often their name.  There were also mugs for lawyers, train conductors, tailors, chimney sweeps and even baseball players.  Those mugs without pictures often had the name of their owners proudly painted across the pure white or otherwise decorated surface.  Some of these styles of mugs are worth just a few dollars.  Others, especially the occupational mugs, can fetch hundreds or even thousands of dollars from serious collectors.
Typically, these mugs sat on a shelf in the barber’s shop, yet they were the property of the owner of the mug.  In fact, when the mug’s owner died, the mug was returned to the family by the barber.

While we are on the subject of death, I wanted to pass along a bit of shaving history that is slightly macabre…and the REAL reason for those cheerfully decorated mugs – fear of the Grim Reaper. Since it is likely that you weren’t born in the early 1900’s, you might not be aware that it wasn’t until 1928 that Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin.   And it was a good ten years before it was widely used.  If you were unlucky enough to get a nasty bacterial infection prior to Fleming’s discovery, you just had to ride it out and hope for the best.  

So those gentlemen who could afford them, bought their own mugs primarily to avoid catching another customer’s blood-borne bacterial infection.  It was THEIRS and could never be used by another customer.  Those who could not afford their own, took their chances that the barber washed his common mugs carefully between shaves.

In truth, if the barber employed even the most basic hygiene methods, like a good scrubbing with soap and water, the chances of passing along an infection would have been nearly zero; but it does say something about the tenor of the times before antibiotics were commonly available. 
Anyone for a nice personalized shaving mug?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The "Little Stropper" Is Coming To Town!

Another of those "looks" from the wife again.

Those of you gentlemen who are married or have similar long-term entanglements, are familiar with the glare that only people together for many years can share. In my case, this particular look is reserved for those days when the postman brings another brown box to our doorstep.  She knows that it is even money that the box contains some manner of sharpening device - a hone, a strop, stropping paste, hard wool felt, strop conditioner, balsa wool (yes, you can sharpen on this too), a slurry stone, diamond spray or something even more exotic.   And it's always the same question: "Aren't those damn razors sharp enough for you yet?"  My stock answer, "not if I can get an even BETTER shave out of them." It never seems to satisfy her.

If you are a true connoisseur of the straight razor shave, you understand exactly what I'm talking about.  You also probably know that it isn't all that difficult to get a hair-cutting edge on your razor - this can be done with honing stones (although the cost of purchasing all of the required hones can be prohibitive for the average gentleman.  But a sharp edge doesn't guarantee you a comfortable shave - for that you need to properly strop your razor.  To most people, a strop is just a leather strap hanging in their bathrooms; from a hook, towel bar, or whatever else is handy.  But there is more to stropping than running your razor over that piece of hanging leather.  And it was from this simple idea that Little Stropper was born.  Little Stropper products:
  • Ensure you get a closer, more comfortable shave;
  • Travel wherever you can take a straight razor - no hooks or towel bars required;
  • Extend the life of your razor.  This means longer intervals between trips to the "honemeister;"
  • Have been designed by me for my own personal use, and have also been put to the test making hundreds of razors shave-ready for our customers all over the world;
All Little Stropper products are completely made or finished BY HAND right here in Pennsylvania.  For the time being, I am handling the manufacture and finishing myself to ensure that they meet my personal specifications.  These items will be numbered and signed by me. 

Little Stropper is an exclusive brand of Vintage Shaving Shoppe, LLC.  We will not be selling Little Stropper products anywhere except from our dedicated website,, or from   The dedicated website is already up and running.  However, products are not yet available for sale there yet, but you can expect them to be available in the next week or two.  You can check the  website periodically.  You will also be notified automatically when products are available if you are a Follower on our blog or a Fan on our Facebook page.

I am very excited about our Little Stropper product line because I know that every one of our products will bring you a closer, more convenient and more enjoyable shaving experience.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at

Here is a "sneak preview" of two of our products...

The StropBrick: A hefty chunk of solid wood (Rosewood, in this photo) with three 6" stropping surfaces - one plain strip of bridle leather a shade over 1" wide, and two bridle leather strips 5/8" wide each treated with with a lightly abrasive stropping paste.  It is perfect for traveling or simply keeping on the bathroom shelf. It's always ready to use and each one is a work of art.  Clear rubber "feet" keep the StropBrick level and secure if you wish to use it on a hard surface.  Personally, I prefer to hold it in my hand.

The StropBox: If you travel, or if you are simply short on space for your shaving items, you will appreciate this ingenious tonsorial item.  Part high-quality vegetable-tanned leather strop and part storage case, the StropBox will keep your cutting edge smooth and provide storage for your favorite razor and anything else you can fit inside.  A sliding panel secures the contents.  I always grab my StropBox whenever I travel overnight and keep a tube of strop paste and a small barber's hone inside. Since the sliding panel is practically invisible, it is also a great place to keep some extra cash, jewelry, etc. on your trip.The StropBox is 100% solid wood (not plywood or pressboard) which has been hand-stained and features two coats of polyurethane on the external wood surfaces to water resistance and durability.  The stropping surface is a generous 8 1/4" long by 2 1/2" wide with leather hand-selected to have the smoothness and "draw" needed to tame the edge of your razor.  You may use stropping paste with your StropBox or we can paste it for you for a small additional charge.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

My Kingdom For A Reference!

 Having spent a lot of time in coins, stamps and other popular collectibles, I am a bit spoiled by the wealth of reference materials available on most of these items. Razors, on the other hand, are dismally documented by comparison, as are many of the companies that manufactured them. Try Googleing for information on Wade & Butcher - a MAJOR manufacturer for over a century and you will find very little. With razors you are basically stuck with The Standard Guide and Goins. I have found another free reference put out by Canada that isn't bad, but that it about it. And these guides themselves and sparse and incomplete. By saying this, I mean absolutely NO disrespect to the authors of these works. They have done a mammoth amount of work compiling what they have. But probably if you asked the authors (sorry, cannot ask Mr. Goins, as he sadly passed away), they would probably express the same dissatisfaction and frustration as I feel. There were SO many razor manufacturers making SO many brands. And unless they were also gold or silversmiths, the only documentation on them might have been their handbills, barber supply catalogs and their own catalogs.

But maybe what they could not do on their own we can do together. I would like to start a project where any of you anywhere who has a barber supply catalog, a manufacturer's catalog, an old flyer or anything on razors or Barberania, scan it into pdf format. If you cannot do that, send it to me and I will scan and return it. The only proviso is that these documents become part of the public domain so everyone can use them. I don't believe that there would be copyright issues on anything that old (some lawyer can email me if there is). It would be such a great project and do so much to advance the hobby.

I, for one, would love to get a razor and be able to find out how much it sold for, the history of the manufacturer and whether or not it was used in a particularly dastardly crime.

Does anyone know what razor Humphry Bogart shaved with?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Think About The Unthinkable & Sleep Better Tonight

You are a razor collector, a knife collector or a car collector.  You have spent countless nights, weekends, holidays and even vacations adding to and caring for your collection.

Have you ever thought that in a matter of hours...or even minutes, it could be gone?

If you are like me, just about now you are feeling a chill going up and down your spine.  Speaking personally, I have seen what happens to celluloid when it catches fire - it's scary.  And when I think about how many razors I have with celluloid scales, it's scarier still.  Knife collectors will be able to relate to this as well.  But you don't have to collect cutlery to be concerned.  A fire, flood or theft will affect ANY collector who has poured their heart and their dollars into their collection.

This is why you should give some SERIOUS consideration to insuring whatever you collect. If you think that your homeowners insurance will cover your collection, you need to take a very close look at your policy and speak with your agent.  More than likely, coverage will be EXTREMELY limited - both in dollar amounts and in the hazards against which you are protected.  So if you are a serious collector, you should be considering specialized insurance that will financially protect you against all hazards and for the full value of your collection.

Nothing will compensate you for the heartbreak of having your collection destroyed by fire or stolen; but with the right insurance from the right company, you will at least have the money to start rebuilding what you have lost.  For most collectibles, American Collectors Insurance is an excellent choice.  Their premiums are reasonable and their underwriter (the company actually responsible for providing the insurance and paying the claims) is rated "A" (Excellent) by AM Best - the top independent insurance rating agency.  As a licensed insurance agent, these rating are essential to deciding where to place my client's insurance.  I do not place anyone with a company rated below "A-."

American Collectors doesn't insure EVERY type of collectible (they don't insurance coins and stamps, for example), but they would certainly be one of my first recommendations to any collector looking for peace of mind and financial protection.  You can reach them at their website or give them a call at 1-800-360-2277.

Make the call and sleep better tomorrow night.