Film mówi sam za siebie. Najprostszy projekt. Eksperymentem było użycie zwykłej cegły rozbiórkowej. Znając zagrożenie, pilnowałem się by nie dostać jakimś odłamkiem. Osiągnięta temperatura to 1110C, ale można było ciągnąć dalej. Nie chciałem ponieważ to był punkt rozpłynięcia gliny. Sporo się nauczyłem jeśli chodzi o palenie, np. to, że zbyt dużo paliwa zmniejsza temperaturę i podnosi redukcję. Trzeba balansować. Fajna sprawa. Następnym razem jeszcze bardziej muszę spowolnić krzywą wypału.
In this post I simply want to collect and present all the pieces of pottery that I hold in my private “collection” which are: traditional, Polish, utilitarian, genuine, produced by professional potters. They all have very specific forms, clay and glazes. Usually the old potters used practicing a few forms but they mastered it by thousands of repetitions. It is not only about the shape. By default they all have been produced for daily use. So they had to meet the practical expectations of users. To my knowledge there are still some traditional potters continuing their practice, but just few. There some places in Poland where most of the families settled in specific village practiced pottery. But currently, it is great deal to find there even one active potter. So this heritage pass away. It is sufficient motivation to collect photos. Here you are.
Shortly saying, these are the latest firing results.
Something for the autumn. Mugs for hot tea. Impressed texture when still wet and then continued throwing on the wheel.
and some other pieces from the same firing:
I’m not the only one who loves stabilized wood. Stabilization with colored resin exposes nicely the most natural effect of the wood structure and reveals the natural beauty of this material. Myself, I’m not keen of the artificial colorful effects (those that you cannot meet in nature like half pink half sky blue or similar), but there are still plenty of possibilities to underline natural qualities of this great material.
The other problem is that what we all appraciate so much is technologically a junk, considered as waste in manufacturing process. Simply saying, it is not a material that can stand any defined stability or bending streight standards. Unfortunately, razor scales work during use, the proper bending of the scales is necessary to position the blade properly.
I challenged this and the material challenged myself. As you can see below, down below the end results, the first scales broke.
Nevertheless here you can see the second attempt tha is successful
As said, I was almost at the end of making process, being happy with the effect of very thin and subtle scales while one of them broke with a little pressing. So the second attempt was different, I added the 1mm G10 background to the scales. What could be done better – now I still see the space for making the scales thinner, both the G10 and the wood. Maybe, in some time….
Another discover of this exercises it the simple tool for grinding and polishing. I used sand paper on bottle cork and pieces of polishing stones but was not really satisfied. I was looking for good balance between the stiffness and flexibility. I found a simple piece of technical cork with plastic tapes perfect for this purpose. You can see it on the below picture.
Here is how the starting razor looked like. It is very nice, well smiling, Swedish Eskilsutna from Joh Engstrom.
October and November were mainly focused on preparations for the closure of the “Niepodległa” action that I started a year ago. As you may read in other posts, the goal was to release a set of custom-made pottery, a knife and a razor. I wanted to make (or rather encourage other makers to produce) a set of products matching one another and all under one umbrella of the national programme for “Niepodległa”. Bad news is that I didn’t manage to go this way and get all artefacts under single design but the good message is that all 3 products have been successful released.
The above 9/8 razor was designed by Rafał Lewandowski (nick Lewy, see LR logo on the neck) following the bests designs in the history. Although you cannot find the well-known CC logo on it, the blade itself was made by Sebastian Cichomski. This is another guarantee factor of the highest quality. Both colleagues can be met at knives.pl forum. The polishing and finishing, making the scales (oak and red G19) and the most appealing part – the engraved and painted flag with dates and the eagle, was all perfectly done by Lewy. It might be not that visible but the logo (multi passes of electric and chemical etching) is deep and really tree-dimentional. The red and white painting is very durable (kind of thermo-stablized paint used for bottle caps). At the end, the razor itself is not at all merely and exhibition artefact – it is very practical for daily use. Below you can see how this razor in action, recoreded by Pimps, namely Mariusz Sapeta.
What can I say more? I’m the humble owner of it. But I would be grateful if this is not a single piece but rather the first in a short series. In case you are interested in getting it, contact the maker or send me an email.
Pottery was the easiest to me, fully under my control. Once the final design of the razor showed up, I turned obvious that the ceramics shall follow the same color patter. This is how this set of rustic black (to resemble the facture of the black oak) with the red rounds and galleries came to real. I’m happy with the result – simple, practical and nice. In fact I made different handles, lathering bowls, AS bottle, a mug and even a candle holder. All that can be seen in different pictures below. All, except the duo-band brash which I use as my primary tool for daily shaving, has been given to charity. But will make more pieces in similar design.
Just few days prior the Independence Day, it came to me that the goal was to release also a knife. I have (almost) never made any knife myself (except 1 very practical guy made for myself during my scouting times, which by the way is still in use and fully operational). So, what could I do not having established any cooperation with knives makers? Fortunately, some 15 years ago, I bought raw blade on flea market that could be used as a starting point. It must have been the maker who sold it to me. I remember him selling quite a number of similar blades. But I have no clue who was the maker and if he operates until now. Until October I had been using the blade mainly for throwing – yes, lack of handle was the enabler for progressive learning of this unneeded skill. I found the blade the best candidate for quick make of a knife which can fit in the design to the ceramics and the razor, and still be fully useful (so called EDC category).
The above picture shows the final effect, when being used in the field. The below pictures document some phases of preparations: grinding, polishing, etching the logo, making the scales mounting the pin.
I have to add that the pin is excellent. It was bought from one of the eshops in Poland but was produced by Alexey Balatsky who takes the orders also directly and is very cooperative.
I wanted to have the blade looking aggressive therefore decided to make satin finish for tang and spine but leave glossy hollow.
The knife has been made just for my private use. No plans to make more. Honestly, it still requires some perfections.
Saito SK1 smiles to you. The smile is deep and extraordinary. Surprising, the shave itself is smooth, easy and “dully” normal. However, yet exciting and more precise in shaving than any other common straights.
I got fascinated with SK1 Saito Kikuboshi razor since the very first time when I saw. It seemed so much not available to me because of the price and unavailability. Along learning about its origin – all that about Japanese barber master Kikuboshi and in general about mastership in crafting Japanese traditional razors – Kamisori, my fascination and believe in its quality was merely increasing. As far as I know there not many of them in Poland – for sure 2 pieces. YouTube offers some clips made in Japan, Russia, Finland and US. Not many. Both Polish makers of custom razors have made single pieces following this specific design (see the one from Topek and the other from Cichy). Hence, the price reflects both – quality and small number of them offered on the market.
I will be not repeating its history and markings. What is worth mentioning is that there are 3 profiles of SK : 1, 2 and 3. While SK1 is the extremely curved the SK3 is still smiling deep but not that shocking deep. SK2 is in between of them regarding the profile (read about it here). I hope to present all 3 types in some time. Change in the profile affects the height of the blade which subsequently is reflected in the change of the hollow (see the photo below). SK1 comes with its amazing hollow ground with belly. Additionally I can share that It was discovered during the renovation that there are extra 1-2-3 markings hidden on the blade under the scales at the pivot. There is a nice website documenting that all.
In this way I was somehow inclined to seek them at origin, in Japan. Thanks to my colleague, whose wife is Japanese, it became much easier to me that thought before. SKs are available there more often than in other places but it is still very rare and limited. In 6 months I discovered 3 SK3, 2 SK1 and 2 SK2. Which does not mean that I wanted to buy all of them. While by rule they are less expensive there, there are still substantially costly. However, nice SK3 can be bought for $70. It happens that they sell whole gear sets from old barber shops and then the price can very attractive But you get it in bulk with many items that might be out of your interest. The best is to be there on the spot and visit markets and antique boutiques.
All that means that renovation becomes a must. Although I admit that in essence Japanese take care about such things while using, packing standards and fidelity of the description when selling is higher than in Europe. Mine was renovated by Lewy (drop by to knives.pl forum). As you could see in the other post he did excellent job with my F.Reynolds. No hesitation that he can do such a good job with this one.
In fact he renovated SK1 and SK3 in one shot, the latter was bought by me for the other college – MJW. During that renovations, Lewy discovered the extra hidden markings at pivots and also the fact that both had unsymmetrical pin wholes at the pivot. It was not visible, but as such normally, it is considered as a imprecision, if not a defect. Conclusion might be that we seek perfection in craftship of treser piecem while in essence they were manufactured for daily use. Nowadays traditional shaving comes as extravagance and this is why we look for features which are not essential for use. Saying so, in no means, I depreciate the attractiveness of SKs. The blade is made for “simple” beauty and extreme effectiveness in shaving.
Here I can mention that scales of my SK1 came with beautiful deep green (like bottle glass) cast. I felt lucky and start preparing a set of leathering scuttle and brush handle. Unfortunately, green turned to deep glossy black during the renovation. Most likely the scales are made of a material which ages (probably oxidizes in sun light) with changing its color. You can see other pieces on the market with brownish scales. Probably that is the same effect. My SK3 scales are of different ferry tail.
Lewy made an excellent job. No signs of use or post rust craters. It surface is smooth and elegant. See the photo below, it turns as a mirror.
I cannot say much about the steel used for Kikuboshi razors. If you read it and you can contribute please post comments, maybe some links regarding the steel used. In the other pieces I can see the engraved note “Swedish steel”.
When it comes to shaving I have to say that I was ready to admit in advance that SK1 might be more museum exhibit while SK3 is designed for use. How the hell to shave with such a sickle! I was wrong, fortunately fully wrong! First of all it is much smaller than the impression learned from photos. In fact it is tiny piece. It became so appealing to me in context of different razor. I used to strop my Filarmonika 14 with no specific impressions. But then, just after stroping SK1, the usual Filarmonika turned to be giant.
Surprisingly, shaving came “dully” normal. No need for any specific technique or directions. Not at all. 2 runs, as usual, where fully sufficient. The same routine. I expected SK1 to be typical loud razor. Surprisingly the echo given by it is not that loud as from other full hollow 8/8. I suppose that the blade profile itself and the belly stabilizes it very effectively.
The deep curve, enables additional natural move of the wrist which is not possible in straights. It is subtle and tiny, but it helps. I can say that due to that additional gesture, shaving seems to be more precise.
Does shaving take more time? Compering to common system safety razors – no doubts – much more. I consider traditional shaving as extravagance by definition. So there is no surprise. So why to do so? Myself I can say that I gain a kind of allergia to many mainstream behaviors and daily routines. But that is different story, subject itself. When comparing shaving time of SK1 and Filarmonika – there is no obvious difference in favor of the first or the latter.
The only thing that I found cumbersome is the bloody scales, precisely its position when stropping. Stopping the smile is a bit different from other straights. An extra dimension in the move is needed. It is not difficult but requires a bit more attention. The protruding handles do not help in this operation.
Please share your opinions and resources.
Here is the beautiful razor that was renovated by Lewy in the scalesselected bravely by my. There is other post on the razor itself.
Once the razor was done I started looking for its companions – brush and scuttle. That is not easy because the kirinite lava flow material for the scales is semitransparent and opals with grey. Because of transparency in nicely projects 3d effect.
My choice was obviously ceramics. Coloring porcelain body with traces of red colored clay. But red pigment is full o Cd cadmium, which is highly poisonous. I had to wait long for encapsulated pigment from Germany.
In meantime I tried to do so with regular cream clay C930 and glossy black glaze WT11401 with Botz Pro red strip. First attempt – good match. Assess it yourself below.
Interesting thing – the scuttle and brash are not fully fired to stoneware.There was unexpected break in delivery of electricity. I can fire it again, but there is no rush.
Below you can see an attempt to agateware – black with red traces. No glaze. I like the satin end effect.