Recently, thanks to Tom Iovino of Tom’s Workbench, I have entered the world of wetshaving. Full of mysterious practices and arcane lore, it has as much of a slippery slope as hand tools, and can result in a similar accumulation of tools and potions. Fortunately, I have yet to succumb to the acquisition syndrome. True, I have two shaving brushes, three shaving soaps, four aftershaves, and 95 razor blades of various makes ready to be tried, but only ONE razor, and I’m going to stop there for now. Really.
The problem with these things is, of course, storage. In particular, my brushes and razor need something better. My “store-bought” brush came with a little dinky plastic stand, whose only virtue was that it was free. I presently rotate it between that brush and the one I made recently, letting the wet one dry there until the next day and swapping when the other is used. My double-edge razor is simply suspended between two slats of a rack beside the sink – less than ideal.
I started with the idea of making a similar brush stand out of wood for my second brush, but rapidly discarded that in favor of a more grandiose scheme. I kept coming back to the design of the legs that Marc Spagnuolo made for his mahogany trestle table. They had a grace and balance that appealed to me, and I wanted to do something similar. However, the mechanics of brush suspension required vertical, rather than slanted supports. Nevertheless, I determined to keep the shape of the base, at least in some capacity. I originally planned to just support my two brushes, but realized that the razor could be stored as well. After playing with various ideas, I hit upon the following tentative design:
The plan was to have two roughly L-shaped legs connected by a pair of stretchers of different size but similar shape. The upper stretcher would have three pairs of support arms – the two on the outside designed for brushes, and the middle one to hold a double-edge razor. Joinery would be mortise-and-tenon on a small scale, and the finish would be water-resistant.
The next question was the choice of materials. Since this was a small project, I wanted to use contrasting woods for visual impact. In the spirit of this blog’s name, I dug into my supply of little good pieces for appropriate material. After a bit of rummaging, I found a supply of ebony pen blanks – perfect for the legs and arms. Now for something contrasting but colorful for the stretchers. A bit more searching turned up a small slab of thin mahogany about ⅜” thick. This should provide a nice contrast to the ebony without being too “busy”., and should take on a really nice hue once it had aged a bit.
With the plans laid out and the materials chosen, it was time to begin. We’ll pick up there next time as we shape the pieces.