Hello gents, I am finally back with another shave bowl review. I know it’s been quite a while since my last one, but I just hadn’t bought any new ones recently. However, I did get this one in recently. I was plinkin’ around on eBay a couple months ago, and stumbled across this one listing. It expired before I could buy the bowl though. So I messaged the company about getting one, because it interested me and I wanted to try it out and review it. To my surprise they emailed me personally and offered to send me a bowl to review!! Can’t thank you guys enough for sending me this awesome bowl to review! I appreciate it very much. Let’s get started on this bowl, shall we?
This bowl isn’t your average shaving bowl. For one, it’s copper instead of clay, porcelain, plastic, etc etc., and second it has a handle like a mug does. I’m not sure how the handle will come into play with the use of this bowl, if it does at all. You can clearly tell this was hand made from all the hammer marks and the welds where the handle is attached. For me, this really adds a nice aesthetic to the bowl, and gives it a uniqueness. It’s about the same size around as my Col. Conk shave bowl, but has a much bigger opening and is taller as well. At the bottom is a space that I’m guessing they made for shave soap puck to go. It’s a tad bit bigger around than your average puck, and is only about 1/4″ deep, but it does allow a puck to sit in it nicely. Other than the sticker on the bottom that has the company name and a donkey on it, there are no other markings on the bowl anywhere. To be honest, I had kind of expected some sort of acid or laser etched logo to be on the side or the bottom of the bowl. However, the company opted for just a clear sticker on the bottom of the bowl. Doing so makes the bowl very clean looking, and gives it more of a handmade look. Whereas an etched logo would kind of show more of a mass produced product. So I totally get their reason for going with just the sticker.
I really like the polished and shiny look this bowl has to it! I will have to make sure to take very good care of it to make the shiny polished finish stay that way as long as possible. It will naturally build a patina over time from the oils in my skin/hands, as well as the things in the water. That’s just the nature of metals, and especially copper. Copper is a softer metal, kind of like gold, so it easily gets scratched, and bent, and all that jazz. It also tarnishes easier than other metals, and builds a natural patina quicker as well. I’ve seen some really really beautiful antique copper items that have gained such awesome patinas to them! Each one having a completely unique tarnish to it. I really hope that after the luster of this bowl is no longer there, that it develops a cool looking unique tarnish/patina to it! That will take years and years to accomplish though. Hopefully I still have my blog and can show you guys by then haha.
I will be showcasing this bowl in every way I can for you guys. First I will test it out as strictly a lather building bowl. And then I will try it out with a puck inside of it also. As well as a shaving cream usage bowl too. I have to say, I really like the size and shape of this bowl a lot! It fits in my hand perfectly. I had thought the handle might kind of get in my way, but it doesn’t. I just turn it around to where it’s in between my thumb and pinky, and I’m able to grip the bowl from the bottom quite well. This will allow me to really work up a good lather with my brush I think.
I’m going to start by using it as just a lather bowl, even though it has that indentation in it. I started with just a soap I have previously reviewed and had been using for a little while. I wanted to use something familiar so I would be able to see if there was any difference in using this bowl versus my usual one. I noticed a difference with this bowl almost immediately. The indentation allows me to build up the lather a lot quicker. My regular bowl is just a smooth wide bowl, whereas this one has a smooth curve, but also has the indentation. And that right angle allowed me to build up the lather much faster. Other than that though, I didn’t notice any difference in the lather’s quality or texture when using this bowl. The lather seemed to be the same as when I use my other bowl, it just got there quicker. Which is definitely a good thing when you’re in a hurry and need to shave quickly.
This bowl really did a good job as a lather bowl. There was quite a bit of lather left in the bowl after I brushed some on my face. I really like the shape and size of it too. It is really easy to grip with my hand and scoop the lather out with my brush. A bit easier than my regular bowl actually. So far I’m liking this bowl quite a bit. I do have some more testing to do with this one though before I make a final judgement of how I like it.
After rinsing the bowl out I was pleased to see that the shiny finish was still very present. I didn’t really expect it to diminish at all after just one use, but sometimes things can surprise you. I did see some scratch marks in the bowl from my brush though. They’re very small and light, but they were there. You can kind of see them a little bit in the very bottom down in the indentation area. That part isn’t as shiny, because of the brushes scratch marks. I half expected this to happen though. Like I said before, copper is a softer metal and is very easily scratched and whatnot. All said and done, the first trial of this bowl was really nice. I was happy with it all around. I’m really looking forward to seeing how this bowl builds up a patina too. I think this bowl will really start to look cool after a year or two of using it.
The second way I am testing this bowl is with shaving cream. I picked another tried and true shaving cream that I’ve used quite a few times and know how it normally is. However, this time I switched up my brushes and am using my Simpson badger brush. I really like how this brush works up shaving cream lather, so I decided to use it this time. Just like with the soap, the cream’s lather built up really quickly. Faster than it does in my other bowl. I also noticed that there was a bit more lather than I usually get using my normal bowl too. This is definitely a plus for you guys that do 2 or 3 passes when shaving. You will easily have more than enough lather when using a cream in this shave bowl. I was very happy with how much lather I was able to get and how quickly I was able to get it.
The second test of this bowl was awesome. I liked it even more than the first time I used it! Again I noticed more scratches once I rinsed the bowl out. These are giving the inside of the bowl a worn look really quickly. Quite a bit sooner than I had expected to be honest. I figured it would take a fair amount of usage before I’d see a worn look to the inside of the bowl. However, after just using it twice, it looks like I’ve been shaving with this bowl for a month or two. I’m kind of surprised it’s taking on this look so quickly. It’s not a bad thing, I just wasn’t expecting it to do so that’s all. I am liking this bowl a lot though, and can easily recommend it as a shave bowl just after using it twice.
For the third test I did of this bowl, I decided to switch things up a lot. I went with a new shaving cream, and a synthetic brush this time. Well, sort of a new cream. It’s a different scent of Barber Side’s shaving cream. Just like the last two times, after just a few seconds the lather had built up pretty much all the way. As you can see there’s quite a bit in my brush and in the bowl. That indentation and the way I’m able to grasp this bowl really makes it super easy to work up lather. And not just with creams, but with soap as well. I’m really liking that about this bowl a lot. It’s kind of spoiling me haha, because now I’m not wanting to use my other bowl as much. This one allows me to build up a really good lather very quickly, and gives me more lather than I usually get from my other bowl. I did try using the handle while I finished working up the lather, but I didn’t really like it much. It’s a bit awkward for me to hold it by the handle and swirl my brush around. I much prefer grabbing the bowl by the bottom and working up the lather that way instead. It’s much easier, and produces lather a lot quicker.
When I went to use this bowl with a puck in it, I found that all my pucks were stuck in my other mugs and bowls. And I didn’t want to try and pry any of them out, so I opted to save this test for the next time I review a new puck. With me just starting on a new cream review, I didn’t want to also start a shave soap review. I tried that in the past and it just didn’t work all that well for me. So I’ve just stuck to reviewing one thing at a time when it comes to creams and soaps. I will for sure test this bowl out that way and either update this review, or add in the soap review how this bowl does using it with a puck inside it.
I did use the bowl quite a few times each way I tested it though, to make sure I put I through a good amount of use. And after having this bowl for a few months and using it quite a bit, I took some pictures of how it has “worn” so to speak. The first one is the shot of the inside of the bowl. As you can see, there are quite a few scratch marks from my brushes on the inside. Also, the shine it used to have had gone down quite a bit, and the inside is nowhere near as shiny as it used to be. There’s also some dark spots that have started to form on the inside too, kind of starting the buildup of its patina. It’s not a huge difference from how it was when I first got it new, but you can tell that it’s starting to get an aged and worn look to it a bit.
The next picture I took was kind of an angled view of the outside, with a little bit of the inside showing as well. I took this one to kind of show how the handle and the rim look. The handle, even though I didn’t grab it much, has lost nearly all of the shine it had to it. And the rim was the same way, which I knew it would be. I often run my brush over it when scooping out the lather. I also sometimes scrape my brush over the edge of the bowl to get excess lather off of it. So I knew the rim would lose its shine, and start to kind of take on a patina to it. The inside of rim has also gained a darker look to it. Now, it had already been slightly darker than the rest of the bowl when I first got it, but it has definitely gotten darker since I’ve been using it. There’s also some dark spots that you can see on the outside of the bowl just under the rim too. These spots got really dark for some reason, and only these spots. I’m not exactly sure what happened there, as I always wiped it off well after using it. And I never left any lather or water spots on the bowl at all. Nonetheless, these two really dark spots came to be on the outside of the bowl.
The other pics I took were of both sides of the bowl so you could see how it has “aged” since I’ve been using it. The outside has held up its shine pretty nicely. I mean you can easily see the discoloration and start of a patina building on the outside, but the shine is still there unlike the inside. I was kind of surprised it stayed as shiny as it did with me grabbing it by the sides each time. I had kind of expected the oils from my hands to affect it more, but they didn’t. They definitely aided in slightly discoloring it, but didn’t take the shine down at all. So far I’m really happy with how this bowl has aged and whatnot. I’m really liking the look it has to it after being used for a few months.
As far as the performance of the bowl goes, I give this one a high recommendation. It’s definitely a bowl all of you wet shave enthusiasts and collectors should have in your collection! I really liked everything about this bowl. I don’t have any negative, or even slightly non-positive, to say about it. It really was a great bowl, and has become my favorite that I own. I still like all of my other bowls just fine, it’s just that this one has become my favorite. It’s kind of the perfect bowl for me. I strongly suggest you guys get yourself one of these for your collection/shelf/den, and soon! To get one, just go on their website http://www.hammeredmules.com and put one in your cart. Huge thank you again to the owner of Hammered Mules for sending me this awesome bowl! I really loved it a lot! I hope you don’t mind that I took my time with the review and waited to post it until it built up a little bit of a patina on it. I just wanted to show how this bowl aged so to speak. Anyway, thank you again very much! I look forward to trying out another one of your mugs or bowls in the future!! Seriously guys, check out their stuff ASAP! You won’t regret it, it’s quality stuff.
Stay fresh fellas,