Late in 2016 Mark from Canuck soaps approached me about making some shaving bowls. I had been asked about them before but this was the final push that made finally consider the idea seriously. Over the course of a few days we kicked around some ideas and finally came up with a design that included a lidded bowl with a well in the bottom for a puck of soap and enough extra space to swirl a brush around and work up a lather.
In the new year I began working on the idea and made a prototype shaving bowl out of Mountain ash wood.
I have been using this bowl for almost a year now and so far it is holding up well. I was originally concerned with how it would hold up to moisture. In practice it does not seem to be a problem. It turns out that that there is not really a lot of water that actually gets into the bowl since it is only enough to whip up a bit of lather. So far it seems to dry out well enough between uses to not cause problems.
I showed the prototype to Mark and he liked it well enough that I decided to go ahead and make a small run to pin down what the price would need to be. I felt comfortable enough that if the price was too high for him then I could still sell them myself. After all I am selling a bowl that happens to some with soap where he is selling soap that happens to come in a bowl.
Since he wanted a darker wood I purchased some walnut to make these bowls. After making a run of ten shaving bowls I came up with a price that was more than he felt he could sell them at. Since that was the case he sold me some shaving soap at wholesale prices to go with them. I tried one myself and it has turned out to be quite nice. It is unscented, lathers well and has so far lasted over six months of shaving every other day. I should note that he has a variety of scents available but unscented was my preference.
I still have some of these available in my Etsy shop. Enough of them have sold though that I am starting to think about what kind of wood to use next. I would like to go back to using reclaimed local wood of some kind. A few options that may be possible are: maple, cherry, yellow cedar or maybe something I’m not thinking about right now. Which would you like to see: