I started wet shaving about two months ago and one of the first things I learnt is that shaving with cold lather is horrible. Cold lather undoes a good pre-shave preparation and can make the lather feel like slime on your skin.
One morning after shaving I tried to describe it to a female friend as she wasn’t getting the problem:
‘You know what bukkake is right?’
‘Well imagine zombie bukkake, that’s what brushing your face with cold shaving lather feels like!’
‘…why are we friends again?’
Later that morning I decided enough was enough and hit the internet in search of answers. The answer to my problem was found in the shaving scuttle.
The basic idea behind a shaving scuttle is that it’s a double walled bowl or mug. You pour hot water into the wall and it in turn heats up the inner bowl which then keeps your lather warm. Sounds simple enough but sourcing one in Australia proved to be a nightmare.
I spent a good two weeks trying to track one down here and made various enquiries from US suppliers. Not being able to find any locally the best I seemed to be able to find was a hand crafted one for $70AUD or so shipped.
I was about to give up and bite the bullet but then I ran across some information that Target were selling some metallic bowls that with a little bit of modifying made a decent enough scuttle. Eager to get my hands dirty and knock up a scuttle myself, last Thursday I saddled up the Long Haul Trucker and rode down to Target.
To make your own cheap shaving scuttle here’s what you’ll need:
- A drillable double walled bowl (Target $13)
- 17″/64 or 6.75mm drill bit (Bunnings $7)
- Drill (I used my elcheapo Kmart single speed drill)
- something to hold the bowl against while you drill
- fine sand paper (optional but recommended)
1. Gathering the materials
The Target stainless steel bowl was found in their kitchen section and came in various sizes. I got the smallest one as the next size up was quite large. I’m a bowl latherer so I need a bit of room but the honestly the large bowl was like a mixing bowl.
I’ve included the barcode of the product on the right there to make it easier for you to find. Keep in mind any double walled bowl will do so long as it’s drillable and of a suitable size. For obvious reasons ceramic bowls are out (unless you’ve got some fantastic way to drill them without the bowl shattering).
Next up was the drill bit. I’ve got various drill bits at home but as far as I know they’re all still good to use. Not wanting to particularly destroy them I figured I’d make a pitstop at Bunnings on my way home and get the cheapest drillbit I could find suitable for drilling metal.
They had quite a few different options but the cheapest I could see was the brand ‘Viper Bit’. I guestimated the size of the hole needed and settled on 6.75mm. You can go smaller but keep in mind too small and you might have trouble filling the bowl later.
The drill I used was my trusty $20 Kmart ‘Maximate’ 12V single speed. If I could do this with a yumcha drill then any drill should do. Sandpaper I just had lying around in one of my tool boxes.
2. Drilling the holes
I’ve never drilled metal before so I was a bit weary of the drill bit slipping around. I don’t have a workbench with clamps or anything so I had to make do jamming the bowl against a wall corner.
With my crappy single speed it took roughly 20 seconds to penetrate the outer top rim of the bowl. I pressed down rather hard to begin with so the drill bit guided itself and didn’t slip.
Make sure you ease off as the bit goes through so you don’t have the drill go crazy against the inside of the outer bowl when you puncture through.
You’ll be drilling two holes on opposite sides, I can’t remember the physics behind it but remember how you used to have to puncture two or three holes in the old pineapple juice tins or they wouldn’t pour properly? Same deal here, if there’s only one hole the scuttle will take ages to drain and fill up.
3. Finishing it off
Next is just a quick rub with some sandpaper to smooth the holes. Mine weren’t particularly sharp or uneven but I did it anyway. I was also pleased to see the drilling didn’t cause the bowl rim to become uneven or warp at all.
After you’re done sanding make sure you empty out the metal shavings from inside the bowl (inside the double wall too) as you don’t want to be rubbing metal filings on your face the next time you shave.
I found the easiest way to clear the inside was just to fill the scuttle with some water, put my thumbs on the holes, give it a shake and then empty out. Give it a few taps to dislodge any shavings that might be stuck too.
4. All done!
No more zombie bukkake for you every morning!
One of the great things about this scuttle is because it’s stainless steel it heats up really fast. With the ceramic scuttles the advice is usually fill with hot water and go have a shower or something for 5-10 minutes until it’s warm.
With a metallic scuttle it’s nice to be able to just fill it, start mixing a lather and then shave straight away.
Being stainless also means it’s not going to rust anytime soon, so long as you empty it and let it air out between uses of course. For this reason I’d advise against packing it away into a drawer between uses, instead let it dry on your bathroom sink top.
Unlike the ceramic scuttles you are also able to use boiling water although I’d advise against it. I found boiling water made the lather start to break down or “melt” between passes, I assume because too much heat was transferred through the metal bowl. Hot water from the tap is fine.
Considering the outlay for this scuttle was only $20 I felt pretty happy when I was done considering the $70 shipped alternative from the US. Enjoy your new scuttle!