Bowl lathering is a fairly recent addition to wet shaving but is growing in popularity. Many shavers are coming to appreciate the benefits of the purpose-built lather bowl.
The Fine Accoutrements lather bowl is a popular choice. Today we will talk about its merits and weaknesses. A good lather bowl should: 1) retain heat, 2) lather efficiently, 3) be well designed.
The bowl itself is made from low-density ceramic, providing fair-to-middling heat retention. A warm lather for your first pass is easily doable, but that’s it.
This is a lathering bowl, though, and not a scuttle. If a multi-pass warm lather is desired you can rest the bowl in hot water, or just buy a scuttle.
A warm lather is a bonus with a bowl, but there is nothing that beats this bowl in the most important characteristic:
The Fine bowl has a pattern of raised grooves that really agitates the lather as you swirl the brush. You will likely spend less than half the time building lathering than you would with a smooth bowl.
The convex grooves of some bowls prevent the lather trapped in them from lathering efficiently, not so here. The dark color of the bowl allows water content and consistency to be evaluated with only a quick glance.
Lathering doesn’t get any easier than this.
The size of the bowl not is optimal for lather building. Lather builds nicely around the small area in the middle where most agitation occurs and is easy to gather up for further mixing due to the gentle slope toward the center.
The wide, shallow bowl eliminates the noisy clank of the brush during mixing common with deeper, narrower bowls, a noise not conducive to the restful and soothing experience of a truly luxury shave.
The bowl fits comfortably in the palm of your hand securely anchored by use of the thumb hole. If you are a vigorous latherer a bit of technique adjustment might be needed to prevent messy overflow with this bowl.
The Statichole Handle
The “Statichole” design turns a simple thumb hole into a mutli purpose feature. First, the top of the loop is grooved, providing a rest for the handle of your shave brush.
This feature, though functional, is not particularly useful with larger brush handles, as a bump tends to knock the brush into the bowl, though it may be more effective for smaller-handled brushes.
A hole through the top of the groove enables the bowl to hang from a hook attached to any vertical surface. This feature is very useful for those with limited space.
Build Quality and Durability
The bowl is well made. The glazing and finish can have some extra bumps (a bonus inside the bowl) and the area where the colors meet isn’t perfectly straight, but the glazing is consistent throughout.
Ceramic is a fragile material but it will stand up to most incidental bumps. Be careful not to drop it: it will likely break.
This bowl is great for anyone who would like to try bowl lathering or someone who is looking to upgrade to a purpose-built bowl, and is unique enough to be worth adding to an existing collection.
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