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How to identify the best shaving brush

How to identify the best shaving brush

When it comes to wet shaving, the shaving brush is simply the most indispensable tool you can own. Notwithstanding the numerous recent shaving cream and gel developments, of which some even come in pressurized cans and are marketed as modern brush-less creams, there is still a big difference between using a shaving brush to apply lather and using not using one at all.  Many men believe that a shaving brush is not needed in the wet shaving process.  Read more to find out why these men are misinformed about the many benefits of the shaving brush.

 

The Benefits of using a Shaving Brush

best shaving brushA shaving brush helps to create a richer lather with water which helps create a cleaner shave by opening up more pores in addition to lubricating the skin. This application reduces razor dragging and skipping which could create harmful bumps and spots on the human face. Using a shaving brush to apply the lather in a circular motion helps lift facial hairs better than when the cream is applied by hand which reduces the probability of painful ingrown hairs.  Using a brush helps to gently remove old dead cells from the outermost skin layer. The best shaving brush, which we will get to shortly, will therefore combine some or all of these benefits.

The parts of a Shaving Brush include the loft, the knot and the overall height. The knot is the bundle of bristles while the loft is its length. When choosing the best shaving brush for yourself, you may want to consider the two types of shapes of the loft tips and which one you may prefer. This is because some of the tips are spread out wide like a fan and others are bulb shaped.

The Different Types of Shaving Brushes

There are basically two types of shaving brushes depending on the material of the knot. There are natural brushes which include boar, horse and badger hairs and there are also synthetic brushes which are made from non-natural bristles.

Synthetic Shaving Brushes

Edwin Jagger Synthetic Brush - Ivory - 21P37Synthetic shaving brushes are normally made from nylon but can also be made from other synthetic materials during the manufacturing process.  Synthetic brushes can be the best shaving brush for some people, like vegans who prefer them to brushes made from animal parts. Performance-wise, synthetic hair brushes rank better than boar brushes but below badger brushes.  Synthetic brushes do have their advantages and the following is a short list of the pros and cons you will be interested in knowing regarding synthetic brushes.

The Pros of Synthetic Shaving Brushes

– Durability
Synthetic fibers are normally stronger than natural fibers and can therefore last for much longer.

– Quick Drying
After washing, synthetic fibers will dry much quicker than natural hairs.

– Animal Rights
Using synthetic fibers gives a vegan or any other animal friend peace of mind.

The Cons of Synthetic Shaving Brushes

– Natural Feel
Synthetic bristles generally lack the softness at the tip that most natural bristles have. Though some can be quite soft at the tips, their softness is still less than those of natural fibers.

– Water Retention
Synthetic brushes are insensitive to water and can therefore not hold moisture for a long period like natural fibers.

– Backbone Feel
The backbone feel of a natural fiber brush can be varied by soaking it in water but this is not the case with synthetic fabrics because they are insensitive to water.

Boar Shaving Brushes

Boar brushes are made from bristles taken from boars. They can be quite coarse at first, but they tend to get softer with time. They normally retain less water than badger bristles and no matter how much softer they get, they always remain harder on the skin than badger bristles. However, the very low prices of boar shaving brushes do make them attractive to some people.

Horse Hair Brushes

Shaving brushes made from horse hair are usually much softer and less coarse than boar bristles. They are still stiffer than badger bristles anyway and their colors are as varied as horse colors are. They are simply cut off from the tail of the horse, therefore no animal is actually harmed for their production.

Badger Brushes

Simpsons Shaving Brush - Beaufort B1 Pure BadgerBadger bristles are considered the best material for making shaving brushes. They can retain more water and make more lather than the other materials. Plus they are quite soft and have a gentler feel to the skin than bristles from other materials. The best shaving brush for most non-vegans are usually badger brushes. There are four grades of badger hair, depending on how fine or coarse they are, which is mostly as a result of the part of the badger that the hair came from.

– Pure Badger
Pure Badger hair is the most widely available grade of badger hair. It is made from a large percentage of the badger’s body and represents the lower grade of badger shaving brushes. They are the coarsest and stiffest.  However, these badger brushes do provide a great beginners option for someone who is just starting out with wet shaving.

 

– Best Badger
Best grade badger bristles are finer and softer than the pure grade bristles. The colors range form gray to a lighter brown and they can hold much more water than pure grade bristles. They are taken mostly from the belly areas of the badger.  Another great option for someone who wants a great shaving brush for a super affordable price.

– Super Badger
Super badger grade of hair is even more finer and softer than the best grade. They are obtained from the back of the badger and are as such pretty rare.  They usually have a black banded midsection with whiter tips than the pure and best grades.

– Silver-tip Badger
Silver-tip badger hairs are obtained from the neck of the badger. They are the most rare badger hair segment compared to the other grades and also more expensive. Silver-tip bristles are the finest and softest grade of badger hair for shaving brushes. They are used in manufacturing the best shaving brush that a man could buy.  If you demand the best of the best and are willing to pay for it, you can get the Silver-tip badger brush and be a very happy wet shaver for a very long time because this is the best shaving brush hairs money can buy.

6 Best Shaving Brush Options

Edwin Jagger Synthetic Brush - Faux Tortoise Shell - 21P131. Edwin Jagger 21P13 – Synthetic Brush with Faux Tortoise Shell

The Edwin Jagger 21P13 is a high quality synthetic shaving brush with a beautiful brown faux tortoise shell handle. It is perfect for beginners and the best shaving brush for vegans and other animal friends.

 

 

Edwin Jagger SilverTip Badger Brush & Stand - 1EJ467SDS2. Edwin Jagger 1EJ467SDS – Silver-Tip Badger Brush with Stand

The 1EJ467SDS from Edwin Jagger is made from the highest quality silver-tip badger bristles. This brush comes in a beautiful faux ivory handle and a matching ivory stand. If you really want the best shaving brush that you can afford, you have found it here.

 

 

Edwin Jagger Shaving Brush - Super Badger & Stand - 1EJ287SDS3. Edwin Jagger 1EJ287SDS – Super Badger Shaving Brush with Stand

The second best shaving brush in this list is this super badger brush from Edwin Jagger. It comes with its own standing kit and in a faux ivory handle.

 

 

Edwin Jagger Shaving Brush - Ebony Best Badger - 1EJ8764. Edwin Jagger 1EJ876 – Ebony Best Badger Shaving Brush

The Edwin Jagger 1EJ876 is a very cost effective shaving brush of the best badger grade. Though not as expensive as the previous two products, the best badger grade still offers some considerable quality. This brush comes in a faux ebony handle.

 

 

Simpsons Shaving Brush company has provided quality brushes for almost a 100 years which include models such as the Special S1 Pure Badger.5. Simpsons Special S1 – Pure Badger Shaving Brush

The Special S1 is a high quality pure badger brush from Simpsons, a well renowned brush maker. Combining a good price with a good quality brush, this product offers great value for the money.

 

 

Simpsons Shaving Brush - Duke D1 Best Badger6. Simpsons Duke D1 Best Badger Shaving Brush

The Duke D1 from the Simpsons shaving brush line is a thick handled high quality shaving brush which is made to please during the wet shaving process.  This high quality brush is one of the best sellers today and continues to attract wet shavers all over the world from it’s unique look, feel and design.

 

Conclusion

The winner is simple. The best shaving brush if money isn’t an option is the silver-tip badger brush. However, if you would like to spend less money on a brush since you are just starting out with wet shaving or want to add a great cost effective brush to your shaving tools, be sure to try any of the pure or best badger brushes mentioned.  Ultimately, it comes down to preference so don’t overthink the brush options too much.  Try one brush and jumpstart your journey today.  If you have questions about this article or any of our products, please feel free to contact us anytime.  We will be more than happy to assist you.

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The History of Wet Shaving

The History of Wet Shaving

Wet Shaving

Wet shaving is the practice of wetting the face first with hot or warm water and applying shaving cream before the actual act of shaving itself. This art of shaving is a very old tradition that dates back into antiquity. There is no definite date when it can be said that the first human being decided to shave himself, but there are archaeological findings and cave paintings that indicate that early-man must have used seashells as tweezers to pull off facial hair as early as 100,000 years BC. By 30,000 BC, shaving had evolved to the use of flint blades in scraping the face.

Wet ShavingThe pharaohs of ancient Egypt are known to completely shave both their facial hairs and to shave their heads bald. But their method of shaving on the other hand is not exactly known. Circular bronze and gold razors have been found in Egyptian burial chambers which suggest that they definitely used razors in shaving. Also the oldest documented use of shaving cream is as early as 3,000 BC in Sumer and given the link between the Sumerian and Old Egyptian civilizations, one can safely assume that the Pharaohs did also practice some sort of wet shaving. They also used the same form of shaving cream like the Sumerians, made from animal fats and wood-ash. Although it is difficult to say exactly, this started most probably earlier in history, or latest by 3,000 BC.

Up until the fourth century BC, shaving was basically for noblemen and royalty who would often have a house barber in permanent employment. This was until Alexander the great ordered all his men to shave so that their enemies would have nothing to hold on to in close combat. Shaving then started to become trendy. About a century before this period, Roman commercial barbers who offered their services in barber salons appeared in history. They reportedly used iron razors and like the Egyptians would first use the razors to cut the hair low and then finish off by rubbing the stubbles off with pumice stones. They also employed the use of oils as a shaving cream and since then, the art and science of wet shaving has continued to evolve. The razor designs were improved on and even fancy razors with gold handles and decorations were made.

For roughly the next two thousand years, there was hardly any further significant development in shaving. The shape of the modern straight razor was already developed back in those Roman times, but the iron blades they used easily went blunt and had to be steadily sharpened. The next development would have to come from England in the eighteenth century AD when man finally learned how to work steel. Shaving creams too didn’t get much significant improvement. But the fine art of shaving wet evolved in this period. The initial wrapping of the face in hot towel, the application of shaving creams and solutions, the shave and after-shave services all made the barber-shop a delightful place to visit and with time, these techniques were also perfected.

The Time-line of Razor Development

-100,000 BC
Early man used seashells as tweezers to pull hair from face.

– 30,000 BC
Blades are made from flint.

– 3,000 BC
Razors are made from copper.
Shaving creams are being developed.

– 1,200 BC
Razors with bronze blades are made.

– 400 BC
Razors with iron blades are used.

– 1740 AD
Benjamin Huntsman sells first straight razors with hollow-ground blades made from Sheffield steel. Till today, straight razors haven’t changed much in design. A current modern straight razor can be found by viewing this new age Dovo Straight Razor.

Wet Shaving– 1847 AD
William Henson invents the hoe-shaped razor, which is the shape of the current safety razor. This razor design makes it possible for more and more people to shave by themselves instead of going to the barber. This is because shaving with a safety razor is much less risky than with a straight razor. But such a design still needed that the blade be sharpened every now and then.

 

 

Wet Shaving– 1895 AD
A traveling salesman, King Camp Gillette combines the hoe shaped safety razor with a disposable double-edged blade design. He sold the razor very cheaply at a loss but made a huge fortune from the blades which were meant to be used just once and then discarded. His invention also won a contract from the US Army for 3.5 million razors and 32 million blades during the first world war. The soldiers were encouraged to shave often and when they returned, they were also allowed to keep their razors. This made them continue to purchase Gillette’s blades which turned him into a very rich man. The design hasn’t changed much since then and popular Merkur and Edwin Jagger safety razors still look the same way.

Wet Shaving– 1927
Lt. Col Jacob Schick of the U.S. Army invents the first electric dry shaver. It becomes a hit and he sells millions of units. Although dry shaving with an electric shaver was less desirable than wet shaving, the relatively high price of replacement blades for safety razors pushed people away from it. Over the years, the safety razors started to loose market share to the electric dry shavers. Barbers were also loosing their jobs.

 

 

– 1960
Wilkinson makes the first disposable stainless steel blade. It was cheap and could be used a few times before disposal. Gillette and other firms follow suit, consumers love the blades and wet shaving was again very affordable and popular. This disposable stainless steel blade is still manufactured today and used all over the world for clean, efficient and cost-effective shaving.

– 1974
Bic manufactures the disposable shaving stick and other firms follow suit. Soon Gillette is manufacturing double bladed and triple bladed cartridge shavers. This development has continued today into products like the Gillette Mach3 Razor. But while the Mach3 may be more effective than disposable shaving sticks, the single bladed double-edged safety razor is more effective than the Mach3 and similar products. But in the end, the straight razor remains the most effective means of shaving.

 

The Lost Art of Wet Shaving

Wet ShavingIn the middle-ages, the badger hair brush became a part of shaving culture which by now involved the use of hard soaps to whip up a lather. In 1840, the Walnut Oil Military Shaving Soap from Vroom and Fowler became one of the first soaps dedicated solely to shaving.

When in the 20 century, the safety razor had gained much popularity, especially after the first world war and many men had taken to shaving by themselves, a new culture developed. This new male culture was the morning ritual of wet shaving with a single bladed safety razor. And although many changes have come and gone, like electric dry shavers and canned shaving creams, none of them could offer the efficiency and psychological benefits of the wet shave.

 

The Resurgence of Wet Shaving

Wet Shaving

The romantic and positive therapeutic effect of taking the time to hydrate your face with warm-to-hot water, then applying a pre-shave solution, and then using a brush, apply your shaving cream before shaving and applying aftershave is well known to many men. Even many retailers of shaving products have reported an increase in sales of straight razor shaving kits like this straight razor bundle after having seen James Bond’s erotic close shave with a straight razor from Bond-girl Eve in the 2012 movie Skyfall where she also commented “Sometimes the old ways are the best”.

Edwin Jagger Safety Razor R35611SR

Although the straight razor is the best razor for wet shaving, it is still regarded as only for the most daring of men, because of the dangers of shaving with it. This is where the traditional double edged safety razor comes in and this is the reason it is also very popular and has recently been increasing in popularity too. Some of the reasons many men give for reverting to wet shaving include:
– Cheaper cost per shave.
– Male Tradition (“wanting to shave like the ancestors did”).
Clean shave.
– Avoiding skin conditions such as ingrown hairs.
– Environmental concerns.
– Pleasure
There is much pleasure to be gained from shaving yourself daily with a traditional single bladed razor. Looking at yourself in that mirror with your cream covered face will remind you each day of who you are and how far you have come.

Wet Shaving

For any man who would like to try out wet shaving using a double-edged safety razor in the traditional way, there are pre-packaged sets like this Merkur Safety Razor Set. It is also possible to build your own bundle from scratch.  We hope you have enjoyed this historical background provided on the art of wet shaving.  Please feel free to contact us with any questions on any of our fine shaving products.

 

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Shaving with a safety razor and how to do it properly

Merkur Chrome & Black Safety Razor

Shaving with a Safety Razor – How to do it properly

Shaving with a safety razor has always been the standard method of shaving since the early years of the 20th century. Their practicality and safety made them quite popular over the straight-razor. Initially available as single-edge razors, the safety razor slowly evolved into the double-edged razor which hasn’t change much in design since then. Shaving with a safety razor is still basically done the same way today as it was done over 100 years ago.

Since 1974 when Bic first introduced the disposable razor, many men and women alike, have slowly been pushed into using disposable shaving razors. A result of intelligent marketing, the disposable razor has evolved into cartridge-type razors that can today contain up to five blades per shaving stick. But in recent years, there has been a steady increase in the number of people who are reverting to the traditional method of shaving with a safety razor. This trend towards the safety razor, as you will see, is for a good reason.

The Safety Razor vs Cartridge Razors

While slick marketing has persuaded many men to adopt shaving with multi-bladed cartridge razors, it has in reality been a counter-intuitive move because shaving with a double edged safety razor is simply the most practical, cost-effective method of shaving. Following are the benefits of shaving with a safety razor as opposed to cartridge razors.

The Benefits of Shaving With a Safety Razor

– Close Shaves
A safety razor provides a cleaner shave than a cartridge type razor. This is because it has only a single blade unlike the multiple blades of a cartridge razor which pull at hair, cut wrongly and scrape the skin thereby causing ingrown hairs, skin irritations and razor burns. In fact, it is only a straight razor that can shave better than a safety razor, but then it comes with a very steep learning curve.

– Cost
In the long term, shaving with a safety razor is way much cheaper than using cartridge razors. The only problem with safety razors is the initial price of the razor which can cost anywhere from $30 to over $100. But the blades then cost about $0.10 each when you buy in bulk. Given that a cartridge razor handle costs about $10 and a pack of cartridges costs about $6, shaving with a cartridge razor will cost you about $130 in the first year and then about $120 every subsequent year. Shaving with a safety razor on the other hand, will cost about $60 in the first year, assuming you choose a cheaper safety razor model. Subsequent years will then cost you less than $20 if you buy the blades in bulk.

– They Last Forever
Unlike the plastic handles of cartridge razors, safety razor handles are made from solid materials which are so durable that they are normally passed down from father to son.

– Better Access
The slimmer design of safety razors makes them more ideal for hard-to-reach areas like neck crevices and under the nose. They are therefore better for shaping up mustaches and side-burns.

– Manly Accessory
A safety razor looks infinitely more classy and masculine in the bathroom than any plastic shaver ever.

– Better for the Environment
Shaving with a safety razor makes it possible for you to reduce the amount of metal blades you dispose of regularly, plus you do not dispose of plastic at all. Recycling steel blades is also simpler than recycling a plastic and steel cartridge.

– Perfectly Weighted
Safety razors are much heavier than plastic cartridge razors. This makes it needless to apply force while shaving, resulting in a smoother, cleaner shave.

How to Shave with a Safety Razor – A Step by Step Guide

Step 1. You need to wash your face with warm water or apply a warm towel to it. You could also start shaving after taking a bath or a shower, the important thing is that the warm water opens the skin and hair follicles leading to a smoother shave.

Step 2. Generously apply a good amount of pre-shave gel or oil on the skin in the area of your face that you are about to shave. This is necessary to reduce friction.

Step 3. Apply shaving cream or soap as usual. Try to lather your face in a circular motion. This is to ensure that the face is properly lubricated including the skin below beard stubbles.

Step 4. Make sure your razor blade is fresh. It is possible though to use a safety razor blade up to 5 or 6 times, but just make sure you change it regularly, ideally once to twice weekly.

Step 5. Hold the safety razor loosely and gently move your hand, allowing it to glide across the surface of your skin. Do not press it and do not try to force it, just be easy and gentle. It is important at this stage that you try and maintain the razor at a 30 degree angle to your skin because this is the perfect angle to shave with a safety razor.

Step 6. After you are done shaving, wash off the remaining traces of shaving cream from your face using warm water preferably, then splash with cold water to close the pores. All that is now left is to apply a moisturizer or skin food to replenish the skin where you have just shaved and to act as protection.  This part is very important to seal your shave in and kick off your day the right way feeling and smelling fresh.

Finally, you can see that shaving with a safety razor is an enjoyable ritual of manliness that gets better with time. Practice makes perfect, therefore with time, even a beginner will be able to effortlessly and comfortable shave like a pro.

Some Recommended Safety Razors

Product 1. Edwin Jagger DE3D14BL 3D Laser Diamond

shaving with a safety razor

The DE3D14BL from Edwin Jagger is a very classically designed safety razor that offers you a firm grip while shaving. This ensures that your razor does not slip out of your wet hand. This is also one of the most popular designs from Edwin Jagger of England and can be quite fitting for any beginner.
Price: $69

Product 2. Merkur Chrome & Black Safety Razor

shaving with a safety razor

The chrome and black safety razor from Merkur is one of the lowest priced safety razors from this German manufacturer. Despite its low price, this razor is of high quality. The soft rubber offers a nice grip and is also perfect for wet hands. With its price and quality, this razor makes shaving with a safety razor even more cost-effective.
Price: $29

Product 3. Merkur Long Handled Safety Razor

shaving with a safety razor

This safety razor is the German equivalent of the Edwin Jagger DE3D14BL. It is also a best seller and perfect as a first razor.
Price: $39

Product 4. Edwin Jagger DE89BA11Gbl Safety Razor Gold

shaving with a safety razor

This safety razor is the one to get if you really love style. This gold plated beauty will not only enable you to perform clean shaves, it is also an object of beauty that will give your bathroom a true masculine touch.
Price: $99

Product 5. Edwin Jagger DE86811GBL Safety Blade

shaving with a safety razor

The DE86811GBL from Edwin Jagger is a beautifully made safety razor in a classic design. It features gold plated parts with a faux ebony handle. The octagonal shape of this beauty puts it in a class of its own and it will both offer you a clean shave and be as well a prized possession.
Price: $79

Frequently asked Questions concerning Safety Razors

– Can i shave my head with a safety razor?
Yes, it is possible, but you must be extremely careful not to cut yourself.  You must follow the same procedure mentioned above for the most optimal results.

– Can i shave my groin area with a safety razor?
You better not, because you will definitely cut yourself. Women on the other hand can have more luck given the differences in anatomy.  There are other solutions such as trimming with a beard trimmer or scissors.  You can alternatively use hair removal creams such as Nair.

– What is the best shaving angle?
The best angle to keep the safety razor at while shaving is 30 degrees.  Don’t get frustrated if you aren’t able to perform the perfect shave on the first try.  Wet shaving with a safety razor is an experience and art which could be perfected over a lifetime.  Just have fun with it!

– Can i fly with my safety razors?
No, due to the rise in terrorist attacks, safety razor blades, amongst other items, have been banned by many countries and most airlines from being taken aboard an aeroplane.

– Can i buy double edged razor blades in bulk?
Yes, and they can cost as low as just pennies a blade. In the beginning, it might be better to buy a few different brands from different manufacturers.  After testing them out, you will know which blade brand is your brand that you will stick to.

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How do I know if a Safety Razor is right for me?

Merkur Futur Safety Razor Polished Chrome

How do I know if a Safety Razor is right for me?

Contemplating if a safety razor is the right choice for you?  You are not the only one.  Many people have considered switching to a safety razor from their standard razor for a number of reasons which includes but is not limited to price, shave closeness and the enjoyable factor.  So what is it about a safety razor that has men and women all over the world curious about?  Read more to find out some of the reasons you should consider switching from your current repetitive shaving routine to a satisfying wet shave experience.

Merkur Futur Safety Razor Polished Chrome
Merkur Futur Safety Razor Polished Chrome

To begin, let’s just come out and say it.  It’s just darn cool to shave with a safety razor compared to cheap disposable razors.  Sometimes price doesn’t matter because you just want to make that boring daily duty an exciting wet shaving experience filled with solid, excellent performing safety razors in addition to some of the best shaving essentials brought to you from manufacturers all over the world.  Phew…  That was a LONG sentence but you get the point.  Picking up a beautiful safety razor such as the Polished Chrome Merkur Futur will put a smile on your face and transition the daily shaving duty to an experience you look forward to.

Once you decide on the safety razor of your choice, the rest is a piece of cake.  Razor blades for safety razors end up costing cents which you could factor into your shaving budget since most people see the long term gain/save of shaving with a safety razor.  Let’s do some simple math shall we?  Safety blade razors such as the Astra 5 pack are approximately 50 cents a razor which is astronomically lower than other shaving cartridges.  With the common use of 3 to 5 shaves per razor, this ends up being one of the most affordable ways to shave while always enjoying a razor sharp blade.

Merkur 34G Straight Bar HD Gold Safety RazorSo why is wet shaving so much fun?  Well think about your regular “I’m in a hurry” routine of shaving.  You grab your current disposable razor, slap on some butane filled shaving cream and start stroking up and down as quickly and safely as possible to ensure a decent shave on the run.  This might be your “once in a while” scenario but there is a better way to experience daily shaving.

Think about the alternative for a moment.  You hydrate your face with water and possibly wrap a warm towel around your shaving area for a few minutes.  You then start to run warm water over your high quality badger shaving brush to ensure it soaks up the needed water.  After drying your brush, you apply a small dime size amount of shaving cream to your shaving bowl and start up your lathering process.  This whip up process is the fun you need to kick off an excellent shave!  After creating a nice lather by entering droplets of water as needed, you are ready to apply the butane free shaving cream to your face.  Working the brush up and down, side to side until the hairs on your face are hydrated and ready to be shaved, you kick off your safety razor shave.  Depending on what you want to experience from your shave, you could perform a single run, multiple runs, cross shaves and much more.  After you complete your shave and have stored your shaving tools in the appropriate location for next time, you are ready to take on any obstacle your day brings. The best part is, 5 O’clock means nothing for your face since it will still be smooth as butter even at 8pm…

If a safety razor is not for you or you aren’t ready to switch, we understand.  Original Shave Company carries luxurious wet shaving tools for other shaving tools such as the Mach3 or Fusion razor as well.  Take a look at our products and let us know if you have any questions or special requests we could assist with.