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Thread: Electric warming "mug" on the cheap

  1. #1
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    Jan 2010
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    Default Electric warming "mug" on the cheap

    I did a few weeks of searching for electric scuttles, shave mugs, hot pots, etc. and came away shocked that there wasn't really such a product on the market. The closest thing I found was a chocolate melter that I decided wasn't quite what I had in mind. A week or two later I started reading about various soap melting methods and got some good laughs at some of the better accidents. That went back into the file as well, but nothing shook loose at the time. I came back to the concept of soap melting and wondered if anybody had an electric soap melter, not that I needed one, just because I was curious. Through the hilarity that is the Internet, soap and melter wind up together on a few pages mostly involving wax and legs. Now I have a trail to follow and see where it goes. First, they call them wax warmers and not melters. 3 searches later I'm looking for a wax warmer with some key attributes.
    • Small footprint.
    • Bowl with roughly the same dimensions as my shave bowl.
    • Capable of handling loose wax (some only heat cans).
    • Adjustable temperature.

    I found a matching product early on but wasn't convinced it was quite this easy. I went to a few places to try to look at one in person just to make sure I wasn't being trifled with but never found one. So, I ran a few more searches to find the interior bowl dimensions and decided what the heck, it'll be a $20 learning experience if I'm wrong. About a week later, it shows up. Then I start to get really scientific about it.

    I introduce the Spilo La Petite Wax Warmer. First, I start with a heating test just to make sure it works. The instructions mention do not immerse so I'll take this as a sign it isn't waterproof. GFCI outlet required then. I procure one from the kitchen wall 3 feet away and put ~3 oz of water in the bowl to leave it on medium-low and come back in a bit. When I come back, the water is lukewarm and just a tad warmer than room temperature. I crank it over to high and go have some dinner. I come back to something that appears to be a pre-boil. The water is uncomfortably hot, not HOT or *HOT!*. Next up is disassembly. The internals are nothing more than a bi-metallic thermostat, a neon bulb, and a 430 ohm ceramic resistor glued to the bottom of a metal cup with a few bits of aluminum holding everything in place. The glue surrounds the cup completely so I feel a little safer about errant drops of water. I reassemble and graduate on to the learning portion.

    I wanted to learn whether or not it could melt soap. I figured this would be somewhat important to know and might save some unexpected hilarity one morning. As you can see from the photos, the soap started melting to the edges when I dropped it in and was completely melted in short order. I unplug it and let it cool. At this point you'd expect a report on the shave, but as I said, this is the learning portion the new toy. I reduced the temperature setting to just under half, plugged it, then heated and wet the brush in the usual ritualistic manner and started with lather. It goes really quick. It stays warm. My arm and face are pleased after multiple attempts, and nothing looks to be drying out or frying. At this point I haven't learned about soap moisture though. It turns out to be funnier when I try to demonstrate to my wife. Look honey, hot lather! And as I pull the brush out to demonstrate, there is nothing but a swirling puddle of liquid soap under it. Three laughs and a dozen brush rinses later, I leave it running on high for a bit to drive out the moisture. Once I start to get a skin forming, I swirl the pot around so the skin goes under and the surface is smooth. I cut the power and get a perfectly smooth surface on cool-down. It takes 2-3 more tries at dehydration until I reduce the level of moisture where the soap stays solid at a good shaving temperature. Speaking of shave...

    The brush requires a touch more moisture than normal to keep from drying out. I worked the temperature up over a few shaves before I reached the perfect spot. Each save got better, the razor cut better, and the total number of spots that stung in the cold water rinse were greatly diminished every time I pushed the temperature up. The razor now feels like I'm being kissed or picked over by a steel feather. I should have tried this years ago. I definitely recommend it as long as GFCI is available. If I ever move to a place where that isn't possible I'll install my own GFCI plug on an extension cord from the garage if I have to.

    That is about all I have, feel free to ask questions or give me advice on anything I might have missed. Be gentle about the later pics, it was the first time out and I was just playing with it! Thanks!
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