A good barber should care about the grooming tools that they use and the level of craftsmanship that goes in to producing such fine equipment. Such appreciation is second to none at Murdock. As with burgers and rare football stickers, throughout the years we have seen our barbers practically drool over each others' purchases and finds. This eagerness to collect, combined with lengthy discussions about the best brands and certain tools for specific jobs, shows that crafting a haircut requires more than just style awareness - but a knowledge of the right hardware too.
Catching up recently with Sam Hickey, our Morrissey-loving, tattoo-adorned Head Barber, we discussed his passion for grooming tools old-and-new and the collection that he has so far assembled during his barbering career.
What made you choose the tools that you have?
Dexterity is the name of the game! Using my Wahl cordless Super Tapers, I can create a tight taper or a softer, more natural finish into a clean & classic scissor cut.
Have you inherited any items?
I've not yet inherited anything for cutting hair from anybody. I did get a pipe from my old colleague Vincent in Shoreditch though, which is really neat.
Where would an aspiring barber look to start their collection of tools?
I've picked up bits and pieces from markets mostly, some real gems from Greenwich. Obviously online too but be prepared to spend more money. Also don't make the mistake of buying an expensive and complex set of clippers or scissors for your first set. They'll inevitably be dropped and broken.
Are there any stories behind your vintage items?
My cut throat that I got from Greenwich is an amazing Knopp razor made from Sheffield steel. My Ogee hand clippers were a birthday present from my dad, they're from the 60s. My Rolls Razor was from Spitalfields market. A sturdy piece of kit for providing the perfect shave.
Is there anything you still plan to purchase?
I'd love to just expand my vintage collection in general. I really love the old gentlemen sets with the mirrors and combs and talc dispensers. I also want a set of Oster clippers, they're beautiful!
Are there any typical barber tool mistakes to try and avoid?
Overpaying for vintage stuff is common. I always research before I buy. Also using equipment wrong, especially the older stuff, can cause damage easily. Aged razors should be treated with great care.
Do you have any storage and maintenance tips?
Clean your pieces often, keeping them in good condition. Take clippers apart regularly and disinfect them often too. You should enjoy using the tools that you have, so look after them and they'll look after you!