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Thread: Soon to be beginner

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Jan 2014
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    Default Soon to be beginner

    I am a college student (meaning little startup money to be had) however I am looking to begin straight razor shaving as a form of meditation and sincere personal time. I expressed this interest to my family who graciously purchased for me a straight razor kit for Christmas. I have done quite abit of research into the world (this site has been particularly helpful) and fear that what I have received may not be up to par in terms of quality of the razor and brush but do not want to be dismissive if it will do well for a beginner while I get the money to grow to bigger better things. My greater fear is that if it is substandard that I will find shaving to be a greater hassel/potentially significantly more painful than it is worth and lose the desire to attempt it. I have managed to find what appears to be the same kit online from an Ebay source and this is the information that they give on it.

    Overall Length: 248mm / 9 3/4 In.
    Closed Length: 165 mm / 6-1/2 In.
    Blade Length: 148mm / 5 3/4 Inches
    Blade Edge Length: 75 mm / 3”

    Blade Thickness: 4mm
    Blade Material: Stainless Steel
    Handle Material: Steel
    Shaving brush Material: Bristles & black ABS Handle
    Strop Material: Canvas & PU Leather

    Item Weight: 600 Grams

    As well as a picture of the blade though it doesn't provide a real comparison size-wise.

  2. #2
    Senior Member blabbermouth RezDog's Avatar
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    Feb 2013
    Haida Gwaii, British Columbia, Canada
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    Welcome. There is a lot to learn. I cannot make out the makers mark on your razor. I have no idea what you have there. It needs to be shave ready to start with. Look to see who is close by that can do that. Enjoy the journey!
    Member Services - Straight Razor Place Classifieds
    It's not what you know, it's who you take fishing!

  3. #3
    Scheerlijk Laurens's Avatar
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    Feb 2013
    The Hague, the Netherlands
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    Hi, welcome, and let me disappoint you!

    You're right, the razor is not up to par. Unfortunately, there are quite a few "razor shaped objects" on the market that are not made of steel hard and fine enough to hold a razor's edge. As you're on a budget, you could take a look at Whipped Dog's razors, they come shave ready, or here at the Classifieds. If you've found something you like and you're unsure whether it's a good deal, post a pic/link here and we'll help you out!

    Good luck on your journey! Take a look at the Beginner's guide to straight razor shaving - Straight Razor Place Wiki, it contains a lot of useful basics.
    I want a lather whip

  4. #4
    Senior Member kevinred's Avatar
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    Dec 2013
    Mooloolah, Sunshine Coast, QLD, Australia
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    Welcome to the forum.

    its a fine looking object, and defiantly worth keeping as it was a gift, great to look at but not to shave with. I would also suggest getting a sight unseen straight razor from Whipped Dog Straight Razor Shaving Equipment as Laurens Suggested. It will come shave ready and it will give you a fantastic start in learning the art of straight shaving.

    I would also suggest a poor mans strop kit. Both these items will give you the enjoyment and personal meditation time you're looking for and also not be hard on your bank account. A bit of practice and you'll be enjoying smooth shaves, beautiful smelling soaps, creams, balms, aftershave splashes and as your budget grows some nice colognes too.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Iceni's Avatar
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    Oct 2013
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    It's the Sweeney Todd prop razor. Ebay is full of them.

    It's not an expensive thing to buy, but I don't think it will ever shave. It's too long, too heavy, And I would be surprised if the steel can hold an edge.

    The brush on the other hand could be anything depending on your location. Your description says bristle which will be boar bristle. Bristle tends to be the cheap end of the brush market, don't let that put you off testing it. A cheap boar brush is a serviceable brush capable of giving a good lather.

    Expect the brush to loose a few bristles in the first few uses, but after that it should calm down and begin to break in. A broken boar brush is actually quite nice to use, They have a lot of stiffness, and work the lather into the beard effectively. They loose points of the fact they have a scratchy feeling break in period, and they never get as soft as badger. Personally I think boar is a very good starting brush. It's easy to replace, inexpensive and works. And you can always upgrade to badger later when you have a razor your happy with.

    The PU leather stop is something I would also avoid using. It won't damage a razor, the razor will damage the strop. Leather is used because it can take the steel and re-align the cutting edge by stropping. PU leather doesn't have the toughness to be able to do this.

    If your now thinking you need a usable razor you have many options and not all are expensive. I would avoid ebay, and all other auction sites until you learn about how to spot a razor that has problems. Razors are fine instruments, they have a precision blade and are very susceptible to damage. And not all damage is a crack, chip, or rust. As such your first razor should come from either a well respected forum member or a well respected vendor. Your first razor should also be "shave ready".

    "shave ready" as a statement is bold. It can mean anything. On ebay it means it was sharp enough to be forced through a wig. From a respected vendor it should mean you can take it out of the box, lather up and have a comfortable shave.

    You need to give people your location, That way people can point you at the correct regional store fronts, and members in your area who offer services.

    In retrospect don't feel let down by what your parents have got you. Straight razor shaving has a problem at the low end of the market with manufacturers pumping out, cheap, mass produced items. That fail to grasp the actual function that the razor is intended for. Indeed it takes a certain type of person to take the step from thinking a straight is a some cool toy to look at and start to think "hey I can actually use this thing".

    The steel is far more important than the looks. All usable razors are cut from blanks, ground, stamped and most importantly correctly heat treated. The heat treatment is what makes a piece of steel into a knife or razor. The end goal been to have a steel that is hard enough (scratch resistant) to hold an edge without deforming quickly, but not em-brittle the blade so it cracks and chips all the time. All good manufacturers will tell you about the steel, and most have videos about the production and hardening/tempering methods. Any razor produced before 1950 can be assumed to be heat treated by default.

    The final part of heat treatment is it can be reversed. If you get the steel too hot it will discolor through heat (it begins to go blue). Any razor that has a blue tint to any part of the blade can be assumed unusable unless you can get it fixed by a blacksmith.
    Tsalagi44 likes this.

  6. #6
    Senior Member mjsorkin's Avatar
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    Nov 2006
    New Jersey
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    Send me your address.

    “there is the danger that the ignorant man may easily underdose himself and by exposing his microbes to nonlethal quantities of the drug make them resistant.”---Fleming

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