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Thread: Serious beginner straight razor problems.

  1. #1
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    Default Serious beginner straight razor problems.

    I bought my first straight razor a few months ago. I didn't think it mattered so I bought it just because I thought German Surgical Steel was good. Its made by Frost Cutlery and it was really cheep for a straight razor. When I first got it it wouldn't shave so I stropped it like crazy and it still wouldn't cut. Then I realized it was sharpened at like a 40 degree angle so I honed it down. I have a tri hone for honing and 4000 grit Arkansas sharpening stone. I have tried getting this thing sharp forever it seems. I watched so many videos on youtube learning how to sharpen it. Ive tried everything I can think of and it still wont even take hair off. So I figured I'd come to some people who knew what they were doing for advice. Can anyone tell me what I should do to get my razor sharp or am I just wasting my time with this cheap straight razor?

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    Senior Member Iceni's Avatar
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    From what I could gather from a quick Google search they make knives mainly. That's not always a bad thing many razor companies are also knife companies. This company may know very little about razors and what you have purchased may simply be another RSO (razor shaped object).

    The problem lies in what you have already discovered. The bevel was not set.

    To set the bevel you need to work the blade at about 1K grit on your tri hone, Until the edges meet all the way along the edge. You can check this by holding the edge under a light. If the edge itself reflects even a little light then the bevel isn't set.

    Once the bevel is set you move up to a higher rated stone. You say that you have a 4K well that's not going to be a smooth shaving edge even when set. 8K is pretty standard for shaving.

    Arkies can have many effects as hones. Just because it says 4K don't believe it. If you find your stone is refusing to loose material, and is going glassy then it is likely a much harder finer stone than it says. If you find it is loosing grit and staying dull then it might be as low as 1K. Soft arkies loose grit and the grit rating on them should be about right, Hard, surgical, and translucent all have very different properties and can only be grit rated after they have been used a few time to work out how the surface will bed in. A good trans arkie can be up to 20K in grit rating, even tho it's particulate is only rated at about 1.5K grit. Because of the way these stone break down to smooth rather than loose grit.

    There is a lot of chat on arkies on this board and you will find most of it in the hones and honing sub forums.

    At 1K you should be able to cut hair at skin level.
    At 8K you should be able to cut hair at treetop level.
    At 8K + crox stropping or 12K you should pass the hanging hair test.

    The spine of the razor acts as a honing guide. It should always be in contact with the hone, And you protect it with a layer of electrical tape.

    As for wasting your time with a cheap razor, The razor may never shave, but it should give you the experience you need to progress from knives to razors.

    If you want something cheap that will shave, go to whipped dog and get a flawed razor from him, It'll come shave ready, it'll be cheap, and it will show you where you need to be heading with your Frost.
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    barba crescit caput nescit Phrank's Avatar
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    Can you post a pic of the blade where we can see the the actual blade and tang stamp to determine if you actually have a straight razor or what is referred to as a RSO i.e., a razor shaped object.

    Many of these blades are made of a type of metal that simply can't take an edge, so without seeing and knowing who made it, we can't determine what you got....

    edited to add: had a quick look, here's the thread:

    http://straightrazorpalace.com/begin...nsas-city.html

    Looks like that razor is on the wiki list to avoid, sorry to tell you, but you got one of those RSO's...don't sweat it, happens all the time, the good thing is you landed here. If you read the thread linked there are some great ideas regarding getting a good straight to start with from Larry at Whipped Dog.
    Last edited by Phrank; 02-08-2014 at 02:06 AM.
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    Senior Member Iceni's Avatar
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    They all look like RSO's Phrank.

    Frost Cutlery - The World's Fastest-Growing Cutlery Company

    Yeah they don't even make the blades.

    From 1969 to 1978, Jim saw his business interest in knives grow from a hobby to the formation of Frost Distributing company in 1972 to the Parker- Frost partnership in 1976. This short-lived association was mutually dissolved in 1978 when Jim began importing cutlery under the Frost Cutlery® tang stamp.
    http://www.frostcutlery.com/aboutus.aspx
    Last edited by Iceni; 02-08-2014 at 02:13 AM.

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    +1 to picking up an inexpensive shave ready vintage razor from a reputable dealer or the classifieds on this site. Lots of people have been fooled by the low price of razor shaped objects.
    -Chris

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    Im having trouble posting a picture right now but I guarantee your right. The spine is less than a centimeter wide making it too where when I sharpen it like a normal straight razor to where the blade comes out at less than ten degree angle. The razor costed me like $15. Thanks tho, I think Im going to check that out.

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    Thanks man I appreciate the help. I bought 2 Arkies and I think they are hard but I did actually learn a good trick too fixing that tho. When I soak them for a minute and then use my old hand held sharpener too rub it really roughly for a minute it seems like it sharpens a lot better. But ya I think Im going to go with a shave ready razor like you said everyone seems to like him so I think the Frostie's just gonne be for decoration. Maybe a sharp letter opener, lol.

  10. #8
    'with that said' cudarunner's Avatar
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    David!

    Upon looking at the site you purchased from I'm sure that you didn't purchase a straight razor! Please don't feel bad as you are not alone!!

    Now! I highly recommend that you keep an eye on the Classifieds here at SRP for a beginners razor! Look for about a 9/16 and round points are more forgiving, but I learned on a square point! With that said, I've found that I prefer round points!

    I have a friend and fellow Mentor who may have something for you! If you are interested please PM me and I'll see if he has anything! The big PLUS is that his honing is excellent!!

    Now to honing! Please don't try it yet!! This age old art has so many learning curves that you will be consumed with learning how to properly make lather, strop and of course shave!!

    When I was starting out, I bought several beginner's razors that were shave ready and I waited a year before I attempted to learn to hone! I'm damn glad that I did!

    I was able to compare how a razor shaved with a pro hone on it to mine! It's a very valuable tool and well worth the expense of mailing and paying for honing!

    I don't want to discourage you, I want you to succeed!
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    If you don't get something figured out, shoot me a PM.
    -Chris

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    My opinion is that you are learning whole process upside down. I'm glad you haven't give up with straight razor shaving.

    It is alright to learn honing right away if you are interested but I think the most important thing is to know what shave ready really means. So get somewhere shave ready straight razor or send your own straight razor for honing. If you send your straight for somebody to hone it you will hear also if there is something wrong about razor which makes it hard to hone.

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