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Thread: Newbie Problems

  1. #1
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    Default Newbie Problems

    After a clownish beginning (cheap made in china ebay purchase, honed by a knife sharpener), I forked out the cash for a restored dubl duck from vintage blades shave-ready and honed by Lynn Abrams.

    My first shave with the new blade still felt fairly rough, but I may just not be used to the way a straight shaves and need to work on my shave technique, pre-shave routine, lathering, etc. But, the new blade still doesn't pass the supposed hanging hair test (it only cuts a hair that's taught but doesn't cut a loose hair), even after 100 passes on the strop.

    1. Could it be a dull blade despite its reputable origins?

    2. My strop is a faux-leather from a company on Etsy called Roosevelt Grooming. On the up pass, the stropping surface doesn't seem as perfectly smooth as it feels on the down pass. Could my strop be screwing up my new blade? Should I try to sand it down with sandpaper?

    Thanks in advance and sorry for the long post!
    Last edited by EasyE; 02-07-2015 at 10:46 PM. Reason: misspelling

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    Senior Member Scareface's Avatar
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    Might as well post up:

    How you strop. 100 pass incorrectly can ruin a good honing.
    Your preshave, soap and lathering, Blade angle while shaving techniques.

    You've probably killed your edge poorly stropping.
    It's a dog eat dog world and I have on milk bone underwear.

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    EasyE (02-07-2015)

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    Easy,

    It seems to me that you are dealing with a number of variables that could be impeding the nature of your shave. One of them that probably isn't is the shave-readiness of a razor honed by Lynn. Did you shave without stropping? It could be the strop, but it's probably more of a technique issue. What was your prep like?

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    EasyE (02-07-2015)

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    Thanks for the quick replies! Seems like this is going to be a very helpful community. Yes, I did strop before the first shave, which may have been a bad move. But I first tried the hanging hair test, which the blade did not pass, so then I stropped.

    Soaked the brush in hot water. Took a hot shower, then applied 100% jojoba oil to my face, built an in-bowl lather with van der hagen soap (I know that I did not add enough water or build a good enough lather).

    I try and keep a 30 degree angle and find my right hand best for the majority of my face, with only a little bit of supplemental left-hand. My left hand mostly tightens the skin. Of course I am a noob and I am doing a crappy job overall, but hopefully I'll improve.

    I strop with an X pattern, cloth side before "leather," keeping contact with blade and spine, always rotating on the spine. I'm sure my stropping technique is not great, but I am super careful while stropping so if I can kill a good hone in a single stropping session then I am not sure I will ever be shaving with a well-honed edge.

    Does a very slight "rough" feeling on the blade while stropping (like a couple tiny grits of sand) sound like a big problem? The strop has only been used 4 times. I didn't catch the edge once as far as I know. Should I sand down the strop with sandpaper?
    Last edited by EasyE; 02-07-2015 at 11:28 PM. Reason: more details again

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    Senior Member Scareface's Avatar
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    Little water when building lather kills the face. It dries out on the skin and isn't as pleasant a shave. You can always add moer water to the lather on your face!.

    Never had to sand a strop. Bought one from SRD that can have the leather replaced for $25-35 and bought the replacement leather too cause I knew I would screw the first one up, which I immedaitely did.

    This a a fun journey not a speed race. To sharp of a object to be in a hurry.

    The wife thought me a lesson by walking into the bathroom and started a conversation.
    Now I have an inch and a quarter long scar that's a 1/8" deep. I took a chunk out at the jaw line.
    It's a dog eat dog world and I have on milk bone underwear.

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    Senior Member blabbermouth tcrideshd's Avatar
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    You should not have stropped it first , that was in the instructions that came from L A. And the hanging hair test doesn't mean it wasn't right. Also as you learn to shave you will find the edges might have been good, technique has a lot to do with your shave quality,m but chances are the strop wasn't very smooth and you rolled your edge , all new guys do , your not the first, but now just learn to shave after you get your edge right,my hen shave with it before you strop. Good luck and see if you can find a mentor to work with you. Tc
    “ I,m getting the impression that everyone thinks I have TIME to fix their bikes”

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    Just checked my instructions. Great advice on the paper, but it didn't specifically say not to strop before the first shave. Of course I am not calling out the honemaster. It was probably done perfectly. I just want to give all the background info.

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    Incidere in dimidium Cangooner's Avatar
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    As tcrideshd said, don't worry at all about the hanging hair test. It doesn't mean much of anything unless you have calibrated it and spent some time figuring out how *your* hair behaves. Mine, for example, simply does not work with the hht. So I don't pay any attention to it. What matters is the shave itself.

    As has also been mentioned, you're trying to figure out what went sideways amongst a number of variables. That can be tricky!

    Rolling an edge while stropping is very easy to do, particularly for people who are starting out. Most of us have done it, so it's not at all unusual. That having been said, it does sound like you are very careful when stropping, so that might not be your issue.

    As for the strop itself... well, not having had it in-hand, I'd just be guessing. I guess it depends on what you mean by a 'slight rough' feeling. My hunch (and it is just that) is that it probably isn't the issue here.

    I'm thinking more along the lines of prep. You mentioned that you didn't have a great lather. That could be part of the problem. In addition to the hot shower, try soaking a face cloth/towel in hot water and holding that to your beard prior to lathering. There are arguments as to whether this softens the hair to make them easier to cut or stiffens them to make them easier to cut, but who cares? It makes them easier to cut.

    So my main suggestions would be to:

    1) see if there's a mentor close to you who can meet in person to give some advice - that can make a HUGE difference
    2) continue paying close attention to stropping
    3) pay more attention to your prep and lather
    4) watch your blade angles
    5) relax, enjoy the process, and keep at it. Soon it should click and be much better.
    6) if all else fails, send the blade back to be re-honed and *don't* strop it prior to your first use.

    It was in original condition, faded red, well-worn, but nice.
    This was and still is my favorite combination; beautiful, original, and worn.
    -Neil Young

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    Thanks! That's a heck of a lesson. I might have to institute a no girlfriend policy in the bathroom during shaves.

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    Senior Member Scareface's Avatar
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    Just and FYI, Lynn started this site if I remember right.

    Plus i bought two brand new razors after my first one killed my face. Neither new one told me what to do about stropping or honing. But, it was on their website that I read after staring to use their product.
    It's a dog eat dog world and I have on milk bone underwear.

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