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Thread: Beginners’ Tips: April 2015

  1. #1
    Senior Member blabbermouth spazola's Avatar
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    Default Beginners’ Tips: April 2015

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    Learn From My Mistakes

    For my contribution to the beginners tips I thought I would go over some of my bad choices and some of the things I wish that I would have done differently. Maybe hearing of my mistakes and missteps will help you in your wet shaving.

    I used a straight razor for a few years in the early 80s then stopped using it when I could not get it sharp and performing well again. I came back to wet shaving about 2005 with a vengeance, very prideful and determined. I decided to go both feet first, full gonzo, into using straight razors.

    One of the first times my pride and stubborn nature got in my way was with honing. I was determined to hone myself. I scraped a half sharp razor all over my face with excess pressure determined to get a smooth shave. Afterwards I looked like I had a tomato resting on my shoulders, full blown razor burn. After all, I had worked with hand woodworking and knives most of my life, paying somebody to hone my razor was for chumps. I could not have been more wrong. When I finally laid my grubby mitts on a professionally sharpened razor, it was if the clouds parted and the rays of sun shined through. Finally I got comfortable shaves with less pressure. I then had a baseline to know what sharp was. Lesson learned: start with a sharp razor.

    Another thing I regret and wish I would have figured out sooner was enjoyment of different soaps and scents. I was a manly man; after all, I am from Texas. I was going to use Barbasol and Skin Bracer. Why you ask? Because that is the way that it is done, umhfff. Once I broke down and tried some better smelling and performing soaps and creams, shaving was a much more enjoyable task. I wish I would have tried lavender, sandalwood or vetiver scents earlier. Don't get me started on aftershaves, let's just say I need more shelving in the bathroom nowadays.

    One more thing then I will quit recanting my woes. When I started back using a straight I was determined to use nothing but a straight; it is the only way to go. The whole kit and caboodle every shave. I wish I would have relaxed more and used a safety razor every now and then. Nowadays when time is rushed, I will use a safety razor. When I am traveling I will bring my shavette. Shaving with a straight is a very relaxing ritual for me, but sometimes I just want to get hairs off of my face and move on. I am no longer an it-has-to-be-a-straight-razor-or-nothing type of guy.

    Wet shaving is now an enjoyable task to me, a way to relax. Not some form of misguided macho straight razor dogma. I hope my tales can help you avoid some of the pitfalls that I had when starting out.

    Last edited by spazola; 04-15-2015 at 01:50 PM.
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  2. The Following 20 Users Say Thank You to spazola For This Useful Post:

    bongo (04-15-2015), Chevhead (04-16-2015), eddy79 (02-01-2016), Grazor (04-17-2015), gugi (04-22-2015), Hirlau (04-15-2015), Jimbo (04-15-2015), JimmyHAD (04-15-2015), Leatherstockiings (04-15-2015), lz6 (04-16-2015), MW76 (02-02-2016), Papabear11 (04-22-2015), Razorfaust (04-16-2015), Razorfeld (04-15-2015), RezDog (04-16-2015), sharptonn (04-15-2015), Substance (04-15-2015), Uzi (02-01-2016), wescap34 (04-15-2015), Willisf (02-01-2016)

  3. #2
    " Atta Boy!!" sharptonn's Avatar
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    Nice work, Charlie. These things are preached daily around here, but coming from you should mean a whole lot!
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  4. #3
    Moderator Razorfeld's Avatar
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    Charlie, I never get tired to hear about the right ways to do things, especially in shaving.
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    "The sharpening stones from time to time provide officers with gasoline."

  5. #4
    Senior Member blabbermouth Substance's Avatar
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    A great refresh of some critical starter points Charlie,
    that everyone needs to remember not just when starting out, but even once you are well down the road.
    spazola likes this.
    to shave another day.

  6. #5
    Senior Member blabbermouth Hirlau's Avatar
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    Bringing in the DE safety razor from time to time, is a good thing for beginners I think.
    Great post,,,,,,
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  7. #6
    Senior Member Razorfaust's Avatar
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    Great advice I like your shaving philosophy. I also had a similar start with a straight in the early 80's that I couldn't keep sharp I got a little frictionite hone to cure that and I made the razor horrible to shave with and gave up. Now im that guy you were a few years back lol.
    spazola likes this.
    Don't drink and shave!

  8. #7
    lz6 is offline
    Senior Moderator lz6's Avatar
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    Well said Charlie! I hope our newest members read and take to heart your comments.
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    "God is a Havana smoker. I have seen his gray clouds" Gainsburg

  9. #8
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    Better to learn from yours than make my own.

    If left to my own devices, I've been known to reach for the 'one part' old school and another 'uncool' Old Spice for geriatrics a time or two, even though I just rounded forty.

    Like Tyrone Biggums' "he who is without sin, throw'eth the first rock——and I shall smoke'eth it!" but way more gangster. It's just recently that I renounced Old Spice and in its place, I've turned to Baxter's aftershave balm.

    I'm not married to the device from which I'll shave with, more than I am to what provides the greatest utility—when. I had a 1st Sergeant that dry shaved against the grain with a Bic razor mid day on deployments. No reach-a-round, nothing—he straight up raw dogged it. That gave him the most utility in that environment. Everyone else that tried to do the same—including myself—ended up looking like they went the distance in a bar knuckle brawl with a gaggle of 6'+ Kapiolani Blvd mahus.

    My conundrum right now is finding someone who's not only decent honing a straight razor, but can do so in less than a week's time.

    The local 'world class' sushi chef turned knife aficionado Japanese version of Grizzly Adams is great at sharpening our high-end Japanese cutlery—but I wouldn't trust him honing something I'm about to scrape my face with.

    Beyond that, it's still a learning curve trying to figure out what works best. Which is part of the journey I suppose.
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  10. #9
    Senior Member blabbermouth ejmolitor37's Avatar
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    Well put, I know starting out I assumed that starting with all new equipment was the only way to go, I am finding out that I could have spent less and been just as well off. But I will always have my first straight to pass on so I am in no way disappointed or saying what I did was wrong. I will agree that trying new soaps is a lot of fun, different soaps lather differently and the scents are never ending! Aftershaves as you stated are a whole other never ending game : ) I have only recently tried my hand at honing and I have not done to bad with it but again a pro honed razor is very nice and eye opening when beginning once you have used a dull one. But the words you have posted are great advice for beginners and much appreciated. Thanks for sharing.
    spazola likes this.

  11. #10
    Junior Member
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    Any recommendations on soaps and aftershaves? I just got my first straight and I'm trying to work slowly to fill out the rest of the shopping list.

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