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  1. #1
    <--- NIGH-INVULNERABLE! Belegnole's Avatar
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    Default My First Straight Shave!

    Well, after months of agonizing planning and waiting I received my first straight and "THE DVD" last night in the mail (Thanks go out to Lynn and Mike_ratliff). I stayed up late watching the dvd and waiting for my beard to grow. Today not having to work I chomped on the bit but had to drop my daughter at school then ran a few errands after. I knew I had to get a strop, but Tony's illness and popularity has made it impossible to get one of his strops. So, I went to Appleton Barber Supply and picked up a Illinois 127 for now. While I was there I grabbed a few aftershaves for fun...off to home. While at home I reviewed (as if I hadn't slept practicing) and stropped my Wapi on the leather only (30 strokes). Finally I took a hot shower did the towel prep and with shaking knees grabbed the blade. I have to say I hadn't realized that there was any fear until I was just about to shave. After figuring out the initial angle I had to stand at so that I could see not only the razor but also my face I began. Lets just say that though chafed I had a good shave (3 passes wtg). Only two nicks that didn't need any styptic and razor burn from the inexperience. I found that I will need to have a sharper razor than what I shaved with this morning as I definitely had some tugging. While I don't believe I did damage in my stropping as I was MOST careful, I may have. Also considering what the razor may have gone through in shipping the edge may have lost a bit of it's keenness. Mike the razor arrived wicked sharp but my beard said not quite sharp enough when I shaved. I place no blame on Mike though as like I said I stropped it and the USPC isn't always real nice to things. I am going to try stropping the Wapi on both the canvass and the leather and see how she does next time. Any way I'm stoked and as one of my returns is in I'm off to Woodcraft to look at hones.....muhahaha
    Last edited by Belegnole; 02-26-2008 at 08:47 PM. Reason: to excited to type straight

  2. #2
    Hones & Honing randydance062449's Avatar
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    It sounds like you had a pretty good first shave! On the first shave it is difficult to tell if it is your shaving ability or the razor that needs improvement. For the time being just let the razor be, it is probably just fine. Increase the number of times you strop to 20-30 on the linen first followed by 50 round trip laps on plain leather.

    When I started out one of the mistakes I made was to use a poor quality shaving soap. It dried out to quickly and also did not have enough "slick" in it for my skin. The second major improvement came when I reduced the pressure I used. Then I had far less irritation.

    Keep us posted,
    Randolph Tuttle, a SRP Mentor for residents of Minnesota & western Wisconsin

  3. #3
    Senior Member 2Sharp's Avatar
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    It's good to get the first shave in. I also had the fear factor when I first started but couldn't wait for the next shave. Your planning and studying payed off. With experience your shaves will get better.

    bj
    Don't go to the light. bj

  4. #4
    <--- NIGH-INVULNERABLE! Belegnole's Avatar
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    Day TWO!

    All right I was going to give my face a day of rest and use my DE. Was is the word....instead running short on time getting ready for work I changed my mind. My face was feeling much better and I had no fear....well except for what was happening with the clock. With conviction I changed gear and grabbed the straight, went to the strop and carefully gave the blade 40 laps. Before putting the blade away yesterday I had done 30 on the canvass and 35 on the leather. With the lack of fear things went quicker and with less fuss. The quality of the shave still was not there though. I played with angles and brought the spine closer to my face say 25 degrees. I changed may soap...yesterday T&H UC, today Proraso which usually works wonders. Today it wasn't the slickest its been due to my being a bit rushed I would guess. BUT, what is happening is (DE talk coming) like what most people describe their experience with a Merkur razor blade. I actually watched the straight hit a thicker bristle and just stop. I have never thought I had stiffer, harder, wire like bristles comprising my beard but I am now considering that possibility. The blade is cutting not rolling over the bristles so I don't think the edge is rolled. I have how ever ordered a pasted strop from Tony if not for now for use later.

    Back to soaps....Randy mentioned slickness and I admit to for some reason having a sticky face. I have tried a number of soaps and some cremes and haven't found that perfect one yet. Note: the beginning of another case of SC/SS AD beginning here. I use and like Kent, Provence Sante', Institute Karite, Tabac, Proraso, Speik, T&H UC, Some Honey Bee soaps, QED soaps, Sue Bears soaps......I want to get a number of others which include Musgo and MARKE GOLD-DACHS. I have sensitive skin and certain things irritate...with triple milled soaps and cremes doing the best. Any suggestions as to what soap or creme works well with a straight and is SLICK would be appreciated. .....Dave

  5. #5
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    Congrats on your first shave!

    If I may throw in my two cents here, try making your angle a little more shallow when shaving (i.e., move the spine closer to your face). The first few times I shaved with a straight, I also did not think my razor was sharp enough because it was tugging. Then I realized that I just had too much of an angle and was dragging the blade across my face instead of letting it slice through my hairs. So, try backing off the angle a bit and you might realize your razor is sharper than you think.

    Best of luck!!

  6. #6
    D2T
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    I second what LegalEagle said. I found myself doing the same thing for the first four or five shaves. You just have to find an angle that works for you, your straight, and your beard type. The straight I'm currently using works best right up against my skin on most parts of my face (except the upper lip/chin) and I even feel a kind of suction between the blade and my skin. Just keep playing around and I'm sure you'll find something that works.

  7. #7
    The original Skolor and Gentileman. gugi's Avatar
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    I think the only suggestion I can give you is keep shaving It just gets better.
    On my first shave the razor was pulling and perhaps may have even stopped at some point as you describe. Well months later the same razor was shaving just fine, no stopping or pulling. Go figure....
    As far as creams/soaps go it seems you've got plenty of excellent stuff and experience with using it. It may be worth to stick to one for a bit so that that's not a variable. I don't know whether with everyday shaving it's better to keep using straight or use your previous method too. Doesn't seem that either way would make the critical difference, perhaps just do as you fell like.
    So, yeah just give it a week or two and see if it's got better.

    And congratulations, seems like you got a pretty good start, even though you didn't follow Lynn's advice :P

  8. #8
    <--- NIGH-INVULNERABLE! Belegnole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gugi View Post
    even though you didn't follow Lynn's advice :P
    Umm, which bit would that be? Theres so much that I wouldn't be surprised if I had missed something entirely.


    Btw day three Angry face took a break and used the DE. If I didn't have to shave for work I wouldn't have.

    Day 4 healed and picked up some hones (DMT 1200, Norton 4000/8000, Chinese 12000) and worked on my "practice razor" after spending a good part of the evening lapping. I'm going to give it a trial shave tomorrow as it is cutting arm hair better that the Wapi at this point (better than a new DE blade too!) and to this newb passes the TPT. Up to this point nothing has passed the HHT, it may be my hair is too fine?

  9. #9
    Senior Member sebell's Avatar
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    Right on gugi, just keep shaving!

    Although you're expressing relatively the same thing, the
    phrase is generally, `champing at the bit'

    Congrats on the shaves, it all gets better from here.

    - Scott

  10. #10
    <--- NIGH-INVULNERABLE! Belegnole's Avatar
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    Day 5, I guess that my DE just doesn't cut arm hair well as the W&B was not ready.

    Day 6, I took it through a few more pyramids today and for some odd reason it didn't want to get any sharper. After some more chomping at the bit (forums down) I decided that I would try honing the Wapi. Just so that you all know I had scoped the edge of the Wapi and it definitely was not right. It had what I would call micro chipping and just looked dull under the scope. So I did a conservative pyramid and it took my arm hairs right off (much sharper than the W&B). So off to the strop I went. Face feeling fine, daughter in bed....test shave! While the Wapi was better it was still feeling dull on the first pass. So, back to the strop and a quick arm test afterwards ...did I muck the edge stropping? Nope, and on to the second pass. Still the blade drags and just doesn't cut well. If this was a tool that I bought for work it would have been classified as a WOFTAM and been FUBARed. Of course because I see all of you gentlemen succeeding, I refuse to be cowed....or any other large ruminant. So if you see a man in pigtail with a razor burnt face on the street, he is a knight of the blade on the quest for shaving nirvana.


    note: I can't seem to do the TPT. I realized that I was just not getting much feedback. when I thought upon it I came to the conclusion that the depth of my calluses may just be interfering. Obviously I also just may be using to light of a touch to get the right response....time will tell

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