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  1. #1
    DMS
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    Smile Survived my first straight shave

    After hanging around here for a couple weeks, reading everything I could find, asking a lot of questions, and watching Lynn's DVD that arrived today, the last piece of shaving kit came in today's mail so I was ready to go.

    Hot shower
    6/8 Columbia from Joe Chandler
    Vulfix 2234 brush
    Classicshaving soap, bay rum flavor
    Alum block
    Old Spice after shave (Pinaud due in tomorrow)

    Lathered up and let my face soak while stropping the razor 25 licks on a Tony Hiller wide paddle. Passed the HHT well toward the toe but not the middle or heel. Gave it another 15 licks, same result. Decided to proceed.

    Cheeks went easy, no pulling, no cuts or irritation, nice and clean even left handed. Had planned to stop at this point and finish with the M3 but decided there was no fun in that and continued on with the Columbia. Kept having to remind myself to use short strokes. Started working down the neck, harder than the cheeks were but not going too badly except for right under the jawline.

    Noticed at this point that the lather was getting pretty dry and so was my skin everyplace the razor passed over. Re-applied from the brush, and carried on with the chin and middle of neck shaving mostly right handed. Seemed like the razor wouldn't glide but I was afraid to push through. Used short chopping sort of motions, far from clean, face is drying out again. Kept at it until I'd made a first pass everywhere including upper lip.

    Upper lip and chin all the way to adams apple looked like I hadn't even shaved. Time to re-lather and finish with the mach 3. Squeezed the rich lather from the center of the brush and spread it around. Joe's Columbia was still calling to me though so I picked it up again and went diagonally as best I could across grain on the cheeks - harder to see what I was doing on this stroke but the results seemed good.

    Proceeded on to the hard parts again and drew blood the instant I touched razor to face under my right nostril. Kept at it and even made a courageous E-W stroke on half the upper lip. Too much red on the other half to do anything more there at this point.

    Moved on to chin and almost landed the razor on my lower lip when I started. Reminded myself to be careful and slow the hell down. Did a pretty passable job on the front and sides of the chin but unable to turn the corner onto the neck, too much resistance on the razor and no nerve to push through with it.

    Went S-N on both sides of the neck using opposite side hands pretty much like Lynn in the video and that part came out pretty well. Went S-N up the center and just couldn't get it clean. The razor didn't so much grab or pull there, just didn't want to glide through like it did other places. It took a very conscious effort not to bear down there like I would have with a M3.

    SO, at this point I'd been over pretty much everything three times or so and decided to hang it up. Bottom of chin to adams apple looked like I hadn't even shaved, upper lip not much better. Noticed a couple more little bleeders on side of mouth, cured with a splash of cold water and the upper lip wasn't bleeding much either by now. Lathered up again but used Prorasso cream this time and reshaved with the M3. Was discouraged to see a lot of whiskers floating in the sink afterward that I had missed with the straight but got with the M3.

    Rinsed off again, wetted the end of the alum block and proceeded to wipe everyplace down with it. Expected some sting after making so many passes but it wasn't bad at all. Rubbed it into the upper lip bleeder a little to stop that one for good.

    Not much burn with the aftershave either, but feels a little bit raw now where I kept scraping away under the chin.

    Stropped the razor 20 licks and put it away. No bandaids required and the wife was relieved not to have to call 911.

    I'm hoping I didn't mess up Joe's hone job on the razor when I stropped it - did that slowly and carefully but caught myself pressing down more than the weight of the razor a few times. Kept the spine on the strop at all times though. I have three more good razors in waiting and may try another one next time to see if there's any difference.

    I've been lathering up that soap with too much water in the brush over the past few days and think I over corrected this time by going too dry. Have to say it did a pretty good job of protecting my face through. Maybe next time I'll get it perfect.

    Am disappointed with under the chin/jawline and the upper lip results. Probably won't do anything much different there for now though unless you guys think I should push through a little harder when the razor doesn't want to move readily. From what I've read here it sounds like that's the hardest part for most of us at first. I've had worse cuts from a M3 than I got today, so the one I got today was enough to keep me respectful but puts some fears to rest.

    All in all it was exciting and fun and I'm looking forward to the next one.

  2. #2
    Scar Face Aussie's Avatar
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    Keep at it mate, your shaves WILL improve and you'll feel on top of the world. Just take your time and enjoy the experience

  3. #3
    Senior Member blabbermouth JLStorm's Avatar
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    Im still really learning...Im a novice, but I am now getting great shaves and I have been exclusively shaving with a straight for 7 or 8 months now. Thats what is so wonderful about it, it is a skill that just gets better with time. At a time in my life where everything else seems to deteriorate with age, this is a nice switch lol

  4. #4
    Senior Member Sec162's Avatar
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    Yup, just keep at it and u will get a lot better pretty quick. Your first time sounded like mine except I had bad razor burn. I did find that using my left hand (I'm right handed) seemed to work better, maybe cause I didn't push so hard. I have only shaved completely with a straight maybe 15 times.....and I can now get a very smooth shave as long as I don't rub against the grain. I haven't tackled the third pass yet, waiting for now. It also used to take me a lot longer, I think the first time took me all of an hour, now it takes 15 minutes if all goes well. Keep in mind you have a lot of different things going on at one time.

    And it is true what others say, pay attention! I nicked my ear lobe last night, didn't feel a thing, just saw a red drop collecting. What a bugger to get the bleeding to stop I was glad I didn't pierce my ear though ^^^
    Last edited by Sec162; 09-29-2006 at 07:25 AM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member blabbermouth JLStorm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sec162
    I was glad I didn't pierce my ear though ^^^
    Im never gonna live that down am I? lol

  6. #6
    Member AFDavis11's Avatar
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    Based on your own test I'd say the razor may not be sharp enough yet. Whatever test you use you want the entire edge to pass. I would suggest a few passes on .5 paste if you have it or even better a few swipes on a barber hone. Alas, you probably don't have either yet but if you don't I'd put away this razor for a while or even send it back to Joe for just a little touch up. I doubt he would mind and it'll only cost you like $3.00 total shipping costs.

    I would NOT try to push through any area yet, especially with more razors "on deck".

    At the risk of a torrent of thread hail directed my way if you insist on trying this razor again I'd strop a little more firmly. Say 20 passes on linen and 50 on leather, with enough pressure to pull a draw. Make sure in this case you use linen first. And, ofcourse, continue to hold the strop firmly. If you get a nice "correction" to it you can go back to a light touch again. I'm not advocating a lot more pressure, just a little more than "only the weight of the blade". And I'm willing to take a few "post" bullets for you if it makes for a better shave. :-)

    When you get to your next razor keep in mind the "cream" consistency is REALLY important. Knock ALL the water out of your brush and start swirling the lather up then dip the brush into the water (in the sink) as you work it adding just a little water at a time. Stop when you have a rich cream you can't see through. When you get to an airy looking cream that reminds you of canned foam, YOU'VE GONE TOO FAR.

    For many of the spots your describing you need practice. You have to practice the exact angle and the exact direction that you need to use to achieve a clean shave. Next week you should review a shaving "pattern". Look in one of the barbers manuals. While your there make sure you understand the correct stroke for under the nose shaving. Until then you should perfect your razor and try again with a different blade, and I suggest a 5/8th if you have it, not a 6/8.

    You may want to consider a little lower angle on your first pass.

    Additionally, its either an advanced concept or a lazy one but if the razor is passing the HHT at the heel and tip consider shaving a little with just those sections, say on your cheek and see how it feels. I'd have to say the middle section of the edge is more important, but . . . at this point learning angles and strokes should be your emphasis, not being able to shave regardless of sharpness. Again though, in your case I'd put it away for now and practice with the others and see how it goes.

    For now you should also make more lather than you need and add a dab of water if it dries in the bowl over the long haul. Re-lather your face often and be patient.

    Between stretching the skin, achieving the proper angle, and utilizing the proper stroke direction each stroke on your face is a little laborious at first, so be patient.
    Last edited by AFDavis11; 09-29-2006 at 09:02 AM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Gregg's Avatar
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    Hang in there! It only gets better with time and experience. You will develop 'touch' that will enable you to shave areas that you currently can't without a nick. Soon that M3 will be only a distant, bad memory!

  8. #8
    DMS
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    Quote Originally Posted by AFDavis11
    When you get to your next razor keep in mind the "cream" consistency is REALLY important. Knock ALL the water out of your brush and start swirling the lather up then dip the brush into the water (in the sink) as you work it adding just a little water at a time. Stop when you have a rich cream you can't see through. When you get to an airy looking cream that reminds you of canned foam, YOU'VE GONE TOO FAR.

    Between stretching the skin, achieving the proper angle, and utilizing the proper stroke direction each stroke on your face is a little laborious at first, so be patient.
    It sounds like I've gone too far in working up the lather, thinking that getting it to foam up was the objective. I get large bubbles at first and then continue working it until I get smaller bubbles. Don't think I've ever seen the rich cream you describe but I'll practice that while my face is recovering for a day or so. If I still can't get it right I'll try Prorasso or the Vulfix cream next time out. I think that not enough lubrication was my biggest problem, besides inexperience in how to hold the razor and maintain the right angles and pressure. My skin felt dry after the razor had passed over it especially when I tried to make a 2nd light stroke as in two light strokes in quick sucession.

    I picked up that Columbia this morning and tried popping some hair on my forearm with it, and it did that pretty well across the width of the blade. The hair on my head tends to be very fine so maybe it's not a reliable indicator with the HHT?

    I have a nice 5/8 and can try that to see if it makes maneuvering and seeing what I'm doing a little easier.

    I went with one of Tony's wide paddle strops, Plain & 0.5 micron pasted. Don't have a hanging one yet. My thought on that was it'd be easier to start with a paddle by eliminating the strop tension variable, plus nice to have 0.5 micron for touching up when needed. The razor seems to be drawing a little more evenly and easily on it now, don't know if it's the strop breaking in, me getting used to it, a change in the edge, or some combination of all three. The leather on it is so soft and buttery that I felt like I needed to press down a little in the beginning to keep it from skipping.

    Many thanks for the advice. I printed the barber's manuals from the help section last week but thought they weren't of too much help to me since the razor holds they described were designed for shaving someone else and didn't look like what you'd use in shaving yourself. The number of sections they divide the face into seemed a lot more complicated than Lynn makes it look in the videos too. I'll go back and take another look at them though.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Sec162's Avatar
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    Don't recall if anybody mentioned to study your face well (hair growth direction). I had better results when I altered the direction for a few parts of my face since everybody's is different. FWIW

    Im never gonna live that down am I? lol
    No probably not, but since you didn't have to tell anyone and we would never have known had you not, you get points for sharing
    Last edited by Sec162; 09-29-2006 at 07:06 PM.

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