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Thread: First Shave A Disappointment

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    Default First Shave A Disappointment

    Hello All,

    My name is Tim and I am looking for a little advice/opinion after my first shave. I received my first straight razor the other day as a father's day present from my wife. It was ordered from vintage razors and is a Dovo Best Quality 6/8. Before shaving I stropped the razor approximately 20 times and then begun to shave. I noticed the razor felt as if it were pulling my hair rather than essentially cutting right thru it. I stopped the shave and performed the hanging hair test mentioned in the Lynn Abrams DVD and it wouldn't slice the hair without assistance from me. Does the razor need more stroping or a possible honing? Vintage razors says the razor is shave ready, but I found it to be a little disappointing. Any opinions or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Also one other thing, as I am stropping sometimes I nick the strop as I rotate the blade on the spine, any way to perfect this technique would also be appreciated. Thanks for the help.

    Tim Moss
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    This is not my actual head. HNSB's Avatar
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    Hi Tim. Welcome to SRP!

    It is very likely that the edge of your razor got damaged when one of those nicks in your strop was made. Stropping takes a bit of practice. It's a good idea to go very slow at first to get the motions down and then as your muscle memory improves, very gradually speed up.

    Don't worry too much about the hanging hair test. If you've never tested your hair against blades of known sharpness, it doesn't mean much. Some people have hair that won't "pass" the HHT even on a razor with a great shaving edge.

    If you'd like, I'll be happy to take a look at your razor and touch it up if needed - no charge.
    Of course, if you live somewhere where you can find a local mentor you could probably get your razor honed (if needed) and get some personal instruction on stropping and shave technique.
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    Thanks for the advice. I will slow down and really perfect the stroping. I think that when Im stropping the strop may twist as I rotate the blade on its spine so will have to watch out for that as well. Also, thanks for offering to touch up my razor and I may take you up on that in the future, as there aren't really that many people I know here in hawaii that use straight razors.

    Tim

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    This is not my actual head. HNSB's Avatar
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    In my experience, the most common cause of nicks in strops is the timing of the flip and direction change. The timing is critical. Switch directions before flipping and you'll dig the edge in and then flip it up. This will certainly damage the edge. Switching after the flip is complete will dig the edge into the strop. This damages the strop, but may not damage the razor.

    While moving the razor forward start the flip, and change direction after the edge is off the leather, but before it comes down again. Practice in slow motion to get it smooth. Remember: slow is smooth, smooth is fast.

    Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government.

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    Be accurate. The first strop usually cut. Before shaving stropped the razor approximately 60 times. If it doesn't help, search the honemaster.
    Everything will be OK. Not at once.

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    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    Hey and welcome

    I would just add that if you receive a shave ready razor and are a rookie do not strop it before the first shave with it. That will let you know what a shave ready razor feels like. Then strop it before the second shave and if it feels worse than the first time you know your stropping technique dulled it. I think everyone goes through death by stropping syndrome at the beginning, I did.

    Bob
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    Perhaps you could practise the stropping motion with a (second) dull razor or a piece of dull cutlery that feels similar in your hand. That way, you cannot damage the strop and still get the feel for the flip!

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    Welcome to SRP. Good advice above. I might add that IME most of our first shaves are 'disappointing'. There is a learning curve for all of this that must be overcome to get shaves that will eventually surpass any that you've experienced no matter the tool you've used.

    My first shaves took so long that the lather would dry on one side of my face before I got finished with the side I started on. That for the first half dozen or so. I had to finish the chin and parts of the neck with a DE for a few weeks, and that with a shave ready razor. After that I developed better technique and was able to begin accomplishing all with the straight and in a more timely manner. Hang in there, it gets better.

    For stropping, the 1961 barber manual excerpt on honing and stropping recommends practicing the flip without the stropping motion. Just the flip until it is smooth and coordinated. Then begin the motion. I hang my strop off of a door knob which for me approximates the level pro barbers hung their strops. The old barber chairs had a hook for the strop that left it approximately waist high. I use a cable tie (zip tie) for attach to the knob.

    Here is the PDF from the SRP library on the aforementioned barber manual excerpt. The stropping portion is a couple of pages back and the honing portion is very good IMO.You may need that later.

    http://straightrazorpalace.com/srpwi...t_-_Honing.pdf
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    At this point in time... gssixgun's Avatar
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    There used to be a time when saying Vintage Razor meant Jim over at VintagebladesLLC.com which means that Lynn honed it if you paid for the honing

    "Vintage Razor" now may mean something totally different,

    Was the razor from VintagebladesLLC ???
    Did she pay the extra cost for the Professional honing ???
    Was the box open ??? or sealed ???
    Was there a note that said something like "This razor has been Professionally Hand Honed"


    These are just a few clues as to what stage your razor arrived at..

    Now add everything that the guys have already mentioned and you can see why we say "Start with a Shave Ready razor from a VERY reputable source"


    ps: There are actually quite a few of you guys over on the Islands, you might and arrange for a get together meet over there...
    Last edited by gssixgun; 07-03-2013 at 03:46 PM.

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    For a first shave if you don't cut yourself and have massive burn then the shave is a fantastic success.

    It can take months to get good shaves and develop good facility with the razor.

    As far as the razor goes pulling is usually a sign of a dull razor and like others have said you might have dulled it on the strop or it might not have been shave ready to begin with or a combination of both.
    No matter how many men you kill you can't kill your successor-Emperor Nero

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