• Beginners' Tips: January 2016

    This month’s Beginners’ Tips are an observation, conclusion and an example of what I've read so many times over these last five years or so.

    Many Beginner’s first few posts on this forum go along these lines:

    1. “I just bought a shave ready razor online. Wish me luck!”

    2. “I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. My shaves are terrible, my face feels raw, and there is bleeding.”

    3. “I figured it must need honing, so I’ve bought some hones. Wish me luck!”

    4. “It’s not working, I’m selling my stuff and going back to disposables.”

    The replies to these posts are usually the same: SRP members advise the Beginner to read the Wiki, get the razor honed by a professional, watch out for cheap goods, take it slow and have patience. Don’t jump into honing right away, learn to use and maintain a properly honed straight razor first.

    One of the main things to remember is that “shave-ready” is a subjective term: one man’s shave-ready razor can be another’s blunt butter knife.

    To make this point I recently bought a 'Shave Ready' razor from eBay just to see what the purported 'Shave Ready' shaved like. The seller had stated that it was honed on a series of Naniwa hones up to the 12K. Great! That should be a smooth shaving razor! It had a BIN price that I consider a Beginner's Level Razor (less than $50-Shipping included).

    It arrived in a timely manner and I decided that I'd proceed as I would if I was brand new to straight razors. I therefore 'Trusted' that it was indeed 'Shave Ready’. I didn't do any pre-shave prep and I didn't strop the razor, I just lathered up and gave it a go on my sideburn area.

    Well it easily cut whiskers, but it felt really harsh. So I decided to strop the razor. 50 laps on cloth and 100 on leather and gave it another go. No difference in the 'harshness': it was still cutting whiskers very easily but not very pleasantly!

    Well I didn't want to experience any more of that kind of shave so I just stopped and cleaned the blade up and then took a look at the edge. I could see that the bevel was set but that there were still 1K scratches on the edge along with what I believe were some 4k or so scratches. I could also see that there were a few more 'polished' areas which I believe were from only a couple of strokes from the higher grit stones.

    So the seller’s claim of 'up to the Naniwa 12k' probably wasn't an actual 'lie' but nor did I feel it was completely true. I then honed it myself and finished on a Naniwa 12K for comparison. I got a wonderful CCC shave (Clean Close and Comfortable)! In fact, I'm thinking that this is a razor that I'd like to keep!

    So my conclusion is exactly as I stated before:

    One person's 'Shave Ready Edge' isn't always another’s shave ready edge. So if in doubt have your razor honed by a trusted honer: either a Pro or a member who has a lot of experience.

    Listen to the more experienced members, it will save you heartache, frustration and money.

    Take your time, go slow and be patient; with practice the dream shaves that you read about will come, it just takes time.

    Learn the basics well and then think about learning to hone.

    I do hope that this example of my buying a 'Shave Ready Razor' will be of some help to those that are new and wanting to get started in this age old art.

    Enjoy the Ride! It's a long strange trip, but well worth the journey.

    Jimbo, lz6, Durhampiper and 33 others like this.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Beginners' Tips: January 2016 started by cudarunner View original post