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  1. #1
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    Smile Tired of Bad Shaves

    Esteemed gentlemen,

    I'm new here and I just figured I'd give an intro on how I got here. From what I've read so far, you all seem extremely friendly and passionate about straights.

    I have been using the various Gillette multi-blade contraptions with pharmacy canister shaving goop since I started shaving, with miserable results. I'm still a young man so I've only been shaving about 10 years and I've thought that the latest "bleeding edge" (excuse the pun, but it was too easy) technology had to be the best option. Since I've gotten such bad results though, I've always thought in the back of my mind that there had to be something better. I have little facial hair (can easily get away with shaving every other day with my Fusion), but have fair, dry skin prone to razor burn. The Fusion was tearing me up, but gave me a closer shave than my electric.

    I recently came across an Art of Manliness article: How to Shave Like Your Grandpa and was interested. It sounded like a step in the right direction. After a little more digging, I came across another one of their articles: Shave Like Your Great Grandpa and I thought it a MUCH better alternative. A quick Google search later and here I am.

    I've done a lot of reading on here, including the Wiki, and seen a bunch of videos. Now I'm taking the plunge and deciding on my starter kit. Based on a lot of reading here, I think I've decided on a 6/8 Dovo Special (love the tortoise-look until I can upgrade) from SRD, but I'm open to other suggestions. I want my first to come from Lynn's handiwork. I can already see how RAD is easy to catch!

    What I'm having more trouble deciding on is whether I get the full set from SRD or just pick up the razor from there and mix and match the rest of my products from other sources. While I'm not particularly cash-constrained, I am always a value buyer. In particular, while SRD's strops seems very nice, I'm wondering if could find something cheaper elsewhere, especially since I'll probably nick it or worse anyway while learning. Secondly, I've read up on the importance of a good brush and want a good badger. After looking at some prices, I'm wondering how much of the price is the "name brand". I cam across what look to be great quality and affordable grade A silvertip knots from The Golden Nib, but I don't have either the woodworking skills or tools (although I'd love to learn) to make a proper handle. Although, I do see that they sell handles as well. May not be too bad a price all together.

    Anyway, I've learned in life to ask those who have experience on their advice and "stand on the shoulders of giants". So, I'd appreciate any and all advice you all may have. Thanks in advance and I look forward to hanging around SRP for a long time to come.

    Cheers,
    ElChe
    Last edited by ElChe; 07-31-2010 at 11:05 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member blabbermouth JimmyHAD's Avatar
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    Welcome to SRP. Nice to see someone who does their homework. The choice of razor is a good one IMO. Here is a tutorial from a 1961 barber manual on honing and stropping. The stropping portion is the last couple of pages and well worth reading and following the suggestions IMO. Read my sig below to avoid nicks and cut when you begin shaving with your new straight razor.
    Be careful how you treat people on your way up, you may meet them again on your way back down.

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    ElChe (07-31-2010)

  4. #3
    RKP
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    Welcome to SRP! Yes, indeed there is something better. Using a DE or straight is far better and more fun than what you have been using.. That is good you have been doing your homework! Yes, getting a shave ready razor is the way to go.

    Don't forget the classifieds as you can get a fantastic razor that is shave ready at a very resonable cost. Yes I know about RAD! I just counted up my razors today I have 20 so far and 12 need to be honed up. Enjoy and have fun!

    Richard

  5. #4
    Senior Member De Layne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElChe View Post

    I've read up on the importance of a good brush and want a good badger. After looking at some prices, I'm wondering how much of the price is the "name brand". I cam across what look to be great quality and affordable grade A silvertip knots from The Golden Nib, but I don't have either the woodworking skills or tools (although I'd love to learn) to make a proper handle. Although, I do see that they sell handles as well. May not be too bad a price all together.

    Cheers,
    ElChe
    Hi there,

    I'm far from an expert on brushes, and thank God I'm not afflicted with that particular AD.........heh. I started out with a boar, then went to a medium grade badger, and gradually ended up with two silvertips as the only brushes in my rotation. I won't explain why I like these brushes, but they are both charming in different ways.

    You're smart not spending a bunch of cash on a brush...at least not right away. Sounds like you don't mind spending $50-60 or so, and that will buy something more than adequate that you can use for years. Although I've never ordered from TGN, the reviews I've read have been generally very positive. Seems like a better than average product for a reasonable price.

    You might look over at the site Charles runs www.qedusa.com and check out his selection of the Savile Row line. You may not hear much about that brand...........it's almost a sleeper except to more experienced members. No need for the high end models, but there's some interesting mid range ones. Those are called the 'Select' line if I'm not mistaken, and supposed to be a very good bang for the buck brush. Charles actually helped in the knot design as well (if I remember right). He's also a very nice guy to talk on the phone with and will not steer you towards something you don't need or want.

    Right now a middle of the road badger would be a good first choice. At the moment your reference point is zero, so get something that's sorta soft, with medium backbone. Try a medium size knot(23mm) with medium loft. You have no way of knowing what you'll end up liking in a brush, so use the first one as a control.

    Do you think you'll prefer a soft knot, or one that's a little scritchier. Any idea about the size and height, and would you prefer a somewhat floppy rather than firmer knot? You gonna be using mostly soaps or mostly creams? Face lather or bowl? Hehe, ok, I'm getting a little carried away here.....sorry. Those last two points aren't all that crucial, but the others can be.

    Ok, I guess that's plenty for now,

    Martin

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    ElChe (08-01-2010)

  7. #5
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    Thanks for the advice everybody. Appreciate the additional reading materials JimmyHAD. Martin, I'll definitely check out the QED site.

    Quote Originally Posted by De Layne View Post
    Do you think you'll prefer a soft knot, or one that's a little scritchier. Any idea about the size and height, and would you prefer a somewhat floppy rather than firmer knot? You gonna be using mostly soaps or mostly creams? Face lather or bowl? Hehe, ok, I'm getting a little carried away here.....sorry. Those last two points aren't all that crucial, but the others can be.
    Martin - With a reference point of zero as you aptly put it, this is all just speculation as to what I think I'll like... But since I've got pretty sensitive skin, I think a softer knot may be better for me. As for size and height, I don't think I need anything massive and somewhere in the middle between floppy and firm. I'll be giving it a go first with soaps in a bowl, at least until I can get the hang of it. Thanks for the brush suggestions!

  8. #6
    Senior Member De Layne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElChe View Post
    Thanks for the advice everybody. Appreciate the additional reading materials JimmyHAD. Martin, I'll definitely check out the QED site.



    Martin - With a reference point of zero as you aptly put it, this is all just speculation as to what I think I'll like... But since I've got pretty sensitive skin, I think a softer knot may be better for me. As for size and height, I don't think I need anything massive and somewhere in the middle between floppy and firm. I'll be giving it a go first with soaps in a bowl, at least until I can get the hang of it. Thanks for the brush suggestions!
    Yeah, there's no way of knowing what's gonna suit you best in the end, which is why it makes sense not to go radial for a first brush. Same goes for a DE razor and certain blades. I was just sorta doing some good natured teasing. Heh, it's my nature.

    Martin
    Last edited by De Layne; 08-02-2010 at 12:10 AM.

  9. #7
    Senior Member blabbermouth niftyshaving's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElChe View Post
    Esteemed gentlemen,
    ...snip...

    I have been using the various Gillette multi-blade contraptions with pharmacy canister shaving goop since I started shaving, with miserable results.
    ....snip....
    Welcome....

    If you do nothing else the most productive change
    for a shaver stuck in goo is "latherin".

    Invest twelve bucks or so in a VDH brush, bowel, soap kit
    search for:
    "Van Der Hagen Premium Shave Set (Soap, Bowl, Brush)"
    or just find one at a local CVS or Walmart.

    While you are playing with that budget kit you
    can shop for different shave soaps or creams
    and shop for a brush upgrade. Or not, some
    folk find that the baseline that is set by VDH is
    such an improvement that they stop there.

    We all have a favorite brush, soap, mug etc. but
    moving from goo in a can to a decent ordinary
    shave soap used correctly can make a big
    improvement no mater which blade you have.
    In the process you will learn things that may
    even let you go back to that 'goo' with a
    much improved shave.

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    ElChe (08-02-2010)

  11. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by De Layne View Post
    Yeah, there's no way of knowing what's gonna suit you best in the end, which is why it makes sense not to go radial for a first brush. Same goes for a DE razor and certain blades. I was just sorta doing some good natured teasing. Heh, it's my nature.

    Martin
    Hahaha. Yeah, no worries, Martin.

    It's just that prior to finding SRP, I never would have thought about the subtle nuances of a shave brush. I'm a firm believer in this Confucius quote: "I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand."

    Without having already "done" so to speak, your post just kinda made my head hurt. Please forgive my n00bness!

    Cheers,
    ElChe
    Last edited by ElChe; 08-02-2010 at 01:24 AM.

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