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Thread: Wedge v. Hollow

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    I got this . . . Orville's Avatar
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    Default Wedge v. Hollow

    My first Straight was a 5/8 Ralf Aust full hollow round point. I followed that up with a vintage Wostie medium hollow (1/4 wedge?). Having just finished a shave with the full hollow after a few promising goes with the Wostie, am I correct in noting that the full hollow is much less forgiving of a newbs technique? I am only 15 shaves in, but I find that I can get a better finish, with less effort and irritation, with my Wostie, than with the Aust. Both blades are similar in size, the only real difference being the grind. Things just seem so much easier with the vintage blade.

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
    I'm a social vegan. I avoid meet. JBHoren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orville View Post
    My first Straight was a 5/8 Ralf Aust full hollow round point. I followed that up with a vintage Wostie medium hollow (1/4 wedge?). Having just finished a shave with the full hollow after a few promising goes with the Wostie, am I correct in noting that the full hollow is much less forgiving of a newbs technique? I am only 15 shaves in, but I find that I can get a better finish, with less effort and irritation, with my Wostie, than with the Aust. Both blades are similar in size, the only real difference being the grind. Things just seem so much easier with the vintage blade.
    This non-newbie certainly thinks so. On my scale-of-things, a quarter-hollow is fine, and a near-wedge is preferable, but anything half-hollow or greater has me focusing on the potential for slicing my face, rather than getting a good shave -- and this is irrespective of the blade's sharpness; I get a much better shave (and enjoy it!) with a non-HHT, quasi-shave-ready near-wedge grind, than with a half- or full-hollow. I'm hesitant to call it "technique" (or lack thereof), just psychological; in fact, it's probably good technique that gets me a DFS with a less-than-stellar honing job.

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    Senior Member blabbermouth RezDog's Avatar
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    We all have our preferences. Some find the opposite is true. This is truly one of those ymmv situations. I find if I shave with the same or similar razor for a couple of shaves it gets better. It just takes me a time or two to squeeze the most out of it.
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    I got this . . . Orville's Avatar
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    So, I guess it's good that I have a PRC Hydra (1/4 hollow) on order. Now to look into vintage wedges . . . hee hee hee.

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    Senior Member Razorfaust's Avatar
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    I have found that more substantial blades that have some heft, like near wedges do, can make up for lack of confidence in ones strokes. The inertia of these blades kind of smooth out hesitant shave passes as well a give a sense of a stable rigid blade against your face. When I first started 6/8 extra hollow blades felt unstable and flexible, I always felt that the blade might take a turn into my skin rather than cut along the surface. Sure it may be just a false perception but it made for an unnerving shave until I became more adept. Wedges felt great from the get go so I am agreeing with your experience.
    Last edited by Razorfaust; 04-02-2015 at 12:45 AM.
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    Senior Member criswilson10's Avatar
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    I have found the extra hollow blades give me the closest shave, but not the most relaxing - I feel that I have to pay extra attention to the blade. I find shaving with a near wedge the most relaxing because they just glide through the hair so easily. Most days I shave with a half hollow, it's a nice middle ground cutting through the hair easily and not requiring the concentration of the extra hollow.
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    The Dude Abides wingdo's Avatar
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    While they are no longer my preferred grind, I still think a full hollow is the best to learn on. There are several ways a full hollow will be more helpful to a new comer.

    1) Audio feedback. It sounds trivial, but when you use a full hollow you get excellent "popping" feedback. It helps you find the correct angle easily. Due to the thicker grind, a wedge or near wedge are just going to glide right over the skin and you won't "hear" if you are actually cutting anything.

    2) More irritation if used incorrectly. This seems counter-intuitive but for me I could (and can still) feel it when I have a poor angle for the blade. I think a full hollow helps force one to use the very best angle.

    3) Easier stropping. It's much easier for someone new to using a straight to find the correct way to strop. Like #1, it is because of the audio feedback. A full hollow will sing while being stropped and you will know if you have a correct pattern going or if the edge really isn't flat against the leather.

    For those wanting to hone, full hollows are easier to learn on. It gets right back to #3 and stropping. It's just easier. Once a good technique is learned moving to a 1/2 or 1/4 hollow is a fantastic experience. Most of the blades I grab these days have that grind. Though I do still enjoy a nice vintage full hollow now and again.
    Doug

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    Bible Believer Member razorjoe's Avatar
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    with my whiskers being both course and growing flat in all four directions I need something rigid and strong. I have had three different straight razors sharpened by two masters from this forum and neither one would last more than two shaves. One a TI was used on me both times by a master barber, and the other one I used on myself and both hollow ground razors, both dull as a door nail within 2-3 shaves. I saw how the barber stropped my razor and did the same, felt good at the start of the shave towards the end blade having problems cutting hair, gliding over the whiskers or pulling them, not just when I did it but when the barber shaved me. I can only use DE blades maybe 3-4 times also, it like my beard was made of steel wool, it just laughs at anything that comes near it, single edge, multi-blade, electric razors, straight razors hollow ground, I'm going to try a FULL WEDGE STRAIGHT RAZOR NEXT.

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    Senior Member cubancigar2000's Avatar
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    I have had just as good of shaves with 1/4 hollow as full but I do see a difference in them. I find myself reaching for a Hart 1/4 hollow a lot. I don't have a wedge yet
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