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Thread: Technique Help Needed

  1. #1
    Junior Member britaliano's Avatar
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    Question Technique Help Needed

    Hello all, I have a Merkur 34C which I am using with Merkur blades.

    I have shaved six times with it.

    First shave was great, a couple of small cuts.

    Since then I have been really cutting up, especially on the chin and under the nose. I am certainly not moving from side to side but I need some help with an ideal blade angle.

    I have been lathering, shaving with the grain then lathering again and shaving across.

    If I have time I lather the sides of my face and shave against the grain but would not dare doing that anywhere else.

    The cuts come from the very first strokes on the chin, with the grain.

    So is it a matter of perseverance or are you jumping up and down, certain that I am making some basic errors?

    Any guidance much appreciated!

  2. #2
    May your bone always be well buried MickR's Avatar
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    Hard to say with any definate precision. I have a few words of advice that may help.

    1) Try a variety of blades. Merkur blades may not be right for you.

    2) Decrease pressure on the stroke.

    3) Angle; Place the top of the razor head on your face and slowly roll it towards the blade as you move the razor as if shaving. You have the starting point for the best angle when you feel (more likely hear, if it's a sharp, fresh blade) the blade start to shave.

    4) Less tension on the skin. Don't stretch as much.

    5) May be a case of needing to condition the skin if you haven't always sported a clean shaven chin.

    That's all I can think of at the moment. May or may not help, and as always, there are much wiser people than myself on this forum who may just chime in.


    Mick

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  4. #3
    Member OldSoldier's Avatar
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    SLOW DOWN. I am teaching myself how to use a DE, actually re-educating myself because I taught myself initially more than 30 years ago how to use one. My primary choice of razors is a straight but I have recently purchased a DE for my grandson so I figured I should get one for me as well so I can teach from a point of experience.
    The first shave went pretty well, only 2 abrasions caused by improper angle; I chose the word abrasion because I did NOT cut myself, the angle caused me to get a little deep in the dermis and remove sking along with whiskers. I was quite happy I didn't cut myself because my very first shave with a DE left me quite literally scarred for life. Had I been moving a little slower and concentrating on the angle of razor head I would not have abbrated my skin.
    I am currently coaching / teaching my grandson how to wet shave with a str8 and very soon with a DE because he is going in the Navy; another story. ANYWAY... The main idea I drive home every time we discuss shaving is slow, steady, attention to angle and above all else - concentrate on the task at hand. The only cut he has reported thus far is removing a "zit", to which I responded continue at current speed and don't get overconfident.
    Back to your situation, without actually watching you shave all I can do is to offer the same advice I do my grandson; slow down and concentrate, watch the angle of the razor head in relation to your face. DO NOT push the into your face, the weight of the razor should be sifficient to remove whiskers, pressing the razor against your face will increase the chances of cutting or irritating skin immensely. Eventaully you'll develop the right amount of force necessary to remove whiskers without tearing up your face.

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  6. #4
    Senior Member Sargon's Avatar
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    Chins can be tricky, you'll get better with time and practice. One things you might want to check is your lather. A great shave begins with great lather, and learning to lather is as much an art, as learning to use a DE, especially if you have hard water.

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  8. #5
    -- There is no try, only do. Morty's Avatar
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    When I was starting out with straight razors, my chin was a problem for me. It was suggested to take a golf ball and "shave" it with a butter knife. This enabled me to visualize two things: I was able to see the necessity of continually adjusting the angle as I moved the blade over my chin and I could also visualize that only a small portion of the blade should be in contact with my chin (when using very little pressure) rather than trying to "cut a wide swath" as I do under my sideburns. After that, I was able to shave my chin WTG, XTG & ATG with no nicks or irritation.

    Take the blade out of your DE razor and give it a try. If you don't have a golf ball handy, use an egg. It just might help you to see what you are doing wrong and what you need to change to "do it right."

    One last thought. Did you start having problems nicking yourself during your 2nd or 3rd shaves? Or did the problem start after that?

    The reason I ask is that some of the folks here on this forum only use a blade three times before tossing it because the blade is already beginning to dull. That was a HUGE bugaboo for me back when I used a Gillette DE adjustable in the late 70s - early 80s. I carved my face up every day because I was trying to squeeze 10 or 12 shaves out of the Gillette Platinum Plus blades made back then!
    MickR and BanjoTom like this.

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  10. #6
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    Six shaves from a Merkur blade is too many, toss it and try a fresh blade. Merkurs are mediocre IMO and I can't get more than three shaves from them without getting irritation.

    Try to keep your angle consistant at all times by locking your elbow and pulling the razor straight down. Just like using a straight, pressure and high angle are your enemies and will be the main culprits 9/10 times when using a DE. When used properly DE's can give fantastic shaves. Good luck.

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  12. #7
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    I don't have a 34C but my understanding is they are to the milder end of DE's. many people don't seem to like merkur blades and IME they aren't very sharp. You could try a sharper blade, e.g. any of the 7 o'clocks, Astra SP's and Feathers. I tend to get 3 shaves with 2 or 3 passes before the blade dulls, then you'll start pressing on to get it to cut.

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  14. #8
    Junior Member britaliano's Avatar
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    Loving these replies and am actually really excited at my next shave.

    To address a few points:

    I replaced the blade after every 2 shaves. I had no idea what life to expect so I erred on the side of caution. I have some Feathers on their way to me.

    Cuts started from the second shave onwards.

    From the replies I am certain that angle is most of my problem, I am using way too large/wide an angle which is probably causing me to use more pressure than I should.

    On the posts that point out taking my time, this is the aspect I like the most about moving to DE shaving. Instead of squeezing a shave in the morning I am giving myself 30 minutes solely for the shave so I can enjoy it.

    I will certainly take it easier tomorrow morning and with a much tighter angle and less pressure.

    Thanks all for your patience and help, I will let you know how I get on.

  15. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by MickR View Post
    . . .

    1) Try a variety of blades. Merkur blades may not be right for you.

    2) Decrease pressure on the stroke.

    3) Angle; Place the top of the razor head on your face and slowly roll it towards the blade as you move the razor as if shaving. You have the starting point for the best angle when you feel (more likely hear, if it's a sharp, fresh blade) the blade start to shave.
    . . .
    Mick
    With a sharp blade, _very light pressure_ and the right angle, you should not get cut up. "Too much pressure" is the bane of beginners with DE razors. I speak from experience.

    charles

    PS -- Mick's "roll the razor until the blade starts to cut" is a really good rule for finding the right angle of attack -- thanks!

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  17. #10
    Junior Member britaliano's Avatar
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    Yep, gonna try that in the morning. Set aside and extra 15 minutes to get this one right.

    Thanks again.

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