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Thread: Just started with Straight Razor

  1. #1
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    Red face Just started with Straight Razor

    The story so far.....

    I decided to try and learn to shave with a straight razor. I have been at it a almost two weeks now and this morning I completed my first shave with no cuts. For anyone thinking about getting started here is my story.

    I bought a 5/8ths inch Dovo Soligen Razor (full hollow ground, with a rounded tip) on Amazon. Cost $230.00. According to the reviews it comes shave ready (just needs stropping) out of the box. I could probably have gotten one cheaper but I got a $150 gift card from my job and treated myself. Besides I figured if there is one thing I do not want to cheap out on to make this successful, the razor would be it. Sure enough the reviews were right, it did come shave ready so I didn't have to learn how to hone it first.

    Next I got a 3 inch wide strop. This way I could just strop straight up and down and not have to learn an X pattern for stropping (I would have enough to learn already). Since my dad died 25 years ago when I was 19, no one ever taught me to shave with a blade. I had to work out cartridge razors all on my own (for a trip to Japan where my electric razor wasn't going to work), so it was off to YouTube. Lucky for me a user named Lynn Abrams and another called geofatboy put up two excellent videos on how to shave with a straight razor. geofatboy's was the most help since he, like me, doesn't have a mustache and could demonstrate shaving the upper lip.

    Then I made my first mistake. I purchased a shaving kit from Art Of Shaving at the mall. The badger brush is alright, and the after shave is OK, but the cream was rubbish. It dries out way too quickly. So my first couple shaves were OK, just not the zen like experience I was looking for. To be sure I went back to using my cartridge razor with that cream and noticed it clogged it yup but good. My wife liked the kelp smell but that was all it had going for it. IMHO The Art of Shaving is overrated & overpriced.

    So back to Amazon I went and found Geo F. Trumper Sandalwood shaving cream. At this point (abut 3 shaves in) things start looking up. This stuff stayed wetter longer and lathered up nice. It still drys out by the time I get to my upper lip by I just re-apply some and it's fine. plus it just fells better on my skin while I'm shaving.

    So After the first week the sides of my face and my cheeks are coming along nicely. My main problem spots are my neck right under my jawbone (underneath my ear). I always seem to nick myself there and only just today figured a way to stretch the skin to get that part flt enough to shave properly. Also still need to practice around my chin. Everyone says it takes 100 shaves to get proficient and I believe it. I think it's 100 just to build up muscle memory in my left hand and actually learn the contours of my own face.

    This morning though, I got through with no nicks or cuts and a shave that was smoother than I've ever had. I was impressed, the wife was really impressed, and shaving with a straight razor is totally bad-ass. I think I can now confidently say I won't be going back to a cartridge razor without a fight.

  2. #2
    Senior Member blabbermouth Substance's Avatar
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    Great progress definitely some great inspirations you found early
    Keep progressing well
    Saved,
    to shave another day.

  3. #3
    Senior Member blabbermouth Haroldg48's Avatar
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    Given where you are in the process, I'd suggest getting your razor really shave ready by sending it to someone who really knows how to hone. I say that on the assumption that your Dovo from Amazon was only shave ready by factory standards, and that there was no middle step. In other words, I assume it was from Amazon as the retailer of wholesaled Dovo razors, not "sold by Amazon, shipped from xyz razor co.)

    There are lots of experienced homers on this forum or you can go to someone in the classifieds that hones as a service.
    Just call me Harold
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    A bad day at the beach is better than a good day at work!

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    sold by Amazon, shipped from xyz razor co.
    It was sold by and shipped from FGP through Amazon. Not sure who they are. Have no noticed any pulling, though the more I strop it the better it has gotten (or my technique is improving with practice).

    I am thinking of buying a couple cheap razors (say $10) on ebay to use teaching myself to hone (i'm a bit of a DIY freak and I like picking up new skills). If I can get those shave ready then I'm doing well and if I can't I haven't wrecked my good razor.

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    Senior Member Scareface's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwco View Post
    It was sold by and shipped from FGP through Amazon. Not sure who they are. Have no noticed any pulling, though the more I strop it the better it has gotten (or my technique is improving with practice).

    I am thinking of buying a couple cheap razors (say $10) on ebay to use teaching myself to hone (i'm a bit of a DIY freak and I like picking up new skills). If I can get those shave ready then I'm doing well and if I can't I haven't wrecked my good razor.
    I'm like you and want to do the DIY stuff.
    But, I do suggest getting your good one honed by a pro so that you can know what really good honing feels like.
    I bought two good razors, had them honed by a pro, and selected one to use until I thought it needed a touch up on the hone. I then switched to the second to see if my guess was correct. Then I sent the first back for honing.
    This is the way I learned how sharp the razor should be from a proper honing.
    Then after that all you need is some finishing hones to keep the edge sharp.
    If you strop poorly then you might have to step down to a more course grit.
    BobH and feltspanky like this.
    It's a dog eat dog world and I have on milk bone underwear.

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    As a follow up I was back into the shaving again this morning. I got a straight razor and brush stand for fathers day along with a new bowl. I set myself up after my shower, applied my lather and went to work. It felt very weird. The feeling I had as the razor went over my face was distinctly different from all my previous shaves. I was wondering what was wrong. Did I mix the lather differently? Did I have the angle wrong? Did I damage the razor while stropping it?

    Then I realized what it was. Yesterdays shave was a success, and the shave so close, that the hair on my face wasn't as long as it had been previously. As a result I was scraping off a lot less and it felt different. I'm sold now.

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    Senior Member Scareface's Avatar
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    I find that when the stubble is shorter my angle of the shave has to decrease.
    Like maybe 1 spine width off my face!
    It's a dog eat dog world and I have on milk bone underwear.

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    Senior Member criswilson10's Avatar
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    I've purchased a Dovo through FGP before and it arrived with a clean bevel set and honed to about a 10K level.
    It gave a nice shave out of the box.

    After I sharpened it a little bit more and CrOx it, it gave a great shave.
    Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead - Charles Bukowski

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    Senior Member Chinaski's Avatar
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    Welcome kwco, I'm glad you sorted it out, I was like you one year ago. Everything will come along by time, you will build muscle memory and you will learn your skin and beard type during the journey. Yes it takes 100 shaves more or less, stretch the skin is imprtant especially in hard to reach spots. On the other hand honing is a different world, I humbly suggest start honing after you are confident with straights, this eleminates one variable from the equation.
    Have fun.

  10. #10
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    Sounds like you're on the right path. I'm also trying straight shaving and it seems to be progressing pretty well for me. One comment I'd make is that if you decide it isn't for you, or you don't want to use it when traveling, forgo the cartridges forever and choose a DE safety razor system instead. Much cheaper in the long run and the shave more closely approximates what you can get with a straight than cartridge shaves.
    Steve
    Thistle Cutlery Co. 5/8; Rolls Razors (Imperial 2 & Viscount); Merkur 39C (Sledgehammer), Parker Variant

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