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Thread: How many shaves on a straight razor before the edge needs a refresh?

  1. #41
    Senior Member blabbermouth rolodave's Avatar
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    I always use linen before the leather.
    This is a common practice for most of us.
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  2. #42
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    Most of my edges are from my coticule. After around 25-30 shaves the edge starts to leave the area that I like it in, although it usually only takes few strokes on the coticule to bring it back
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  3. #43
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    I thought that I’d replied to this thread but apparently I have not.

    I’ve done two tests maintaining edges with just a strop and am in the process of a third test. The first two were with a Cape 1000 Swedish Steel and a Filarmonica 14 Doble Temple. Both got to around 65 shaves before I threw in the towel on them, and they still shaved well enough, they’d just lost enough smoothness and gotten ‘pully’ to the point that I re-honed them.

    The current test is with a Filarmonica 14 Sub Cero, and I’m wanting to know if the harder steel makes a longer lasting edge. I’m at shave 43 and it’s still shaving well, but I’ll know before too much longer.

    I’m using a 3-piece Kanoyama strop, plus a piece of Tony Miller flax linen. My maintenance stropping routine is 35 suede/t5 leather. About once a week I add 20 canvas before the suede and leather, and once the edge starts losing some ‘freshness’ around 35 shaves or so, I use 30 linen about once a week before the suede and leather.

    Hope this helps shed some insight on edge longevity. I do a 2-pass shave with a dry ATG cleanup pass on the neck, sp 65 shaves amounts to about 150 passes.

    I’ll post when the Sub Cero gives it up.
    My doorstop is a Nakayama

  4. #44
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    Shave #50 - half a ‘century’ on the Filly 14 Sub Cero edge longevity test. It seems to be holding it’s in-shave comfort/smoothness better than the Filly 14 DT and the Cape 1000 that I previously tested and got around 65 shaves each. Both of those previous razors I would have touched up at 50 based on in-shave smoothness if they were a daily driver, but not so much this one. It’s still shaving well enough to satisfy my edge snobbiness.

    I’m maintaining it only with a 3-piece Kanoyama strop, normal post-shave stropping is 35 suede and 65 cordovan. About once every 7-10 days I’ve been adding +20 Tony Miller linen to that stropping routine, starting at about shave #35.
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    My doorstop is a Nakayama

  5. #45
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    Shave 55 on the Filly Sub Cero, movin’ right along, performing well.
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    My doorstop is a Nakayama

  6. #46
    Senior Member blabbermouth tcrideshd's Avatar
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    Got 87 on my kinfolks before sending it out. Got a lot more out of it just doing 3-5 ultra light laps on a Nani 12k and leaded leather. Maybe 150. Used one of Marty’s CBN strops on one razor. Don’t know how many shaves on it but it hasn’t seen a stone in over 3 years
    Even better advise, " don't impede on a 850# Harley with me aboard, then I don't care what your driving, my 10 takes care of it"

  7. #47
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    You can keep one going forever with pastes so it’s said. I wanted to do a couple of things with these tests, one is to compare one razor to another. A Cape Swedish Steel was the first razor that I tested, and I got 63 shaves I think, and 67 for a Filly Doble Temple. I would have thought the Cape would have gone further than the DT, but they were both about the same. They both still shaved well enough, they just weren’t smooth and not any fun to shave with so I ended the experiment at that point. Deciding when to end the test is probably the biggest factor, kind of like how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop - 3!
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  8. #48
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    Shave #65 on the Filly 14 Sub Cero this morning, still going strong.
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    My doorstop is a Nakayama

  9. #49
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    So many factors at play. Let me see if I can list the main ones.

    1. Your personal standard for shave ready sharpness. This varies a LOT! Plenty of guys who shave daily off an 8k or a Swaty 3 line or whatever, that are quite happy with that sort of edge. They know the tricks to getting the most out of a razor, and their technique is on point in every detail. They don't expect the razor to do the work. They do it. Then again there are guys who want nothing less than the sharpest edge physically possible on razor steel, and their work is not in getting a meh edge to shave beautifully, but in keeping all the blood inside their skin when the edge is sharp enough to almost frighten the whiskers off the face. I am one of the spoiled. I wont finish a shave if the edge is just average professional quality. I want better. But a man who customarily shaves off a coticule would definitely NOT like my edges and would take him a couple of shaves to relearn on an edge that I find pleasing. So you have extremes and everything in between.

    2. Then there is shave technique. Your personal shaving style can make up for an edge that might be sort of dull or might be sort of sharp. Also your shave style makes a difference in how fast the edge deteriorates. A high shave angle (gap of 1-1/2 x the spine thickness or more) will wear an edge much faster than a gap of only one spine thickness or less.

    3. Honing matters. Some edges are brilliantly sharp but have a considerable fin element. A very concave bevel just behind the apex, usually from too much pressure but sometimes from just too many laps without any realistic effort at preventing wire or fin edge. Such an edge won't last as long and in the extreme, won't last a single shave, though no experienced honer is going to make an edge like that. OTOH someone who likes to add a microbevel or a razor that has a very acute bevel angle that the honer corrects with a microbevel, will be fairly robust but still be percieved as sharp.

    4. The steel. Alloying steel for such a specialized use as razors is a balancing act and an exercise in compromise. Even more important is the heat treating and tempering. Very hard steels naturally tend to hold an edge longer than soft steels. OTOH they also might chip out more easily. A softer steel will be quicker to hone but can deceive the honer into taking off too much steel and not quitting while he is ahead.

    5. Hair texture. If you have a thick wiry Bluto beard, you are going to go through edges a bit faster than me. If you have a whispy silky beard, you are going to get a lot more life out of an edge than me. This is a big one, if you are near one extreme or the other.

    6. Maintenance routine. Me, I strop on lapped balsa after every shave, with .1u diamond paste rubbed deeply into the balsa and the balsa surface wiped clean so there is no coating. I never have to re-hone, though some would say that such stropping blurs the line between stropping and honing because some slight amount of steel is removed. But anyway, such amount goes unnoticed even after years of use, and it keeps the razor off the stones and off the film, preventing wear from the heavier grit of the finisher. Some guys like to touch up weekly or so on CrOx and FeOx and yeah they eventually have to hit the finisher again, but they can stretch it out quite a long time. It has been several years since I have re-honed a razor in my rotation, even my modded Gold Dollars with "soft" steel which is actually probably around 59c at best guess. With nothing but stropping on clean leather, some razors for some shavers will give up after a dozen shaves and some will go on for 100 shaves or more. Without supplemental edge maintenance, edge life will suffer greatly, or hardly at all, depending on the other factors.

    7. Stropping. Some guys kill an edge in stropping it. You can have a bad strop, but usually it is the user who is bad at stropping. Especially a beginner.

    8. Love of honing. Yeah, it's a thing. Some guys just love to hone their razors and will justify a session by even the slightest perceived degradation in the edge. Was that a "pull"? Let's get out that 20k or that Jnat and wail on it.

    And when you sum it all up, an edge can last only a few shaves maybe only ONE shave, or it can last a lifetime before it "needs" to be honed, and normal is what is normal for you. It is your razor. You can count shaves and hone. You can wait for the razor to get dull or start getting dull and hone. Or you can prevent the razor ever getting dull and never hone again. Do it like you feel it. It probably doesn't feel like I have helped much here, but there is no solid answer that applies to all razors or all shavers.

    I tell a raw beginner to expect 10 shaves. That's about right for a new guy with zero experience and only knowledge poorly absorbed from the internet, agonizing over the question. A lesson in how to perform a basic sharpness test often reassures him or else sends him looking for a razor that is ACTUALLY shave ready and not just internet shave ready. This can be important because he can't yet properly perform the ultimate sharpness test, which is the shave test.

  10. The Following User Says Thank You to CrescentCityRazors For This Useful Post:

    Gasman (01-17-2020)

  11. #50
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    Just for info, I do a 2-pass shave, WTG and ATG, and a dry ATG cleanup pass on my neck, so 65 passes is 130+, maybe the equivalent of 150?

    I also checked the edge with a loupe at shave 65, and it looks surprisingly good. I’ve been afraid to do this thinking that I might see such an ugly edge that I would be compelled to re-hone. Not so, there’s some tiny shiny in some places, and a <1mm ‘crescent’ that’s barely noticeable from letting the edge hit the end of a fingernail once, but a lot of it is still straight, even edge. That’s really kind of astounding that they could make, grind, and temper steel that could take this kind of ‘abuse’ and still keep rollin’ along. It’s not an ‘off the stones’ edge, but it’s remarkably good for the number of shaves, and still pleasant to shave with.

    Crescent City’s comments are interesting, but the biggest variable is in deciding when to throw in the towel. I could have continued shaving with the other razors past ~65, but shaving with them wasn’t pleasant anymore, so that’s the end point - when it isn’t fun the edge is dead.
    My doorstop is a Nakayama

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