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

  1. #1
    Daily shaver
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    Default How many shaves on a straight razor before the edge needs a refresh?


    I am a relatively new straight razor shaver; this morning I completed my 121st shave. I use a straight 6 days a week.

    I was just wondering how many shaves you guys can generally get from a newly honed razor before it needs to be refreshed. I have CrOx and FeOx coated balsa on my paddle strop, so I can refresh at any time, but I just noticed that this morning I completed my 20th shave on one of my blades since the last refresh. It still shaved great.

    I am assuming that because both my shaving skill and my stropping skill have increased, I am now able to get more shaves between refreshes.

    Just a couple of questions:

    1) Do you keep track of how many times you've used a particular blade since it was honed or last refreshed? Or do you just refresh it when it feels like it is no longer keen enough to do the job properly?

    2) Is it unusual to get 20 shaves without any refreshing, or is that fairly common/expected?

    3) If you count, what is the highest number of comfortable shaves that you have been able to get before having to refresh, whether on pasted balsa, lapping film, or a fine stone?

    4) Should I be counting, or is it OK to just keep shaving until the blade tells me it needs work?

    Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    I hone my own razors and have 8 in my rotation. I use Theirs Issard strop paste from The Art of Shaving on the canvas Strop. Strop on canvas first and finish on the leather. Only need to touch up my edges once or twice a year.

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    primotenore (02-12-2019)

  4. #3
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    It really depends on the razor quality and your stropping technique. Story says there was at least one instance where a barber in Japan was able to use an Iwasaki Tamahagane for near 1,000 shaves with nothing but stropping between them.
    It is really easy to dull the edge by incorrect stropping, but if your stropping is OK, a good razor can give you tens or even few hundreds of shaves.

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    primotenore (05-22-2019)

  6. #4
    Senior Member DoughBoy68's Avatar
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    You should be able to touch up those razors for a long time with the Crox & Ferrous but sometime down the road that may no longer work. When that time comes a few passes on a barber hone (or a 10k or higher grit hone) will do the trick. Guys have maintained razors for years using only a barber hone.
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    "If You Knew Half of What I Forgot You Would Be An Idiot" - by DoughBoy68

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    Lazarus (01-01-2019)

  8. #5
    Skeptical Member Gasman's Avatar
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    Ive been keeping track but i rotate thru them all. Or just grab what looks good to me that day. Ive got a couple with over 20 shaves. I dont really refresh on anything other than stones. Not much on the coated strops although i have some. I know that Bluesman7 has got close to 100 shaves on a blade. Come be more by now. But the quality of the razor makes a big difference.
    It's just Sharpening, right?

  9. #6
    Senior Member Johntoad57's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bouschie View Post
    I hone my own razors and have 8 in my rotation. I use Theirs Issard strop paste from The Art of Shaving on the canvas Strop. Strop on canvas first and finish on the leather. Only need to touch up my edges once or twice a year.
    Excellent! That's about what I get out of my 8 in the rotation.
    Semper Fi !


  10. #7
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    15-30 shaves depending on if I have like a coticule edge/jnat edge. I like to hone though so it never bothers me to touch up a razor if I don't like how sharp it is. Also I have been honing 1-2 razors every other shave or something like that while practicing my jnat edge. I have only been shaving for just a year or so with SR and I probably hone more than I should on razors that I not practicing my jnat edge on. I also don't use CrOx or anything like that just either the strop or the stone.

  11. #8
    Senior Member Michael70's Avatar
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    Depends and is very dependent upon several things I would say. Things like the following come to mind:

    -Facial hair coarseness
    -How well you strop (your technique) the blade to set it up for the next shave
    -Quality of the straight

    This is just three things and I am sure there is more. Once I finish a shave and I have 16 in rotation I believe, I clean the razor of soap then dry it; then I run it across a nice German linen fabric stop to heat up the blade and set it up for the next; next is to run it across a Dovo (black) pasted leather stop several times and maybe even up to 20 x's; then I will sometimes finish with plain leather or even use my paddle strop with the CrOx infused to really bring the edge to.

    I average about 8 estimated shaves before I take them to the Thuringian or Naniwa 12K for tuning up. I don't shave daily but about every other day. That means if I did my math right, about every 8 months a blade gets put to the stone for a light refresher. Maybe quicker if it warrants.
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    German blade snob!

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    LukeH (04-02-2020)

  13. #9
    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    Like everyone else has said there are so many variables it is hard to say what an average is for everyone. I shave every day and do 4 passes. Here is what I found out when I was curious about the same thing for myself.

    Seems an edge can last quite a while for me personally.

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    Life is a terminal illness in the end

  14. #10
    The Hurdy Gurdy Man thebigspendur's Avatar
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    Rookies ask this question all the time. It's probably in the top 10 questions and in all the years I've been around these parts the answer hasn't changed.

    The answer is there is no answer. Like others have said there are too many variables.

    From my own experience I've had razors give hundreds of shaves before requiring a touch-up and some needing it after 15 shaves.
    No matter how many men you kill you can't kill your successor-Emperor Nero

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    primotenore (05-22-2019)

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