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Thread: First time using a straight razor

  1. #21
    Senior Member Johntoad57's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobH View Post
    I'll go way out on a limb here and say I can get comparable shaves with either a DE or straight razor. It's just a matter of having the right technique for either. I do prefer the experience of using a straight razor more though.

    Bob
    The same with me. The difference that I noticed was the DE shave didn't last as long as the straight razor. Stubble was noticeable the second day on the DE. It takes a couple of days for stubble on my straights. Just an observation.....
    Semper Fi !

    John

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    Skeptical Member Gasman's Avatar
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    Me three. I can shave with many different razors.with confidence.and comfort. I just enjoy mixing it up. Its a mater of practice.
    randydance062449 and BobH like this.
    It's just Sharpening, right?
    Jerry...

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    The Hurdy Gurdy Man thebigspendur's Avatar
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    Yea, with the right DE and blade combo you can get equally good shaves.

    When I was working it didn't matter because back then with the gear I was using I got better shaves with a straight but on the second day towards the afternoon there was stubble with the straight anyway so I had to shave every day. So I could just as well use a DE every day.

    Now that I'm retired I shave every other day and with better DE gear I get equally as good shaves. So I have the luxury of using either a straight or DE/SE.
    No matter how many men you kill you can't kill your successor-Emperor Nero

  4. #24
    Home of the Mysterious Symbol CrescentCityRazors's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobH View Post
    One word of caution regarding professional honing and that is do not go to a place that commercially sharpens knives, scissors and saw blades. They may do well on those but a straight razor is a different ball game. Send it to a reputable honer whose services are recognised on the forum.

    Bob
    Indeed. And never trust a man who does not shave with a straight razor to hone yours. This job needs to be entrusted to a reputable member of the community.

  5. #25
    Home of the Mysterious Symbol CrescentCityRazors's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adamstahly1986 View Post
    I just received all the necessary items to start using a straight razor. I shaved for the first time today and I feel like my razor isn't sharp enough. I have a new Dovo 3" full hollow ground but I had a lot of pulling from the razor. I took a hot shower before and washed my face as well as used cream and a brush. Does anyone have any suggestions? I also have a 8000 grit sharpening stone and a strop. Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you!
    I can promise you that a Dovo razor you receive that has not been honed by the seller, but still has the factory edge, is NOT shave ready by the standards of any member here. Further, entry level Dovos are notorious for being very badly warped or twisted or just badly ground. They can be made fit for shaving but it takes a very knowledgeable person to get it right. Once it has been properly honed once, not such a big deal, but setting the bevel and establishing a razor's first proper edge requires considerable skill, especially with the cheaper (under $140 or so) Dovos. They are among the worst razors to learn to hone on. The better Dovo razors are not as troublesome.

    You can send your razor out for honing, of course, but you really need to get it done by a member of the straight razor community. Your best bet is to get a member of this or another straight razor forum to do this. That way his reputation is on the line and he is going to be not only knowledgeable, but also conscientious enough to do a good, thorough job, and proud enough to stand by his work. There are very few practitioners of this somewhat demanding craft who are really good at it, that are not members of at least one straight razor forum or at least well known to a lot of members. Ever since Al Gore invented the internet, the community has grown together and got to know one another and share methods with each other, and any unknown person probably is not going to do a good job on your razor, even if he is a whiz at knives, or saw blades, or clippers or scissors or other edged tools.

    Another option exists. You could put your Dovo aside for now and buy a shave ready razor, either new or vintage, from a seller known and trusted on the forums. Not just anyone who presents a razor for sale as shave ready, even knows what he is talking about. Some do not even shave with straight razors, and wouldn't know a shave ready edge if it bit them on the hiney. I guess I can say "hiney" here? Well if it is asterisked out you know what I mean. No matter what, you need a verified shave ready razor from a verified seller who is known on this or other forums, to learn to shave with. And you really need to have some experience shaving with a proper shave ready edge before you try to create a shave ready edge on a razor. It is REALLY HARD to learn to hone a razor that you are learning to shave with at the same time. So, get another razor, shave ready this time, either new or vintage. Learn to use it and strop it. This is a skill set, not just one thing to learn. I would actually begin by learning to make a good lather, while you continue to shave with the equipment you are already accustomed to using. Further, learn to map your face and shave WTG, or With The Grain, or as close to it as your facial topography allows. Learn to keep your pressure light, and instead of trying to get a perfectly close shave all at once, try making a second and maybe even a third pass. Lightly remove the lather with your familiar razor, and don't worry about getting it BBS, or Baby Bottom Smooth, the first pass. Re-lather and do another pass, also WTG. This time you are cleaning up after that first pass. If you think you need a still closer shave, do a third pass and go XTG (Across The Grain) or even ATG (Against The Grain). If you have any control over the angle of the blade to your skin, and you might not if you have some sort of swivel headed razor, then try to keep your angle very shallow, and this, along with good lather, light pressure, face mapping, (knowing the direction of whisker growth over every part of your face) and other refinements might surprise you at how much more comfortable your shave can be while still using your old razor. However, if you use one of those 6 or 7 or 8 bladed contraptions, STOP and get some Bic single edge disposables, or a good DE, Double Edge razor and good quality blades, or a vintage Schick "G" or "E" type injector razor and the Chinese Schick blades, and see how much less trouble a single blade is than two or three or a whole bunch of them. One thing you will notice right away is a single blade does not clog like those multi blade things do. Oh I forgot, always hydrate your skin and whiskers before shaving. Right out of the shower, without drying your face, is an ideal time to shave. Dry whiskers are tougher than copper wire of the same diameter. Get them full of moisture and nice and soft, and they will cut much easier.

    So you can do that while you are shopping for your first shave ready razor and waiting for it to arrive. Then using all the tips you get from the forum, and the youtube videos that I know you will be searching for and watching, have at it. You don't need to strop a shave ready razor before your first shave with it. And in fact it is a good idea not too, since it is possible to hose up your edge with poor stropping. But after that, you will have to strop before every shave. Pull it nice and tight but not with the full weight of your body. About how you would tighten a fan belt on a car engine or maybe a tiny bit less. Press the razor lightly to the strop. Touch down with the SPINE first, get it moving, then touch the edge down. At the end of the stroke, flip the EDGE up, get the spine moving, and touch the edge back down. The edge should never touch if the spine is not on the strop. The spine should never be lifted off the strop if the edge is touching it. As the razor moves through the stroke, it should also be pulled slightly to your right, or whichever hand you hold the razor with. This makes a crossed or "x" pattern. The x stroke will help ensure that you get good contact along the entire edge. Try not to let the shoulder of the razor get up on the strop. After shaving, make sure your razor is clean and dry. I suggest not storing your razor in the bathroom or other humid place.

    Before learning to shave, as I said, you need a sharp razor. The best way to judge a razor's sharpness is to shave with it, but that is a problem, isn't it, if you don't know how to shave yet? So it may reassure you to use some other test for sharpness. No, shaving your forearm is not a test for a razor. It is a test for a pocketknife. For a razor, try sweeping the blade through the air about 1/4" ABOVE the skin. If the edge is shave ready, it should lop the tips off at least one or two hairs per pass. If not, try at 1/8" above the skin. If it treetops there, it should still shave okay if you do your part. If not, try just barely above the skin, and if no joy, forget it. Don't shave your arm. Don't even bother. OTOH if you go at 1/4" and it whacks the tip off of nearly every hair it touches, and passes without making the slightest tink or ping sound, and does not disturb the base of the hair, you have an insanely sharp edge. Watch out, that one means business. But it will be a joy to use once you get accustomed to it.

    In addition to face mapping, light pressure, all the other techniques already mentioned, you need to control your shave angle. You want the smallest angle to the skin that will still cut whiskers. Too high, and you are scraping, not shaving. That is hard on your skin and even hard on the edge of your razor. A very sharp razor will shave even with the spine touching or barely not touching the skin. A normal shave angle is where there is a gap between the razor's spine and your skin equal to the thickness of the spine. Some will tell you 30 degrees or 40 degrees or whatever. That is almost certainly too much. If you need more than one and a half spine thicknesses of gap, your razor probably is duller than Sleepy Joe on a bad day.

    Your after shave treatment I won't go into here. This post is getting too long. But so you learned to shave with your razor. You are 30 shaves in, and fairly confident that you understand what a shave ready edge is. Keep going until your razor no longer seems sharp enough to get the job done. Then, learn how to refresh the edge. This is your gateway drug to honing. You will need a good finisher that is also easy to use. I suggest a 3" x 1" x 12" piece of cast acrylic from TAP Plastics, and genuine 3M plain back lapping film, 1μ grit, which is slightly finer than a 12k synthetic stone. The advantages of film are many, not least of which is you don't have to lap your plate, but you do have to lap your stones. But assuming you learn to lap your stones, a 12k Naniwa SuperStone is not a bad finishing stone for a beginner. I would have to write a book on that and I won't, and you have plenty of time to read threads on the forum. But once you know how to refresh an edge, you can learn how to set a bevel and run a progression. THEN you could maybe tackle your Dovo. Not before. If you buy a second shave ready razor, you can take your time refreshing the first one while you shave with the second. Remember, nothing wrong with vintage, but either that or new, it must be shave ready.

    Read the thread @BobH linked below your original post. There is also some newbie-helpful stuff on my website, in my sig. Be patient, don't rush in with inadequate equipment and preparation, If you really want this, you will succeed.

  6. #26
    STF
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrescentCityRazors View Post
    Ever since Al Gore invented the internet
    Excuse me?

    Oh, I guess you were just messing around, nice one
    - - Steve

    You never realize what you have until it's gone -- Toilet paper is a good example

  7. #27
    Home of the Mysterious Symbol CrescentCityRazors's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by STF View Post
    Excuse me?

    Oh, I guess you were just messing around, nice one
    Al Gore, famous 20th century politician and genius, very famously declared once that he invented the internet and we like to show our gratitude for that.

    Actually that isn't QUITE accurate. In a March 9, 1999 interview on CNN, Wolf Blitzer asked Vice President Al Gore, then hoping to get the Democratic presidential nomination, to describe what distinguished him from his Democratic challenger, New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley. One of his remarks was, "During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet". It only took a couple of days to morph and meme out of control. Let's just say that his wording was imprecise and he left himself wide open. He wasn't really such an awful guy and there have actually been far worse politicians who managed to make their way into the White House, but we aren't going to let that gaffe rest.

  8. #28
    Senior Member Slur's Avatar
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    Read the comments here, watch some shaving videos on youtube and then go for it. We like to make it sound like an art but it is actually not. After 10 shaves you are a straight shaver. You donít need 100 or 200 or 1 million shaves. Of course, with practice you are going to get better. And remember, what we have to learn to do, we learn by doing.
    outback and STF like this.

  9. #29
    MrZ
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    And dont be alarmed when you cut yourself every now and then. I have been exclusively a straight razor user for years, and last night I got careless and put the blade of a big Wosty right against my cheek. I have a cute little two inch racing stripe today, its no big deal to take a little cut. Be careful and respect the process and your equipment. Its all good fun.
    Gasman likes this.

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