09-18-2013, 05:44 AM
#1
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Hi - I am no stranger to DE shaving but want to take the plunge into straight razor shaving. The only thing I know about this is that there is a thing called straight razor.

Is this a time consuming thing? Does this require too much maintenance? I have many curves on my face...well - more so than usual....would this be a problem? Is shaving with straight razor more time consuming than DE with 3 passes?

Please note for past 3-4 years I have been shaving with DE razor....

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 09-18-2013, 06:23 AM
#2
  • gijames
  • Mile High Soldier
  • TN, USA
User Info
(09-18-2013, 05:44 AM)inspectoring Wrote: Hi - I am no stranger to DE shaving but want to take the plunge into straight razor shaving. The only thing I know about this is that there is a thing called straight razor.

Is this a time consuming thing? Does this require too much maintenance? I have many curves on my face...well - more so than usual....would this be a problem? Is shaving with straight razor more time consuming than DE with 3 passes?

Please note for past 3-4 years I have been shaving with DE razor....

Hey inspectoring Smile
I am new to straight razors, about a year into it, and have around 40 shaves using one.

I too was experienced at DE razor shaving before trying the straight.

The quick answers -
Yes, it takes more time to get through a straight shave, but experience and less nerves help with confidence. Also, there is no shame keeping a safety razor nearby to help clean up your shaves.

A smaller blade width, say 4/8ths through 11/16ths , will help with the curves.

Get a starter strop, another simple strop for green paste to help refresh the blade as needed.

Later add one of the recommended combo stones, and flattening stones.
Time to learn requires patience
Cool

And of course you have many experienced users out ther on YouTube.
You can do a search here in The Nook to find some of my *learning* videos of my journey with the straight. Shy

Blessings,
James

Sent from my SPH-L710 using Tapatalk 4

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 09-18-2013, 06:50 AM
#3
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Shaving with a straight razor does take more time and maintenance than a DE, but if you enjoy it then it won't be as noticeable as you might think. Many folks even enjoy the maintenance rituals. I'll try to give you the basics and not overwhelm you with all too much info. I'm sue that if I miss anything or gloss over anything important that someone will be along to correct me.

First off, the learning curve can be a bit steep, it usually takes a couple of months to really get the whole thing down (although it only takes a couple of weeks to start getting OK results). Many people start off just doing with the grain passes using a straight and finish off with a DE until they feel more confident.

There are many things to consider when buying your gear, but the initial set up process goes like this: 1) Buy a straight razor, strop, and maybe a barber's hone to help maintain your edge. 2) Send said razor off to a pro to be honed (you do not want to start off with a questionable edge). 3) Learn how to strop the razor (this process keeps the fine edge intact and removes tiny foreign particles that can build up). 4) Learn how to shave all over again.

The basic shaving process goes like this: 1) Pull out razor and clean off yesterday's oil. 2) Strop razor on linen or rough side of strop, then on leather or smooth side. 3) wipe razor down (optional step, but it takes two seconds). 4) Prep as usual. 5) Shave. 6) Restrop razor (some folks disagree about this, but I have always found that a dozen passes over the strop following a shave removes anything that might linger on the blade). 7) Wipe down blade with mineral oil (a.k.a. baby oil) or machine oil to keep the moisture out (this is especially important with carbon steel blades). The whole thing takes twice as long as using a DE, but can take even longer than that when you first start.

There is a lot of other info, but these are the basics. I highly suggest watching some YouTube videos, looking at sites selling straight razors, and talking to folks about there experiences. Straight razor shaving can be rewarding and it has a very old fashioned nostalgic feel, but it does require an investment of time, patience, and money.

Sent from my rk30sdk using Tapatalk 4

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 09-18-2013, 07:13 AM
#4
  • Pudu
  • Junior Member
User Info
I found stropping to actually be one of the best bits of using straights. There's something zen about the repetitive motion, the sound it makes, and the idea that you are aligning your steel edge on a piece of linen.

Curves on your face a problem? Naw, a good, sharp blade will slice those extra curves right off in no time. Just kidding.

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 09-18-2013, 08:22 AM
#5
  • u2u
  • Senior Member
  • GTA
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Here is what worked for me because I started with straights before the Internet, forums, and contact with other straight users. In these forums we tend to over analyze and make things more complex than needed. The info on the forums would have scared me away and I bet it does scare many away daily... The secret to this game is to commit and just do it.

Buy a good new straight from a reputable source and shave with it. Do not have the vendor hone it, there is no need, and you will deny yourself a great experience. Odds are, from my fifteen years of doing it, and growing number of new purchased straights, you have a better than ninety percent (90%+) chance of getting an excellent shaving blade.

Probably fighting words here but I view shave ready and the need to hone post production as a term invented by vendors trying to differentiate themselves in the market. Do you buy a knife, blender, coffee grinder, lawn mower, chain saw... that you have to send out to be sharpened prior to use?

I bought a new Boker last week, too sharp from the factory. I will post a quickie review. If you buy a reputable brand they do their best to give you a good product.

If you go used then make sure a competent person hones it for you.

Buy a good hanging strop, with both linen and leather, for daily use. A paddle strop with paste or diamond for refreshing the blade weekly or as you desire. As an alternative, a dedicated hanging linen strop with a fine paste such as Thiers Issard white works very well. Disregard stones and honing, possibly for years, if you keep your edge up with the foregoing and don't hit the edge on a facet or do other damage.

I keep all my straights pre-stropped and oiled ready to go so the routine is:
Wash face, apply shave oil or not, apply lather to face, rinse oil off razor while lather works beard, two passes- one with, one against the grain, rinse and dry razor, strop on linen, strop on leather, oil blade, put gear away. Repeat next day.

With experience a straight takes a few minutes longer than a DE to shave and another 2 or 3 to dry, strop and oil. If you are one of the gents who dries his DE, with time the straight might cost five minutes a day.

You will read all kinds of different routines, time requirements, need to let razors rest etc etc. Tried them all over the years. None matter, but if you need an excuse, or a good line to con the wife, the forum is full of such information from skilled enablers.

For your anatomical challenges and concerns blade width would not be my focus. I would consider the length of the cutting edge. I have a Thiers Issard that consistently gives me better results on my neck and I attribute it to the cutting edge being much shorter than the other razors in my accumulation. A recently purchased Boker 4/8th also stands out, not because it is small, but because it is short.

If you enjoy the straight rituals the expansion possibilities are limitless. Honing is easy to learn if you have a fine touch and patience. It can add to the enjoyment and expansion of the experience if you want shaving to turn into a hobby.

Be prepared for possible acquisition disorders.

Good luck with your research and decisions.

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 09-18-2013, 09:05 AM
#6
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It is definitely more time consuming with stropping and honing your blades. However, it can be a very therapeutic process and great fun if you have the time. Good luck.

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 09-18-2013, 11:06 AM
#7
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Thank you guys.....thank you so much !....now any recommendations for what razor/strop/hone to buy? I don't care for the tools as much as I care for the shave initially - once I learn it - its all about the tools... Smile

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 09-18-2013, 12:39 PM
#8
  • Grumpy
  • Senior Member
  • DisneyLand
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In Straight Razor Shaving you will end up caring about the tools.

YMMV as to what would be recommended and it depends on how much money you want to spend.

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 10-04-2013, 12:46 PM
#9
  • CRAusmus
  • Senior Member
  • Going from Texas to Georgia
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I've been thinking of this a lot lately so I am subscribing and hoping that many of you experienced straight razor folks will continue to chime in. I too have never even picked up a straight razor so like the OP I am completely at a loss as to what reputable brands even are. Not to mention how much I'd need to spend to ensure that I got a decent razor.

So thanks for the responses so far. I look forward to learning more about this.

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 10-04-2013, 01:38 PM
#10
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(09-18-2013, 11:06 AM)inspectoring Wrote: Thank you guys.....thank you so much !....now any recommendations for what razor/strop/hone to buy? I don't care for the tools as much as I care for the shave initially - once I learn it - its all about the tools... Smile

Don't get focused on the name of the razor. Most vintage razors will shave about equally........once they're honed properly. The best advice I can give you is to get a razor from a reputable honing expert. Larry at WhippedDog is usually cited as a good guy to get a first razor from. His prices are low, and his reputation is solid (though I've never tried one of his edges).

Otherwise, getting a razor from a hobbyist is another possibility.

Bear in mind that you have to take care of the edges yourself, and that's where the first problems are likely to occur. With improper use and improper stropping razors get dull. You'll dull one or more of them before you get the hang of things.

Once you learn to strop and take care of your razor properly, the edge should last indefinitely.

So, for razors: Get them from Larry or (if money is not an issue) get one new from one of our vendors.

For strops: Most shaving vendors will carry two-piece strops. They're all decent.

Hones: You may want to hold off on this, but if you're set on one, try a coticule from The Superior Shave.

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 10-04-2013, 01:38 PM
#11
  • gijames
  • Mile High Soldier
  • TN, USA
User Info
(09-18-2013, 11:06 AM)inspectoring Wrote: Thank you guys.....thank you so much !....now any recommendations for what razor/strop/hone to buy? I don't care for the tools as much as I care for the shave initially - once I learn it - its all about the tools... Smile

Well, in my short experience with straight razors, two that I bought new are the Boker Edelweiss and the TI 11/16". Both have been very satisfying instruments. Both can be found for under $130 new.

The TI is a shorter blade and is agile, and has the thumb notch

The Boker performs well and is a good looker in it's own right. I have YouTube videos that display each razor along with some of my comments.

Best to you on whatever setup you choose!

Blessings,
James


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 10-14-2013, 08:22 AM
#12
  • CRAusmus
  • Senior Member
  • Going from Texas to Georgia
User Info
I've decided to save up my money and hopefully by the time that SRD gets the Dovo Best Quality back in stock (5/8) I have enough to buy their straight and strop kit.

Can you guys comment on whether or not you think this is a wise choice for a first straight?

This is the one I'm looking at (color not important)..
http://www.straightrazordesigns.com/inde...cts_id=884

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 10-14-2013, 09:27 AM
#13
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(10-14-2013, 08:22 AM)CRAusmus Wrote: I've decided to save up my money and hopefully by the time that SRD gets the Dovo Best Quality back in stock (5/8) I have enough to buy their straight and strop kit.

Can you guys comment on whether or not you think this is a wise choice for a first straight?

This is the one I'm looking at (color not important)..
http://www.straightrazordesigns.com/inde...cts_id=884

Clinton -

I've had several Dovo's (including a 'Best Quality') - they have all been nice razors. They're not flashy, but they get the job done.

I also have a SRD Latigo strop (3"), and it's a really nice strop. I can recommend it without hesitation. The only caveat here is that I bought mine several years ago, so I don't know if the current crop of strops is the same. The webbed fabric is also unassuming, but very useful (it's just a nylon strap).

My only addition here would be to suggest buying a vintage blade in place of the Dovo. People have mentioned uneven quality from Dovo (though I haven't had any suspect razors from them). If you're not stuck on getting a new razor, a vintage blade from an experienced user would be about the same price and could be better than the Dovo.

The main advantage to buying the set from SRD is that you know what you'll get. There have been a few complaints about the honing job that Lynn has done on some of the SRD razors, but they're few and far-between. Nobody gets them all right, and he cannot shave-test them all.

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 10-14-2013, 10:20 AM
#14
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The Dovo Best represents a compromise between function, aesthetics, and cost. You get a fully functional razor with spartan aesthetics, but still decidedly German in fit & finish.

There are cheaper options, but not really any "better" options since the Dovo will do the job perfectly fine. Worse options would be Fromm, Pakistan razors, and a bunch of those new razors I've seen come on the market.

I agree with a vintage blade being the best bang for the dollar. Used is always a better buy in terms of value for your dollar.

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 10-14-2013, 10:42 AM
#15
  • CRAusmus
  • Senior Member
  • Going from Texas to Georgia
User Info
Thank you both for you quick responses.

I'm aware of WhippedDog, but can either of you, or anyone else, recommend a reliable source for a used straight. Keeping in mind, I know nothing of brand or anything.

Thanks Gents...

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 10-14-2013, 10:48 AM
#16
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(10-14-2013, 10:42 AM)CRAusmus Wrote: Thank you both for you quick responses.

I'm aware of WhippedDog, but can either of you, or anyone else, recommend a reliable source for a used straight. Keeping in mind, I know nothing of brand or anything.

Thanks Gents...

The BST sections are your best bet for that.

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 10-14-2013, 06:52 PM
#17
  • CRAusmus
  • Senior Member
  • Going from Texas to Georgia
User Info
Thanks Lee. I will keep my eyes open. I still may go with the Dovo simply because I'm not really sure what I want in a straight having never even used one. That'll at least get me started and give me a direction to move in, but the vintage straights definitely intrigue me.

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 07-26-2014, 05:26 PM
#18
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(09-18-2013, 08:22 AM)u2u Wrote: Here is what worked for me because I started with straights before the Internet, forums, and contact with other straight users. In these forums we tend to over analyze and make things more complex than needed. The info on the forums would have scared me away and I bet it does scare many away daily... The secret to this game is to commit and just do it.

Buy a good new straight from a reputable source and shave with it. Do not have the vendor hone it, there is no need, and you will deny yourself a great experience. Odds are, from my fifteen years of doing it, and growing number of new purchased straights, you have a better than ninety percent (90%+) chance of getting an excellent shaving blade.

Probably fighting words here but I view shave ready and the need to hone post production as a term invented by vendors trying to differentiate themselves in the market. Do you buy a knife, blender, coffee grinder, lawn mower, chain saw... that you have to send out to be sharpened prior to use?

I bought a new Boker last week, too sharp from the factory. I will post a quickie review. If you buy a reputable brand they do their best to give you a good product.

If you go used then make sure a competent person hones it for you.

Buy a good hanging strop, with both linen and leather, for daily use. A paddle strop with paste or diamond for refreshing the blade weekly or as you desire. As an alternative, a dedicated hanging linen strop with a fine paste such as Thiers Issard white works very well. Disregard stones and honing, possibly for years, if you keep your edge up with the foregoing and don't hit the edge on a facet or do other damage.

I keep all my straights pre-stropped and oiled ready to go so the routine is:
Wash face, apply shave oil or not, apply lather to face, rinse oil off razor while lather works beard, two passes- one with, one against the grain, rinse and dry razor, strop on linen, strop on leather, oil blade, put gear away. Repeat next day.

With experience a straight takes a few minutes longer than a DE to shave and another 2 or 3 to dry, strop and oil. If you are one of the gents who dries his DE, with time the straight might cost five minutes a day.

You will read all kinds of different routines, time requirements, need to let razors rest etc etc. Tried them all over the years. None matter, but if you need an excuse, or a good line to con the wife, the forum is full of such information from skilled enablers.

For your anatomical challenges and concerns blade width would not be my focus. I would consider the length of the cutting edge. I have a Thiers Issard that consistently gives me better results on my neck and I attribute it to the cutting edge being much shorter than the other razors in my accumulation. A recently purchased Boker 4/8th also stands out, not because it is small, but because it is short.

If you enjoy the straight rituals the expansion possibilities are limitless. Honing is easy to learn if you have a fine touch and patience. It can add to the enjoyment and expansion of the experience if you want shaving to turn into a hobby.

Be prepared for possible acquisition disorders.

Good luck with your research and decisions.

I realize this is an old thread, but this a good post right here. I am just getting into straight shaving (4 partial shaves) and I may be over analyzing, etc...my shave tonight, even without passing the HHT was better than last night. I think the biggest thing for me right now is making sure I have a nice slick lather. Since I am so slow, it seems to dry up a little by the time I get there.

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 07-26-2014, 07:01 PM
#19
  • gijames
  • Mile High Soldier
  • TN, USA
User Info
(10-14-2013, 06:52 PM)CRAusmus Wrote: Thanks Lee. I will keep my eyes open. I still may go with the Dovo simply because I'm not really sure what I want in a straight having never even used one. That'll at least get me started and give me a direction to move in, but the vintage straights definitely intrigue me.

You may want to check out GeoFatBoy's recent video! Biggrin
It look's like Dovo is branding some razors for him.
Worth looking into Smile

Best to you on your search!

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