05-17-2012, 11:46 AM
#1
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Well I finally took the plunge and tried a straight razor for the first time last night. It went really great I think. I bought a 9/16 Les Croix from Yohann. He was kind enough to hone it before he sent it out. He listed it as a "cheap straight" but now it is something special to me since she was my first.Biggrin Anyway I had no nicks , cuts or razor burn so I must have done at least something right. But as usual for me I now have more questions than answers. I had about 2 days growth and I noticed that the razor was sometimes "bogging down" in the growth or snagging. Being afraid to add more pressure I would back it out and go again. I think this may have been caused by the angle I was holding it. Any advice? Also, I noticed I had a harder time with the whole blade on my face but if I used just the front 1/3 or back 1/3 it seemed to cut better. Should I be using any pressure at all? Now that I have tried one how do the different sizes handle different? The second pass (both WTG) worked a lot smoother but still had problems in certain areas. There is a definite learning curve that will need to take place. Overall I have not been this excited about shaving since I was a kid wanting to shave for the first time. I think I am hooked on straights. Any other advice is appreciated.


ETA: Just to be clear I was holding the razor at abouta 45 degree angle. So I think I need help with the procedure not the razor or the sharpness. I am just brand new at this.

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 05-18-2012, 01:46 AM
#2
  • Obie
  • Senior Member
  • Glendale, Wisconsin
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Ga Shooter,

Welcome to the ranks of gentlemen shavers. The general rule on straight razor angle is about 30 degrees. General rule. In parts of your face that will vary. Your 45-degree angle is too much. I usually work with a 20-degree angle. A type of blade will also dictate your angle.

Another important thing is to keep the pressure light. Let the weight of the razor be enough. Even that small 9/16 has enough weight. If the razor came from Yohann, it is sharp and it will remove your stubble. So you don't need any pressure.

Think of the straight as a bird that you're holding: if you squeeze it too hard, you will choke it, and if you keep your grip too loose, the bird will fly away.

Short strokes, and all the patience in the world. You'll get there.

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 05-18-2012, 03:28 AM
#3
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Great advice from Obie, I would just add that your questions/problems are what I had in the beginning and with technique getting better you will get over it rather quickly.
I found watching videos helped a lot in certain specific problems.
Congratulations and good luck! Cool

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 05-18-2012, 06:20 AM
#4
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Congrats on your first straight shave. It sounds like you're off to a great start. I also had issues with the blade sticking and figuring out the proper angle (by the way, I, like Obie, generally go for about a 20 degree angle). Like Islander said, you'll sort all that out with more practice.

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 05-18-2012, 06:24 AM
#5
  • ben74
  • Administrator
  • Perth, Australia
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Yes, great advice from Obie and with more practice technique will surely improve as will results.

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 05-18-2012, 07:00 PM
#6
  • Johnny
  • Super Moderator
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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When I'm talking with someone about DE shaving the first thing I always tell them is no pressure.

When I'm talking with someone just starting straight razor shaving the first thing I tell them is no pressure, the second is stretch the skin, and the third is short strokes. Don't start at the sideburn and drag that thing down to the jaw line. Short strokes.

I wish I could still shave with the straight. I enjoyed it for many years.

I will add, if you listen to Yohann and Obie you can't go wrong.

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 05-18-2012, 07:19 PM
#7
  • freddy
  • Senior Member
  • San Diego, California, U.S.A.
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Congratulations on that first straight shave. You will get the hang of it with practice. Thumbsup

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 05-18-2012, 07:30 PM
#8
  • uncledave
  • Returned to DE Shaving After 40 years
  • Kentucky, USA
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(05-18-2012, 07:19 PM)freddy Wrote: Congratulations on that first straight shave. You will get the hang of it with practice. Thumbsup

Man, you've got courage! I've always wanted a SE shave but never had the guts to try it. Congratulations! Smile

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 05-19-2012, 02:27 AM
#9
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Indeed conrats, shaving with a straight the first time is a very cool experience no matter the quality of the shave.

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 05-19-2012, 02:54 AM
#10
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Isn't it great to get that first straight shave under your belt? I can still remember the adrenaline high I got when I was done with my first straight WTG pass.

So, congrats and welcome to the world of straight razor shaving. Smile We hope you become a permanent member here.

There's a lot of information on straights scattered over the net. But there's a nice, concise book written by Dr. Christopher Moss that's available for free over on the ShaveMyFace homepage. That's a good place to start reading about straights.

------

I've found that, unlike a safety razor, you do have to learn some of the advanced strokes in order to get a close, comfortable straight shave.

However, as Obie mentioned - the first thing is to get the angle right. A shallower angle will always give you a shave with less pulling, so if you experience pulling, drop the angle and see if that helps.

The other thing that really improved my shaves was learning how to hold the blade. This took me a while to get right. You need to hold it like it's your soulmate - 'Hold it securely enough so that it knows that you don't want it to leave, but not so firmly that it isn't allowed room to move'.

We'll help you through this, and I'm always available to get your razor re-honed (as it's almost certain to get dulled initially).

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 05-19-2012, 02:34 PM
#11
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I agree with Obie 110%. Angle counts a lot. You didn't mention, but did you strop the razor before shaving? That smoothes and puts the final polished edge on it.

Be careful using parts of the blade. Using the portion at the point combined with the wrong angle is a nick waiting to happen.

Time will be your best teacher. My first shave took 45 minutes, now I do three passes in about 20 minutes. You're on your way. Winky

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 05-21-2012, 05:09 PM
#12
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Thanks for the warm welcome and all the encouragement to the worl of straight razor shaving. I had to wait for my strop to come in and then I have been out of town with limited internet access. I did get my second straight shave in right before I left town. I checked my angle and a better description of my first was the spine was at a 45 with the blade edge somewhere around 70 degrees. I dropped the angle significantly and the razor did it's job very well (even got some nicks in there Cool). I was still holding the blade like a bench vise so tomorrow morning I will loosen it up. I will keep you posted. I rally am loving this!!

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 05-21-2012, 05:15 PM
#13
  • Obie
  • Senior Member
  • Glendale, Wisconsin
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Ga Shooter,

Well done, sir. You're coming along. Little by little. Slowly and carefully. Proper angle and no pressure. Lots of stretching, too. Good show.

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 05-21-2012, 05:59 PM
#14
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Good job!!

As Obie says....skin stretching is something to work on.

I'd practice skin stretching without having the razor in hand, so when you're actually shaving, you have a good idea of what to do already.

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 05-23-2012, 06:43 PM
#15
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This is making me want to go back and try my straights! Oh, oh!

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 05-23-2012, 07:01 PM
#16
  • Obie
  • Senior Member
  • Glendale, Wisconsin
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Celestino, my dear friend, it's never too late to go back to the straight. No, you don't have to give up the double edge. Each in its place. Try shaving straight on the weekends. Make it a special event.

These days, because of the trouble with my hands, I shave straight on the weekends only, and often on a weekday, too. You don't want to lose your straight razor skills.

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 05-28-2012, 06:55 AM
#17
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Just a quick update. I have shaved with a straight a few more times since the last post. Without trying to turn this into a detailed shave log; on shave 3 I managed to bum p my secondary hand with my primary as I was lining up for my last little spot on my left jawline and bumped the razor into my jawbone area (ouch!!). That left a pretty large but clean cut. After that healed enough I got back up on that pony and rode again. Still only have the nerve for a single pass but have not had any nicks or cuts since the #3 shave. Dr. Moss' book was very helpful along with practicing stretching when not shaving. Still trying to figure out some of the angles for the face map. I think my face may be getting used to this type of shaving as it seems more tolerable of the process. I am really having to start fighting off RAD as I want to try out a bunch of different razors at this point. Thanks again for all the encouragement and guidance.

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 05-28-2012, 05:13 PM
#18
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If you're getting straight RAD, I'd suggest resisting it for as long as possible. Getting too many straights at the outset will only cause a real delay in the learning process.

Of course, moving back to safeties is also going to cause a slip in your skills.

I speak from experience.

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 05-29-2012, 11:57 AM
#19
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Sounds as if you are doing well! Like anything, it takes practice to get proficient with a straight. Some take to it really quick, other take a little more time.
While I agree with Yohann about the RAD, I would say it's not a bad idea to have 2 razor that are shave ready. When you have 2, you'll have one to continue shaving with if one needs to be sent out for honing.

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 05-29-2012, 12:16 PM
#20
  • Dave
  • Moderator Emeritus
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I have two gashes on my face from my experimentation with straight razors. Good luck with it!!

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