03-15-2015, 12:21 PM
#1
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OK, I'm afraid.  Be honest with me straight razor users.  Have any of you not received at least one major cut while learning to shave with a straight?  I would seriously love to master it but I fear I'll lose part of my face.  Quell my trembling me.  

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 03-15-2015, 12:36 PM
#2
  • jtmke
  • Ex shaving hater
  • milwaukee
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The worst cut I received was high on my cheek of my non dominant hand. It was about an inch to an inch and a half straight line. Hard to explain at work. It was a perfectly straight red blood line for a couple days. A pink line for a few more. Now, gone completely. 

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 03-15-2015, 12:42 PM
#3
  • evnpar
  • Emeritus
  • Portland, Oregon
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The hardest thing in learning to use a straight is getting over the fear, not getting over the cuts. 

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 03-15-2015, 01:19 PM
#4
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(03-15-2015, 12:42 PM)evnpar Wrote: The hardest thing in learning to use a straight is getting over the fear, not getting over the cuts. 

+1. OP, I was pretty much shaking the first time I put it up to my face thinking it was just going to automatically slice me up. My fears where unfounded after doing one stroke. I would reccomend going ONLY WTG while learning. This is significantly easier and more confidence-giving.

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 03-15-2015, 05:07 PM
#5
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Yes, I have cut myself with a straight.  I've also done it with a Joris DE as well as several other DE razors including a few adjustables open too far.  Hell, I've cut off a couple pimples with a Trac II in my younger days.  Honestly, you have to get over the fear and just take it SLOW.  I've never nicked or cut myself when taking things slowly, only when I am getting sloppy because the shave is going so smoothly.  Start with your cheeks and only your cheeks for the first week.  The temptation will be there to shave more as "things are going just fine".  Stop while things are going just fine, and finish up with your normal razor.  Neck next, then you can decide on what to add next whether it be your jawline, chin, upper lip or whatever.  Just take it step by step and learn the contours of your face.

I can do it and I'm an impatient dork half the time.

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 03-16-2015, 06:36 AM
#6
  • Steve56
  • Senior Member
  • Knoxville, TN
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Don't worry about the cuts, you'll likely experience some minor nicks or weepers while learning, but I never had the number or severity of cuts that I watched my dad have years ago with a DE. 

Learning to eliminate all lateral movement of the edge takes a while, so go with short light strokes. While you're learning, keep the blade angle very low. A higher blade angle increases the chances of a nick from lateral movement. Keep the razor sharp. A not-so-sharp edge requires more pressure, and if it hangs, the chances of something bad happening are increased.

It isn't hard and it's a lot of fun. Good luck!

Cheers, Steve

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 03-16-2015, 07:15 AM
#7
  • eengler
  • Administrator
  • South Dakota, USA
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Lots of great advise above! Manage your expectations and enjoy the experience!

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 03-16-2015, 11:48 AM
#8
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You may get a nick or two from time to time but no worries they are not usually not that bad.....Enjoy the journey!!

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 03-16-2015, 12:59 PM
#9
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Also, thumbs up!

You are on your way, all perfectly normal!


Philipp

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 03-16-2015, 03:21 PM
#10
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Thanks for the advice and words of encouragement. I have a couple of antique straights. Now it's just a matter of getting them shave-ready.

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 03-16-2015, 07:35 PM
#11
  • jamesrobson5
  • Chubby Chaser... Big Brush is Best!
  • Sherwood Park AB Canada!
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My first shave with a straight took about an hour. I didn't cut myself but... I didn't get that close. 
My second shave I went faster and I looked like Edward Scissorhands did the job.  Facepalm
I kept with it and now I get close shaves in a reasonable time. If you accept that you will cut yourself,
but cuts heal. Just take your time, be patient and you can learn how to shave with a straight. There is 
some great advice and support here. Youtube has some great how to videos ( I recommend Lynn Abrams). 
Face the fear!!! You will be happier for it!!  
 

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 03-17-2015, 05:32 AM
#12
  • MikekiM
  • Senior Member
  • Long Island, NY
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Worst cut I have had was with a Feather Artist Club.  I had no right to be using it and I paid for it.  Two serious cuts in one shave.  I sold the Feather the next day.

Fast forward a few years and I am now a straight user 99% of the time, including a few iterations of the Feather AC.  

Cuts will happen.  I recently filleted my chin with a 7/8 Bengall.  I also sliced my cheek with a Weber DE.

Practice with a butter knife.  Your first goal is convert your fear into respect.  

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 03-17-2015, 05:40 AM
#13
  • Obie
  • Senior Member
  • Glendale, Wisconsin
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(03-15-2015, 12:21 PM)Straight Arrow Wrote: OK, I'm afraid.  Be honest with me straight razor users.  Have any of you not received at least one major cut while learning to shave with a straight?  I would seriously love to master it but I fear I'll lose part of my face.  Quell my trembling me.  
I have shaved straight for many years and have yet to experience a big cut. Fingers crossed, of course. From the first shave, I switched hands (right hand right side, left hand left side, with some variations on the neck) and followed the advice from my friend Lynn Abrams, the straight razor guru: use a 20 to 30-degree angle (generally I use about 20), zero pressure and short strokes. Take your time and embrace the whole ritual.

The straight razor is a sassy creature that demands respect. Keep that in mind and you'll be fine. You have the general rules for double edge shaving; add a few more for the straight razor.

Avoid starting on the cheap, because cheap will give you cheap results. Get a quality new or vintage straight razor that is shave ready and a quality strop. No, neither has to be expensive. Also, find yourself a mentor. If you like, I'll gladly mentor you. Either way, don't let fear of a few nicks prevent you from enjoying one of the great pleasures of traditional shaving.

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 03-17-2015, 06:39 AM
#14
  • MikekiM
  • Senior Member
  • Long Island, NY
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(03-17-2015, 05:40 AM)Obie Wrote:
(03-15-2015, 12:21 PM)Straight Arrow Wrote: OK, I'm afraid.  Be honest with me straight razor users.  Have any of you not received at least one major cut while learning to shave with a straight?  I would seriously love to master it but I fear I'll lose part of my face.  Quell my trembling me.  
I have shaved straight for many years and have yet to experience a big cut. Fingers crossed, of course. From the first shave, I switched hands (right hand right side, left hand left side, with some variations on the neck) and followed the advice from my friend Lynn Abrams, the straight razor guru: use a 20 to 30-degree angle (generally I use about 20), zero pressure and short strokes. Take your time and embrace the whole ritual.

The straight razor is a sassy creature that demands respect. Keep that in mind and you'll be fine. You have the general rules for double edge shaving; add a few more for the straight razor.

Avoid starting on the cheap, because cheap will give you cheap results. Get a quality new or vintage straight razor that is shave ready and a quality strop. No, neither has to be expensive. Also, find yourself a mentor. If you like, I'll gladly mentor you. Either way, don't let fear of a few nicks prevent you from enjoying one of the great pleasures of traditional shaving.


Well put Obie!

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 03-17-2015, 07:14 AM
#15
  • Obie
  • Senior Member
  • Glendale, Wisconsin
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Mike,
Thank you for the kind words, my friend.

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 03-17-2015, 08:34 AM
#16
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(03-17-2015, 05:40 AM)Obie Wrote:
(03-15-2015, 12:21 PM)Straight Arrow Wrote: OK, I'm afraid.  Be honest with me straight razor users.  Have any of you not received at least one major cut while learning to shave with a straight?  I would seriously love to master it but I fear I'll lose part of my face.  Quell my trembling me.  
I have shaved straight for many years and have yet to experience a big cut. Fingers crossed, of course. From the first shave, I switched hands (right hand right side, left hand left side, with some variations on the neck) and followed the advice from my friend Lynn Abrams, the straight razor guru: use a 20 to 30-degree angle (generally I use about 20), zero pressure and short strokes. Take your time and embrace the whole ritual.

The straight razor is a sassy creature that demands respect. Keep that in mind and you'll be fine. You have the general rules for double edge shaving; add a few more for the straight razor.

Avoid starting on the cheap, because cheap will give you cheap results. Get a quality new or vintage straight razor that is shave ready and a quality strop. No, neither has to be expensive. Also, find yourself a mentor. If you like, I'll gladly mentor you. Either way, don't let fear of a few nicks prevent you from enjoying one of the great pleasures of traditional shaving.

Obie has nailed it.  He's right, stay away from modern "bargain" razors (e.g. Gold Dollar).  There are plenty of wonderful sub $100 shave ready vintage razors out there.  

I forgot to mention in my original post, although I seldom use a round point these days, I think a round point is best to learn on.  It's one less thing to worry about when starting out.

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 03-17-2015, 09:16 AM
#17
  • Obie
  • Senior Member
  • Glendale, Wisconsin
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Doug,
Thank you. Yes, a round point 5/8 or 6/8 will be ideal. Also, learning to strop properly is a must, for the strop is the straight shaver's friend. So are quality equipment and proper training. I especially reject buying sight unseen starter kits. See what you buy. Beyond that, desire and patience will add to the straight shave's enjoyment.

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 03-17-2015, 10:04 AM
#18
  • Johnny
  • MODERATOR EMERITUS
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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There is so much good advise above I can hardly stand it.  Straight Razor Shaving, one of the pure pleasures in life.  Oh how I miss it.

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 03-17-2015, 10:24 AM
#19
  • Leo K.
  • Senior Member
  • Mankato MN
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I can't imagine using a straight myself. It's too terrifying! I don't want to learn another technique now that I learned a DE and an Injector. Aces!

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 03-17-2015, 12:37 PM
#20
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Honestly I find a straight more forgiving in terms of potential irritation than a de.

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