07-17-2015, 04:41 PM
#1
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How long does it take to start getting good shaves with a straight razor? Does everyone starting out usually get horrible results? What I mean by horrible, is not even close to a DFS. I used my SR One time so far and my results were no where near good LOL, but I am trying to tell myself it's just how it is in the beginning. I am hoping my Shaves will get extremely acceptable very soon because I really don't want to be forced in selling off this Beautiful Razor!! I need some tips from the pros out there! 

Thanks!

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 07-17-2015, 04:57 PM
#2
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It takes a few SR shaves to get a "acceptable" shave.

There is a steep learning curve with SR shaves, but I'm sure you heard that before.

The main thing is, take your time and pay attention to your blade angle.
I started with a "good" shave on my right side (I'm right handed) and a little longer on my left side. Sbathroom_grooming_shaving_100-100

But, if you keep at it and take your time I'm confident you will get better at it.

Heck, think about the first time you tried to ride a 2-wheeled bicycle.
Now, you don't even think about how to ride a bicycle you just do it!

Don't give up!

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 07-17-2015, 05:06 PM
#3
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I assume since you're starting out you're just going with the grain for your shaves? Just keep at it, try to shave with a straight with every opportunity. Once you develop the muscle memory it's smooth sailing from then on. The truly smooth shaves only occur when you go X-grain and against the grain (at least for me).

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 07-17-2015, 05:12 PM
#4
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Yes, I did mostly WTG. I tried XTG on my cheeks as well. I am worried that I will only get the results I am looking for going ATG, like yourself, which may take a very long time for me to learn! It took me over a year to go ATG comfortably with a DE because I had a horrible experience on my neck in my early DE days going ATG. I am really hoping it doesn't take me that long to get comfy ATG passes with a SR.

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 07-17-2015, 05:52 PM
#5
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(07-17-2015, 04:57 PM)2005xfr Wrote: It takes a few SR shaves to get a "acceptable" shave.

There is a steep learning curve with SR shaves, but I'm sure you heard that before.

The main thing is, take your time and pay attention to your blade angle.
I started with a "good" shave on my right side (I'm right handed) and a little longer on my left side. Sbathroom_grooming_shaving_100-100

But, if you keep at it and take your time I'm confident you will get better at it.

Heck, think about the first time you tried to ride a 2-wheeled bicycle.
Now, you don't even think about how to ride a bicycle you just do it!


Don't give up!

Haha, Very True! Thanks!

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 07-17-2015, 06:15 PM
#6
  • gp569900
  • Senior Member
  • Franklin, TN USA
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I'm in the same boat. Unfortunately, I don't have the time during the week to practice as I would like. Given that leaves me the weekends, I realize it will take me quite some time. I became very frustrated and considered selling all my SR gear. But, I decided to stick it out. It took a while to learn to DE shave as I desired. But, I made it with practice. So, I have to believe I can master the SR as well.

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 07-17-2015, 07:37 PM
#7
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(07-17-2015, 06:15 PM)gp569900 Wrote: I'm in the same boat. Unfortunately, I don't have the time during the week to practice as I would like. Given that leaves me the weekends, I realize it will take me quite some time. I became very frustrated and considered selling all my SR gear. But, I decided to stick it out. It took a while to learn to DE shave as I desired. But, I made it with practice. So, I have to believe I can master the SR as well.

I am trying to stay positive just like you! I'm not sure I will have the patience like I had with learning DE.. but I keep imagining how satisfying it must feel getting a nice smooth shave from a SR! There is probably no better feeling when it comes to wet shaving.

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 07-17-2015, 09:42 PM
#8
  • Thug
  • Active Member
  • South Africa
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As has been said, watch your blade angle but also stretch your skin and make sure your razor is sharp!

I'm a relative SR novice and have found that with a sharp blade and a fair amount of skin stretching, I get a DFS with a 2 pass WTG shave.  I don't need ATG & XTG passes.

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 07-18-2015, 01:35 AM
#9
  • BobH
  • Senior Member
  • Thunder Bay Canada
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It does take more time to learn how to shave with a SR than a DE. If you do not shave with a SR every day it will take even longer as practice makes for a good shave. 

Watch your blade angle and use next to no pressure. For WTG strokes about 1 spine width gap between spine and face should be a good stating point for blade angle. I would stay with a WTG shave until you are comfortable with that before going on to other strokes and more passes. You can always finish off the shave with a DE. Keep your blade sharp too.

It is a long and often frustrating learning curve so just take your time and don't push things. I does eventually all come together. Try and find some one near you that can mentor you in person.

Bob

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 07-18-2015, 02:00 AM
#10
  • Kamp
  • Junior Member
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When I started 2 years ago, I was mayby 4 shaves in when I had a 3 week holiday.
During the holiday I shaved Every day with my Herder 7/8 round point so after the 3 weeks I only had one problem arena left and that was directory below my chin. I also did after the first week a xtg and wtg pass so Every time a 3 pass shave.

After a slight angle change that was no langer a problem and it was smooth shaving after that so I think after a shave of 30 I was as smooth or mayby smoother  then my DE and that is only seeing use on holiday and if I am in a real hurry now.

So what everyone says keep going and after a few shaves you will see an improvement.

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 07-18-2015, 02:37 AM
#11
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I don't own a straight, but I do have a shavette (Weck).
It gets only occasional use, and so technique is still an issue...as are results.
I should have a solid block of time to practice soon, though.

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 07-18-2015, 03:44 AM
#12
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(07-17-2015, 04:41 PM)Ellas318 Wrote: How long does it take to start getting good shaves with a straight razor? Does everyone starting out usually get horrible results? What I mean by horrible, is not even close to a DFS. I used my SR One time so far and my results were no where near good LOL, but I am trying to tell myself it's just how it is in the beginning. I am hoping my Shaves will get extremely acceptable very soon because I really don't want to be forced in selling off this Beautiful Razor!! I need some tips from the pros out there! 

Thanks!

I took up straight razor shaving almost 10 years ago. Now I confine my straight razor shaves to once a week usually in the weekend. During the rest of the week I use a DE.

When I embarked on my SR adventure the results were sometimes disastrous. The first time I used an SR nothing happened at all. One time I showed up for work and my collegues thought I had been attacked by a cat!  I never managed to cut myself horizontally however! 

What helped me a lot were theoretical articles I found on the Internet. They contained information on how to hold a knive, what movements to make across the face, the cutting angle etc.

Slowly I learned how to use a strop, which passes and strokes to make and (at all times) to stretch the skin with your free hand. Needles to say a knive needs to be sharp, so you must learn how to use a strop. Ideally you would have two knives. As for the size: 5/8 would be just fine to start with, after all you are still in a learning curve.

Then there is this thing about the cutting angle. If youre angle is to steep'(narrow) the blade wont cut at all. If its is to wide the knive will just tear at skin and hairs resulting in skin irritation. The trick is to put the knive flat against the skin and then ever so slightly tilt it towards you while at the same time pushing it very gently downwards letting it go by it's own weight. If you try this you will start to feel when it starts to cut. Always try to make an oblique cut (this holds true for DE shaving too by the way). With a lot of practice all this will become intuïtion. I would not concentrate too much on getting a BBS shave in the beginning. Just the basics. In order to get a BBS with an SR you have to take another hurdle: shaving against the grain. This will come with time. 

It will take time to learn like the others say. You cannot do this in two weeks. Giving up after a month and selling you equipement is the easy way to go. Persisting and investing time into learning (difficult and frustrating at times) however will give you a lot of satisfaction in the end.

Good luck

Tilly1648

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 07-18-2015, 03:52 AM
#13
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what soap/cream you using?

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 07-18-2015, 04:03 AM
#14
  • RobinK
  • I like things that work.
  • Munich, Germany
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I think there are no definitive answers to any of your questions. Some people allegedly picked up a razor, started shaving, and that's that. Personally, I was significantly less successful at first. For reasons I think are worth mentioning. I'll keep this succinct, because with a bit of research, more detailed answers are easily found on the web.
  1. Take your time. I am talking weeks, or even months, rather than days. Muscle memory is easier for some people to build up than for others, and if you fall into the latter category...
  2. Pick a razor with whose ergonomics you feel comfortable. Wide blades are popular in fora, but unwieldy, especially for a beginner. A 6/8 round point is the safest bet. If yours is significantly wider, or narrow, this will likely add problems.
  3. Make sure you understand the pitfalls of stropping. While any Western razor I ever bought was capable of shaving, even the sharpest razor can be dulled with a few bad stropping strokes. 
  4. Familiarise yourself with various aspects of shaving technique. This article should get you started. 
  5. Since skin stretching was mentioned already, this is a prerequisite for it
  6. The picture below shows you how different angles are used for with, across, and against the grain (W/X/ATG respectively) passes (source: SRP's Wiki):
    [Image: 800px-Cutting_angles.jpg]
In short, shaving with a cut-throat razor is nothing for the impatient. It is neither rocket science nor complicated, but can be made unnecessarily complex.

Good luck,
Robin

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 07-18-2015, 05:25 AM
#15
  • jtmke
  • Ex shaving hater
  • milwaukee
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Very good advice above. 

Skin stretching plays a greater role than most give credit to. 
Truly shave ready razor is a must. Peoples level of edge keenness varies. 
I found breakthroughs came around every 30 days for the first 100 or so shaves. Giving in to using both hands was the hardest for me to conquer but makes tremendous sense given you are shaving with a less maneuverable 3 inch razor instead of a 1 inch. 

It takes time. 

It is worth it.

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 07-18-2015, 10:34 AM
#16
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All this advice is much appreciated! I have to admit, this forum has taught me a lot and I will try to stick with the SR, instead of taking the easy way out and quitting. My main problem is I am pretty impatient as it is, and all the prep that goes into SR shaving is whats killing me! I am used to shaving quick with a DE or Cart. Time is my biggest problem. If I end up quitting, it will not be because I cant figure it out. It will 100% be because of impatience with prepping. 

I did get in a second shave today. It went much better but still no where near a DFS so I finished off with my cart to get a nice BBS. I have found out that going WTG is a much bigger problem for me then going XTG. I am much more comfy with XTG and get better results with it. I feel I can learn to shave my cheeks with ease and in a short period of time. My biggest problem is my chin and the sides of the chin where it meets with the cheek. The picture below shows exactly the area that I could use a lot of help with! The black line pointing and says mandible is the area I am talking about. It is very tough for me to shave there because of the way my face is and I am having a little trouble pulling my skin tight because of how slick it is from the soap. I may need to invest in another Alum.. 

[Image: rMoj0qW.png]

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 07-18-2015, 01:58 PM
#17
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Well I didn't want to throw in the towel this quick, but long story short I didn't receive a strop I purchased on BST, and really don't feel like purchasing another one. This has turned into a nightmare for me getting started with SR's.. and being extremely superstitious by nature, I am done for the time being. I will resume this quest at a later time and hopefully this thread can stay active in this section to help other beginners in SR shaving! Time to list one of the most Beautiful Razors I have ever owned. It would be an absolute shame to just sit around!

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 07-18-2015, 09:48 PM
#18
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Hold the telephone!! I am thinking of biting the bullet and just purchasing another strop but the only strops I want, take weeks to months to obtain! I'm not one to give up though and this is one art form I would love to master! I think I will have to overcome these crappy circumstances that have taken place and stick with it. I wish I could tell the story here of why I even threw in the towel earlier, but I will be gentlemanly about it.  Anyways, I'll sleep on it, but I doubt i'm quitting.. especially after all this help I have been given!  Smile

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 07-19-2015, 12:13 AM
#19
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The truth is straight razors are not for everyone even back in the day when there were no other options lots of Men had beards, there's no shame throwing in the towel, I recon you need to put in about 100 shaves just to start to feel confident about picking up and completing a good quailty shave, then there's maintenace which you may also have issues with the truth and hard facts using a straight razor isn't a practical choice for the vast majority of Men today. PS but there are many including myself who love it and everything that goes with straight razors.

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 07-19-2015, 09:00 AM
#20
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I think I will try to stick with it. I need to throw in the towel for a couple weeks though. I should have a nice strop to use by then.

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