06-24-2016, 01:46 PM
#1
  • Nero
  • Ban Groupthink from Earth
  • le montagne
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How long did it take you to get "good"/really comfortable at using a straight?
What were you using before and how long were you doing that?

Any pointers for someone thinking about getting into using a straight? Lessons learned, etc.

FYI, I have been using DEs for almost 3 years now with badger/synth brushes and a million different soaps/creams.....
So "wet shaving" is not new to me.......
Since I have this experience, how long do you think it will take me to get "good" at using a straight?

Thanks to you all in advance!

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 06-24-2016, 02:41 PM
#2
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(06-24-2016, 01:46 PM)Nero Wrote:  "good"/really comfortable at using a straight?

Wait...what?  You can get a good shave with a straight????

Actually just started a month ago and probably only have 10 shaves so far so obviously I have a long way to go.  I am up to completing a WTG shave with the straight and then switch to a DE to complete the other two passes.  I have been wet shaving with the old Gillette's for awhile but straights are new to me so any tips are also welcomed advice.

I have been reading anything I can out on the internet and watching the videos.  I bought a real cheap strop and a cheap razor to practice the motion and method.  I bought a better strop for my shave razor but used the cheap items to learn which is good because I put a slice in the cheap strop up near the top and nicked a couple times learning.  A cheap Gold Dollar worked to practice the motion - may never shave with it but for $10 I am not going to lose sleep if I dropped it or rolled the edge learning.

One nice piece of advice I learned was to focus on the shave, stroping, but don't try to get in to honing right away.  If you need it honed - send it off initially because a set of decent stones will cost you as much as a good razor.  Focus on the shave and the strop and move from there.

Of course I only have a small number of shaves under my belt so take my advise with a grain of salt.  Hopefully someone else with more experience can give you better advise.

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 06-24-2016, 02:46 PM
#3
  • Steve56
  • Active Member
  • Knoxville, TN
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Hi Matt,

It took me about 30 days to get moderately comfortable with a straight, and up to a year before I got the last 1%. It takes a while to learn what direction the hair grows and the best technique for getting that BBS shave on different parts of your face. 

I would be glad to send you a properly honed razor to try if you want, I am a Japanese hone nerd/collector and have honed my own for years. Send me a PM if you're game.

Cheers, Steve

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 06-24-2016, 03:00 PM
#4
  • evnpar
  • Emeritus
  • Portland, Oregon
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I've been using a straight for 2 - 3 years. I used a Fat Boy and a Slim for a little over 50 years, discovered the forums and tried about every DE available at the time for a year, then primarily used a Cobra for a year before getting into straights. It took me about three months before I was "comfortable" at using a straight for all passes, and another three months before I felt that I was somewhat good at it. A year later I began to feel that I could get a more comfortable and a closer shave with a straight than with a DE or SE. Some of that had to do with perfecting technique with different razors, and also perfecting my stropping and ability to maintain and refresh a straight. 

Pointers: 
1. View Lynn Abrams' videos on shaving, stropping, and honing several times.
2. Become a member of SRP and read everything in the library on how to begin shaving with a straight. 
3. Find a mentor in your area who can teach you the basics on shaving, stropping, and honing, and who will let you try out a few different razors to get a sense of what you prefer. This is probably the most important recommendation.
4. Go slow and be patient in learning to shave with a straight. Not everyone enjoys using a straight, but those that do enjoy the whole process involved with stropping and maintaining their razors. However, you don't need to learn everything all at once. Initially, have your razors professionally honed so that you can focus on learning to shave and strop. There is plenty of time to learn honing. 
5. Go for it!! There are several sources where you could purchase a reasonably priced razor and strop suitable for learning. You won't know whether you like it until your try it. I wish that I had the opportunity to try it when I was first starting out.

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 06-24-2016, 04:01 PM
#5
  • jtmke
  • Ex shaving hater
  • milwaukee
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I used an electric before a straight. I didn't try DE razors until I joined SRP. 

I have a few over 1000 shaves in with a straight. 

It gets easier after 30 shaves, 60 shaves, and then after 100 you may have forgotten any other way to shave. Learning the DE was harder for me. 

No pressure, low angle, good prep and lather, and S-T-R-E-T-C-H the skin. Focus on the whole edge not just the part actually contacting skin.

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 06-25-2016, 05:54 AM
#6
  • Nero
  • Ban Groupthink from Earth
  • le montagne
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Thanks everybody! This is excellent advice and I thank you all for your inputs.
Anyone else like to share?

(Thanks again Steve!)

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 06-25-2016, 06:36 AM
#7
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(06-24-2016, 01:46 PM)Nero Wrote: How long did it take you to get "good"/really comfortable at using a straight?
What were you using before and how long were you doing that?

Any pointers for someone thinking about getting into using a straight? Lessons learned, etc.

FYI, I have been using DEs for almost 3 years now with badger/synth brushes and a million different soaps/creams.....
So "wet shaving" is not new to me.......
Since I have this experience, how long do you think it will take me to get "good" at using a straight?

Thanks to you all in advance!

1st ?- How long did it take you to get "good"/really comfortable at using a straight?
As I recall maybe a month or so with shaving every other day until I got the somewhat hang of it.

2nd ?- What were you using before and how long were you doing that?
I had been using a Braun electric for almost 13 years and on my second unit then had just bought the newest wet/dry Norelco around Christmas before I decided to go straight in January of 2015.

3rd ?- Any pointers for someone thinking about getting into using a straight? Lessons learned, etc.
Buy either a nice used razor from a member here or if you buy new don't drop $300 on your first razor.  I would highly suggest if you buy new to look at the basic Ralf Aust 5/8 round toe as a great way to start!  Lynn Abrams hones these to be truly shave ready and his price can't be beat!  Buy a decent 3" wide leather strop as well because you will need it.....don't break the bank there either because I am here to tell you......until you get good at stropping or you go too fast too soon you will.....you will slice your strop and make it useless!  When starting out............don't do full face at first.  Do areas and stop to get proficient then when you think you have it...........go full face!  Just my 2 cents.

I would also add that you get a reputable soap to begin with too.  I am a big fan of recommending MWF as a constant in the stable!  It is made with lanolin and has a pleasing almost baby powder scent to me.  Last a long time too.

Good luck my friend and if you do get hooked.............well, you have been warned!  Razor and accoutrement acquisition is a disease that only money can cure unfortunately!

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 06-25-2016, 10:22 AM
#8
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It'll depend on you and your set of skills. Which brings me to why I'm responding here as everyone so far has given good advice. 
Though you say " wet shaving " isn't new to you and you have experience with DE' s in no way has prepared you for using a straight. It's apples and oranges. Having driven a car doesn't prepare you for driving Formula 1 or a top fuel dragster. A DE you can slide all over your face with little peril in my experience. Can't say the same for a straight.

It's a new set of skills you'll be learning.

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 06-25-2016, 12:46 PM
#9
  • Nero
  • Ban Groupthink from Earth
  • le montagne
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Great stuff, Gents, thank you for the inputs! Exactly the types of things I'm looking for.

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 06-26-2016, 05:12 AM
#10
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Lots of great advice here.  I have been using straights for over 2 years now, when I started using straights I used it every day and got comfortable after a couple of months.  I watched a lot of youtube videos about all aspect of using straight razor, including how to maintain it, stropping, touch-ups and others.  Do a lot of research and once you made up your mind to follow evnpar's advice and Go For it.

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 07-26-2016, 12:36 AM
#11
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I am on shave #19 using a SR. Getting better with each shave. My advice: read and watch every video you can find on SR shaving, start with a low cost (not cheap) SR that has been honed by someone who knows what they are doing. Go slow.

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 07-26-2016, 04:32 AM
#12
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I cant really add much to the good points everyone else mentioned but stress PATIENCE and PRACTICE.

As with all things in life we each move at our own pace when it comes to learning and mastering something. Dont get frustrated if months go by before you have things under control. Practice. Practice. Practice.

Learning technique, maintaining a sharp razor(and learning how to tell when it is getting dull), and good lather will give you all the rewards.

Using a straight is a larger learning curve than any other form of shaving, but the rewards are well worth the investment as IMO there is no closer shave than a good SR shave.

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 07-26-2016, 01:44 PM
#13
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I also have about 3 years experience in the DE & SE shaving and have recently taken the plunge into the Straight Razor shaving world.  My comments are not based on having a great deal of experience, but rather stupid things I have done that I wish I did differently.

I purchased the Ralf Aust 5/8 and 3" strop from SRD, watched every video I could find and dove in.  Having had some experience with the Feather AC shavette the concept of moving a straight blade over my face was not a new concept but I am still taking it extremely slow, trying to learn one step WTG before moving on to the next. Nick here and there but overall not many problems so far.

The one thing I did not expect was the stropping learning curve.  I wish I would have watched more stropping videos, and then taken a butter knife and practiced for several days before trying to strop Lynn's masterfully honed edge.  In a matter of several days I managed to roll an edge, or at the least dulled the blade to a point my limited skills cannot correct.  The correct pressure on the blade, angle of the blade, proper tension on the strop, holding the blade properly, pace, all factor in to the stropping results and are all skills in and of themselves.  Its a lot to learn to get it right, and a bit overwhelming for a newbie such as myself.

If you cut or nick yourself your still shaving the next day.  If you mess up the blade edge your dead in the water.

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