05-07-2017, 02:21 PM
#1
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As the thread title says I'm thinking of trying a straight razor . What would be some good first straight razor advice and also what would be a good starter razor ? Any and all input is welcome . Thank you in advance .

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 05-07-2017, 02:35 PM
#2
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Dan aka Doc47 is kind enough to help those of us who "want to go straight". He's sent me a list of do's and don'ts; also I'm getting a care package to get me going in the right direction. Take a look at the end of thread "Why are you giving up on straights?" for his very generous offer.

RON

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 05-08-2017, 07:28 AM
#3
  • Steve56
  • Senior Member
  • Knoxville, TN
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Just about any straight in good condition and properly honed will be fine. Pick one you like and go for it! Personally I like razors from 11/16 to 13/16 wide and favor Japanese brands, though many American brands were also great, like Torrey amd Geneva, and the usually Solingen sourced hardware store razors were also good, Schumate, Simmons, Hibbard, Spencer, and Bartlett (now True Value Hardware).

Don't worry about nose shapes (round, square, French) or grinds at this point.

I hone razors and would be glad to send you one to try out if you PM me a mailing address.

Cheers, Steve

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 05-08-2017, 11:18 AM
#4
  • doc47
  • Senior Member
  • Northern Arizona
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PM me your address and I'll send you a couple of starter razors to get you on your way.

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 05-08-2017, 02:56 PM
#5
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start by watching videos in youtube.

learn to walk.  then to run.  let your first time be small... from one sideburn to the jawline. with the grain.  

do a full pre shave routine.  i used to disbelieve it, but when i began using pre shave oil, i stopped seeing little red dots in the lather!

stretch your skin.  pay attention to your grip.  feel comfortable.  if your are not, stop.  don't be in a rush! ever!

finally, wear something.  shorts, underwear, even a towel.  never ever shave naked.  the stakes are too high.

and one more thing:  turn the water off.  it is important to listen to your blade.  audio feedback is seldom mentioned, but its the best way to construct a map of your face, grain wise. 

as a starter, get an entry level dovo from straightrazordesign.com or some other reputable vendor.  the shop you buy it from is important.  any blade sold there is honed by lynn abraham himself.  the blades do not come shave ready from factory.  well, custom razor makers do, but that is another subject.  you don't want to get there just yet.  lynn sells a video in his web site.  buy that.  a b c´s are spelled in order there.  if you don't, you will be running in circles for some time. you will also need a strop.  paddle strops makes the learning curve so much easier.  

get going.  the satisfaction, the accomplishment has no price!

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 05-08-2017, 04:44 PM
#6
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(05-08-2017, 11:18 AM)doc47 Wrote: PM me your address and I'll send you a couple of starter razors to get you on your way.

Very generous Doc. You are a true gentleman.

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 05-08-2017, 04:45 PM
#7
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(05-08-2017, 07:28 AM)Steve56 Wrote: Just about any straight in good condition and properly honed will be fine. Pick one you like and go for it! Personally I like razors from 11/16 to 13/16 wide and favor Japanese brands, though many American brands were also great, like Torrey amd Geneva, and the usually Solingen sourced hardware store razors were also good, Schumate, Simmons, Hibbard, Spencer, and Bartlett (now True Value Hardware).

Don't worry about nose shapes (round, square, French) or grinds at this point.

I hone razors and would be glad to send you one to try out if you PM me a mailing address.

Cheers, Steve

Very nice offer Steve!

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 05-08-2017, 05:04 PM
#8
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I am blown away by the generosity from everyone . I really truly do appreciate all the offers and advice from everyone . I want to thank Doc and Steve for offering to send me some starter razors as well . They are truly stand up guys and a outstanding representation of this community .

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 05-09-2017, 01:24 PM
#9
  • matloffm
  • Senior Member
  • Culver City, CA
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If you have smooth skin and a beard that's not hard to cut, straights are a fine way to shave.  If you have neither, I would go with a Feather AC razor.  The technique is the same but the Feather AC blade will handle coarse beards far better than a regular straight.  There are straight razor forums that have a great deal of useful information about honing, stropping, what razors to avoid, etc.

Good luck.

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 05-10-2017, 03:03 PM
#10
  • Steve56
  • Senior Member
  • Knoxville, TN
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A properly honed straight razor will make short work of the toughest beard.

Cheers, Steve

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 05-11-2017, 05:43 PM
#11
  • matloffm
  • Senior Member
  • Culver City, CA
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(05-10-2017, 03:03 PM)Steve56 Wrote: A properly honed straight razor will make short work of the toughest beard.

Cheers, Steve

I guess mine is tougher than the toughest.  Wink

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 05-11-2017, 06:24 PM
#12
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(05-10-2017, 03:03 PM)Steve56 Wrote: A properly honed straight razor will make short work of the toughest beard.

Cheers, Steve

yes.  thats right!  check out sharpologist.com.  you will see irrefutable evidence that a straight can be as sharp or sharper than a feather super pro (considered the sharpest object made by men).  

i have barbed wire for whiskers and any of my straights go through it like a red hot knife on butter, no problem at all.

nevertheless, the advice that you probably should start with a shavette has its merits.  it takes all the sharpening and stropping out of the way.  but, hey!  thats part of the fun, isn't it?

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 05-12-2017, 03:39 AM
#13
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My journey into straight razors began with the Feather AC (both folding and non folding) using the logic that it would be an easy way to explore without having to deal with stropping and sharpening.  The downside is the Feather blades are wicked sharp and unforgiving.  Even the Pro Guard blades have the capacity to cut with no warning or feedback.  

I made the move to straights about a year ago and all that comes with it (stropping/honing) and in retrospect I wish I would have started with straights rather than the AC.  There is more to learn but if the goal is to end up in the world of straight razor shaving you are going to have to learn it all sooner or later anyway.

Now that I have a year of straight razor experience I would like to pick up another Feather AC and see if I get better results now that I have some straight razor skills.  At the end of the day the AC provides an incredibly close shave.

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 05-24-2017, 11:30 AM
#14
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I've been thinking about getting started with straights myself.  I have been using DE razors for some time now, and I've really enjoyed the experience.  I am wondering if that same thrill translates well into straights.  Another interesting aspect is simplifying the gear down to a single reusable blade.  Something about it just seems really appealing versus tossing/recycling a DE blade every few days.

When I have toyed with a straight in the past (just held and positioned, never used one to actually shave), I found it uncomfortable to hold.  I've watched videos to get an idea of technique, I don't know what I was doing wrong.  Is that normal for a beginner?  Does it just take time?  Something about the non-folding razors interests me, are those any more comfortable assuming all else is equal (which I'm sure it's not)?

Thanks in advance!

EDIT: Like in Newton's post above, I was thinking a Feather AC would be a good starter razor because it comes with training wheels so to speak.  (That is, no honing or stropping required.)  Is that something people do?  Sounds like at least Newton regrets starting with the Feather...

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 05-24-2017, 12:13 PM
#15
  • doc47
  • Senior Member
  • Northern Arizona
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The Feather is a great way to start, and many users never move on to a straight because of the ease of use. I share the following with beginners and hope it is helpful to you. Other members can add to this as they wish.
 

Advice for Newbie Straight Razor Users
Razor care
1. Be careful they are sharp
2. Protect the edge when not in use - don't drop it, bang it against the faucet etc.
3. Don't ever put a wet razor away (dry the blade, dry the inside of the scales) and store it in a dry environment.
4. Don't handle a razor with wet hands.
5. If the razor is dropped or falls off of something, do not try to catch it. The replacement of a broken razor is cheaper than an ER visit or an ambulance ride.
6. Dry the razor, rinse under hot water and wipe dry with TP, also make sure the inside of the scales are dry. Fold TP and run it through the scales several times. Keep the razor open for an hour resting on a dry towel. Then, close the razor slowly so the edge never contacts the scales. ALWAYS do this to prevent rust.
7. Don't shave naked!  Accidentally dropping a straight razor onto bare skin has the potential to be very unpleasant. (slippers and pants!)
When you shave
1. Use less pressure than you think is needed.
2. Use a shallower angle than you think is needed.
3. Do not be concerned with speed. If you are taking so long your lather dries out, just re-lather.
4. Be concerned with being comfortable while putting an insanely sharp blade you your face, not speed. Needless to say, don't try straight shaving for the first time when you are late for work.
5. Stretch the skin taught. Tight skin resists cuts. Loose floppy skin invites cuts. Dry your fingertips or use the tip of a dry washcloth to get a better grip on wet skin or wet your fingertips and rub them on an alum block before stretching your skin to give your fingers a good grip even if your skin is wet and soapy.
6. Tricky areas can often be shaven more easily by actually pulling the skin onto a flatter area of the face, particularly on the chin, which is the venue for probably 3/4 of the shaving cuts you will give yourself.
7. Make shaving faces. Use your facial muscles to tighten or flatten skin, or to pull against the pull of your fingertips. Pull your nose up or to the side to get upper lip.
8. Don't keep telling yourself it's sharp enough if it's not, put it down and use a different razor. Contact Dan to have the razor sharpened.
9. Start with your sideburns, don't be afraid to finish with a DE or whatever your previous method is.
10. Lather up, and use a butter knife to practice "shaving" the lather off your face. This trick works in helping you coordinate those tricky spots, off hand shaving, etc. without fear of injury.
11. A good initial shave angle is where you have a gap between spine and skin equal to the thickness of the spine. This is typically 21 to 25 degrees, significantly tighter than the 30 degrees suggested by many sources.
12. If you need a higher angle or more pressure to make a razor shave, it is probably not as sharp as it should be.
13. Don't worry about getting a perfect shave. Just concentrate on surviving the shave with minimal blood loss, minimal irritation. Closeness will come with experience.
14. Don't worry how close your shave is and, unless you are real brave, don't try your entire face at first. Do cheeks to jaw bone first, then the neck, the mustache and chin. If you only accomplish a couple of parts of a full shave while you have the box, that's a success. It takes a couple of weeks/months before it will become second nature. Be patient, don't go too fast and invest in a Styptic Pen from your local drug store. Most of all be patient with yourself!
Sharpness
A good sharpness test to perform on a razor is the treetopping test. Pass the razor 1/4" above the skin of your forearm. You should see at least one or two hair tips severed and laying on the blade. This indicates a reasonably sharp edge. If several hairs are treetopped, and this occurs silently with no perceptible snapback, you have a razor that is almost impossibly magically science fiction sharp. If you have to reduce the pass height to 1/8" to get treetopping, then it is marginally sharp,
Stroping
Follow these guidelines please.
1. When you strop your razor, you should have a firm enough hold on the shank to control it, but there shouldn't be any grip on the scales, unless you intend to break the scales.
2. Any time you strop a razor; the spine of the razor MUST be lying against the strop every time the edge touches the strop. If the spine isn’t touching while you are stropping, you are ruining the bevel angle and could damage your fine edge.
3. Strop 30 passes on leather after your shave
4. Strop 30 passes on the cloth side followed by 60 passes on leather before your shave.
5. Stropping should look like this:
http://straightrazorplace.com/srpwiki/index.php/Razor_stropping
 
 
 
 

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 05-24-2017, 12:28 PM
#16
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Now THAT is a lot of good information.  Sounds like I'm buying an inexpensive Feather to learn with while I find out more about straights in general.  Thanks Doc!

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 05-24-2017, 12:52 PM
#17
  • doc47
  • Senior Member
  • Northern Arizona
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(05-24-2017, 12:28 PM)richy240 Wrote: Now THAT is a lot of good information.  Sounds like I'm buying an inexpensive Feather to learn with while I find out more about straights in general.  Thanks Doc!

I'm happy to send you a razor or two, but you'd need to get them honed and invest in a strop for $25-$35. Either way, let me know how I might help.

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 05-24-2017, 01:07 PM
#18
  • EricM
  • Senior Member
  • Encinitas, CA
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Do you guys recommend full hollow for a beginner?

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 05-24-2017, 01:49 PM
#19
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(05-24-2017, 12:52 PM)doc47 Wrote: I'm happy to send you a razor or two, but you'd need to get them honed and invest in a strop for $25-$35. Either way, let me know how I might help.

I may take you up on that. I'll PM you when I get home to discuss details. Very exciting!

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 05-24-2017, 02:41 PM
#20
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Wow, the community spirit is impressive here, Gents!  Well done.

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