05-21-2018, 09:33 AM
#61
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I agree with Obie-don't worry about speed at first, that will come.

I'm about 200 shaves in, and for me, the speed of the shave increased naturally without conscious intention to speed up the shave. Like Obie, I always feel like I'm taking my time.

If the lather dries out, add some water-don't rush!

At the beginning of my journey, I obsessed a bit on the different requirements of the lather where the glide was more important than other factors. At the beginning, the 'thicker', 'heavier', tallow soaps were a challenge because I wasn't adding enough water. They tend to be 'thirsty' soaps, so I found that incorporating water in bit by bit improved their performance with a straight.

Since my beard is wiry and my skin sensitive, I've found that the gradual incorporation of water while face lathering can irritate the skin, so I've found that starting with a bowl lather is helpful. I can regulate the water and get the lather right before putting it up to the face.

An experienced SR shaver commended Tabac to me, and it was a soap that just sat on my shelf ignored for a long time. For me, it works beautifully with a straight. I've also come to a new appreciation of the good creams-although some object to the preservatives some of them have. The Italian soaps are my favorites to use, giving a good balance of glide and cushion: Nuàvia, XPEC, SMN, Saponificio Varesino. But the longer I'm at it, my favorite artisan soaps-Declaration, Barrister, Grooming Dept all work well because of the adjustments I've made in the lather making.

The longer I'm at it though, lather consistency, like speed, becomes more automatic.

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 05-21-2018, 10:05 AM
#62
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Gentleman,

18th SR shave today! I had a few days growth waiting to be removed. Before writing this post, I reread my very first post where I used this razor. I feel I have made some drastic improvements since then! While, the edge of this razor is not the sharpest that I have experienced (in my limited experience), it is smooth and comfortable indeed. I am glad to have learned that sharper is not necessarily better. This razor is unique being a heavier grind. It is very quiet during both stropping and cutting, not like other full hollow razors that sing and ping. However, this razor has provided identical shave results compared to the others. Nice! I have noticed that my prep technique has been benefiting my skin and has reduced risk of irritation. The prep makes my skin more supple, which is my intended purpose. For me pre-shave oil (olive oil and castor oil based) does not add slickness and I don't believe this is the intended purpose (please correct me, if I am wrong), I notice supple skin is the main result. I also don't notice a drop in slickness of my shave soap. I agree with Michael that tallow soaps generally like more water, and I have been trying to dial in my lathers during each shave. I also, felt that I could have stopped after two passes during this shave, which tells me that my efficiency with my strokes has become more accurate. Additionally, I don't notice anymore differences between the left and right side of my face, dexterity has improved! I have noticed my speed increase (unintentionally) due to efficiency and lather factors. I enjoy my shaves and will keep on trucking along. I appreciate the support and hope you all enjoy reading these posts.

Regards,

Sanjay

Prep: 2-3 drops of pre-shave oil followed by a hot cloth (30-60 sec)
Soap: B&M Leviathan
AS: B&M Leviathan
Brush: RR synthetic 24mm
Blade: Joseph Allen & Sons NONXLL, near wedge
Strop: 2 1/2” TM Steerhide with flax linen

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 05-24-2018, 08:34 PM
#63
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Gentleman,

19th SR shave today! I wanted to keep things consistent this morning, using the same items as the previous shave. The shave was comfortable and went quite well! I am not sure if my technique and razors edge are working well or if the prep method has been preventing weepers.Perhaps, all these aspects contributed? Just something I noticed. I did have some trouble edging up my sideburns today, but not a big deal. My trouble is cutting the sideburn straight and making sure my arm is holding the razor in line. I will get better as I keep learning. Enjoy your day!

Regards,

Sanjay

Prep: 2-3 drops of pre-shave oil followed by a hot cloth (30-60 sec)
Soap: B&M Leviathan
AS: B&M Leviathan
Brush: RR synthetic 24mm
Blade: Joseph Allen & Sons NONXLL, 5/8
Strop: 2 1/2” TM Steerhide with flax linen

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 05-26-2018, 09:46 AM
#64
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Gents,

20th SR shave today! Another stellar shave this morning. I was more careful with the sharp point of this razor and did not irritate my skin. I have realized that there are certain areas of my face and neck that require more touch ups than others, which helps get a more consistent and closer shave. Also, I can avoid areas that don't need touching up which save time and reduce chance of irritation. Enjoy your day!

Regards,

Sanjay

Prep: Preshave oil and hot towel
Soap: B&M Hallows
AS: Fine Green Vetiver
Brush: RR synthetic 20mm
Blade: Zartina Cutlery Works 5/8
Strop: 2 1/2” TM Steerhide with Flax linen

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 05-26-2018, 02:46 PM
#65
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Nice progress, Sanjay.  This morning was my 90th straight razor shave!  Hard to believe.  Still have a lot of improvement to come, but I am pretty satisfied with my shaves for now.  

Slow and steady wins the race.

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 05-26-2018, 03:18 PM
#66
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(05-26-2018, 02:46 PM)kingfisher Wrote: Nice progress, Sanjay.  This morning was my 90th straight razor shave!  Hard to believe.  Still have a lot of improvement to come, but I am pretty satisfied with my shaves for now.  

Slow and steady wins the race.

Thank you and congratulations! Only 10 away from 100!

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 05-28-2018, 09:33 AM
#67
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Hello,

21st (blackjack!) SR shave! Today I solely focused on building a better lather. I added more water and spent twice as long as normal building the lather. I noticed a huge improvement to the volume of lather, slickness, and how well it lasted throughout the shave. Still, I need to work on this as I did ind some spots to dry out over the course of each pass. Just goes to show that the learning does not stop. The shave went wonderful and I did not have any irritation. Enjoy your day!

Regards,

Sanjay

Prep: Preshave oil and hot towel
Soap: PAA Sangre de Drago
AS: PAA SdD
Brush: RR synthetic 20mm
Blade: Norwich Cutlery Co. 5/8
Strop: 2 1/2” TM Steerhide with flax linen

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 06-01-2018, 05:03 PM
#68
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Gents,

22nd SR shave today. I did take a break from the SR during my last shave. A few reasons why: The main reason was time constraints (don't ever rush with an SR...bad things are likely to occur), I wanted to compare the difference between SR and DE, and lastly because I haven't used my DE razors in a while and kind of wanted to revisit them. I used a Gillette tech FB made in England and a Gilette 7 o'clock black blade (one of my favorite combinations along with a 34C and a feather blade). A few things that I learned from my SR experience that I carried over: no pressure during strokes (hold the razor like a feather...as my mentor says), my lather is day and night difference from before using SRs, my prep routine really makes a difference, and I have learned to be more efficient with my strokes. Being more efficient with strokes means that I try to go slow and make each stroke with the razor count, this way I do not have to go over that area of skin over again (reduced chance of irritation and this saves me time form doing clean up passes). The DE shave was extremely comfortable and did result in a closer shave, though not by much. However, I have been using DEs since 2014 and SRs for only 22 shaves, so obviously this is not a fair comparison. I'll let you know a true comparison in a few years Smile. Again, my SR results are not far off from my DE results.

I think there is nothing cooler than using a straight razor and eventually learning how to put an edge on one. A goal that I plan on reaching in the future.

Today's shave was phenomenal. Performed my usual three passes and I focused hard on pressure and blade angle. No irritation and no blood drawn. Smooth and comfortable.

I appreciate the support.

Regards,

Sanjay

Prep: preshave oil and hot towel
Soap: PAA SDD
AS: PAA SDD
Brush: RR synthetic 20mm
Blade: Paul Schulze 6/8
Strop: 2 1/2” TM Steerhide with flax linen

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 06-04-2018, 06:55 AM
#69
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Nice read, Sanjay.  I do believe that learning straight razor technique helps with DE shaves; heck, even with cartridge shaves!  I was out of town for the weekend at a wedding and I took an Atra with me.  Never had such good shaves from a cartridge razor before.

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 06-04-2018, 09:41 AM
#70
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(06-04-2018, 06:55 AM)kingfisher Wrote: Nice read, Sanjay.  I do believe that learning straight razor technique helps with DE shaves; heck, even with cartridge shaves!  I was out of town for the weekend at a wedding and I took an Atra with me.  Never had such good shaves from a cartridge razor before.

Yes, I agree. Venturing into SRs has helped me learn a lot about other factors such as prep, pressure, and lather that I thought I was doing correctly, but really wasn’t. I appreciate the support.

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 06-04-2018, 09:44 AM
#71
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Gents,

23rd shave today. Only performed 2 passes with the SR and did a final pass using a DE due to time restrictions. I had a great shave without irritation.

Prep: preshave oil and hot towel
Soap: B&M Bay Rum
AS: B&M Bay Rum
Brush: RR synthetic 20mm
Blade: Solingen 210
Strop: 2 1/2” TM Steerhide with flax linen

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 06-10-2018, 10:36 AM
#72
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Gents,

24th shave today!

I did take a short break from using the SR in order to focus solely on my lather and pressure (using a DE). I’m glad I did. My lathers have not been better since I started wet shaving in 2014! The best shaves so far with a DE- effortless, smooth, no irritation !! Kind of sad to say so, but happy to know that I finally understand that good lathers do take time and need the appropriate amount of water.

How I know when a lather is good to go: the volume of the lather builds significantly, the brush feels heavier, the noise of the lather becomes quieter, the face feel is dense and smooth, the lather doesn’t stick much to the razor when rinsing, and the lather doesn’t dry out and still feels slick.

Today’s shave was my best so far with an SR. The first pass has always been the worst for me even with a DE feeling slow and not slick. However, with a dialed in lather, the first pass was beautiful and slick! The lather was stable and remained moist throughout. Though, I did touch up some areas with the brush as a cautionary measure. 3 passes today, very comfortable and quite close.

I encourage you to test out your lathers using more time and water during your shaves. See how it goes.

All the best,

Sanjay



Prep: preshave oil and hot towel
Soap: B&M Cheshire
AS: Fine Green Vetiver
Brush: RR synthetic 20mm
Blade: Paul Schultz
Strop: 2 1/2” TM Steerhide with flax linen

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 06-11-2018, 08:01 AM
#73
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Good work and good advice. I work my leathers much longer than most people do. I think it pays off in the end.

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 07-01-2018, 11:43 AM
#74
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Gents,

Long time no see...25th SR shave today!

I have put off SR shaving for a bit, due to other priorities in life and career. I have not stopped learning or thinking about SRs at all. In fact, I really have learned so much while getting into SR shaving that really baffled me (particularly in prep, pressure, and lather making). So much so that I wanted to retest other safety razors, injector razor, and soaps to see the potential I had been missing. Regarding prep, the softer you can make your whiskers, the easier the blade can cut (with less tug/resistance), also the longer the blade will last (in my experience). Think of chopping jello vs wood... Also, I wanted to dedicate less time to shaving (while still enjoying my shaves) and focus on my priorities. SR shaves take me almost 1.5-2x the time compared to safety or injector razors, though there is a lack of "cool factor" that I only get with SRs. Sure, speed will increase with time and I agree that the more you practice the better and quicker you will learn, but priorities should be first. Eventually, I will have time to get back to regularly using SRs. Until then, the weekend or off days is where I will try to squeeze in SR time. I still plan on mastering SRs.

Todays shave was quite close and comfortable for all three passes. My prep, pressure, and lather have continued to improve and serve me well. Pressure is so key, and was the main cause for my irritation in the past. Left hand shaving is still intact. Keep learning!

Stay sharp,

Sanjay

Prep: EJ preshave cream and hot towel
Soap: B&M Reserve Spice
AS: B&M Reserve Spice
Brush: RR synthetic 20mm
Blade: J. Allen & Sons
Strop: 2 1/2” TM Steerhide with flax linen

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 07-02-2018, 05:45 AM
#75
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Sanjay,

thanks for the update.  hang in there.  You jumped all over the learning curve early on, so you will undoubtedly master the straight eventually, even if you only use it on weekends.  

For my part, I have chosen to do the opposite.  I am shaving with a straight razor 6 days a week, and using DE/SE/injector on Sunday only.  Maybe once I feel like I am completely comfortable and confident with the straight I can switch up among the various modalities of shaving at random, but for now I'm sticking with the intense use.

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 07-02-2018, 08:27 AM
#76
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(07-02-2018, 05:45 AM)kingfisher Wrote: Sanjay,

thanks for the update.  hang in there.  You jumped all over the learning curve early on, so you will undoubtedly master the straight eventually, even if you only use it on weekends.  

For my part, I have chosen to do the opposite.  I am shaving with a straight razor 6 days a week, and using DE/SE/injector on Sunday only.  Maybe once I feel like I am completely comfortable and confident with the straight I can switch up among the various modalities of shaving at random, but for now I'm sticking with the intense use.

I appreciate the support, you have definitely come along way and will continue to improve.

Cheers,

Sanjay

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