03-13-2012, 10:14 PM
#1
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What would be a good razor and strop for a newbie. I am completely new to straight shaving and have been thinking about acquiring one or maybe waiting for my girlfriend and my 7th year anniversary.
Thanks in advance

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 03-14-2012, 06:33 AM
#2
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The only good beginners straight razor would be one that you know is properly honed.

I cannot stress that enough - a well-honed razor is absolutely necessary.

Now, as to other aspects:

1) Size: Most people like razors between 5/8" and 6/8" wide. Larger razors can be unwieldy, and smaller razors have to be very sharp to be used properly.

2) Tip: The usual suggestion for beginners is to get a round-tip, as the spike points can 'catch' you. You'll have enough to worry about for your first few shaves, without worrying about what the point is doing.

3) Grind: I'm a firm believer in full-hollow razors, as they're easier to sharpen and keep sharp. However, you're almost certainly going to dull the edge of your first straight. Heavier grind razors mask the dulling by their weight.

4) New or vintage: I say vintage here because they're generally all good razors and they're cheaper.

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A couple of months ago, I'd have asked you to look up Whipped Dog Razors. Larry had some excellent deals on razors, making sure you spent only a small amount to get started, but still hooking you up with a really nice razor. He's had some personal issues, and has scaled back what he offers. You could still look him up, though.

Otherwise, razors honed by Lynn at SRD are generally great. I've had exactly two razors honed by him, and I've liked both edges (which is more than I can say for any other 'professional honer' I've tried).

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Ken at RupRazor also has some nice deals on razors. He also has excellent cheap strops. Cheap is important for your first strop, as you're probably going to nick it.

--

I could lend you a few straights to start you off, but I don't have any spare strops. PM me if you want to borrow a couple of my straights. I hone my own razors, and I like my edges, but I'm not a professional - just a hobbyist. Biggrin

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 03-14-2012, 06:16 PM
#3
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I will watch this thread with interest as I have given a good amount of thought about purchasing a straight razor. I've held back for a variety of reasons. The expense of the razor and all the accompanying items to keep the razor shave ready were are part of my reluctance. The wife has been very understanding with my ever expanding shaving supplies and AD's. My biggest reason is not taking the straight plunge though is not having enough confidence in my ability to hone the razor myself to an acceptable sharpness for shaving. I have a difficult time putting a decent edge on my knives let alone a razor.

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 03-18-2012, 12:04 PM
#4
  • Brent
  • Active Member
  • Columbus, OH
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I'd say go with the whippeddog option also as Larry is a great guy and you'll get everything you need - a razor, strop and balsa hone so you can maintain the edge for an extended time. It also starts you out cheap in case you don't like it (it's not for everyone).

I've heard RuppRazor is good too.
(03-14-2012, 06:16 PM)ridgerunner Wrote: I will watch this thread with interest as I have given a good amount of thought about purchasing a straight razor. I've held back for a variety of reasons. The expense of the razor and all the accompanying items to keep the razor shave ready were are part of my reluctance. The wife has been very understanding with my ever expanding shaving supplies and AD's. My biggest reason is not taking the straight plunge though is not having enough confidence in my ability to hone the razor myself to an acceptable sharpness for shaving. I have a difficult time putting a decent edge on my knives let alone a razor.

I think it's often a little overwhelming when looking at all the honing options and I think sometime exaggerated in its difficulty. It's possible to do about all you need with just a coticle or with a relatively inexpensive norton set.

One thing that can help with the honing is Larry at whippeddog offered a service where he sends you razors to hone, you hone them and send them back to critique. I've heard many have really benefited from this. As said above he does have things going on so I'm unsure if this is still available.

You could hook yourself up with a honemeister that could do a similar critiqueing method.

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 04-30-2012, 08:06 PM
#5
  • safaripete
  • A New Yorker, far from Home
  • Central, Oregon
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Does anyone have a straight razor made by Livi? Are they as good as they say? I've looked at them on line and they look great but looks are only a part of it. Another question is the steel. ATS34. I have a couple of pocket knives made with ats-34 but I havent used them to really know how it would stand up in a razor. So, any help would be appreciated. Have a great Sunday my friends.
safaripete

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 04-30-2012, 08:48 PM
#6
  • GreekGuy
  • Not saving money yet....
  • La Jolla, CA
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(03-18-2012, 12:04 PM)Brent Wrote: I'd say go with the whippeddog option also as Larry is a great guy and you'll get everything you need - a razor, strop and balsa hone so you can maintain the edge for an extended time. It also starts you out cheap in case you don't like it (it's not for everyone).

Considering all the options, I think this one is best. If you love it then the rabbit hole goes very deep and you can explore many many other options. But for a beginner, I can't say enough good things about Larry and the whipped dog kit

(03-18-2012, 12:04 PM)Brent Wrote: I think it's often a little overwhelming when looking at all the honing options and I think sometime exaggerated in its difficulty. It's possible to do about all you need with just a coticle or with a relatively inexpensive norton set.

One thing that can help with the honing is Larry at whippeddog offered a service where he sends you razors to hone, you hone them and send them back to critique. I've heard many have really benefited from this. As said above he does have things going on so I'm unsure if this is still available.

You could hook yourself up with a honemeister that could do a similar critiqueing method.

Doing honing well is no easy task. Its not impossible, but the learning curve is even steeper than straight razor shaving. Somebody with no experience shaving with a straight has no business trying to hone them. That, of course, is my personal opinion, however.

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 04-30-2012, 09:13 PM
#7
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If I knew then what I know now, I would have bought a Feather AC to start out with. Learning to shave is one thing, but mixing it all together in one shot is far too much, imo.

Like Nick said, honing well is no easy task and I would add that even stropping properly takes time. A well honed razor is scary sharp and I'm still amazed at how sharp some people can go.

Anyway. I think everyone owes it to themselves to try a straight at least once, it's an experience for sure.

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 04-30-2012, 09:39 PM
#8
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I would personally advise you to go for a 6/8 full hollow ground round point, as your starter razor, i'm not going to advise you to buy cheap, get a new Dovo, but even though it's new you still may need to send the razor away to be honed, also buy yourself a paddle strop instead of a hanging strop, a little easier to learn with, you can always get a hanging strop further down the road, good luck in your quest. PS i have a feather AC - SS it's fantastic razor, but i'm not to sure if iy suits everyone, but when loaded with a Feather Pro blade it's certainly a hard razor to beat.

Jamie.

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 05-01-2012, 01:50 PM
#9
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(04-30-2012, 08:06 PM)safaripete Wrote: Does anyone have a straight razor made by Livi? Are they as good as they say? I've looked at them on line and they look great but looks are only a part of it. Another question is the steel. ATS34. I have a couple of pocket knives made with ats-34 but I havent used them to really know how it would stand up in a razor. So, any help would be appreciated. Have a great Sunday my friends.
safaripete

By all accounts ATS34 steel is great for straights. I've heard excellent things about Livi's ATS34 razors. I don't have one of those, but I have one of his Damascus steel blades, and it's pretty easily the best custom razor I have.

However, in the spirit of this thread - I'd say that Livi's razors are certainly not good starter razors. They're for collectors.

Remember, a custom straight will not shave any better than most $20 vintage straights (as long as they're in good shape and honed well). Custom blades are for collecting. You can't buy better performance.

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 05-01-2012, 04:26 PM
#10
  • safaripete
  • A New Yorker, far from Home
  • Central, Oregon
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Yohannrjm, I should have told you, I'm a diehard collector. For example, I bought a Guild guitar in 1983, and took a few lessons. I now have 18 old/collectable Martins.....and the Guild. I wanted a good pocket knife, I purchased a Jess Horn custom folder in 1976. I now have 11 custom folders.....and the J.Horn. I wanted to go back to wet shaving after my home burned down last fall, and my old shaving collection of the 1980's was lost. Now I have two Gillette Presidents, two Diplomats, one Executive, and a few other ttos as well as a Murkur, a Muhle, a Edwin & Jagger . I also bought 2 used, as new Dovos in Faux Tortoise, 6/8's on eBay. I honed one last week and got up the nerve to shave with it on Sunday ( one minor nick) I was really happy with the results. Thank heaven for YouTube videos on straight razor shaving.
One thing I've collected that I wasn't expecting......a large, large Visa Bill. I have no idea how I spent so much money.
So, since I can remember, I've had Norton water hones and a few other things that was in my detached shop. So aside from being a little crazy, I can't help being interested in things to a degree of what my wife claims is "insane".
So I truly appreciate the advice on the Livi razors and the ATS34 steel. I'm new to forums and I might have put that question in the wrong forum or thread or whatever. And if thats the case, I'm sorry and will try to post in the correct venue.
I really appreciate and enjoy the friendship I've found here on the Shave Nook.....THANK YOU ALL!
Best Regards!
Safaripete

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 05-01-2012, 05:30 PM
#11
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Safaripete -

No problem. I was just trying to keep the thread on topic, as far as possible. Smile

If you're into collecting things, then a Livi is certainly something to consider. That, and a Zowada.

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 05-01-2012, 05:45 PM
#12
  • safaripete
  • A New Yorker, far from Home
  • Central, Oregon
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Yohannrjim,
Thank you for the tips on both That and Zowada.
Regards,
safaripete

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 05-03-2012, 01:45 PM
#13
  • safaripete
  • A New Yorker, far from Home
  • Central, Oregon
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Well, I had many things to do today, but I couldn't wait to come home and soap up my mug, with the lather I made in my mug?.......So, I got my new Damascus out and gave it a few strokes on my 4000 and then twice as many on the 8000 side....then to the balsa and the green paste...........a few more strokes. Then a water bath, and 25 strokes on the old latigo.
Then set up my toys,oh no my tools for a comfortable shave. A nice sink full of hot water, a warm, wet face.....a nice homemade shaving oil......then a Mama Bears Dragon's Blood soap on my Neep Badger Brush......whipping it in an onyx bowl....a nice warm thick, creamy lather...then brushing, no massaging this wonderfully thick lather on to my whiskered face. Picking up the one piece razor, admiring the Damascus pattern, I started to whisk away my whiskers. It is with great happiness, that I can report that this $75.00 razor cut wonderfully. The weight of the blade, guided by my old arthritis riddled hand, was all that was needed to give a fairly good shave. I'm not an accomplished straight razor shaver, so only two passes were "executed" with, for me, great results.....and without nick one!! Then the coup D grasses, a warm water wash and a splash of D.R. Harris & Co Sandalwood! I'm in Shave Heaven. Wow, I hope I get that old dreaded 5:00 shadow so I can do it all over again!
Best Regards!
Safaripete
quote='safaripete' pid='27393' dateline='1335989367']
Hi all, just received a Damascus Blade one piece Straight Razor from "Buckingham & Sons". It looks pretty good for an inexpensive razor. I'm planning to give it a good stropping, check the sharpness by shaving with it, and then put it into my rotation. I'll keep you posted on The Straight Razor Forum.
Best regards!
Safaripete
[/quote]

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 05-13-2012, 06:59 PM
#14
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Go with Larry at whippeddog. I started with straights in January and he has got the best starter kit out there. More importantly, it's enough to keep you going for a long time. If you like it and decide to stick with straight razor shaving, you can upgrade at that time. With the balsa strop you can keep the edge going forever (as long as you don't roll the edge on the strop, drop it in the sink, etc).

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 05-13-2012, 10:35 PM
#15
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Anyone considering the purchase of a straight that is unfamiliar with what to buy and more important, what not to buy, should have a look at the list of Straight Razor Brands to Avoid that the guys over at SRP have put together to help people from being ripped off.

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