10-18-2012, 10:14 AM
#1
  • mikeperry
  • Senior Member
  • St Louis via the UK
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Thanks to Lee's generosity over in this thread I will be attempting my very! first shave with a straight razor this coming weekend -- when the wife can take the boys out, so I can have a nice quiet house all to myself for an hour or so.

The razor, Gold Dollar #300 (I believe) arrived in the post yesterday. I've spent some time manhandling it, trying to get comfortable with it in hand, passing it between hands, practising "basic" grips in both hands, etc.

From now until the weekend I'll be:
  • Reading up more on the subject of shaving with straight razors.
  • Watching videos on shaving with a straight razor.
  • Manhandling the straight razor, building confidence of having a
If anyone would like to pass on any wisdom I'm all ears and would greatly appreciate any advice, help...

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 10-18-2012, 10:20 AM
#2
  • beartrap
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  • Southern California
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Good luck Mike! I got nothing for you as I've never tried it. Subscribed...

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 10-18-2012, 11:03 AM
#3
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Everyone is different...but I would suggest:
Start slow. Don't worry about making long strokes. Take multiple short strokes (but don't keeping going over the same area)
Don't worry about the more difficult areas (chin, parts of the neck)
Start with the easier areas to build confidence. If it's not working in some areas don't sweat it. Let them be and try it again next time.
Edge angle is a huge part of straight shaving. Find the angle that seems to work best for you.
Don't worry about trying to get a BBS shave. Make a WTG pass. If your feeling good try and XTG pass. Don't worry about going against the grain until you are fully comfortable with handling the razor.
Make sure your prep is good and keep the lather one the wetter side instead of the dry side.

Best of luck!

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 10-18-2012, 01:08 PM
#4
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Practice makes perfect, even if you use a kitchen/pocket knife to shave your arms and legs.

Now would be a good time since its cool outside and you can wear long sleeves to cover up your naked extremeties. Biggrin

And of course, there's my blog. I'm sure I don't cover everything, but the basics are there.

Have fun!

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 10-18-2012, 04:44 PM
#5
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Three things:
  1. The gap between the spine of the blade and your skin should be about the same width as the blade (you can experiment with increasing and decreasing it as you become more practiced but this will serve as an easy reference to start with)
  2. Very light pressure - just enough to keep the edge in contact with your skin (just like a DE). The ultimate goal is to use no more than the weight of the blade itself
  3. Don't let the thought of using a straight freak you out - it's actually quite easy as long as you don't let yourself get hung up on it. If you don't force the blade... use very light pressure... and avoid any type of sideways/slicing motion there will be little chance of nicking yourself. (After you have a bit of experience and are comfortable with the blade you can introduce a slight slicing motion into your stroke to release the full beauty and capability of the straight. Until then, use it like a plow...)

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 10-18-2012, 06:20 PM
#6
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Though we all were I'm sure, try not to be nervous. Relax. Do what you can and feel comfortable with.
Don't expect miracles or a BBS shave. It takes time. After the first go-round you may even wonder " Why am I bothering with this when a cartridge is much less hassle?"
Trust me, it's worth it. The nicks, cuts, awkwardness, trying to figure it all out will all pass. Hang in there and you will be rewarded with great shaves.
I think my wife is getting tired of me telling her every day
"Man, that was the best shave I've ever had"

and can't wait to do it again tomorrow.

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 10-19-2012, 09:36 AM
#7
  • mikeperry
  • Senior Member
  • St Louis via the UK
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Hi Gents

Thank you for all the advice so far, I can tell you nerves are going to be the biggest obstacle I'll need to get over...

First straight razor shave is all set for this Sunday (21st Oct 2012) morning, currently Scared and Thumbup in equal measures.

Take care, Mike

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 10-19-2012, 02:15 PM
#8
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Mike, best of luck to you. As the other gents have stated, the biggest obstacle is your nervousness. Try to be as relaxed as you can and don't expect to have stellar results on your first try.

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 10-19-2012, 02:25 PM
#9
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Only advice I will give is the same my granddad gave me when I started with a straight as a teenager. "If anything feels wrong, stop immediately and set it down".

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 10-19-2012, 06:39 PM
#10
  • gijames
  • Mile High Soldier
  • TN, USA
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(10-19-2012, 09:36 AM)mikeperry Wrote: First straight razor shave is all set for this Sunday (21st Oct 2012) morning, currently Scared and Thumbup in equal measures.

Take care, Mike
Excellent Mike!
I am very curious how you will like the experience.

Blessings

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 10-20-2012, 03:10 PM
#11
  • Tonality
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  • Boston
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Good luck Mike! After two previous attempts I finally had a successful straight razor shave today with a Gold Dollar 100. As long as it is sharp enough and you go slow, you should do well! From one initiate to another, I believe in you!

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 10-21-2012, 05:09 PM
#12
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So, how did it go?

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 10-21-2012, 05:30 PM
#13
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(10-19-2012, 02:25 PM)SteelTown Wrote: Only advice I will give is the same my granddad gave me when I started with a straight as a teenager. "If anything feels wrong, stop immediately and set it down".

LOL, same here Dan. Only I was too stupid to think that anything could go wrong. The funny thing is, I don't think anything did.

Smooth and easy.Thumbsup

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 10-22-2012, 11:00 AM
#14
  • mikeperry
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Ok! gents I live to tell the tail of my very first straight razor shave Aaaaa

Gear used is documented here...

It may have taken me close to 20 minutes to do a single WTG pass, but during that time I did manage to shave 90% of my face (WTG). I ended up with one minor nick on my right cheek and a couple of minor weepers. Apart from those minor mishaps the WTG pass resulted in a extremely close and smooth shave.

Just so I give full disclosure here, during that 20 minutes I had to re-lather (re-hydrate) certain areas 3 or 4 times.

Finding the correct cutting angle took a few good minutes to really nail down, even though I followed John's advice (#1), it took me that time to lock everything into position and to fully realise I was 100% responsible for blade angle...

Using the razor in both hands was surprisingly intuitive, I really thought I would struggle somewhat when using the razor in my non-dominate (left) hand. Obviously further practice, use, is only going to make it feel even more natural and intuitive.

I actually found the biggest obstacle was getting my skin positioned correctly to enable me to shave safely and smoothly (regardless what hand the razor was in). This is where I feel I need the most practice, lots! of it.

I don't mind saying, the only time I was really nervous, scared (but in a good healthy way), when putting the blade to my face was when I shaved my Adam's apple area.

I most definitely learnt:
  • Beard preparation is incredibly important, hairs want to be "super" soft, skin needs to be hydrated and "super" slick.
  • Straight razor requires 100% respect and total concentration at all times when the blade is not safely stored away in the scales.
  • Blade cutting angle is really! important and you are 100% responsible in ensuring that angle is found (used) and locked into position at all times during the shave.
  • Don't get cocky just because the first experience went relatively well.
This evening (Mon 22nd Oct 2012) I plan to perform another "successful" WTG pass.

Wish me luck!

Edit: Fixed order.

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 10-22-2012, 11:07 AM
#15
  • beartrap
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Good luck Mike! I am with you through that experience, hopping for the best results.

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 10-22-2012, 12:19 PM
#16
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I love hearing success stories!

Like you said, don't get cocky, that's when cuts happen.

I don't think anyone expects lather to remain lather for 20 minutes. Smile Perhaps lathering in areas is a good idea for now.

Skin stretching really helps position the razor correctly.

Other than that, Biggrin

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 10-22-2012, 04:48 PM
#17
  • gijames
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Thanks for the update Mike Cool

I'm right behind ya!

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 10-22-2012, 06:49 PM
#18
  • mikeperry
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  • St Louis via the UK
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Thank you gents for the positive encouragement, it's much appreciated Thumbup

So this evening I undertook my 2nd straight razor shave, gear used is listed here.

I probably took about the same amount of time as the first shave, but this time I managed to shave 90 to 95% of my face (WTG pass). I experienced five minor weepers, with only one remaining after my post-shave routine. Apart from those minor visible mistakes the WTG pass resulted in another extremely close and smooth shave.

Once again due to the time taken I had to re-lather a few areas multiple times.

Twice I had to put the razor down (could feel myself getting carried away a little, getting over confident), step-away, take a deep breath, then refocus/resume.

Wednesday (24th Oct 2012) morning I will be hoping to achieve 3 of 3 "successful" WTG passes.

Please wish me even more luck!

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 10-22-2012, 08:21 PM
#19
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(10-22-2012, 06:49 PM)mikeperry Wrote: Please wish me even more luck!

More luck!

Love reading these stories. Thanks so much for sharing.

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 10-23-2012, 01:48 AM
#20
  • DoubleB
  • Active Member
  • Zeeland, The Netherlands
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Great updates!
Go slow but hold the razor confident. Don't hold it too loose or too forced. Don't worry, It'll soon feel natural!

Good luck and keep us posted!

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