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Dipped my toe in today

Sun Sep 29, 2013 9:04 am

I've been toying with the idea of moving to a straight razor for some time now and I started down that path today. I just pulled the trigger on a Jagger best badger brush and Razorock soap. Figured I'd get used to this phase while I burn through the remainder of my replacement blades for the Gillette. Still need to get a proper strop set for the knives and of course a straight razor over the coming weeks.

Re: Dipped my toe in today

Tue Oct 01, 2013 11:53 pm

Good luck, the hole is deep. What straight are you going for?

Re: Dipped my toe in today

Wed Oct 02, 2013 10:28 am

Kaleb - I haven't decided yet. I discovered the SRP site a few months back and plan to follow their recommendations for a good first razor. Based on what I've read I'm best served by getting a reconditioned older razor rather than some of the new stuff on the market. I'm always open to suggestions.


Re: Dipped my toe in today

Wed Oct 02, 2013 8:45 pm

SNIPES <> Let's talk skin instead.

If you have crazy sensitive skin, look for a full wedge. If you're sensitive skin, look towards half-hollows. If your skin could care less, look at full-hollows or extra-hollow. Any skin can use any grind, but let me tell you... this list is a good starting point.

Reconditioned razors can get expensive. Part of the straight edge thing is sharpening them so you might consider getting something that you can recondition... edge wise. Ball peening on new scales may be a bit much, but you get the point. People bash e-bay, but I've bought 4 with ZERO problems.

Look for Swedish steel as it's considered the hardest mass production steel capable of taking highly refined edges. Heljestrand, Helberg, Jernbolaget, etc. English Sheffield steel is favored, as well: Kropp, Wade & Butcher, Joseph Rodgers, Frederick Reynolds, etc...

Re: Dipped my toe in today

Fri Oct 04, 2013 9:03 am

Melampus - I appreciate the guidance. I'd consider my face a "could care less", but I may pick the middle ground of the half-hollow just to play it safe based on your starting point references. I still haven't quite wrapped my head around how to "sharpen" a mistreated straight razor, specifically with an Edge Pro, but I haven't gotten to that stage of my research. I plan to start stepping up my research on strops, razors, sharpening/honing etc in the very near future now that my soap/brush have arrived. I'm looking forward to playing with them later today. Next step will be picking up a strop set suitable for my knives and soon to be razor(s).

Re: Dipped my toe in today

Tue Oct 08, 2013 5:30 pm

Pulled the trigger on a Wade & Butchers barber 6/8 hollow (wasn't clear how hollow) last night. The gentleman is a regular poster on another board and I'm confident it's truly shave ready. Now I've got to figure out my stropping and honing strategy (tools) with both straights and blades in mind.

Re: Dipped my toe in today

Sun Oct 13, 2013 4:02 am

SNIPES <> Sharpening a used razor is the same as sharpening a new one; you just take off more steel. You might have to adjust geometry more with heavier taping & pay more attention to profile, but an edge is an edge is an edge is an edge. Furthermore, I don't know you can sharpen your SR on your jig, but your EP stones work great:

Michiel Vanhoudt wrote:

Strops. You are going to need a hanging strop for your SR. A cheap one can be procured from Whippeddog. The "poorman" covers the bases with a hanging and twice charged balsa tandem although it's not the highest of quality. That can be a good thing though as you will probably cut up your first strop. The "travel strop" is just a cheap hanging which can be good to learn on. You can get higher quality leather with canvas strops in tandem. The canvas will help bring back the edge as a go between before going to a balsa refresh. You can use just a leather bench strop like in the CKTG sets, but a hanging strop is the preferred method.

As for balsa, these are the SR/knife combo tool. On your knives, 1 micron is more than enough; for your razor 1/4 micron is going to be more your need. The "poorman" has a double-sided balsa w/ .3 micron on one side & .1 micron on the other. The balsa is thin and weak, but you need not employ much force on the razor anyhow. The abrasive powders are economy quality & are most likely not a consistent .3/.1 micron particle. The "poorman" gets the job done on your razor for cheap. The CKTG balsa strops w/Hand American or Ken Schwartz abrasives are awesome sturdy tools... albeit one-sided, but at $10 a strop they're affordable. 1 micron boron carbide & 1/4 micron diamond spray is all you need to start for your knife & SR, respectively.

Good luck. Have fun...

Re: Dipped my toe in today

Sat Oct 26, 2013 7:45 am

I have recently started straight shaving. I got the poor man's strop kit and it is EXACTLY as described in a previous post. The hanging strop seems to be good quality (I'm not a leather expert) and it comes with linseed oil to treat the smooth side with enough for a few more treatments over time. I was surprised at the somewhat poor quality of the balsa but as stated it probably works. I've use my flat strops I already had instead though. I also got the $41 shave ready sight unseen razor on whippeddog. I don't want to invest much in a razor until I know more about what I need or want. All I care about is the shave readiness right now.

A friend gave me a Boker straight with no handle. I have handled it (cheaply) and honed it. My methodof honing it deserves mention I think as someone already mentioned the EP. The edge had a couple significant chips and it wasn't sharp. Having no real guidance I set an initial bevel with my EP. I worried about removing too much steel from the spine so I set the angle AS CLOSE TO THE SPINE AS I COULD WITHOUT TOUCHING IT. At this angle I figured when enough steel was removed from the edge the stones would then be on the spine and the angle should be close to correct. When I was happy with the edge I then continued on bench stones trying to keep the spine and edge on the stone using as little pressure as I could. I was hoping this would get the angle of the edge lined up with the spine in case the angle created by the EP wasn't 100% correct. I now think I have it shave ready as I have had a few successful shaves. I'm only shaving my cheeks, jawbone and neck. I haven't tried my chin or upper lip yet.

I recommend Lynn's CD on shaving on SRP. It covers lots of good stuff on honing and shaving. I have a pretty good understanding of knife sharpening and the basics (edge angle, smoothness, etc.) apply but the method is different. This is based on the razor having the spine to guide and control the edge angle. That doesn't make it easier at first. In fact I fine it very difficult to use a hanging strop. When I go very slow a hanging strop improves the smoothness tremendously. But going too fast at first can ruin an edge. In fact I'm considering not using the hanging strop and sticking to the flat ones. How do you experienced straight shavers feel about that. Good idea? Bad idea? Advise please. I'm at the point of this "hobby" :) to have enough confidence in honing to ruin an edge. I'm also confident enough while shaving to be dangerous. (ouch) I have nicked myself several times and am getting pretty proficient with a styptic pencil. :) I have had a couple of shaves where the styptic pencil wasn't needed. :D

I mentioned I got the $41 sight unseen razor on whipped dog. I haven't used it yet though. I am going to today and am eager to see how it shaves compared to the Boker I've honed myself. I'll post my thoughts later on that. One thing the guys on SRP stress about honing (or shaving) is knowing what a shave ready razor from an expert feels like. I'm not complaining, just mentioning. This razor doesn't appear to be new. It has a couple of significant rust spots but they aren't near the edge. It is a L.HERDER & SON razor from Germany. I'm going to shave with it in a few minutes and will post my thoughts when I'm finished. Or when I get home from the ER. :)

Snipes: Eager to hear your thoughts as progress comes. Straight razor shaving is a bit more complicated than it looks like in the movies. :)

Re: Dipped my toe in today

Sat Oct 26, 2013 8:37 am

Just shaved. Used the new "shave ready" razor on half my face. It felt very good. I then used the razor I have honed and while it seemed to do a decent job the new razor felt better. The razor I honed resulted in a little more resistance felt as I performed each stroke. Then when I was finished I felt a little missed stubble on my neck I used my old razor on. I quickly removed it with the new one.

So, it appears my honing and stropping provides me with a usable razor. However, I still have work to do in getting the edge "BETTER". That knowledge is well worth the $41 I spent for the razor. If I don't KNOW I need improvement how can I judge my honing skill? One of the VERY FIRST suggestions from the guys on SRP was to get a known shave ready razor to start with. As usual I hesitated to take good advice and I definately would have been better off to get the shave ready razor as soon as possible. That way I know my honing skill level. Also, when I get given results from shaving I'll know the razor isn't to blame for how my skin feels afterward. I suggest not taking advice from me. But if an experienced individual suggests getting a shave ready razor I believe it is good advice.

Re: Dipped my toe in today

Sat Oct 26, 2013 10:26 am

Another thing you can try is practice your form/technique with a butter knife on your hanging strop. It will allow you to find/develop your techniques while not butchering your strop or rolling the edge on your razor. Congrats on the successful shaves!! I've been straight razor shaving since Mar or April and can't imagine going back! I just shaved 2 days ago with a CV Heljestrand that I got on eBay for pretty cheap. I had problems honing it initially but stuck with it and WOW!! After 2 days I have stubble but its still so short that I may not shave before work today :) Try that with a Mach3/4/5 :lol:


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