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Thread: The Art of the Straight Razor

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    Default The Art of the Straight Razor

    It was a slippery slope from DE to SR. DE (Double-Edged Safety Razor) is much faster to learn and a zillion times better than plastic/electric shaving.

    The straight razor has a much longer learning curve. But, now that I've been at it over a year, I can finally say that I get a very clean and satisfying shave with (antique) razors I hone and strop in a reasonable amount of time. The DE's are only for legs and such now.

    They say it's the best way to beat skin issues. I never really had those.

    Whilst there are a great many good resources (discussion forums) out there WRT wet-shaving, I thought I'd answer any Q's you well-groomed gentlemen might have right here on LeSalon.

    Razors, Hones and Strops and their use, Crossing over... that sort of thing. I don't know the lotions and potions part much.






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    Default

    WP,
    I've been shaving with one of these when I've had the time to strop in the morning:

    image-2006800298.jpg

    Strops are new to me. I have an not fancy 3" strop with a felt fabric part. I'm getting scratch lines from the tip of the blade. I can't feel the scratching, but I can see it. Is this a pressure/tension issue, or...? Also, how often do you typically hit the fabric on yours? It seems common wisdom is "when it starts to work less good" but that's hard for me to judge.
     

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    Default Re: The Art of the Straight Razor

    Don't know how you're getting scratches if the blade is held flat. Work on your technique really really dumb-feeling slow. I've had to adjust mine, was rolling a little to hard into the back stroke and slightly lifting the spine. I still working on re-learning my thumb placement to keep it flat.

    The fabric/linen/canvas/webbing strop gets used mostly after honing. MOF I didn't use my canvas at all for a long time except for that. Now i hit it on and off, as the mood strikes me, but I'm using multiple razors.

    I may be wrong, but if I "feel" the need to strop on something more than leather, i'm dropping back to the Chromium Oxide pasted strop, (.5 micron) If that doesn't get it, back to the Belgian rock. Or the barber hone--which i've not really tried yet as a restorative process.

    One can go straight to leather from 8k or higher or most natural stones, but the canvas i thought to catch any swarf coming with the blade so that you don't contaminate your leather.

    The tension should be snug and pressure very light. The last steps of finishing one out on the hones is "weight of the blade" only. Also, proper and regular use of a pasted strop can keep a blade going indefinitely.



    Refurbing a 7/8 W&B "American Razor" right now, oh it's going to be lovely. Scales are wasted, spotty rust but looks like it was used very little.

    My other two faves (yes the 7/8 is a twin to the WB, but it's from Toledo):

    my faves small.jpg

    I fugged up the Leader and cracked the scales. The Black Steel has me puzzled. Another shot of the Maher & Grosh (my gold standard, buttery edge)

    blacks steel, leader, diamond edge.jpg






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    Default Re: The Art of the Straight Razor

    I've been using my Hart Steel razor exclusively for over a year now. I hit the leather for 50 passes prior and the canvas after shaving for 40 passes then oil it. I use my glass stone as needed (about once every three months).
    image.jpg

    I love it. When I shave I do one with the grain pass and one against, every other day. I'm always experimeting with soaps and haven't found a favorite soap or brush yet.
     

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    Default Re: The Art of the Straight Razor

    Of course I like the new good stuff, and the fancy customs, but alas all mine, (at this point in time) are vintage.

    Which glass? 16k? I have finished on Coticule and have a Zulu Grey in the process of getting itself here from South Africa. It's a hard, slow finisher. Naturals are different, took me a while to learn the Coti--BUT it's different going from bevel-set to finish or simply refreshing one.

    I'm using a tallow (deer) based soap that i made also with castor oil and stearic acid, potassium chloride _and_ sodium chloride. Toots didn't like it so i added bentonite clay and THAT made it slicker than the leafs directly under the owl roost for me. Funny thing is that i had left the clay out, as i had read of it's polishing/abrasive qualities. Bahooey! Shave soap needs Clay period.

    I've been a Witch Hazel USP only guy for ever, but am now trying the classic, stinky AS's. Skin Bracer, Brut, Hai Karate, Barbasol, Clubman, Aqua Velva--that nostalgic silliness.

    A really keen blade and light hand though, leaves no irritation at all. I get that sometimes.






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    Default Re: The Art of the Straight Razor

    W.P. I've tried straight razor shaving. Ultimately it is a sport for men who have their lives in order and don't ever rush out the door. At least, I've consoled myself into thinking this ;) I've had a number of expertly done straight razor shaves in my life and really enjoy the result and process. Unfortunately there have not been any barbers offering this near me until yesterday :) Yeah buddy. I was fetching dinner from our favorite local sub shop and passing by a dive barbershop that has been next door for at a very long time when I spied something new. They have two young Chinese women working straight razors and the boys are lined up for shaves. They are there everyday according to the owner and he was grinning. I'll report back, they both had a steady hand and all the right moves....meanwhile my pizza was getting cold ;) This place is less than 2 miles from my front door. Oh happy days.

    Wade, if you are in a generous mood I'll take a puck of the new soap and give it a try. Hey, go back to witch hazel there is a reason dad used it. Save the Aqua Velva for the after party.

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    Default Re: The Art of the Straight Razor

    Ha, I would love to go to a barber for a straight shave but can't afford it now after spending all my money on stones, blades and brushes. It is fun but, yes, it does take some quiet non-rushed time.

    Wade, yes, I use the Shapton 16k. I also got the Norton 4/8 and learned the hard way about lapping the stone first. Now, that I'm set up it is fun, just akward initially trying to figure out what works and what doesn't.
     

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    Default Re: The Art of the Straight Razor

    I recently stopped in a shop in Madurai, south India to have a shave. Cost me 60 rupees. That's one dollar. Got the full face massage too. This fella was a master.unnamed-1.jpgunnamed.jpg
    Qui plume a, guerre a. Ce monde est un vaste temple dédié à la discorde.

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    Default Re: The Art of the Straight Razor

    Outstanding.
    Hope to report back wrt a local straight shave establishment very near our house.

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    Default Re: The Art of the Straight Razor

    Heck yeah, I'd like to sit back in the chair for one myself!

    Toots WRT puck, I didn't saponify any new, just heating and blending clay into the old. WPSS 1.1, for 2.oh I'll add some scent and monkey with the fats and salts a bit.

    Witch Hazel will always haunt my bath, but this here Clubman...that's the barbershop SHIZit*. Since 1810.




    And amazon product reviews womerns love it.

    Maybe i need an amazon.com product reviews womern**?

    don't answer that.


    *Haven't actually splashed it onto fresh defoliations yet, waiting for postman to deliver my 12th Razor to hone, strop and test against a 3 day stubblefield. A real Sheffield beauty:




    **womern is a Term from the Unknown (Hinson)




    See you in May as before, but different of course.






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    Default Re: The Art of the Straight Razor

    I'm not bullshitting either, the guys taking up the sport of razors-straight and even the safety guys are bragging on the old skool aftershaves and similar stinkbombs:

    6 Forgotten Drugstore Colognes and Aftershaves | Menaissance

    English Leather!

    Hai Karate!!! (out of production, but hey-you can bid on a bottle).






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    Default Re: The Art of the Straight Razor

    No thank you please. No scents. I'm a freak about that.

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    Default Re: The Art of the Straight Razor

    Not a fan of the regular Clubman, but the Vanilla gets me compliments all the time, best scent ever for $7 or so.
     

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    Default Re: The Art of the Straight Razor

    As i never really mussed with after-shaves before, (plastic shaving is like riding in a bumper car) I get a kick out of these and how the scent actually fades really quickly.

    IOW yes, i gag and choke on most over-applied cologne/parfumes, but aftershaves are really light and lively. And I, even at this young age of wisdom, hadn't really experienced this difference. The act of getting a really close shave has opened all sorts of expansionisms of experience.

    Witch Hazel with a little "flavor" might be my ultimate AS.

    At your leisure.






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    Default Re: The Art of the Straight Razor

    Affirmed. There are only a few essentials that play well with compromised skin which is what your face is after a shave. Lavendar is one, vanilla is another I'll think of a few more later on down the road. If you are a good solider and making $hit that other people will use, perform some tests for sensitivity with full strength essentials before committing....a smear on your forearm covered with a band aide for instance is a test.

    Quote Originally Posted by WadePatton View Post
    As i never really mussed with after-shaves before, (plastic shaving is like riding in a bumper car) I get a kick out of these and how the scent actually fades really quickly.

    IOW yes, i gag and choke on most over-applied cologne/parfumes, but aftershaves are really light and lively. And I, even at this young age of wisdom, hadn't really experienced this difference. The act of getting a really close shave has opened all sorts of expansionisms of experience.

    Witch Hazel with a little "flavor" might be my ultimate AS.

    At your leisure.

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    Default Re: The Art of the Straight Razor

    Quote Originally Posted by Too Tall View Post
    Outstanding.
    Hope to report back wrt a local straight shave establishment very near our house.
    Well gentlesir did you get a shave? planning more?




    I have a couple months of beard to shave...can't wait, must wait, why wait?






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    Default Re: The Art of the Straight Razor

    Hey Hey Toots, did you getta local shave?

    Also hey hey everybody who looks at old things (beyond the mirror) please keep an eye out for something like this. I didn't know they existed. Now i gotta has one:

    bike race blade.jpg


    I've around 20 razors now, hones from 3 continents, and making my own hones from local rocks, and yesterday's shave still feels "fresh" enough to pass inspection.






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    Default Re: The Art of the Straight Razor

    Wade, can you give more info on making your own hones?
     

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    Default Re: The Art of the Straight Razor

    Quote Originally Posted by Nathanrtaylor View Post
    Wade, can you give more info on making your own hones?
    Well, I've slowed down messing with the rocks just now, as i have to finish cleaning up and honing and SELLING some of my razors. Picking which ones to auction is going to be the hardest part.

    Short story: I'm picking up chunks of this Chattanooga Shale and shaping them into hone-shaped rocks, then testing against vintage razors. Don't have anything to brag on yet. A guy in KY does have a piece of similar shale that he claims has helped everything he has honed on it.

    What i'm getting so far is a polisher, but not a finisher. Too slow to "set a bevel" but also maybe not fine enough be final step. The shale is soft like synthetic waterstones, nothing like novaculite (which is good). I have rocks from 3 locations and the last few i got were a little more dense and generated a different color slurry.

    If i get something worth having, I'll run back for more rocks and distribute them for further testing. And then sell the effers if desirable. If i can turn some rocks into dollas...

    And i'm trying to learn my Zulu Grey stone as well. Problem is i can only test shave with so many razor per beard, and only get a decent stubble after two days. I've got to get some hair (says he with nekkid left forearm) for more testing at the hones, try to accelerate the process.






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    Default Re: The Art of the Straight Razor

    let's talk razors for sale. I'm straight curious.
     

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