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Straight Razors

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  • Registered Users Posts: 398 ✭✭Shaving.ie


    Amalgam wrote: »
    Is it time for a dedicated Straight Razor thread?
    Yes it is.:)

    I think it could get interesting in here as it looks like a few people are just picking it up. It would be great to keep track of the progress and share any useful tips. The more I have read about straight razors over the last few months the more interested I have become in taking it up myself.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,822 ✭✭✭Morf


    As if a DE Razor habit wasn't expensive enough! :p


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,330 ✭✭✭Gran Hermano


    Morf wrote: »
    As if a DE Razor habit wasn't expensive enough! :p
    You posted that seconds before I was about to type the same!


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,334 ✭✭✭Sean Quagmire


    \o/ I was gonna do this a while back.

    The one thing about straight shaving with me was before I bought it I was watching a lot of videos and reading instructions. I said to myself "Im gonna hack the bloody face off myself"

    You do have to be carefull but if the razor is sharp and smooth, it is not hard to use at all.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,059 ✭✭✭MediaTank


    Great idea Amalgam. I've been at it for a week now, and I now that I started off on the wrong foot with advice from badgerandblade.com here http://badgerandblade.com/vb/showthread.php?t=28547. This information is great but very technical and not much about the shave itself. He also advocates changing hands and doing a full shave - trust me, baaad idea! I found much better information here http://www.straightrazorplace.com/forums/beginners/38137-first-straight-razor-shave-read-first.html. It's a lot easier on you face and the information is more about the shave.

    As for suppliers it's hard to beat theinvisibleedge.co.uk for advice and products. All razors are checked for shave readyness before dispatch and his starter kits are hard to beat value wise.

    At the moment I'm trying to hook up with a professional barber for a one on one lesson. Anyone else (in Dublin) interested in this?

    MT


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,059 ✭✭✭MediaTank


    Here's a book about how to shave with a straight written in 1905. http://ia360619.us.archive.org/2/items/shavingmadeeasyw0020th/shavingmadeeasyw0020th.pdf


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,026 ✭✭✭Amalgam


    MediaTank wrote: »
    Here's a book about how to shave with a straight written in 1905. http://ia360619.us.archive.org/2/items/shavingmadeeasyw0020th/shavingmadeeasyw0020th.pdf

    I love the wording. ' What the Man who Shaves Ought to Know '

    Really nice find, it answers the questions you'd be scared to ask. The physical aspects and terms for the razor are answered very clearly.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,059 ✭✭✭MediaTank


    Amalgam wrote: »
    I love the wording. ' What the Man who Shaves Ought to Know '

    Really nice find, it answers the questions you'd be scared to ask. The physical aspects and terms for the razor are answered very clearly.

    Yes, still as valid today as 105 years ago.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,334 ✭✭✭Sean Quagmire


    Great find indeed, the wording is fantastic.
    Very few men seem to think they can hone their own razors. How this impression became current, it is difficult to say. We venture to assert, however, that honing a razor is at least as easy as stropping it. In this case as in many others, the difficulty arises from suposing there is a difficulty

    Makes me want to read more articles from that time. Just brilliant.


  • Registered Users Posts: 348 ✭✭Wood


    I just logged into boards and this was the first thread in the list at the front, which i thought was fitting as i've just had a shave with a straight razor here in work.

    Two passes, finished. Once you get proficient you will never go back.

    And you look really cool whiile doing it.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6 Damo649


    Are there any shops around Ireland that sell the straight razors, or do ye all buy them online?


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,059 ✭✭✭MediaTank


    Damo649 wrote: »
    Are there any shops around Ireland that sell the straight razors, or do ye all buy them online?

    shaving.ie sells them online. The Waldorf Barbers on Westmoreland St. sell them too.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,026 ✭✭✭Amalgam


    The Grooming Rooms on South William Street (Dublin) sell them. Knights Barbers in the St Stephens Green Shopping Center sometimes have them. The hairdresser and barber stock supplier opposite Easons on Middle Abbey Street had the following in their window a few weeks back.

    image018straight.jpg

    image019straight.jpg


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,922 ✭✭✭fergalr


    I shaved with a straight razor there for a while (maybe a month or 2), 2 or 3 years ago.

    I know that it takes a bit of time and practice to learn how to do it, how to care for the blade (strop it, look after it, etc). I spent this time, and got pretty good at it.

    But here's the thing I found - at the end of the day, I found it simply gives a less close, less good, shave than something like mach3.

    Now, I should say, I've met a lot of men that have much less facial hair growth than me. I get stubbly very fast, will typically be quite stubbly in the evening after a close shave in the morning - in contrast with some guys who only need to shave every few days. So I'm quite sensitive to having a close shave, to the extent that electric razors (and I've tired several, including modern wet-shave ones that use foam, and that get very well reviewed) are actually pretty ineffective.

    So, what I'm wondering, whats the experience of other people who usually have quite thick stubble, that have shaved with straight razors? Do you also find that at the end of the day, the shave just isn't as fine as something like Mach3?

    Because I'd really rather use something that wasn't disposable, if I could (from the point of view of saving money, and wasting less) but I've honestly not found anything that gives as close a shave.

    Unfortunately, I suspect a lot of what I read is either people wanting a straight razor to give them a better shave, and deciding it does, or people that don't actually have a huge amount of hair growth - and I suspect that, contrary to what I might like, the reason mach3 etc have become dominant is that they are actually just rather good at what they do, rather than slick marketing.

    Whats other peoples experience?


  • Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators, Regional South East Moderators Posts: 28,476 Mod ✭✭✭✭Cabaal


    fergalr wrote: »
    So, what I'm wondering, whats the experience of other people who usually have quite thick stubble, that have shaved with straight razors? Do you also find that at the end of the day, the shave just isn't as fine as something like Mach3?

    I wouldn't use a Mach3 or Fusion as the "marker" to gage other shavers against as honestly a DE will do a much much better job in comparison.

    Obviously you've tried a straight and you mention electric and Mach3's and you want to use something re-usable have you compared all of the above to a DE?

    I'm still debating getting a straight to try it out I've been exceedingly happy with my results with a progress over the past 12 months but want to see can I either do a better job with a straight or can I just learn a new "shaving skill" as it were


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,026 ✭✭✭Amalgam


    I would go along with Cabaal, I am very happy with a safety razor, relative to how my skin would be after a shave with a disposable. I would get a straight on the understanding that it would just be 'another skill', rather than a better replacement.


  • Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators, Regional South East Moderators Posts: 28,476 Mod ✭✭✭✭Cabaal


    Amalgam wrote: »
    I would get a straight on the understanding that it would just be 'another skill', rather than a better replacement.

    It really would be just another skill because as it is it takes approx 10 min to do a shaver in the morning with a DE, this includes two passes.

    Howevr I think with a straight between the looking after it and all that before and after the shave its bound to take me longer then 10min which I could do without in the mornings


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 11,001 ✭✭✭✭opinion guy


    fergalr wrote: »
    I shaved with a straight razor there for a while (maybe a month or 2), 2 or 3 years ago.

    ....snip....

    Unfortunately, I suspect a lot of what I read is either people wanting a straight razor to give them a better shave, and deciding it does, or people that don't actually have a huge amount of hair growth - and I suspect that, contrary to what I might like, the reason mach3 etc have become dominant is that they are actually just rather good at what they do, rather than slick marketing.

    Whats other peoples experience?

    I have similar stubble growth too yourself. Just the once I went to a proper barber and had a striaght razor shave with the hot towels and everything. Must say I was rather underwhelmed. I also felt it wasn't much different to a mach3 or a fusion


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,059 ✭✭✭MediaTank


    fergalr wrote: »
    Whats other peoples experience?

    I'm new to shaving with a straight, so it's a bit early for me to say. However, I'm enjoying the learning process and that's why I decided to try it out - to learn something new. I've been shaving for years with a DE and find it difficult to believe that a straight could be any better. Only time will tell.

    As regards Mach 3 etc. I found that the hysteresis effect was destroying my face, no such problems with a DE. Why not try a DE and see if that works for you.

    MT


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,059 ✭✭✭MediaTank


    By way of contrast with the book from 1905, here's one from 2005 http://www.shavemyface.com/downloads/The-Straight-Razor-Shave.pdf Written by Chris Moss - he of the Moss scuttle fame.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,334 ✭✭✭Sean Quagmire


    In my experience, it takes time to get perfect results from a straight.

    I'm using mine 3 months solid with shaves every 2nd day. Results are very close to DE results. The difference comes down to my skill of using it.

    What I really love about the Straight above everything else is that there is no clog ever. You'd be surprised how it feels. Really improves comfort.

    If you stick with it you will have a more comfortable shave and match results you get from a DE.

    The big let down for me with safety razors is the varience of blade Quality. Some brands (BIC yellows and Green 7'oclocks) gave me terrible razor burn while others were fantastic. Russian roullette.

    And dont ever mention Mach 3's as even being in the same league as the two products above!!


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,330 ✭✭✭Gran Hermano


    Here's another link to a UK based honemeister

    http://www.strop-shop.co.uk/category/Vintage_Straight___Open___Cut_throat_Razors,b.html?limit=200



    Only sells vintage straights and new strops and any feedback I've read elsewhere is top class and you know you're getting a proper shave ready razor as opposed to just 'factory sharpened'. The vintage straights are often cheaper than the new so might be a good starting point for those looking to start.







    Regarding the M3/Fusion versus straight debate mentioned some posts above. I get my best shaves now from my safety razors, I can get a BBS shave 90% of the time when using my long-handled Progress. I'm not happy unless I can't feel any hair or stubble anywhere on the face or head!



    In comparison to the shaves with my DEs, I can get a close shave with an M3 or Fusion but the shave is not as close as what I get with the Progress. It's a smooth shave but I even notice my regrowth is quicker.

    Whilst the Fusion blades are also a crazy price I'd still use them if they gave me a better shave - they don't, plus my face can feel irritated after.



    If I'm happy with my safety-razor shaves why you may ask do I dabble with straight razors? For the same reason I'll swap different DE razors, blades and soaps/creams into my routine - I like a bit of variety.

    I can get a shave with a straight probably as good as I get with a cartridge, but not as good as I get with my safety
    razors. I put this down to the fact I need more practice with the straight. Straights have a much steeper learning curve and work commitments mean I haven't had the time lately. I'll be on extended Easter break soon and hope to get back to the straight razor shaves.

    I enjoy the sense of achievement I get from using a straight razor and knowing I'm mastering a new skill.


  • Registered Users Posts: 234 ✭✭johno2


    I just thought I'd add my €0.02 here. I'm a lazy shaver, usually I wait until there's some stubble worth shaving off, so maybe twice a week, sometimes less. I tried all kind of disposable shaving products for years and they all clogged on me. My solution was buying the super cheap single blade yellow bics. I removed the white plastic safety guard being very careful not to damage the blade. Sometimes the blade is bad to begin with so I just throw those away, but the ones with a smooth sharp blade are just great. They can't clog because there's nothing behind the blade to catch the hairs in. If I wipe the crud off and dry them afterwards they last a long time. They're better at getting the hairs just under my nostrils than the bulky multi-blade razors were. They probably don't give as clean a shave as a more expensive solution would, but there's gonna be growth in 3-4 hours anyway which would negate that bonus, so it doesn't bother me. I've been shaving like this for about 10 years now and I have no good reason to change to anything else. Cheap, fast, low maintenance and good enough.

    DISCLAIMER: If you try this at home and kill yourself, don't blame me.

    johno


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,026 ✭✭✭Amalgam



    Lovely lovely straight razors. He sells some very nimble looking 3/8's, I am so tempted by this one.

    3/8 Vintage J A Henckels Zwillingswerk Straight Razor, Solingen

    Interesting description on this one.
    It is a carbon steel blade made from the world-reknowned Swedish Steel, about three quarter hollow ground with an Irish (aka oblique or french) point.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,922 ✭✭✭fergalr


    Cabaal wrote: »
    I wouldn't use a Mach3 or Fusion as the "marker" to gage other shavers against as honestly a DE will do a much much better job in comparison.

    Obviously you've tried a straight and you mention electric and Mach3's and you want to use something re-usable have you compared all of the above to a DE?
    No - wasn't aware that they were supposed to give a better shave.

    Might well invest in one and check it out, after the positive posts here.

    I see the blades are disposable - are they more or less economical to use than something like gilettes? I presume they couldn't be much more expensive, anyway?

    Cabaal wrote: »
    I'm still debating getting a straight to try it out I've been exceedingly happy with my results with a progress over the past 12 months but want to see can I either do a better job with a straight or can I just learn a new "shaving skill" as it were

    I definitely don't regret learning how to do it.
    One time its extremely useful is if I don't shave for a few weeks and then need to get rid of all the hair at once.
    I'm not sure there could be anything better than a straight razor for that situation.


  • Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators, Regional South East Moderators Posts: 28,476 Mod ✭✭✭✭Cabaal


    fergalr wrote: »
    No - wasn't aware that they were supposed to give a better shave.

    Might well invest in one and check it out, after the positive posts here.

    I see the blades are disposable - are they more or less economical to use than something like gilettes? I presume they couldn't be much more expensive, anyway?

    Judge for yourself
    13e for 100 blades (years supply for me),
    http://www.shaving.ie/products/Derby-100-Double-Edge-Blades-Full-Box.html

    How long you'll get out of them depends on the person and the blade you use, I use derbys as they suit me and I can get upto 5 shaves out of them (3-4 on average), mind you I shave every day
    I definitely don't regret learning how to do it.
    One time its extremely useful is if I don't shave for a few weeks and then need to get rid of all the hair at once.
    I'm not sure there could be anything better than a straight razor for that situation.

    Straight blade and associated items with it I'm looking at will cost me in excess of 130e so its not a priority for me right now, but some day soon :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 398 ✭✭Shaving.ie


    I'm using mine 3 months solid with shaves every 2nd day. Results are very close to DE results. The difference comes down to my skill of using it.

    Just curious, do you think you have managed to preserve the sharpness of the razor to date?


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,334 ✭✭✭Sean Quagmire


    Shaving.ie wrote: »
    Just curious, do you think you have managed to preserve the sharpness of the razor to date?

    I have not notice any dulling that would require honing just yet.
    Every two weeks or so I would give it about 50 lap stropping, that would bring it back up to 100% sharpness.

    Other than that about 10 -15 laps (About 45 seconds) before I shave is grand.

    Id say in about 3 months, I'l order a 8k hone (to replenish the edge) and a 12k (to polish and smooth the blade). After honing with the 12k the blade will literally wipe away the hair i.e 'the buttery feeling'


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,059 ✭✭✭MediaTank


    I have not notice any dulling that would require honing just yet.
    Every two weeks or so I would give it about 50 lap stropping, that would bring it back up to 100% sharpness.

    Other than that about 10 -15 laps (About 45 seconds) before I shave is grand.

    Id say in about 3 months, I'l order a 8k hone (to replenish the edge) and a 12k (to polish and smooth the blade). After honing with the 12k the blade will literally wipe away the hair i.e 'the buttery feeling'

    I find that stropping before shaving is the key skill to learn. I don't know whether it's my tough beard or stropping technique but it is not sharp enough AFAICT to go anywhere near the chin.

    When I started out I nicked the strop over and over with the razor.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,334 ✭✭✭Sean Quagmire


    MediaTank wrote: »
    I find that stropping before shaving is the key skill to learn. I don't know whether it's my tough beard or stropping technique but it is not sharp enough AFAICT to go anywhere near the chin.

    When I started out I nicked the strop over and over with the razor.

    Yea, stropping before you shave is the most important thing. Especially if you have a tough stubble.

    I went about 3 weeks without nicking mine. Thought I was the king, but now I have many nicks on it. I bit of light sanding and forehead oil rubbed into the crack will do the trick.


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