Specs For The Newbie?

Use a straight. You know it makes sense.
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mantic
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Specs For The Newbie?

Post by mantic » Sat Feb 01, 2020 2:13 pm

I'm doing some initial background research for a possible article. For you straight razor shavers who have experience with non-vintage razors, what specs do you generally suggest to the "newbie?" From what I've gathered so far it seems like the "conventional wisdom" is for something around 5/8 with a hollow grind. But I'm wondering if a quarter hollow might be better, as the blade would be a bit more "stable." Is there such a thing as a 3/8 quarter-grind razor in the wild?

EL Alamein
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Re: Specs For The Newbie?

Post by EL Alamein » Sat Feb 01, 2020 6:55 pm

Mark, great to see you!

I do have some experience with non-vintage razors as I own some recently made Bokers.

That said I really don't think such experience is germane to the subject. Just my personal opinion and not intended to impugn any reasons you have.

So IMHO if a newbie wants to try straight shaving and you're looking for a sort of generic recommendation on size then, yes, start with a 5/8th blade. I don't think it matters if it's new or vintage.

I myself started with this size and was blissfully ignorant until I tried a 6/8th a decade or so later. The long and short of it after trying many different sizes was the 6/8th fit my face the best. This is where you sort of go down the rabbit hole because the only way you're gonna know if something is better is to try it.

Yes, there are 3/8th blades out there but I have never seen a modern made one. They may exist but I don't look for them since they never tickled my fancy (through the personal experience of having been gifted one 20 years ago).

In the old days the 3/8th and 4/8th blades were supposedly created for barbers to shave neck hair, not beards. But hey, there are many roads to Rome and I have read that more than one man has gotten on quite well with them for shaving and liked them. Again the rabbit hole.

I wish you well with your article, any help I can give (and I'm sure others here are just as eager) I'll be happy to give.

Chris

EL Alamein
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Re: Specs For The Newbie?

Post by EL Alamein » Sat Feb 01, 2020 7:03 pm

I forgot to mention grinds, they are a whole other rabbit hole. You have to try them to see if you like them. They can be harder to hone the thicker the grind. Guys have to be really into it to maintain such razors. The thinner the grind the easier it is to maintain and that can make or break a fellow's dedication. Of course, if you don't know better and failure is not an alternative then you'll do what's necessary.

Then there are the pink elephant types - full hollows that shave like 1/4 hollows or wedges like the old Thiers Issard razors. It can get complicated.

Good luck.

Chris

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Re: Specs For The Newbie?

Post by drmoss_ca » Sun Feb 02, 2020 6:21 am

I always used to recommend the half hollow Super Gnome from TI as an easy beginner's straight. I'm more catholic about it now, and that might be just because I'm better at honing. If you want a stiff blade that comes sharp enough from the maker, I'd still say a Hart is reliable, and the 6/8 is not only manageable for a beginner, he is less likely to want to replace it as quickly as a 5/8. It's made from O1 tool steel, so is relatively easy to hone. Part of the fun is collecting, so I wouldn't attempt to make a one size-fits-all perfection-forever razor; people enjoy collecting and learning about the variety of blades, so we shouldn't expect them to stick with just one!

C.
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Re: Specs For The Newbie?

Post by brothers » Wed Feb 05, 2020 4:40 pm

My first SR was a 4/8 full hollow, and I got it only because I had never used one of any size, and wanted to get started. I talked a guy on a shaving forum to trade it to me for a tube of Irisch Moos shaving cream when it was a novelty. I ended up selling it to a female straight razor user because she happened to prefer that size razors for her own use. It did shave me pretty well as a complete SR rookie. I think my beginning preference was a shotgun effect, randomly buying and getting rid of all different sizes and grinds until I bought my first brand new razor from Hart, a 6/8 grind. Still have it and use it when I get a hankering for a SR shave. I also have a couple dozen other razors of all grinds and sizes (preferably 6/8 or larger) that I enjoy using along with the Hart.
Gary

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