First straight razor

Use a straight. You know it makes sense.
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shaveshell
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First straight razor

Post by shaveshell » Sun Feb 03, 2008 5:53 pm

So, I'm thinking of trying my first straight razor and am wondering what people think of the Feather dispasible ones? Right now I'm using the Merkur HD. Thoughts?

Thanks,
matt

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rustyblade
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Post by rustyblade » Sun Feb 03, 2008 6:36 pm

The Feather AC is a good way to get the "feel" of a straight without honing and stropping. I started out with one and used it for months. The only problem with the Feather is that the blades are too sharp and can really take their toll on your skin. You have to use a very light touch, if press a little harder things may feel ok at first but after a couple weeks of this your skin will thin and you will nick easily.
Richard

shaveshell
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Post by shaveshell » Sun Feb 03, 2008 8:57 pm

What would you suggest as a first? I'd rather not worry about sharpening.

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ScottS
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Post by ScottS » Mon Feb 04, 2008 8:15 am

I'd second Richard's input. People say that a Feather is not a straight, but I suggest that if you could shave with a Feather, you can shave with a straight.

Along the lines of just jumping in at the place you want to end up, I'd go with one on Tony Miller's sets at thewellshavedgentleman.com. Be sure to tag on a starter strop if you get one of the expensive strops. I went with a prehoned razor, a hanging strop, and a 2-sided pasted paddle strop, both sides pasted. That should get you through a year or more before you need honing.

shaveshell
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Post by shaveshell » Mon Feb 04, 2008 11:49 am

So if I have nothing... excpet for my regular DE wet shaving equiptment... what do I need to get started? Any tricks on picking a razor?

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ScottS
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Post by ScottS » Mon Feb 04, 2008 12:12 pm

You need a shave-ready razor, a strop, and something to tweak out the blade periodically.

Tony Miller's sets are certainly one way to go. A 4-sided pasted strop with one unpasted side for everyday stropping, and a shave ready dovo, will keep you going for quite some time. I like using my hanging strop, though.

A paddle strop and razor there will run about $130-$150, I think, and it comes closer to $200 if you add a hanging strop. Eventually, you might want a hone, also, at around $70, and many more razors, and another hone, and a finishing hone, and a coticule, and a barbers hone, ......

shaveshell
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Post by shaveshell » Mon Feb 04, 2008 2:30 pm

Sorry for all the questions. It seems as though the above place doesn't sell razors, just stropes, so I was thinking about getting one from classicshaving and haven't it sharpened. Is there definite advantage to etiher carbon or stainless? As a first razor should I make sure to pick one over the other?

Thanks for all the help!

shaveshell
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Post by shaveshell » Mon Feb 04, 2008 2:31 pm

Sorry for all the questions. It seems as though the above place doesn't sell razors, just stropes, so I was thinking about getting one from classicshaving and haven't it sharpened. Is there definite advantage to etiher carbon or stainless? As a first razor should I make sure to pick one over the other?

Thanks for all the help!

shaveshell
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Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2008 11:59 am
Location: San Francisco

Post by shaveshell » Mon Feb 04, 2008 2:32 pm

Sorry for all the questions. It seems as though the above place doesn't sell razors, just stropes, so I was thinking about getting one from classicshaving and haven't it sharpened. Is there definite advantage to etiher carbon or stainless? As a first razor should I make sure to pick one over the other?

Thanks for all the help!

shaveshell
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Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2008 11:59 am
Location: San Francisco

Post by shaveshell » Mon Feb 04, 2008 2:38 pm

Sorry for all the questions. It seems as though the above place doesn't sell razors, just stropes, so I was thinking about getting one from classicshaving and haven't it sharpened. Is there definite advantage to etiher carbon or stainless? As a first razor should I make sure to pick one over the other?

Thanks for all the help!

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ScottS
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Post by ScottS » Mon Feb 04, 2008 2:51 pm

Yeah-- Tony's a little backlogged these days. Classicshaving is one good place to big up sharpened razors. They'll send out anything they have for sharpening. I'm not sure if there's a big tunaround time, though. http://vintagebladesllc.com/ also stocks a variety of Dovo's prehoned, and they maintain a stock of presharpened razors. I'd go with a carbon steel in 5/8 or 6/8, but others prefer stainless. A ton of beginners have started with the Dovo Classic or Tortoise shell.

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Post by shaveshell » Mon Feb 04, 2008 3:24 pm

How about "silver steel?" Is that like stainless? I think I'm leaing toward stainless.

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kaptain_zero
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Post by kaptain_zero » Mon Feb 04, 2008 4:17 pm

Regarding thewellshavedgentleman aka Tony, he's been quite busy and his wife has been under the weather so the website went offline for sales as he took care of family business and spent some time in the shop getting more strops and stuff made up. You can just send Tony an email, he will get back to you and indeed he can set you up with a starter kit and can offer suggestions on what might be the best kit for your particular situation.

Classicshaving and Vintage Blades offer similar services and can provide you with a razor that has been properly honed. Vintage Blades actually has honed razors in stock for immediate shipment so there is no wait time for honing usually.

There is a project on the go over at StraightRazorPlace.com to offer starter kits including a used, inexpensive but honed and ready to go razor and whatever else needed to get started in straight shaving but you already have a brush soap etc. so if I were you, I would piece together the following items myself.

A used straight, honed by one of the meisters over at SRP. These *starter* razors come up quite often at SRP and will be just fine for your first razor and will usually cost somewhere around $35. I have 16 razors now and not one of them was purchased new and the oldest one was made Sep 10, 1850 ( I know because it's stamped right on the tang). :lol:

You will also need a strop or two. I say one or two because a hanging strop is nice and you'll want one no matter what but before you go investing a whole bunch of money in hones and whatnot (no, you don't have to, but you probably will want to in the end) a paddle strop, with one or more sides pasted with diamond paste and or chromium oxide will let you keep that new razor shaving sharp for quite some time if you are careful. The razor will eventually need to go back to a hone but careful use of a pasted paddle strop will avoid that for quite some time. Tony at the WellShavedGentleman is your man for strops/paddle strops... there are other brands but I dare say that none are better than Tony's creations.

That is all that you would need to get started, and it would keep you going for several months if you are careful. That used cheapo razor will also come in handy when you are ready to try your hand at honing... no sense in starting the learning curve on an expensive razor when you can learn on an inexpensive razor that won't bring too many tears to your eyes if you bung it up a bit. :shock:

Now, as for the Feather, I too have one and I started straight shaving with it... I think it's a terrific razor and an excellent way to learn to shave with a straight. I have noticed the same issues others have mentioned, the thin skin etc. but it's not insurmountable. After I switched to the Professional Super blades and learned not to be so damn picky about having BBS shaves every day, I was quite happy and had great shaves for about a year. The traditional straight did keep calling me and eventually I made the switch and now the Feather mostly just sits there... lonely. For the amount of money I have already spent on straight shaving, I could have a lifetime supply of blades for my Feather and probably all the shaving cream/soap I could ever hope to use but hey, if I wanted easy, I'd still be shaving with canned goo and some multi bladed monstrosity.

Regarding your stainless question, no, silver steel is not stainless steel. It's simply carbon steel with a small amount of some other metal that helps make it extra shiny when polished. Stainless razors are nice, but some find them more difficult to hone... I have no opinion as I don't own one myself...... yet. Lets just say that I've never seen a stainless razor recommended as a first razor for someone starting out.


I hope you find this helpful....


Regards

Christian
Previously lost, on the way to the pasture. Now pasteurized.

shaveshell
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Post by shaveshell » Mon Feb 04, 2008 4:43 pm

Very helpful. Thank you!

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Squire
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Post by Squire » Mon Feb 04, 2008 5:43 pm

Stainless is harder and holds an edge longer but is more difficult to hone. With razors and kitchen knives I prefer carbon.
Regards,
Squire

shaveshell
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Post by shaveshell » Mon Feb 04, 2008 6:22 pm

If I'm looking on ebay, can you recommend any brands I can look for other than DOVO?

notthesharpest
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Post by notthesharpest » Mon Feb 04, 2008 6:53 pm

shaveshell wrote:If I'm looking on ebay, can you recommend any brands I can look for other than DOVO?
A lot of ebay razors, with various and constantly changing brand names, are made in Pakistan. Some sellers say so honestly, others try to hide the fact by choosing a German-sounding name or other tricks. As far as I'm aware, none of the razors from Pakistan are any good. (Please note I have nothing against people from Pakistan, or any other country for that matter. They just aren't making good razors, that's all.)

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Squire
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Post by Squire » Mon Feb 04, 2008 7:24 pm

I bought a Pakistan razor and like it very much. I wouldn't consider shaving with it, I got it as a trimmer for fly tying, but for its purpose it works great.
Regards,
Squire

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ScottS
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Post by ScottS » Mon Feb 04, 2008 7:36 pm

shaveshell wrote:If I'm looking on ebay, can you recommend any brands I can look for other than DOVO?
If you're looking on eBay, don't neglect to add about $20 to the price so you can pay someone to hone it.

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