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Straight Razor Beginner

Use a straight. You know it makes sense.

Straight Razor Beginner

Postby migs » Fri Jan 09, 2015 2:05 pm

I am trying to get into straight razor shaving. I was just wondering how long it has taken some people to finally get used to it and get good shaves from it. One month? Six months? A year?
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Re: Straight Razor Beginner

Postby brothers » Fri Jan 09, 2015 3:05 pm

Hi Migs, and welcome to SMF. Once you make the decision, and depending how vigorously you pursue and how passionate you happen to be about the whole straight razor thing, it will probably be be a few months before you can pick it up day after day and get consistently good shaves, which means actually cutting whiskers with very little blood and not too much irritation to your face. Exploring all of the types of straight razors and acquiring tools and learning how to use them effectively to maintain your edges is a slow learning curve. If you are into it for at least two years and still passionate about it, you're probably going to consider yourself pretty solid. Some guys give it a try and give it up because they just don't have the energy and enthusiasm. Have you gone to the SMF Home Page and read Chris Moss's excellent Guide to Straight Razor Shaving? If not, do it now. It'll answer the questions you have in addition to questions you don't even know you will have. Shaving with a straight razor is a wonderful pursuit of an ancient and nearly lost art. I don't do it because it gives me great shaves with little or no maintenance and little or no expense. To the contrary, it is expensive and a lot of work, but it is a body of knowledge and skills that very few men in the world today know or care about. It's more a labor of love and the survival of a disappearing art than anything else.
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Re: Straight Razor Beginner

Postby migs » Fri Jan 09, 2015 6:46 pm

Thanks for the great response Gary. I knew once I bought my straight it would be a challenge, but I am up for it. I think once I start getting more comfortable with it, it will only make me want to pursue it more.
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Re: Straight Razor Beginner

Postby Squire » Fri Jan 09, 2015 10:17 pm

Hey migs, welcome aboard. Open razors have a bit of a learning curb but for me worth the effort.
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Re: Straight Razor Beginnerr I

Postby Brutus » Sat Jan 10, 2015 1:36 am

When I made the transition from DE to straight razor, I decided to go cold turkey and shave with the straight razor every day, even if I needed to make additional time available at 5 am.

In the beginning, I allowed myself a final ATG pass with my DE razor, but dropped that after about a month (30 shaves).
During that time I may have looked sometimes like I had tried to strangle the neighbor's cat, but never suffered any serious cuts in my face.
(Cut myself fairly deep into my fingertip once trying to wipe the blade dry.)
For a while, I still did the occasional DE control shave to compare the result against my straight shaves.

It took me about 2 months (60 shaves) until my wife couldn't tell any longer whether I had used a DE razor to finish the job.

After little over 3 months (100 shaves) I had the technique down that I myself couldn't tell a difference between my straight shave and a DE control shave.

Even today, I still may try a slight variation in my technique from time to time to see whether this improves my shave.

I believe it sped up the process that I shaved every day with the straight and allowed the DE only for a final pass in the very beginning and the occasional control shave later.
On occasion, I did have to resist the temptation to reach for a DE, but I stuck it out.

For FWIW, the DE razor I used was a Mühle R101 (R41 with black handle) that provides extremely close and yet very comfortable shaves.


Welcome to the forum good luck.



And remember; it's the journey that matters, not the destination...




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Re: Straight Razor Beginner

Postby BiffBuff » Mon Feb 23, 2015 12:10 am

Some truly great advice on a subject that I've been pondering a lot lately. I've got the hardware, and I've got my face mapped pretty well, so I'm only hesitating because......

Well, I'm hesitating because I don't want to be disappointed. The thing that seems glaringly obvious is the size of the blade.

A DE blades edge is about 4cm long. A straight razor is MUCH longer, and I'm having my main difficulties shaving south of my jawline. There is precious little flat territory there for my DE razor to attack using different angles, so how's a straight razor going to be able to handle this landscape?

I think traditional wisdom regarding this topic would lead me to believe that I'll not need my approach from different angles with a straight, as this type of razor will effectively cut the whiskers on the first stroke. I must beg forgiveness from the straight razor mavens, but the idea of shaving the whiskers around my Adam's apple using a simple north/south stroke will simply not get it.

This is all just an excuse to put off taking the plunge, but I am headed in that direction, and it's only a matter of time.
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Re: Straight Razor Beginner

Postby jww » Sat Feb 28, 2015 7:28 pm

Welcome to SMF.

I'd say it will take as long as it takes. Remember, this is a very difficult acquired skill that only comes with great patience, practice, and not too few nicks along the way. Enjoy the journey.
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Re: Straight Razor Beginner

Postby Squire » Sun Mar 01, 2015 8:58 am

Try stretching your skin with the off hand Biff, that will help flatten out the shaving areas.
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Re: Straight Razor Beginner

Postby brothers » Sun Mar 01, 2015 9:47 am

Biff, there are four things (among many of course) that seemed most important to me when I traded a tube of shaving cream for my first straight razor and started to use it. Number one: Always focus your eyes on the exact point of contact between the blade and your skin. You must do this 100% of the time, every time your razor is in contact with your face. If you don't do this, you will get cut and you will bleed. Number 2: Never hurry or make any sudden movements as are somewhat common with DE and SE razors. Slow down and pay attention. Number three: You cannot do this one-handed. You will have to use both hands in order to do it right. Some guys are hopelessly brainwashed that they can't do anything with their "other" hand. Well, maybe so, but they can't properly use a straight razor because of this. Number four: Remember that the final result will be somehow different than the result achieved with other types of razors.

It also goes without saying that one must never never never use pressure or force the blade as it goes about it's business of moving across the skin. The gentle touch is mandatory. Only repetition and proper edge maintenance (stropping) before every shave will get you to where you want to be. It's worked for millions of guys before, and it'll work for you, if you have passion and the will to get past the difficulties it will surely pose. Some guys think they have to completely give up the other razors, and they're free to do so if that is their wish. In my case, I never saw straight razor shaving as all or nothing. I learned it because I wanted to overcome the silly self doubt and lack of confidence it created, and I wanted to be able to claim the experience and knowledge that straight razor shaving is just another part of living life as a man. Now it's up to you. You've made up your mind, and now you're going to succeed. Best Regards,
Gary
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Re: Straight Razor Beginner

Postby SirCur » Wed Apr 15, 2015 6:40 pm

migs wrote:I am trying to get into straight razor shaving. I was just wondering how long it has taken some people to finally get used to it and get good shaves from it. One month? Six months? A year?


Hi Migs,

Welcome!!

If you have a truly "shave ready" razor, I don't think it will take long to get a good result. I recall getting a decent shave the first time I tried using a straight razor, but had to finish some tricky areas with a standard DE.

Best ... Steve
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Re: Straight Razor Beginner

Postby brothers » Wed Apr 15, 2015 6:55 pm

migs wrote:Thanks for the great response Gary. I knew once I bought my straight it would be a challenge, but I am up for it. I think once I start getting more comfortable with it, it will only make me want to pursue it more.


I hear you migs. If you are able, I'm sure we'd love to hear some feedback on how it's going for you now.

I'd suggest that if one considers the time it'll take to master all of the skills it takes, two years is the benchmark. If somebody's going to do it seriously and won't quit when he gets discouraged by the time and money spent, and the time it'll take to make it a second-nature everyday skill, and if he still loves the straight razors and the maintenance after two years, then he's one of the few.
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Re: Straight Razor Beginner

Postby swirusek » Sun May 03, 2015 11:53 am

Using straight razor is hardr than i thought, but everyday it's gonna be better i hope :D
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Re: Straight Razor Beginner

Postby pundi64 » Thu Oct 29, 2015 3:40 pm

migs wrote:I am trying to get into straight razor shaving. I was just wondering how long it has taken some people to finally get used to it and get good shaves from it. One month? Six months? A year?

Everyone has a different experience of time, to have a best shave with a straight, but one thing is basic with all of us, it is truly a learning curve experience towards the golden moment when it all comes together, give it 50-75 shaves and see where you stand. Stay close to the forum, and share your thoughts and experience with others, like you have started already to do.
Have fun, remember use a lite touch, and a real shave ready razor. :)
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Re: Straight Razor Beginner

Postby Squire » Thu Oct 29, 2015 7:00 pm

Just saw your posts pundi64, welcome to our forum.
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