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Straight Razor Vs. DE Razor Shaving

Posted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 2:39 pm
by drumana
What are the benefits of using a straight razor over a DE razor?

I'm just wondering. I read some of Chris Moss's straight razor guide yesterday and he makes it sound delicious.

What do you guys think?

Posted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 3:41 pm
by drmoss_ca
I think it is delicious!

Chris

Posted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 4:00 pm
by drumana
Chris

But why a straight over a DE blade? Is it just more fun for you? Easier? Quicker? Better shave?

Posted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 4:10 pm
by golfhacker
Yeah, I'd love to know as well, because there is a mighty steep learning curve on the straight.

Inquiring minds want to know.

Scott

Posted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 5:38 pm
by drmoss_ca
Because it's not easier. Because it's not quicker. Because there is a learning curve. Because it's satisfying.

It's that simple. The sheer satisfaction of doing something well, that few can do or would even try. It's much more than just another shave. You'll find out when you try it!

Chris

Posted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 5:46 pm
by drumana
I'm in....next year... :wink:

Posted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 9:15 pm
by rtaylor61
drumana wrote:I'm in....next year... :wink:
Andrew,

Think about it this way. There are a lot of gents here using DE razors because dad or granddad used them, and they like the history. Well, with a straight, you get more than just the history. You get the ceremony of stropping. And of course, over time, the fun of learning honing.

Randy

Posted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 10:50 am
by Pauldog
drumana wrote:I'm in....next year... :wink:
Or you could try what I call the "Way of Themba". [Themba is a member who - I hope- has only temporarily disappeared due to other commitments.] He got heavily into antique safety razors, the kind with wedge blades that look like a piece cut from a straight razor. He acquired hones and strops suitable for these blades, as well as a bunch of the blades themselves. And then he began learning how to take an old blade and make it sharp enough to get a good shave.

In some ways, this is the best of both worlds - the tradition and skill of the straight razor, and the simpler shaving of the safety razor. This was the kind of razor that was in fairly common use before King Gillette invented the disposable double edge blade around 1904.

Many of the old safety razors can also take a standard disposable single edge blade. At some point, this kind of razor evolved into razors like the Gem Micromatic, which could only take the disposable blade. But before that, you had razors like this:

Image

Another option is the Rolls razor, which is available for not too much money. There are a bunch of older posts here giving a lot of detail about this wonderful anachronism.

Posted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 12:08 pm
by EL Alamein
As with all things shaving it's a YMMV thing. IMHO a straight is more versatile than other razors allowing you to reach some places easier than others. I find this especially true of my neck area. Also I've always been able to get a closer more comfortable shave with a straight.

It takes longer to shave with a straight. It's a more deliberate thing forcing you to concentrate all your attention on the act you are performing. It's soothing as well, your face glows afterward unlike using other razors. And you can pass it down to your grandson. Just my 2 cents.

Chris

Posted: Thu Jun 07, 2007 6:44 am
by BrianP
As a new straight razor user, here's my thoughts.

I started with straight razors a few weeks ago after about 5 months using a DE. I'm still working on technique and I've had about 3 or 4 BBS shaves and it is delicious and rewarding.

I've found that while I can more easily get a BBS smooth shave with a Slant/Feather combination, when I shave with the straight, the shave lasts longer. Even on shaves where I don't get as smooth with the straight, I stay smoother longer.

As I get more proficient with technique and honing, it gets better and more enjoyable over time.

That and it opens the door to a whole new world of razor acquisition. :D

Posted: Fri Jun 08, 2007 11:38 pm
by Jfala
BrianP wrote:As a new straight razor user, here's my thoughts.

I started with straight razors a few weeks ago after about 5 months using a DE. I'm still working on technique and I've had about 3 or 4 BBS shaves and it is delicious and rewarding.

I've found that while I can more easily get a BBS smooth shave with a Slant/Feather combination, when I shave with the straight, the shave lasts longer. Even on shaves where I don't get as smooth with the straight, I stay smoother longer.

As I get more proficient with technique and honing, it gets better and more enjoyable over time.

That and it opens the door to a whole new world of razor acquisition. :D
I have to whole-heartedly agree with Brian. I have been using a straight for about 10 days and loving every second. By the way I tend to finish up with a DE and I still love my rotation of those as well.

But, the straight does give me a closer and longer lasting shave. I tried an ATG pass the other day with a straight and I had not experience BBS like that with my DEs. Plus, my face is nice and shiny.

It's fun, come on, you know you want to try it...

Posted: Sat Jun 09, 2007 5:03 pm
by Scorpio
drmoss_ca wrote:Because it's not easier. Because it's not quicker. Because there is a learning curve. Because it's satisfying.

It's that simple. The sheer satisfaction of doing something well, that few can do or would even try. It's much more than just another shave. You'll find out when you try it!

Chris
Exactly!!! The shaves are closer. The experience is relaxing and compels you to focus. I have been shaving exclusively with a straight close to a year and I can say with confidence I won't go back. The allure and the looks on people's face when I tell them I shave with a straight is priceless. But most important the ladies like it.

Raf

Posted: Sat Jun 09, 2007 5:35 pm
by ksteryous
You guys have me wanting to try this so bad. I'm just not sure about all the honing and stropping that would be involved. Brief question...if you have your razor professionally honed, approximately how long will it last? I know this depends on the beard, but is it 3-5 shaves or 15-20 or what?

And I assume that you still have to strop it before each shave, correct?

Thanks,
Kenton

Posted: Sat Jun 09, 2007 5:50 pm
by drmoss_ca
Depending on the razor, and your own standards as to what constitutes 'sharp' - a honing can last from a couple of weeks to a couple of months. Provided you don't let it get too dull, you can maintain the edge with green chrome paste on a leather bench hone or balsa paddle for many months. Yes, you strop before each shave, and sometimes between passes.
Minimum equipment is a razor, a strop, a block of balsa and some chrome paste.
Better is to have an intermediate strop, a finishing strop, and a leather bench hone plus the above.
Better still, a couple of hones plus the above.
Best of all, full set of hones from coarse to fine, plus the above

Chris

Posted: Sat Jun 09, 2007 6:40 pm
by bernards66
Andrew, It is very much a personal YMMV sort of thing. Just to provide a little counter-point to the above, I gave straights a bit of a try, and decided I was definately a DE guy. Among other things, and in direct contradiction to Chris' experiance, I found the classic DEs much more handy and maneuverable ( but of course, a lot of it, no doubt, has to do with what one's used to ). Straights, both traditional and disposible blade, are just one of those things that sooner or later, most real shavegeeks at least have to try. Some get hooked on them, and some don't.
Regards,
Gordon

Posted: Sun Jun 10, 2007 7:30 am
by drumana
Oh man. I'm really itching to try the straights now.

Posted: Sun Jun 10, 2007 9:38 pm
by jaradus
I know that they're loved by some and looked down upon by others, but is there any real point to trying the Feather AC razors as a first-swing straight?

Posted: Sun Jun 10, 2007 10:22 pm
by bernards66
Holmes, Perhaps, in terms of developing your technique with a blade that you know is optimal and that you don't have to concern yourself with. On the other hand, the technique is a little different in some ways, because the Feather blade is so much sharper then most gents can get a traditional straight. With an old time straight, some pressure is necessary to get it to cut. With the Feather AC, not so much.
Regards,
Gordon

Posted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 12:00 am
by notthesharpest
jaradus wrote:I know that they're loved by some and looked down upon by others, but is there any real point to trying the Feather AC razors as a first-swing straight?
I use one. I would say no, and to only get a Feather for itself, if it appeals to you.

Posted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 4:46 am
by mparker762
The only disposable-bladed open razor that I've used that really mimics the feel of a straight razor is the Monsieur Charles razor. It's weighted roughly like a 6/8 razor, and takes an ordinary injector blade which approximates the sharpness of a well-honed straight. The main problem with it is the short injector blade means you only shave with the toe of the razor. With a traditional straight the barber manuals say to shave the chin with the heel of the razor, so this is something you'll have to unlearn when you transition to real straights.