Straight razor vs DE razor...

Use a straight. You know it makes sense.
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Martin
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Straight razor vs DE razor...

Post by Martin »

Hello. This may not be in the right topic, but im curious about straight razors.

Ive been using a straight for quite a while but went back to a DE for a change. I read an article that said DE razors give a smoother & closer shave. I must admit it did feel better than when I use my straight. What do other people think?.

Afterall theyre both single edge blades. Is a straight just purely aesthetic & more traditional? Looks rather than performance???.
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drmoss_ca
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Re: Straight razor vs DE razor...

Post by drmoss_ca »

I might be biased, but I'd put it this way: a DE is an easy way to get a very good and close shave, but a straight can do even better IF you have your honing skills perfected, technique perfected, and an excellent chunk of steel. I am sure most straight shavers don't get near a DE shave (I'd be shot at dawn for saying that in some circles), and most of the time I don't manage it.

I think the main reasons for using a straight are the satisfaction of knowing you have done it all yourself, the historical connections, and if you are extremely self-disciplined, the saving of money, and lastly the creation of less waste in the landfill.
The nice part of going back and forth is that using a straight is like riding a bicycle: you don't forget once you have learned. Muscle memory takes over and you don't have to think about it at all.

C.
"Je n'ai pas besoin de cette hypothèse."
Pierre-Simon de Laplace
brothers
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Re: Straight razor vs DE razor...

Post by brothers »

I've recently reached the inevitable age when the old worn out muscles and bones just don't work like they used to. While I love my straight razors, I don't love the tedious process of maintaining the edge. Example: endless hours of honing (straights) vs. the absolute zero - 0 - time spent on safety razor blades, other than changing my blade.

Fourteen years ago I devoted the expensive and time-consuming practice as I learned how to create and maintain an outstanding straight razor shave every time, and there's no better feeling than when the perfectly sharp straight razor provides a beautiful but admittedly "different" result than that of the safety razor.
Gary

SOTD 99%: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, soaps & creams, synthetic / badger brushes, Colonial General razor, Kai & Schick blades, straight razors any time, Superior 70 aftershave splash + menthol + 444
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Brutus
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Re: Straight razor vs DE razor...

Post by Brutus »

There are only a few safety razors that can match a straight razor.

By design, most safety razors have the razor blade slightly recessed (the so-called negative blade exposure).

The fact that the blade is “hiding” a fraction of a millimetre back in the razor head produces a comfortable shave, but also means that the blade is not directly gliding over the skin in the way a straight razor blade does.

The exception are safety razors with positive or at least neutral blade exposure that allow the blade to come in direct contact with the skin.
These are IMO the safety razors that have the potential to match the closeness and efficiency of a straight razor.

Of course, shaving with a safety razor is much easier to learn than coming to grips with straight razors, but once you have mastered these skills there is no razor type I can think of that outclasses a well honed, well stropped and well handled straight razor.

The catch, as brothers mentioned, is that there might be a time (I am turning 71 in January) where skin and muscles force me to abandon straight razors, but so far muscles and skin continue to cooperate…



B.
The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.

Bertrand Russell
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drmoss_ca
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Re: Straight razor vs DE razor...

Post by drmoss_ca »

As well as the shave being perfect and longer lasting than a safety razor shave, there's the satisfaction, which cannot be matched.

C.
"Je n'ai pas besoin de cette hypothèse."
Pierre-Simon de Laplace
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Brutus
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Re: Straight razor vs DE razor...

Post by Brutus »

drmoss_ca wrote: Tue Sep 19, 2023 4:38 am As well as the shave being perfect and longer lasting than a safety razor shave, there's the satisfaction, which cannot be matched.

C.

You’re so right.

What started as a quest to prove to myself that I could master a straight razor, eventually morphed into something that I look forward to inpoiutrewq morning.


While certainly more satisfying than any cartridge razor, as safety razor can never quite match this.



B.
The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.

Bertrand Russell
EL Alamein
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Re: Straight razor vs DE razor...

Post by EL Alamein »

I'd be curious to read the article that Martin references in his post.

Chris
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Re: Straight razor vs DE razor...

Post by EL Alamein »

Was hoping maybe Martin could post that article link here as I'd like to know how it came to such a conclusion.

Over at that blog the science of sharp the author implies that straights can be keener and smoother than commercially produced edges using the right technique.

Every now and then I step out with a DE. When I do I borrow a 1940's Superspeed from one of my sons. It's a great shave but not as smooth as a straight. It's a probability that I could be biased but I still try to be truthful in my discernment.

Chris
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Re: Straight razor vs DE razor...

Post by drmoss_ca »

Maybe the article was written by someone who cut himself on his first straight shave, no doubt using a "shave ready" razor from eBay!
I sent an e-mail to Martin to see if he will post a link.

Chris
"Je n'ai pas besoin de cette hypothèse."
Pierre-Simon de Laplace
Martin
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Re: Straight razor vs DE razor...

Post by Martin »

I'll try & find it but it was a while ago now
brothers
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Re: Straight razor vs DE razor...

Post by brothers »

I'll be looking forward to the article. I need to clarify my earlier post below. I'm only saying it's the labor and time spent creating and maintaining the edge that gets very boring and annoying.
When it comes to taking up the beautifully sharp straight razor and shaving, there's nothing more fulfilling. Being able to confidently use the muscle memory and experience I've gained through the years is delightfully unique.
Gary

SOTD 99%: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, soaps & creams, synthetic / badger brushes, Colonial General razor, Kai & Schick blades, straight razors any time, Superior 70 aftershave splash + menthol + 444
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Brutus
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Re: Straight razor vs DE razor...

Post by Brutus »

brothers wrote: Tue Jul 18, 2023 5:41 am I've recently reached the inevitable age when the old worn out muscles and bones just don't work like they used to. While I love my straight razors, I don't love the tedious process of maintaining the edge. Example: endless hours of honing (straights) vs. the absolute zero - 0 - time spent on safety razor blades, other than changing my blade.
I have a set of 1000, 3000, 5000, 8000 and 12,000 grit Naniwa stones and a 20,000 grit Suehiro Gokumyo stone and they all serve me well.
But as divide most of my time between Coimbra, Portugal and Vancouver, Canada, I recently started thinking of getting an easy to carry second honing set that I could carry in my suitcase, or just leave on the opposite end from where I keep my stones.

That made me look into lapping film. :idea:
For a short while, about 12 years ago, lapping film was the flavour of the month, but as lapping film is frowned upon in some circles, I too (together with our esteemed administrator) may be taken out at dawn to be shot at first light.

I had bought some coarser film for knife sharpening (which my wife greatly appreciates) and have tried the finer 9µm (1800 grit), 3µm (8000 grit), 1µm (14,000 grit), and 0.3µm (50,000 Grit) 3M™ PSA Lapping Microfinishing Film for razor honing. I also have placed a recent order for harder to find 5µm (4000 grit) film to possibly take the place of the 9µm (1800 grit) film that I really don’t need that often.

The results were excellent and what surprised me most was how quick and easy the process was compared to water stones.
So, if anyone wants to cut back on the time it takes to hone straight razors on stones, a set of 3M PSA lapping film** stuck onto a flat (float) glass***, granite or marble plate might be worth a try. Some people suggest that the 0.3µ lapping film produces an excessively keen but somewhat uncomfortable edge. I stropped my razors after the 0.3µ film on diamond and then CrOx paste and found the edge comfortable enough.

To try, one just needs a single (float glass or other) plate to stick the 3µ film on one side and the 1µ film on the other side and see how it goes.
Such a plate will also make for a handy travel set that does not take away too much baggage allowance when going by air.

Lapping film can be bought as diamond film or aluminium oxide film*, where the former is more expensive, faster and lasts longer, while the latter is cheaper, slower and needs replacing more often. Most users suggest that for razor honing the aluminium oxide* is plenty fast enough and more economical.


B.


* Technically: 5 µm film uses silicon carbide, 1 and 3 µm films use aluminium oxide, and 0.3 µm film uses calcined alumina.
** cut from a letter size sheet to an approximate size 4 ¼ x 11“
*** cut to an approximate size 5/16 x 5 x 12“
Martin
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Re: Straight razor vs DE razor...

Post by Martin »

Here it is....(Specifically under the heading "Why safety razors are a good pick")1

https://electricshaversuk.co.uk/straigh ... uble-edge/
brothers
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Re: Straight razor vs DE razor...

Post by brothers »

Thanks for the obvious effort it must have taken you to find it and post it. I have read it and I agree with it (except one comment :wink: ).
. . . straight razors win over safety razors in terms of their durability, quality and class.
Probably shouldn't have included that statement. That's on the author.😥

First: straight razors have two parts, the handle and the blade. Safety razors have two parts the handle and the head. Blades are the issue.

Safety razors have the luxury of an infinite supply of dirt cheap replaceable new sharp blades. Straight razors are 50% blade. No new sharp blades. They're stuck with a handle and a blade that carries an edge that requires repetitive expensive equipment and skilled manual repairs to keep it functional. The complete opposite of "durable". The dull rusty straight razor blade is an artifact at best or junk at worst.
.
The terms "quality and class" carry dubius overtones of privilege and social standing, which are somewhat offensive.
Gary

SOTD 99%: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, soaps & creams, synthetic / badger brushes, Colonial General razor, Kai & Schick blades, straight razors any time, Superior 70 aftershave splash + menthol + 444
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drmoss_ca
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Re: Straight razor vs DE razor...

Post by drmoss_ca »

Funny, then, Gary, how I have a late 1700s straight that shaves beautifully! Provided you don't let it rust, and you know how to hone it, there is enough steel in a straight blade for hundreds of years of use. I don't think you can say that's the opposite of 'durable' when the blade of a safety razor might last for a week. The issue is the word 'durable' and I think it is cheating to say something is durable but you have to change a 'wear part' for a new one every few days.
The part of the article that I would say is plain wrong is the claim that there is less risk of ingrown hairs with a safety razor. I think we all agree that they happen when a hair is cut at or below skin level (and perhaps more likely if the hair is cut with a sharp point like a quill. In other words they are a function of blade sharpness and shave closeness. Since, in my view a safety razor can generally shave closer and a safety blade is sharper than most straights, you get more ingrown hairs with safety razor shaves. I only ever get them if I do a three pass DE shave, but I never ever get them with three passes of a straight razor.

C.
"Je n'ai pas besoin de cette hypothèse."
Pierre-Simon de Laplace
EL Alamein
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Re: Straight razor vs DE razor...

Post by EL Alamein »

Martin wrote: Sun Jan 14, 2024 1:56 pm Here it is....(Specifically under the heading "Why safety razors are a good pick")1

https://electricshaversuk.co.uk/straigh ... uble-edge/
Thank you, Martin! I enjoyed the article.

Chris
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