Bloody Straights! A journal.

Discussion in 'Journals and Diaries' started by noahpictures, Jan 14, 2012.

  1. noahpictures

    noahpictures Contributor

    Razor: Parker SR1 shavette (Personna RP)
    Shave: 1

    The goal is to learn using straight razors. The Parker shavette SR1 will be used until I can get decent shaves then I'll move to straights. If necessary I'll use a DE on the final pass in order to get an acceptable shave.

    The Parker shavette uses half of DE blades. It arrived with five Shark SS blades. I judge all new DE razors using the Personna RP blade so I snapped one in half while it was still in the wrapper and loaded it in the shavette.

    Fist Pass (WTG): I used my right hand to shave the right side and the left hand to shave the left side of my face. I felt very awkward holding the shavette. The scales blocked my view while shaving above the jawline. I was surprised at how careless I was with a blade and a couple of times I moved the blade in a horizontal direction while in transition cutting the skin. Luckily the cuts weren't deep. I focused on short strokes, locking the elbow/wrist in order to maintain the correct angle. Easy said than done.

    Second Pass (XTG/ATG): It felt impossible to get a traditional XTG pass using the razor. I was all over the place. When I couldn't get the correct angle, I became frustrated and began to shave ATG which was easy to find the correct angle but was a mistake because the blade wouldn't cut easily due to not reducing the whiskers. I found myself using too much pressure. Somehow I made it through the awkward pass without a cut.

    Third pass: was a XTG with a DE (Muhle R41), resulting in a DFS. Goal is to become comfortable holding the razor and I must learn to do a XTG pass in order to reduce the beard for the the third ATG pass.
  2. It'll come quickly since you are comfortable with the Muhle.
    My mistake was, being aware of the angle/pressure issues, going too conservative, and ending up basically shaving off 2 days of the 4 days growth that I started with.
    I finished that night with an ATG using the R41... and that's the last time that I touched the DE.
    The next night, I committed to the straight.

    3 months later, every now and then I'll nick a mole or pimple, but it is extremely rare (maybe a total of twice) that I've needed more than a cold water rinse and alum block to stop any bleeding.
    Weepers happen every couple of nights, usually from not watching the angle on an ATG on the chin or under my nose.
  3. noahpictures

    noahpictures Contributor

    I hope so. My biggest challenge is being comfortable handling the razor and finding the correct angle during the three passes.
  4. noahpictures

    noahpictures Contributor

    The second shave with the Parker shavette was an improvement. Unlike yesterday I completed three passes and had an SAS but a couple of more nicks than yesterday.

    First pass
    : WTG went well. For some reason I can shave my weak (left) side better.

    Second pass: XTG was challenging to say the least. I felt awkward holding the razor and couldn't find the right angle. Nicked myself a couple of times. I switched hands, using my right hand to shave the left side and vice versa.

    Third pass: ATG was much easier than yesterday. I used too much pressure on certain areas (chin, throat) that I missed (didn't shave properly) during the second pass. Nicked myself a couple of times.

    The last pass was with a DE to clean up. Overall a big improvement over yesterday.

    With more practice I'll become more comfortable wielding the razor and finding the correct angle and not using too much pressure. I need to figure out the XTG pass. Also shaving around the chin is not easy. Surprisingly I didn't nick myself on the mustache area.

    I am also glad that I bought a shavette to learn. This way I don't have to worry about if the razor is shave-ready or not. The shavette is light but very unforgiving.
  5. Interesting – I never thought about that angle. I bet more than a few gents give up on straights obsessing over all the variables that come along with straight shaving.

    I wish you all the luck in the world brother. I’ll be very interested in reading about your progression from shavette to straight … assuming you don’t fall in love with the shavette and never move on lol.

    EDIT* If you find you like the lightness of the shavette, the 4/8 full hollow is a very light straight. I am still not sure if I like it's "lightness," but it sure is nimble.
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2012
  6. noahpictures

    noahpictures Contributor

    I don't see myself falling in love with a Parker shavette (maybe with a Feather AC SS). I can't wait until I move onto shaving with straights. I'll do that once I become comfortable using the shavette.
  7. noahpictures

    noahpictures Contributor

    For shave 3 with the Parker shavette I changed the blade.

    First pass (WTG): was OK. My angle was off at times.

    Second pass (XTG): much better than yesterday. I used my right hand to shave my left side above the jawline and vice versa. Below the jawline was more challenging so I switched hands. My angle was off and I used too much pressure.

    Third pass (ATG): My angle was off and I used way too much pressure. The razor would stop in its tracks and wouldn't cut whiskers around the chin, and mustache areas.

    I had a few small nicks and lots of razor burn. I used the DE to clean up and did an ATG pass; the audible feedback let me know that I had missed many spots.

    Overall the shave was an improvement than yesterday. I figured out how to hold the razor on the XTG pass, at least above the jawline. Below the jawline is another story. The problem is that my beard is wiry and grows in many different directions, therefore I can't shave north to south and south to north. Whenever I do, the blade stops in its tracks and will not cut unless I apply more pressure which leads to uncomfortable shaves.

    The goal is to figure out how to hold the razor on the XTG and ATG passes below the jawline while maintaining the correct angle and not apply too much pressure. And remember to stretch the skin.
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2012
  8. I'm considering getting a similar Shavette myself. I have a straight razor and I had several successful and fantastic shaves with it, but I feel like I really need to take my time with the real straight for various reasons, including stropping and watching to make sure I don't smack the blade on my sink or something.

    I forsee that a shavette would be harder to shave with in some ways, such a short blade for one, but it being much faster and less worrisome because I don't have to strop or worry about the's all taken care of. I look forward to reading about your progress friend.
  9. chuckr9

    chuckr9 Contributor

    I have used a shavette and a standard straight razor is actully easier to handle and get good results with it. They are however, much more of a maintenance issue!
  10. noahpictures

    noahpictures Contributor

    I shaved with a straight a while back and agree that in some ways it is easier to shave with than a shavette. The Parker shavette is too light and unforgiving but it is an inexpensive training tool that doesn't require maintenance. Learning to strop and hone are other skill sets that take time and patience. I'll tackle those once I am able to shave comfortably with a straight.
  11. noahpictures

    noahpictures Contributor

    Shave 4 with Parker SR1 shavette (Personna RP day 2). I watched Chimensch's video again; it is the best straight razor shave video I've seen. Every time I watch it I learn something new. He shaves using two hands, one hand holding the razor and the other holding the skin taut by stretching it. I don't know how he can shave with the opposite hand on the first pass.

    First pass (WTG): Angle and pressure were OK but I didn't keep the skin taut.

    Second pass (XTG): Angle and were pressure were off and I forgot to stretch the skin. Still the most difficult, awkward pass.

    Third pass (ATG): I used less pressure than yesterday and didn't miss that many areas. Very difficult to shave around the chin. Razor/blade wouldn't cut some areas so I didn't push it. Angle and pressure were off and didn't keep skin taught.

    I had a couple of weepers but they were due to being careless and not respecting the shavette. I still shave as if I were using a DE. I need to slow down and stop moving the blade horizontally.
  12. Chimensch's video is nice. i don't understand what you mean by "I don't know how he can shave with the opposite hand on the first pass." it's like an normal N-S pass but opposite hand with "reverse" grip. it's an interesting technique, but other than grip, it's a similar WTG-style pass. It's a "pull" stroke.

    you'll get it down with some more practice...


    BTW another good video is
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2012
  13. noahpictures

    noahpictures Contributor

    I can't do a reverse grip north to south pass. It's awkward for me. I'll focus on the "pull" stroke. Thanks for the link.

    I have a question for anyone/everyone: is the correct angle 30 degrees? For some reason in the videos the angle seems to be more than 30.
  14. noahpictures

    noahpictures Contributor

    Shave 5 with the Parker shavette.

    First pass (WTG): Went well. Angle seemed to be OK except at times along the neck and chin. Pressure was OK. No nicks.

    Second pass (XTG): Angle was better than yesterday, especially above the jaw line. Used too much pressure on the neck and mustache areas and nicked myself a couple of times. At times didn't keep the skin taut.

    Third pass (ATG): Angle and pressure were off. Became careless and nicked myself under the nose and neck. Didn't keep the skin taut.

    Fourth pass (ATG): Angle and pressure were better. Kept the skin taut.

    The fifth pass was with a DE to clean up. The razor didn't give a lot of feedback while shaving above the jawline which is a good sign.

    I used way too much pressure and I must use both hands to shave, one to keep the skin taut and the other to hold the razor using light, confident strokes. On the upside with each shave I am becoming more comfortable wielding the razor.
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2012
  15. practice, practice... i only use that grip when attacking the chin area..

    i have seen some videos with a huge angle.. almost 45... i like 25.7 degrees.
  16. noahpictures

    noahpictures Contributor

    I use 25.6 degrees, maybe that's why my shaves have been less than ideal. :lol:
  17. I prefer 24.3 degrees...with a scything motion and an exxagerated blade flip at the end of the stroke to display my uniqueness.
  18. Sounds like you're making great progress. Switching hands you seemed to pick up on quickly - do what feels easier. And I've been at it for 9 or 10 months maybe? And it still feels like my non-dominant hand shaves better!
  19. noahpictures

    noahpictures Contributor

    Thanks Brent.
  20. noahpictures

    noahpictures Contributor

    Shave 6 with the Parker shavette. Today I focused on applying the correct amount of pressure, and keeping the skin taut. I shouldn't have shaved today but I went for it.

    First pass (WTG): Went well. No nicks.

    Second pass (XTG): Remembered to keep the skin taut. Much better than yesterday. No nicks but reopened yesterday's nicks.

    Third pass (ATG): Became a bit frustrated and used too much pressure at times but better than yesterday especially around the chin and mustache areas. Reopened a couple of nicks.

    The fourth pass was with a DE to clean up.

    A big improvement over yesterday's shave. Instead of obsessing over the correct angle, I used less pressure and tried to keep the skin taut. I need to remember to shave using both hands.

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