Grip's Journal (and so it has begun....)

Discussion in 'Journals and Diaries' started by Grips, Jan 13, 2012.

  1. Came home form work today to find my sight-unseen package waiting. Unfortunately I also found a sick wife and three cranky kids waiting. So after taking care of family matters and doing my rehab for my knee I got home at ~10:15 and decided," I'll just oil the strop and save the razor for tomorrow". Well after the stop was oiled and that fresh razor was calling my name a shave with it had to happen.

    Washed my face and did my regular lather (e-shave's lavender soap with a Simpson's CH1 in best) but made it a little thinner. Took extra time to lather my face to make sure my whiskers were ready. Since I had shaved this morning there was no need for a WTG with a DE first.

    Started on the area below the sideburns on my dominant side (right). After working to get a comfortable grip I just went for it with a light short stroke. Just focused in on light and short with a shallow angle and before I knew it my right cheek was done and time for the left.

    Left side felt a little awkward but strangley was easier to keep a light touch. Cheek went well and moved on to the chin.

    Much trickier with so many different angles in a small space. I shortened the strokes even more and just tried to use the toe area of the blade. Glad I was using short strokes as a couple of times the skin bunched up ahead of the razor and if I was going for a longer stroke I would have cut myself badly.

    Got the chin done and decided to go for the neck (I know I know save the neck for later but what the hell; nothing ventured....). Very difficult. Suffice to say It looked like my son had shaved my neck for me (he's eight). Patchy and a 1/8" cut under my jaw. I figured it was time to wind things down. I rinsed, relathered, did my cheeks again and then finished up with a DE.

    Applied the Alum and....yes it told me I was a complete newb with the straight. Neck is actually still feeling it as I type. However I enjoyed it and am looking forward to the next shave.

    Stropping went alright. Not sure if I was doing much for the razor but I didn't cut the strop or flip the razor over on its edge. So for the first time not so bad. I guess I'll find out at the next shave.

    Newbie advice for other newbies:
    1) Short strokes. If it was a bad angle, approach, etc. you will minimize the possible bad consequences.

    2) Since you are going so slow watch your lather and be prepared to rinse it all off and relather with a wet face even if you haven't finished you WTG pass on all areas. I found this smoothed things out better than just touching up my lather.

    I would like to thank the gentlemen on this forum; as I have been reading a ton a threads while waiting for my razor and feel it went as relatively smoothly as it did due to your net knowledge.

    Also thanks to Larry Andro for allowing so many to try straight shaving that otherwise might not have, due to the start up costs.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2012
  2. Kentos

    Kentos Moderator Emeritus

    Another first straight shave accomplished! Sounds like you are well on your way. Try to save the feeling of that first
    shave in the memory banks so you can compare your subsequent shaves to it. Hopefully it will give you an indication of when thr razor has dulled and its time for some crox, or if suddenly a shave doesnt go so well it might be a bad stropping...either way
    the shaves will just keep getting better and better.
  3. Congrats, sounds like a better than average first shave to me. Before you know it your straight(s) will fly over your face effortlessly, and you'll utilize the full length of the blade almost like a rolling x-stroke to remove those whiskers most effectively. :smile:
  4. Off to the shaving races! Enjoy...

    And, good work, by the way.
  5. Thank you gents. And thanks Larry for the excellent poor man's package. Once my angle was good (it happened a couple of times, lol) I couldn't even feel the whiskers coming of. Now the trick is to get that all the time. Excellent hone job.
  6. Update. Shaves 2 & 3:

    Shave 2:
    Well last night I shower and prep and decide since I skipped the first pass with a DE the first time I can do it again. Mistake. I don't know if that was the cause or if it was my post-shave strop the night before but the shave was rough. I toughed it out; kept adjusting angle, pressure etc. but by the end it felt like my face had been belt sanded. The post shave Alum was....unpleasant to say the least. After a rinse I had some MAJOR razor burn. I put some cream on it that is, (you'll laugh) made for diaper rash and it helped immensly.

    Now I am a person that looks at themselves first for the cause and the solution to a problem. So after I was done treating my face I tested out my razor. Tried the HHT and found one lonely spot that would even make the hair dance never mind sever it. So some combination of very course whiskers, bad shaving technique and poor stropping led me to dull Larry's fine edge. So I got out the balsa strop and did 20 on the green, 20 on the red and 40 on the leather and retested. Results were two spots that severed the hair and the hair quivered everywhere else. Another 20/20/40 and it was severing the whole blade. Not super cleanly but severing. I put the blade away with dreams of a better shave 3.

    Shave 3:
    Well tonight I didn't shower but washed my face thouroughly and had a good prep. Did a careful 40 lap strop. Did my first pass with a DE. Second pass was WTG with the straight. Tried for light and shallow. Did cheeks, chin and middle of neck without too much trouble. Not smooth; still some tugging, but better than ole shave 2. Finished the rest of my neck and moustache with the DE and stopped there with the minor victory. 40 more laps on the the leather than put her to bed.

    So for any that cared to read....Any thoughts, feedback or advice would be welcome.
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2012
  7. Kentos

    Kentos Moderator Emeritus

    Kudos to a fine analytical assessment of what needed to be done. If the blade is passing HHT it should be ok to
    shave. Stropping on leather does a lot for the edge too. You can try laying the strop on a flat suface to help
    prevent rolling the edge. I think you are right on track! WTG will always have a bit of tug...if it catches and brings a tear to your eye THEN you need some help.
  8. Congraulations on completing your first shave. Keep posting the newbie advice for newbies since these kinds of tips often give tremendous boosts to those who are starting out by addressing issues that you only really have in the very beginning.
  9. I don't know if there is any logic to this (and it actually goes against some of the stuff I've read) but I actually find that the first pass with my straight is the smoothest when I have 2 days' growth. Anyone agree?

    If I need to, I finish with my DE while I'm still on straight training wheels!
  10. To be honest it was just using the knowledge gleaned from all you fine fellas. Just applying it to my own situation.
  11. Well I have definitely gained knowledge from other shaving journals so hopefully someone can pick-up some tid-bits of useful info from my own journal.

    We will see what shave #4 (tomorrow) will bring....looking forward to it.
  12. I have found with a DE that 2 days seems softer than one. Maybe the longer whiskers are more limber. However with the straight it was not smoother. Maybe the combo of hair length and razor angle led to some skipping.
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2012
  13. Shave #4:

    Shave number 4 was much better. Had a shower and good prep. Did the first WTG with a DE relathered and got out the straight.

    Went WTG the whole face. Cheeks, chin, middle of neck and moustache area are coming along. Sides of my neck, not so much. I have always had trouble with this area. A combo of course, lay flat whiskers and difficult topography and sensitive skin. It took me a while to get my DE technique down for this area and I'm sure I'll figure it out with the straight in good time.

    Some more Newbie advice for Newbies:

    1) If you have a really bad shave (like my #2). Stop, step back and analyze what went wrong and make some decisions based on your analysis to fix the problem. Don't try the same stuff harder and expect a different outcome.

    2) My ability to analyze the problem (as meager as that is right now) and find a workable solution stemmed primarily from all the reading I have done in these fine forums before I ever bought my straight. Don't ignore the newbie journals. The problems they pose and the solutions given by the "old hands" here can make all the difference between making improvements, and giving up.
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2012
  14. great job so far... i might even suggest doing last pass with water... need to reapply water to spot right before, but i enjoy it.
  15. Shave #5:

    After getting the kids to their respective places for the day I had a day-off to enjoy an unrushed shave. Had a shower and good prep. Did a WTG with the DE (two-days of stubble). Then proceeded with the straight. Did everything (whole face) WTG. Mostly smooth except for right side of neck. However this brought some great insight.

    I was just going with the flow after my cheeks went smoothly (right hand-right cheek, left hand-left cheek) and did my left side of neck with the right hand without really thinking about it. Did the right side of neck with my right hand. Results: Left Side: close shave with little no burn and no nicks or cuts. Right Side: Lots of burn and a couple of nicks. I believe I've read of a number of the "old-hands" here going opposite hand on the neck. It obviously worked on my left side. Next shave I will definitely have to go opposite hand on both sides coupled with pointing chin up and away to get a better stretch of the skin.

    Stropping is getting better. I am able to keep the spine on the strop the whole time. I am also getting more aware of that "suction-type" of feel when the spine and edge are both riding the strop as (I believe) they should be.

    However I did get my first nick on the poor-man's strop. I have been getting good at lifting the edge before the turn around and starting the new direction before I lay the edge back down. Today though my grip didn't feel just right so I tried to adjust it while my arm was still moving the razor. This resulted in me being late in the flip, the edge leading and a small slice in the strop. I managed to stop quickly and the cut wasn't very bad but it taught me a lesson. Stop the stropping, then adjust the grip, then resume.

    I am glad to being slowly climbing this learning curve and enjoying the journey. We'll see how number 6 goes.
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2012
  16. great tips... My WhippedDog straight/strop kit and 2 other straights are patiently waiting in my drawer...

    the power of the internet and sharing advice really is fantastic. No one else I am friends with, other than internet folk use safety or straight razors. With out B&B and SRP, I'd still be torturing myself with expensive carts and cans of goop. My shaves aren't perfect, even after near 50 of them, but I'm not gonna give up!
  17. Shave #6:

    Well this one was good and bad. I got home late last night from doing rehab and had to get going early today so I figured I would have a late shower and shave so I could save time in the morning and be able to focus. Well my focus was not so great.

    I have purchased some of the cotton wicking straight sleeves from Superior Shave and Jarrod warns you right there that a razor can slip out easily and he is right. Out came my razor due to me not paying attention hits the tile floor and opens as it lands. So after calling myself a dumb-f**k I pick it up and inspect the edge. Near the toe it appears to be a tiny ding. So instead of showering I pull out the balsa strop and do 20/20/40 (green/red/leather). I notice slight drag marks on the leather. Not scratches, but faint drag marks. So I figure there must be a small nick. I do 20/20/40 again and it seems better. Do a HHT and it severs everywhere but the toe, but it is catching near the toe. Since it is closing in on midnight I say good enough to shave.

    I shower and start my prep. Well then my just soap-loaded brush slips falls into the full sink and I need to start that over. I can definitely hear the faint sounds of circus music playing in the background and am feeling like a Grade-A clown but I move on. So I do a first WTG pass with the DE. Cheek,chin and moustache WTG with the straight go fairly smoothly. Now the neck....

    I go opposite hand on the neck with turning the chin away and up from the side I'm shaving. Definitely much better. Still tough on the lower sides of the neck where the neck muscle and the adam's apple create a small valley. So I am trying different holds to get this spot and like a complete idiot I drop the razor in the sink. No one has called me the names I called myself then, for a long time. So I fish the razor out without amazingly, cutting my hand off and check it. Seems like the edge survived but I finish up with the DE and pull out the balsa AGAIN.

    Do two sets of 20/20/40 and do a HHT. Again it passes on most of the blade but not so well near the toe. I probably did something there but I am fortunate my dumb-assness didn't cause more damage.

    So the actual shaving is coming along. But my newbie advice to newbies is that if you are tired and rushed, leave the straight alone and save it for when you can give proper care and attention.

    I guess I'll find out on shave #7 if my razor came through alright. I mean I know it's a Whippeddog razor but last night was ridiculous.
  18. Man - bad buzz! Sounds like an aweful night!

    Got to say though - been there.

    Enjoying your journal btw.

    EDIT - I note that last night's "games" should have you wondering about your handle - "Grips" :001_tt2:
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2012
  19. ouch

    ouch Moderator Contributor

    Oil the strop? :confused1

    The large, flat tracks of land are easy to shave. Navigating the trickier areas, particularly those presenting decreasing radius curves, takes a while to master. You'll get there- it's all a matter of feel.
  20. Lol. No doubt. I'll have to change it to Slips. At least when I dropped the razor I didn't geld myself.

    Thanks on the journal. Hope some get some info and enjoyment out of it. At the very least I'll have a record of my journey.

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