Is it worth exploring str8s?

Discussion in 'General Shaving Discussion' started by smrex13, Jan 16, 2010.

  1. Hey everyone!

    I am enjoying this site more than any discussion group I've ever stumbled across. Currently, I am using an EJ 89L/Feather blades/Nancy Boy shave cream, and I am getting a shave that is otherworldly. I am wondering whether it is worth looking into straights. Basically, I want to know whether there is something that a str8 shave offers that cannot be enjoyed by a good DE shave. Any guidance will be greatly appreciated.

    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 17, 2010
  2. I second this question. I'm getting such a great shave with my safety razors, I'm quite curious as to what the straight might have to offer that's over and above a safety razor that might make it worth the extra cost/effort/risk. :001_smile
  3. Thanks for the follow-up! Yes, I'm wondering if straight razor shaving is merely another road to shaving nirvana, or a significantly better way to wet shave. My ultimate goal is to find the best shave...any insights are appreciated...

  4. i'm 3rd str8 shave in. So far, it's a huge learning curve and requires much more caution, concentration and time.
  5. Its hard to say. I guess it depends on why you use a DE, what do you enjoy about it?

    If its the shave, a straight will shave even closer. I know we're now talking about minutia here, but it is closer.

    If its the challenge, using a straight does take some time to master, and still offers a good deal of variability when you shave.

    If its the practicality of using a DE, you might be better off with the DE. Yes, you have to buy blades. But, how expensive are they? Yes, there's nothing else to buy (yeah, right) with a straight if you hone your own. But the initial buy-in can be a bit much. In terms of time, its probably a wash. After shaving with a straight for a while, its probably going to take about as long as with a DE.

    If its the expanse of interesting things to try, I'd say the straight world matches the DE world, if not passes it. Although the individual pieces are probably a bit more expensive.

    If its the nostalgia, the straight has got to be the winner, hands down. Unless you have fond memories associated with a DE. Memories trump general nostalgia any day in my book.

    If you like comparing different heads,blades, guards etc., then just wait until you are comparing the relative values of grinds, points, and scales.

    If you like tinkering, straights are the way to go. There are endless tinkering possibilities. If you don't, then you don't have to do too much. But the edge does have to be kept up.

    Then of course, there is the eye candy. But if you aren't drawn to straights, and are happy with your DE, why bother?

    Why do I use a straight? Its the best shave with the least irritation. But that may vary from person to person. For me, I was a real problem shaver. I'm not going to go into it all, as I've done that so many times in other posts... But, at the end of the day, it comes down to why you shave, and what would a straight offer you?
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2010
  6. I started with straight razors about a year ago after a couple of years of DE shaving, and I have to say that I get a closer, more comfortable shave with a straight than I do with any DE razor. The difference is hard to quantify, but I do not have to shave every day with a straight to remain stubble free. In that way, it's actually a little sad because I like shaving every day with a DE.

    The learning curve for me only took a couple of good, focused shaves. Now it takes me just as long with a straight as it does with a DE. The cost can actually be fairly close to DE shaving start up if you purchase a good vintage shave-ready razor from the B/S/T here or elsewhere.

    When it is at its best, I believe a straight razor shave is significantly better than any DE. The most important part for me is that on average, it is consistently better than DE shaving. Closer, more comfortable, and, admittedly, more awesome to see and talk about.

    As with anything shaving-related, YMMV.

    I think most people's barrier to beginning with straights is the idea that they will cut their throat and die from blood loss some Tuesday morning before work. Honestly, I have never nicked myself with the straight, and while I understand the perception that I am doing something dangerous, I believe it is only dangerous if you don't give the razor its due attention, just like people who text message while driving a 2-ton SUV. Give it a try, and if it doesn't work out, you can always resell the gear here at B&B.
  7. shaving with a straight has a learning curve of about 3 months,
    the shave is smoother closer cleaner with a straight,
    give it a go but have patience
    by the way i have a lovely mint slant 39c for trade (bay rum aftershave)
    & i'll throw in some floid or la toja shave cream
    what is the worst thing that can happen with a straight (0)
    i got more nicks from a DE :thumbup1:
  8. brianw

    brianw Moderator Emeritus

    +10 for all the above.

    My reason for a str8 are the memories. I have 4 str8 razors.. all over 100 yearas old and from the "old Country". All 4 were my Grandfathers ( 2 from my maternal, 2 from my paternal) and I believe of those 1 was a handmedown from My great Grandfather. My maternal grandfather taught me to shave @ 15 with one of those str8's.

    If you are afraid of bodily harm from a str8.... do not try it. A str8 deserves a healthy dose of respect but not fear. I am not a good one to comment on the learning curve, as I had the technique imprinted on me from years ago.. It all came back in a couple of tries.

    SE's, DE's, STR8 all have thier own individual joys, angles, etc....I love them all.

    The shave closeness for me is STR8 first, SE second, DE third.

    Cuts : str8 (1), first time I picked it up after some 30 years
    SE (3), couple of wrong angles
    DE (4), Mind wandering
  9. Good thread, this is something I've been thinking about myself. Thanks for the answers.

    Does it make sense to start with a safety razor as an introduction to wet shaving? That's what I've been doing to get used to and understand wet shaving with the intention of switching to a str8 later.
  10. I used to shave with a cartridge razor and canned goo. Then my wife bought me a mug, soap and brush for my birthday. Some time later, I saw a straight razor in the window of a cutlery store and said, "Hmm...". I went directly to a straight and have never used a safety razor.
  11. I love the straight.
    I got my Gold Dollar Straight as a gift the week after I bought myself a DE at a swap meet.

    The DE was much better than the safety razors ever had been, and the straight is better than the DE was treating me.

    It took me about 45 minutes at first, but I'm down to about 30 now, with 15 of that being prep.

    I really like that I can see the blade angle on the straight directly, instead of estimating. It gives me no ingrown hairs, and once I learned the scything technique, almost no irritation.

    I was still under 50 DE shaves when I switched, so I'm sure I could improve on the DE shaves I got.

    In my opinion, it's worth a shot if you can borrow someone's straight for a week or so.

  12. One thing folks have touched on is that shaving with a straight can be more comfortable than shaving with a safety razor, and it bears repeating. Because of the learning curve with straights, you shouldn't expect this immediately, but it should come not too far into your learning experience with them¬óbut also, since you're learning, you won't be able to consistently get into that comfort zone without more practice. Even so, you'll be able to do it reliably after a bit more practice.

    Another point that I think no one has mentioned is that learning some straight technique will make you a better, faster DE shaver. The degree to which you have to know your whisker growth with a DE is much less than that which a straight requires, but then you'll be able to put that knowledge to use when you DE shave.

    Finally, even though you may decide that straights aren't for you or that you prefer DE shaving after a while of straight shaving, it won't be time or energy wasted for the second reason above. From where I sit, there's a good deal of benefit and little downside to at least trying straights.
  13. I'm about 12 shaves into the str8, and I've got a ways to go in the learning curve. I get excellent shaves from my DE's, and I mean really good. My go to DE's are the Merkur 1904 in both safety bar and open comb, with #2 being the HD's again in both safety and open.

    For my straight I use the Feather AC, and I do enjoy using it. I have no desire to get into having to do all the care with a regular str8, so the Feather is perfect for me. I also use the Parker SRW that uses half a DE blade. Both of these are used the same way as any str8, and they're a breeze to take care of.

    One might ask if you get such good shaves with the DE, why start all over again with the str8? The only reason I can come up with is because its there and its different. I'm getting through the learning curve and doing better each shave. I guess I didn't want anyone saying "you can't do it". :thumbup1:


    Paul :yesnod:
  14. I couldn't keep a steady enough hand with a straight, a shavette is cheap enough to try out and see if its for you or not. Personally I'm going to stick with DE shaving as that's a steep enough learning curve for me.
  15. This is just my opinion!

    A straight is the best shave possible, But is more of a hobby.

    DE while it can still be a hobby, is more for the everyday shaver.
  16. "Is it worth exploring str8s?"

  17. Very simply, if you are interested in straights and willing to give them a try, then it is something worth exploring.
  18. I'll go with that
  19. FWIW, I disagree with the notion that straights don't make a good everyday shaver. I can get a great shave with a straight razor in 10 minutes if pressed, but I can shave the night before work with great results too... With the right skill-set, they are great everyday shavers:001_smile
  20. I'm sure they are once you get the hang of it.

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