Preparing for first straight shave.

Discussion in 'Straight Razor Shave Clinic' started by rosborne, Jul 7, 2010.

  1. Gentlemen,

    My razor should be on its way from Gentlemens Best where thirdeye is honing it up for me. I have a Big Mama strop which just came in the mail the other day and I have 4 pints of A+ on standby.

    Any last words of advice or how-to's?

    Do I need to do anything to the strop such as oil, shave soap, etc. I've picked up bits and pieces of info but haven't put it all togehter in order. Whats the final say on caring for your strop?

    Here's my plan pre-final advice:

    Strop razor 20-30 times on felt strop.
    Strop razor 20-30 times on leather strop.
    Lather up
    Grab Gauze and styptic
    Attach IV
    Strop razor 20-30 times on leather.
    Admire shave.

    Where/What should I change?
  2. TAKE YOUR TIME:thumbup1:
  3. Good luck! I've been straight shaving for a couple of months now and can finally get a good shave without any kind of nicks or cuts now :001_smile

    Final advices? Watch the angle. Don't approach the skin with too steep of an angle. Watch the point of your razor. Sometimes it's very close to the ear or nose and you don't notice it because you're so concentrated on everything else. Don't use too much pressure or angle. Rather a soft shave with a too flat angle and a mediocre shave than cutting yourself in the beginning. Don't worry too much about the chin area in the beginning. I still haven't mastered that. Make sure that the razor is moving before you touch the skin. Less chance of cutting yourself that way.

    Eeeh, a bit too many advices maybe. The most important is probably to relax and don't feel stressed. It's not as dangerous as it looks :001_smile
  4. If your razor is arriving shave ready, don't strop before your first shave. If you do, you may roll the edge due to improper stropping technique and then you won't have a good 'shave-ready' baseline. Having a baseline is important as you learn the straight, strop, hones, etc.
  5. +1. The last thing you want to do is ruin the edge before you even try it.

    Take it slow and good luck!
  6. I've had about 4 straight shaves, so take this as advice from another beginner, but absolutely not necessarily good advice:

    I fill my mug with hot water and my brush and shower.
    dump out water, shake out brush, make lather, brush on a thin layer of lather. Leave mug in sink of hot water so lather stays hot
    strop razor while lather is softening beard further (as was said, if it is coming shave ready, don't strop first time)
    rinse off lather, relather.
    Shave WTG on cheeks and neck, carefully mustache, and give the chin the old college try
    rinse, relather
    shave ATG nose to ear cheeks and neck.
    rinse, relather
    finish up with my DE razor so I don't look silly with badly shaved spots at work
    rinse, apply alum block
    wash out brush/mug, strop razor a couple times, dry it well, rub on a tiny bit of vaseline to prevent rust
    rinse, stypitic if needed, splash or balm.

    It will probably not be a good shave first time. It will pull and tug way beyond what you think it will. Don't use too much pressure, or you can get some crazy razor burn. Definitely watch the point, you can clip your ear in a second if you don't.
  7. I'd say avoid ATG until you feel very ready for it. Any mistake there and you will cut yourself badly. You can get a really nice shave with just one WTG and one ATG and minimize the risk of hurting yourself.
  8. +1, when I tried this in the beginning my neck look like I had installed venetian blinds on my neck.:blink:

    Stretch the skin, this is very important!!! To get a good grip on a moist and/or lathery surface, moisten your fingers and grab the styptic briefly, the astrigent on your fingers will see to it that your fingers do not slip. This works better with an alum block (see chimensch video on youtube).

    Take it easy and "listen" to your the way your skin feels. If it does not feel good it is better to back off than to push through. Good luck and enjoy it!
  9. Don't be afraid to bail on a shave that is going south.

    It's better to do the easy parts of your face with the straight, and then bail, and use a backup razor, rather than continue on with an already bad shave, making the outcome far worse.

    Learning the straight takes time, you won't get DE like results for many moons. :tongue_sm
  10. Even if you prep your face well, after a few minutes your whiskers and lather cool. And, when cool, whiskers are noticeably harder to shave. The advice I wish someone had given me my first shave was to prep the harder parts right before shaving.

    If you prep, and then don't get to a section for awhile, there is no harm in reprepping that area with hot water to resoften. You can simply rewet the specific area with a second brush, or a washrag, wet with hot water. You can even make a lot of lather, and once or twice rewet and relather your entire face (that is not already shaved.)
  11. +1 on what larry said, I had a scuttle that i had purchased and ended up not really using since i ended up face lathering for speed with my DE, then i switched to straights and i don't think i could shave without the scuttle now. Having a supply of warm lather sitting on the counter at my ready enables me to work my face in sections and always have a fresh prep as i move around. IMHO this has improved the quality of my shaves as much as anything.
  12. Maybe I should get one of those at some point, warm lather seems to make a huge difference.
  13. I have used scuttles, and find them worthwhile devices. I have slowly, but surely moved in the direction of an electrical hot plate. The one I use has an adjustable heat control. (Those with Low/Medium/High are OK, but not as good in my opinion as those you can control finely.) With it, I have hot lather, hot water, whatever I want. Cost was about $25. Well worth it!
  14. Luc

    Luc Moderator Emeritus

    The only other advice that I would give is probably, do more laps on leather, maybe 50-60.
  15. I think you'll do well! :thumbup1:

    That is a well balanced razor and the round point makes things easier too :001_smile

    If you are nervous about putting the blade to skin, place the spine against the skin first then move the blade to start and angle it as necessary. You'll get a feel for it pretty quickly.

    Don't feel like you have to do the whole shave with the straight. Start out with the cheeks... master that and move on. Just a little bit each day and it will all start to come together :thumbup1:
  16. Good luck to you on your adventure! I have had 7 or so straight shaves now and i'm loving it!
  17. Good grief! I forgot to subscribe to my own thread and thought I hadn't had any replies! Thank You gentlemen for your advice. The razor arrived today, shave ready, along with some other goodies from Gentlemens Best.

    Sunday will be the big day. Tomorrow, my wife has to work and I've got the kids to myself so I don't want to feel rushed or have the little guy start crying while I'm trying this out.

    On last request is for some info regarding care for the strop. I've even heard of recommendations of wiping your forehead with the strop to either oil it or I guess build a little resistance to it. So how about caring for that strop? I have a wool felt strop and leather.
  18. You can condition the strop with Neatsfoot Oil (a leather conditioner typical sold at farm supply stores, for treating horse saddles), but the oils from your hand also are said to work really well. Simply rub your hand along the leather every time you use it.

    Good luck on your first straight shave. :biggrin1:

  19. I have not noticed a correlation to cool lather and shaving difficulty. I have noticed a correlation to lather drying out and shaving difficulty...
  20. Good advice given above. Just take your time and do the easy parts of your face, the sideburn area, and the cheeks. Don't expect DE results for quite some time, and above all don't use any pressure.

Share This Page