Should this feel like scraping my face with shrapnel?

Discussion in 'Shave Clinic & Newbie Check-In' started by WilliamIam, Nov 22, 2009.

  1. Hi everyone. I'm new here and new to anything other than mach3 cartridges.
    This is an intro post, if you'd like to skip to the question, skip to the ***'s.

    I recently picked up a boar hair shave brush, Willams mug soap, an older Gilette butterfly top DE razor, and was given a new 6/8 full hollow ground straight razor from by my girlfriend :001_tt1: .

    I've been working on lather, with some interesting results, it's going okay. I managed to shave with the Williams soap, and far preferred it to any sort of canned gel I've used before. It is finnicky to get to lather right, but I love the smell and it's what my dad used.

    The mach3 razor and the DE gilette (with chrome blades from Rite-Aid) shaved very nicely. I rather enjoyed the shave (still working out how to get anything other than ice cold lather).

    I tried the straight razor yesterday and today, and managed to shave with only two nicks the first time. I realized that one end didn't seem as sharp as the other and found that I had been stropping VERY incorrectly. :scared:
    I corrected my stropping and did ~80 laps on a "7-9oz top-grain cowhide" which is treated in a small area with a ".5 micro diamond paste". I then did another 25 laps on the smooth side. I checked the edge thoroughly under a bright light, and as far as I can tell, I have NOT damaged the edge. There is still as perfect a bevel as it came with. I can return the razor for re-honing if it needs it under a "noobie warranty".
    Stropping correctly far improved my shave, and I managed to shave without nicking myself. The razor doesn't pass the hanging hair test, but the shave was plenty close. I also was poking around the forums here and it seems like the hanging hair test is kind of unreliable.

    So, my question is ... Is shaving with the straight blade supposed to feel like scraping my face with a piece of sharp metal? I mean, that's what I'm doing, but the DE Gilette doesn't feel at all like this. Sure, the shave is close and the razor is scary sharp, but people talk about it like it's a comfortable thing to do. Maybe it's a matter of too much pressure? Maybe the lather is lacking? Maybe I've dulled my razor? Maybe it's normal?
    My face felt irritated after the first shave (the razor was not stropped correctly) but I had 0 razor burn, which is a change from the Mach3 (and mach3 turbo is worse)

    Also, and this is minor, I shave before I shower because my mirror takes 20 minutes to clear and I prefer that order.Should I apply aftershave before I shower as well as after the shower?
    I'm using old spice because I recall some old bottles of it working wonders on my face in the past.

    Thanks, and hope it's not an overlong post.
  2. mdunn

    mdunn Moderator Emeritus

    how were you stropping?
    It could be that youve rolled the edge, and so therefore no ammount of stropping will fix it
  3. Uh, do I have to say? :cursing:

    I was stropping without the spine touching the strop at about the same angle that I used the razor to shave my cheeks. :thumbdown:
    I was also flipping (very carefully) blade-side instead of spine side and didn't ever flip before I had stopped or while touching the strop. I switched to spine-side flipping because I realized that if I had to be that careful, I'd never be able to strop quickly.

    Also, I didn't go more than 25 laps incorrectly. Is there a way to tell by eye if it's been rolled?
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2009
  4. Andy

    Andy Contributor

  5. Okay, let's assume I've rolled the edge. Time to send it back to be re-honed?
    I have a magnifying glass and very good eyes. Is there anything I can identify that would tell me if it's been rolled? I think it probably has been, despite being able to shave with it. I can send it back, but I'd rather know for certain before investing time sending it back. Another nice shave with my DE razor this morning, which I ID'ed as a 1978 Gilette Super Speed. Time to change the blade though.

    The straight razor guide is very useful, thanks. I picked up that honing a razor is not at all like sharpening knives, and also that my razor may shave the hair on my arms easily, but it by no means "pops off with 0 pressure".

  6. In the most recent post I put up, I said the hair doesn't pop off with no pressure.

    I was at school, and am now at home. I put a new blade in my DE razor and used it (out of the razor) to see that hair-popping action. It requires a little pressure, and I can get the straight razor to do the same thing.
    With the DE blades, I feel it tug just a little before it cuts each hair. The Straight feel similar, but doesn't tug as readily. I can't get either to pass the HHT - I think it's because my hairs are so fine and light.

    Thought I'd add that bit of info.
  7. If the edge is rolled, yes. It needs to be honed. Send it back. By everything I've read here so far, that looks to be your problem. I don't think you'd be able to tell from just a magnifying glass. You'd probably have to use some form of a microscope to be able to see the rolled edge. I don't really know how to tell it if has been rolled other than that. However, if it won't shave arm hairs fairly easily I'd say it needs to be honed anyway. Sorry, man. Live and learn, right? Good luck with it.
  8. I've stropped it some more, and I'll give it one more shave. Then we'll see.
    If I hold the razor by the butt pin and at about a thirty degree angle, with the razor basically dangling by its own weight, it'll shave my arm hair clean off.

    I'll post back with how it shaves... probably on wednesday. I'll stick with my SuperSpeed tomorrow morning.

    Thanks for the replies
  9. I made an attempt at straight shave #3 last night, but switched to my SuperSpeed partway through. It's just too uncomfortable. I inspected the edge under a bright light and used two magnifying glasses... I can see numerous nicks in the edge (which is less that .1mm across).

    I'm going to one of the local old-time barber shops and going to get a straight shave done on me and have them check the sharpness. The feel of things is one thing that the internet does NOT provide in the least.

    Wish me luck! And I got a perfect BBS shave with the superspeed and VDH soap. It smells like roses though :001_unsur
  10. To anyone who's come across the thread after it's died, YES the edge was rolled and I had it re-honed. My first shave with it was a million times better and was barely more uncomfortable than a DE. In some spots it was easier.


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