The Perfect Starter Razor?

Discussion in 'Straight Razor Shave Clinic' started by Mad Man12, May 29, 2012.

  1. Hello all, I was just wondering what everyone thought would be a good Straight Razor to start with. I have already used the Parker SR1 to start but want to get the real thing. Im a college student so im on a bit of a budget. Any ideas?:lol:
    Last edited: May 29, 2012
  2. Maybe a Edwin Jagger DE89 or a Merkur HD also if you can get a hold of an old Gillette Slim or Flair tip of Ebay for cheap
  3. Last edited: May 29, 2012
  4. +1 on the Whipped Dog. If you want a new razor Earcutter is right on the money with the Dovo Best. The current production Boker King cutter might be an option as well. It is a little more than the Dovo, but quality is top notch! I have a current production Boker Edelweiss and it is one of my best shavers. If you choose a new razor I suggest getting one of our experienced honers to get it shave ready for you. Factory Edges usually do not give a very good shave.

    Scott aka life2short1971, Myself, Seraphim and many others would most likely be glad to hone it for you. Scott and I use Coticules, Seraphim uses lapping film with excellent results from what I understand.

    Hope this helps, and best of luck!

  5. Whipped Dog! Unbelievable how nice the blade is for the price. They are imperfect and old, but properly honed and fully functional (you will have to make sure the blade closes centered, and other minor details). If you find you like straights then you can get other, nicer blades.

  6. It should be a Gillette adjustable of some sort. You need to have control over the aggressiveness of the blade when you begin. Plenty on E-bay.
  7. I'd say that if you can handle the Parker SR1 shavette you're ready for just about anything. You're well trained, so get what looks good to you and have at it.

    A personal preference is a rounded rather than square point at the toe of the razor because I still cut myself if I'm not careful with a square point.

    Remember that with a traditional straight that you have to deal with stropping and honing, which is more expensive in terms of equipment than razor blades and carries with it a learning curve of its own.
  8. This. Get started. Once you're on the wagon there will be plenty of time and tons of options to choose from once you get a feel for what you really want. If you're on a budget, the whippeddog option is by far and away the best option. Nothing fancy, but it will be well honed and a good shaver
  9. I am unclear whether the thread is about straights or DEs. For a straight user, there are three critical skills that are needed each one with a high learning curve:
    Learning to shave effectively with a straight, for this to happen the straight must be maintained shave ready,
    Learning to strop effectively, stropping is critical to keeping the straight shave ready,
    Learning to hone, the razor must be rehoned periodically when stropping becomes ineffective, this can be postponed by using pasted strops and farmed out to honemeisters. Good stropping and the use of pasted strops can postpone the need to hone for a long time. Poor stropping can ruin a shave ready edge before the razor's first use and require an immediate rehoning for repair.

    While I like attractive new razors, I recommend Whipped Dog for a low initial cost used user grade straight and the minimal equipment to keep it shave ready. Even the finest razor made will not shave effectively when it quickly looses its keeness with normal use. Good stropping between uses maintains the razor's keeness.

    There is also a learning curve for maintaining carbon steel razors in a rust free condition. It is better to find out that ones care needs improvement on a Whipped Dog razor than by finding rust near the pivot on their new razor.

    An experienced straight user can quickly determine whether a straight is shave ready, will respond to stropping, or needs rehoning. This is hard for newbys to determine who have not yet developed these skills. We have all been there.

    If straights turn out not to be for you, the equipment can be sold on the BST and you will not be out much money. If straights are for you, AD will likely set in and upgrading your equipment will not be an issue.

    For a DE, it is hard to go wrong with either a Gillette Slim or a Merkur 34C.
    Last edited: May 31, 2012
  10. I would assume that since its in the straight razor shave clinic that the question is about straights, this is the reason why i can't understand why people are recommending DE's. If it is about straights go with the deal from whipped dog. It will be everything you will need to keep you going for a while. And if you can use a shavette then a regular straight will be a breeze, a lot more for giving and comfortable edge.
  11. I'm 100% with Earcutter's recommendation to buy a Dovo "Best Quality" from the start. Order it from The Superior Shave and ask Jarrod to make it "shave-ready" for you. 5/8 full-hollow would be the best for starters, IMO, but discuss matters with Jarrod according to your needs. He'll set you straight. Next thing is a strop. For all the talk of ripping up your first hanging strop, why not just buy one of Jarrod's Boeker paddle strops instead? Load one side with chromium oxide, leaving the other side blank for primary stropping, and you're good to go.
    Last edited: May 31, 2012
  12. whippeddog.

    Get in the game cheap. If you want to "upgrade" to a new razor, do so when your whippeddog is ready for rehoning. Learn to hone on the dog while you shave with the new razor. About the same time you might want to upgrade your strop and I like the Big Daddy from so much that I got two of them now, one for home and one for work.
  13. +1
  14. Jarrod is awesome! He will set you up. If you have the money, or desire all new gear, this is another good option. He is easy to communicate with and willing to share information.

    Whipped Dog will cost about 1/3, but you will be getting used and new basic equipment. Larry is also excellent at communicating, and free with knowledge.

    Wait till you are done cutting up your strop before ordering a nice one.

  15. I went with the Whipped dog to start and upgraded to the Big Daddy like Slash suggests. Absolutely no complaints with either decision. Very pleased with both vendors. Excellent customer service and a giant bang for the buck.
  16. Looks like a fine starter set to me. Good luck. Beyond this, you may want to pick up a balsa strop laden with chromium dioxide paste a little further down the road (Vintage Blades is mistaken to call it a hone IMO, as the razor passes spine-first here). Then perhaps one of the Norton 4k/8k combination hones for starters. A 2"-wide strop is good because it will force you to use the X-stroke (needed later for honing). Most of my cuts from the start had to do with trying to use all of the strop's length; so my trick to avoid cutting a hanging strop is to pull it tight (but not so tight that the leather stretches) and then to use around 2/3 of the length rather than the entire length during a lap sequence. For example, with the 2" x 17" usable length as given, I would probably use only around 10" to 12" length when stropping. This helps me in counting too. If I were to make 60 laps on leather prior to shaving, I would start at the bottom (close to me) and make 20 laps using the bottom 2/3 of the strop's length; then the 20 laps at top (away from me) using the top 2/3 of the strop's length; and then 20 laps more towards the middle 2/3 of the strop's length, and so on. Latigo has a bit of draw, which means that you tend to feel the blade's drag as you strop. For starters with the strop, work slowly, and try to keep the sensation as light as you can, perhaps even to the point where you are wondering if the blade's edge is actually touching the surface at times--and lift the blade's edge before coming to a stop (following one of Newton's laws here).
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2012
  17. X-stroking is not needed for honing. It is only needed with the use of small stones, or with unlapped stones or edges that are not straight. Wider is better. Narrow will work. I prefer better. I use a 3" wide strop, and I hone on a 3" wide piece of lapping film. More or less, depending on sheet size.
  18. This may boil down to personal preference and individual circumstances. The OP, who claims to be on a budget, has just purchased his first strop, which happens to be 2" wide; there is nothing wrong with this, either in daily usage or for starting out. To allege that wider is better, with either stropping or honing, or that X-strokes are not necessary as a result of the benefit of owning a 3" wide hone or strop, or using lapping film or sandpaper, etc., risks to cloud the issue and breed discouragement. I started on a 1-3/4" wide Dovo leather/linen strop and still use it to this day (used it this morning, coincidentally); and generally, I prefer narrow strops and blades (4/8, 5/8) to wider. But that is just my opinion or experience of things. All roads lead to Rome, as the saying goes. If we return to the budgetary constraint as given, a 40mm x 175mm coticule would cost roughly one-third of what a 75mm x 200mm coticule would cost, the former being perfectly capable of delivering the goods, so to speak, in the right hands. By starting out with a narrow strop rather than a wide one, and by using X-strokes from the start, I would gather that the move to a narrower or less-costly hone would be an easier one as a result, if and when the time comes.
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2012

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