What is the best Straight Razor for a beginner

Discussion in 'Shave Clinic & Newbie Check-In' started by CryptoDave, Nov 16, 2012.

  1. What would you recommend as the best straight razor for a beginner ?


  2. I don't use straight but a lot of people recommend whippeddog.com and ordering a sight unseen deal since its relatively cheap...
  3. Mike H

    Mike H Moderator Emeritus

    Any vintage American (Solingin or Sheffield would be good to), 5/8 full hollow, round point, professionally honed razor, would be a fine starter. May I suggest whippeddog.com or the BST forum here.

    If you insist on new, I would suggest a professionally honed Dovo or Boker.
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2012
  4. as long as its a good enough steel to hone up and hold an edge? go with the cheapest possible.
    this is a hobby you grow into. you will upgrade where and when you feel comfortable enough to do so. like strops, hones, blades, ect.
  5. decent steel at a cheap price

    whippeddog.com is recommended a lot (by myself often) as he puts together a great beginner package with a basic strop, a 'sight unseen' razor - which means it's going to be a good shaver, honed and ready to go - but he doesn't have to put the time in to list it, photograph it, describe it etc on website - so he can sell em at very inexpensive prices... and Larry is a super great guy to boot

    if you are looking to venture to the 'dark side' of straight razor shaving, his package deal (razor, strop, balsawood/pastes) is really perfect for the beginner.

    you can also find some really good deals in the BST forum here on B&B
  6. I agree with all the above. Larry (@Whippeddog) service is second to none for the beginner.
  7. If price is a factor, then people really like whipped dog (why are we whipping dogs?). They have great deals for a cheap old razor and a cheap way to keep the razor relatively sharp.

    If price isn't a huge factor (you did mention best) and you prefer a shiny new razor, then get something in your price range that you like the look of from a retailer that professionally hones all the razors. If the shop hones all the razors before shipping them to you, odds are they are selling decent razors.

    Beginners (I'm still in this category) find heavier razors to be easier to use. Something with more of a wedge (1/4 hollow, 1/2 hollow) instead of a full hollow. Although many people swear up and down about full hollow. So you can't go wrong either way, but if you are looking for something a beginner can use, then a heavier razor may be it.

    5/8 or 6/8 to start. I got a 5/8 and didn't like it, then I got a 7/8 and love it. But that might just be that I think 7/8 looks cooler. It also might be the weight.

    The razor I went for was a Hart Steel. I highly recommend them, really great company, really great razors!

    Once you do get a professionally honed razor, you also need a way to keep it shave ready. Whipped Dog offers cheap kits of things to keep your razor sharp. These kits and stones and stuffs totally work, however remember they are cheap, they fill that category. Your original post mentions best. so I'm going to say a better way to keep your razor shave ready for a beginner would be the lynn abrams modular paddle. It's $90 I think but it comes with just about everything you are going to need to keep that razor sharp for months if not at least a year. And since its modular if you mess something up you can always order a replacement of just that part.

    I do like good deals, but I am someone who prefers the shinier stuff. I have ordered a full set form whippeddog before because of the endless wonderful recommendations here. I got a razor, and a balsa kit and stones. Yes they worked ok, yes the price was ok. However I have since thrown most of that stuff out (probably around $100) and bought higher quality pieces. I still keep the razor as a practice razor for honing. It really is a sight unseen even after polishing it up. Maybe one day I can get that old dog to learn a new trick.

    So back to the original question, I recommend speding a little extra money and getting something you like that will stay with you for a long time.
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2012
  8. Maher & Grosh "The Anchor" - 5/8", extra-hollow... Oh wait, that was just MY first - lol

    Opinions and your mileage may vary but start with a real razor, not a shavette. Lots of people swear by wedges but I never appreciated mine. I think a half- or quarter-hollow grind in 5/8 would be about perfect for a beginner.

    If you "need" new, then one of Jarrod's:

  9. I really can not agree with this more. Anything but a shavette.
  10. I would say a 5/8 razor with a round point. A square point can really bite you if you're not careful. This video helped me the most.

    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 6, 2017
  11. Haves anyones mentions Larry at whippeddogs?
  12. I like that sponge he uses! And the alum block for finger traction, have to try that!

    Question, he seems to be using his right hand for his left side WTG and his left hand for his right side. I usually see it taught the opposite way. This guy is however rocking it. What would be the advantages of this technique. Maybe easier to see what you are doing in the mirror?
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 6, 2017
  13. The advantage is that's what he's comfortable with. You use what you're comfortable with.
  14. Ok! However it does seem like its a nice instructable video, he's taken the time to shoot it and edit it to show what he is doing. Taken as that, as someone who wants to learn, maybe it is a valid question to ask to the mentors out there?
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2012
  15. Legion

    Legion Moderator Emeritus

    As you practice you will find that you will freely swap hands throught the shave, depending on the angle of attack and growth of the hair. Everybody does it a little differently, but being an ambidextrous shaver is a big help, so practice that, even though it is hard in beginning.
  16. Ok, I must have asked the question wrong, but that's ok. Lets get back on track to the original poster.
    thanks everyone.
  17. +1 Good luck and welcome to the forum!
  18. A28


    I hope someone has a good answer my first straight was off of ebay and it was 4/8 nedless to say i cut myself pretty good....

  19. Marco

    Marco Steward Contributor

    I'd go for a professionally honed blade in 5/8 Fullow Hollow. Any vintage blade would be perfect. Among new I'd consider Boker.
  20. One with a sharp blade is best. That is a somewhat flippant answer, but my point is that having a razor which is sharp and can be easily maintained is more important that the razor brand. Though some razors are surely better quality than others.

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