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another newb's first straight shave

aside from snagging this puppy today, my experience with straights is rather... lacking.

no more!

i just finished my first straight shave with a gold monkey 777 7/8".

the blade was said to be shave ready, and i'm not doubting that, although i'm not sure what my expectations were for sharpness. there was a bit more tugging than i initially expected, but i managed 3 wtg passes on my cheeks with no blood and very slight irritation. when i rub my face wtg, i can't feel stubble, so i'll call it a rousing success.

i didn't strop the blade before the shave just in case i might do something wrong and not know it. i did strop post shave to help dry the blade. my only hope is the post shave strop didn't roll the edge cause i think i'm really going to start enjoying this! :thumbup:
 
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Congratulations on the first straight shave. I look forward to hearing more of your experiences, as you learn this new, and exciting skill. :w00t:
 

Luc

Moderator Emeritus
Congrats on the first shave. Don't worry too much at the moment for the sharpness of the blade. If it doesn't feel right, don't force it.

I thought that my first blade was dull too but it wasn't. With time (~ shave 12) the blade magically turned into a cutting machine without any honing.

My technique got better I guess... This takes pratice...
 
I got a honed razor from Lynn Abrams, maybe the top honemeister at StraightRazorPlace.com. Similarly to Luc's experience, I was also disappointed with the edge sharpness. Somehow I had the idea that shave ready edges would slice off the beard at skin level like cutting thru butter. It didn't, but even pulled like a dull blade.

Some areas of my beard are sliced like butter, like on my cheeks. But, for the tougher areas, here's what I have to do with even the sharpest edges...

* Lay blade almost flat and slice off tops of whiskers in first WTG pass.
* Relather and shave WTG again with blade held higher closer to 30 degrees.

If I reduce the length of the beard while shaving WTG, until the beard is cut down to skin level, everything else works well. (Like setting a mower level high on the first pass, and setting it lower for the rest of the lawn mowing.)

As an aside, even with tough spots of beard, once I worked slices and scything motions in, they often surrender to one WTG pass. But, that takes a little practice.

It comes!
 
+1 to the above...

I'll also mention that, for me, it all sorta came together after hearing a barber mention (in some youtube vid) that "straight razor shaving should be done with the wrist" and not the elbow or shoulder... or something to that effect.

..that and stropping with VERY light pressure and more strokes, gets better results than the other way around.

Enjoy.. it'll just keep getting better the more you do it.

Jake
 
shave #2 tonight. not quite as close as #1. i tried the neck tonight, as well as xtg on my cheeks. it was slightly more awkward to hold for xtg, but i managed. i had some spots on the neck near my adams apple that pulled and hurt a lot. the strange thing was if i had felt the equivalent feeling while using a de that would have meant i would most likely be reaching for the styptic pencil. with the straight, only minor irritation.

question on stropping:
what should i be listening for? i know my technique is far from perfect, but some strokes had more of a ringing sound while others made just a rubbing-on-leather sound. i'm guessing the ringing is bad...most likely i'm lifting the spine off the strop?

please tell me i'm not rolling the edge...:mad3:
 
Good to hear you made it through shave number 2. Had my first today. I will refrain from giving advice as I have none. But I offer you my encouragement and a wish for many fine subsequent shaves.
 
hmm. shave #3 tonight. the only good thing about this is i'm so terrible at it so far that i have PLENTY of stubble left to shave the next day. i'm usually a 2-3 day shaver, just to give my face a rest.

anyway, i hardly feel like anything is getting cut anymore. i have what could be a day or two worth of stubble... post shave. my face is puffy when i'm done, as if i've been pulling hairs, not cutting them. a quick check of the lather revealed very few hairs, compared to a dark brown swath when i'm shaving with a de.

i don't want to give up. i don't. i don't want to cry foul and say it wasn't honed right. it came shave ready so i'm trying to use it and learn. i've read enough threads of new shavers disappointedly blaming the honemeister and i don't want to go that route. i want to own up and admit i can't shave with this thing, but i don't know what to do different. i do get one free honing, but i feel like that's giving up if i ask for a re-honing so close to the start. given all the variables, it has to be my technique and not the razor...



...right? grrrrr.
 
well following a disappointing shave #3, i decided to strop the heck out of my razor. just as i was about to pick up my ken rup filly, i remembered the rough side has CrOx! huzzah! i stropped ~40 laps on that side then did ~50-60 on the regular side.

i can't quite call the resulting shave "butter", but it was sooo much nicer than shave #3. my angle seems to be coming together, as well as my ability to stretch my skin in ways i never thought possible.

the neck is still a little rough, but my cheeks are the smoothest they've been yet (with a straight).

my stropping technique is better than when i started by orders of magnitude. i haven't nicked it yet, and my thoughts are turning to canvas/linen/leather combos.

hope is restored!:thumbup:
 
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There you go :thumbup1:

It is only a question of keep at it. The learning curve is steeper and longer than it is for a DE - you are adding more parameters that has to be right, and getting them all to play together is hard.

You are not doing bad, you are only at shave #4 :biggrin1:
 
well following a disappointing shave #3, i decided to strop the heck out of my razor. just as i was about to pick up my ken rup filly, i remembered the rough side has CrOx! huzzah! i stropped ~40 laps on that side then did ~50-60 on the regular side.
Woah, slow down on the CrOx. I think most people recommend like 10 laps and then check it.

In response to your previous question, shaving with a straight should have a crispy sound like you're spreading butter on toast.
 
The neck was the hardest part for me to get as well. I pull my neck skin up pretty high on my cheek (check out Joel's video) which allows me to shave a good portion of the neck at a nice flat angle. Whatever is left on the neck I get by turning my head to the opposite side and stretching the neck skin downwards with my free hand. Hard to describe in words but give it time, you will develop your own stretch method variations.
 
shave 5 today. i'm beginning to trust my stropping skills. i did somewhere north of 80 strokes on my kenrup filly and the blade was adequately sharp. i think my poorer shaves were because of inadequate stropping.

i just got my new charismata soaps in the mail today, so i switched it up and used the very vetyver with a custom 24mm boar restore. as always, the blade was my gold monkey 777 7/8" round point.

the shave was not bad at all. i'm learning confidence in my strokes. when i first started i had hesitation as i brought the blade to my face--not from fear, but just wanting to make sure my angle was right and the blade was lined up where i wanted it. this led to several hesitant touches of the blade to my face, and truth be told i'm not sure how i managed to ever do that without a nice jumpy gash. now i'm much more comfortable bringing the blade up to my face and shaving.

i actually did atg on my face and neck, which was a big jump for me. it's the best straight shave i've had so far. (not bbs, mind you. i've never had true bbs on my neck even with the best de shave. there's just something about a couple patches of hair i can't get right.) with practice, atg on my neck should go very well indeed. :thumbup1:
 

Alacrity59

Wanting for wisdom
Moderator Emeritus
Contributor
shave 5 today. i'm beginning to trust my stropping skills. i did somewhere north of 80 strokes on my kenrup filly and the blade was adequately sharp. i think my poorer shaves were because of inadequate stropping.

i just got my new charismata soaps in the mail today, so i switched it up and used the very vetyver with a custom 24mm boar restore. as always, the blade was my gold monkey 777 7/8" round point.

the shave was not bad at all. i'm learning confidence in my strokes. when i first started i had hesitation as i brought the blade to my face--not from fear, but just wanting to make sure my angle was right and the blade was lined up where i wanted it. this led to several hesitant touches of the blade to my face, and truth be told i'm not sure how i managed to ever do that without a nice jumpy gash. now i'm much more comfortable bringing the blade up to my face and shaving.

i actually did atg on my face and neck, which was a big jump for me. it's the best straight shave i've had so far. (not bbs, mind you. i've never had true bbs on my neck even with the best de shave. there's just something about a couple patches of hair i can't get right.) with practice, atg on my neck should go very well indeed. :thumbup1:
Congrats on the ATG. Stropping is important. I think it has been somewhat de-emphasized in videos as it is boring as heck to watch. I've noticed an occasional bad shave when I press down to hard while stropping. Fortunately it seems that if I strop really lightly any damage I did is repaired. It seems that the lightness issue is the key to so many things with straight shaving. 1) finishing with light strokes on honing 2) finishing with light strokes on stropping 3) using light strokes while shaving and cutting beard and not face

Mike
 
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