Cartridge to R41 to Cut-Throat

Discussion in 'General Straight Razor Talk' started by Jakebullet, Dec 10, 2018.

    Shave 94 and 6 today.
    Put on some of the Proraso Green Preshave which I haven’t used for weeks, then lathered with Proraso green soap. I got a great chill from this combo must be because I haven’t used in a while. The blade was smooth and sharp, it gets better each day. I gave it 3 smart passes but left the touch up pass out as I was running late. I used the alum today as I swear it takes 5 years off me but if I leave it on for a couple of minutes it reddens my face real nice so I have to be careful with it.
    Anyway a good shave today but not a brilliant one. Try to do better tomorrow.
  1. Shave 95 and 7 on the Friodur since honing.
    I bought a tub of Wilkinson Sword shaving soap from the supermarket yesterday for £2.50 so thought I’d give it a try today.
    It has a nice fresh zesty scent and it lathered really easily. The lather it made was fine and went on great. For the price it’s a good old buy, no complaints!
    I was late this morning and I’d often been curious as to how a 2 pass shave with the straight would go so I tried it today.
    Wtg then atg. What a rubbish shave. I really do need the 3+ passes to do the job right. It’s now 4 hours later and I could justify another shave. In fact, I think I’ll have one! Every cloud...
  2. Shave 96 and 8
    I was so unhappy with my 2 pass shave and the way it left my face feeling that I decided to do a second shave in a day and hopefully put brings right.
    My first shave was 9am and my second was about 2pm. I had a feeling this might leave my face raw so I used the Tabac soap which is always slick and cushioning. I did 3 gentle passes and got a nice smooth shave, but it definitely stung a little as I went along. I gave my face a long cold rinse then used Speick aftershave. My face is smooth but red, stingy and raw looking. Two straight razor shaves so close together is definitely too rough for my face and I may even need a rest day tomorrow let’s wait and see.
  3. That’s some decent cheap honing starter advice For sure. Start cheap with a high potential to land in the ball park on the first try or two.

    I’m normally opposed to anyone talking about honing like it’s baking since all the steels vary significantly and there are often issues you can’t diagnose just counting laps blindly. 40 laps on a Tanifuji quarter hollow is not 40 laps on a Genco full hollow... but nobody is denying that, people just want the comfort of specific directions to follow.
  4. Rocks.

    I have just about one of everything from sharpening woodworking tools, so I experiment a lot with razors. My favorite so far is Fine-ish carborundum, soft Ark, very hard antique mottled Ark, then hard JNAT base stone (awasedo) with a few options for slurry stones. I have coticules and the hard Ark will actually make a shaving edge, but nothing is really close to the combination of comfortable and sharp that I get from the right combo of JNATs.
  5. Shave 97
    I used the Thomas Turner & Co 5/ths today.
    I lathered up with a Speick shave stick which did a great job.
    I’d forgotten how nice and smooth and sharp this razor is. It was born in fire over 20 years before I was and who knows what kind of life it’s had these 6 or 7 decades, but it’s with me for now and we’ll do this part of our respective journeys together.
    I did a quick 3.5 pass shave and got a BBS everywhere even my top lip. One of my best ever efforts and very welcome following the few weeks of rough shaves I’ve been enduring while trying to learn a little honing.
    A lovely long icy cold rinse then a splash of Speick which burned real nice. I gave it 10 mins to let the scent fade then had a couple of sprays of Geo F Trumper Sandalwood Cologne. Love that stuff and it lasts for hours on me. It’s days like this which remind me why I love the straight so much.
  6. Shave 98, and about number 7 on the Thomas Turner since a 7 lap (decent) CrOx refresh a few months ago.
    Yesterday’s shave was so good that as I went to sleep I felt my still mostly bbs face and wondered if I’d have anything to cut in the morning. Needn’t have worried, it was back in full force just like every morning.
    I lathered with the Palmolive shave stick today and got to work. I was a bit hungover after a late night and a couple of scotches but still in good form.
    The blade felt smooth and easy again and I got another really good shave. Not perfect like yesterday but very close.
    Cold rinse, a lick of the alum, a splash of Speick and I’m into the car and off to a meeting feeling a lot fresher than when I woke up.
  7. Shave 99
    Number 8 on Thomas Turner & Co.
    I used the Wilkinson Sword blue tub again today but I doubt I’ll use it again. It smells good and lathers quickly but the lather isn’t the best in terms of protection against the worst of the blade. It doesn’t really compare well at all to say Proraso or Tabac although it is much cheaper but the £0.50p stick of Palmolive blows it right out of the water. After my usual 3 pass shave my face feels a little rough, not smooth and soft like i’m used to. Not a great post shave feel. I’ve found you can’t mess around where a lather and a straight are concerned. If the lather isn’t right get ready for discomfort.
  8. Shave 100
    I gave my Henckels Friodur 8 laps on the decent CrOx I’ve got to try to give it that touch of extra sharpness. Then I lathered up with Hawkins & Brimble cream.
    The shave felt really smooth and easy while I was doing it but I’ve got a big red face after it. But I’ve found this often happens to me with a newly refreshed razor, it generally takes a few shaves to sort itself out.

    Well it’s my first 100 shaves milestone but I’m still very much a novice having been at this just over 3 months.
    The other stages or milestones I hit on the way were:

    1. First contact. That first shave was a scary one. This way of shaving is dangerous there’s no way to sugar coat it. Especially in the first few weeks, and mistakes mean blood, cuts and a piece of steel of almost infinite sharpness stuck somewhere in your face. Nothing really felt natural during this first shave and I hardly breathed all the way through it. I did push myself and went wtg xtg(a bit) and atg on my first try and I used my left hand as well as my right from the very first shave. I’m glad I did as there are no shortcuts to developing that kind of muscle memory so the sooner you start the better. It was exhilarating and though scary I couldn’t wait for my 2nd try at it the next morning.
    2. The left hand. I was surprised just how quickly my left hand caught up. Every day i felt a big improvement from the day before. On my first shave I was so tense with it that my arm felt like I’d been curling a weight. It actually got tired during each pass. Now my left is every bit the equal of my right when it comes to shaving and I can better access my whole face because of it. There’s nothing like wild left handed lurches at your face with a straight razor on a dark and misty morning to help develop muscle memory and technique.
    3. Ditching the crutch. After 2 or 3 shaves I stopped allowing myself the luxury of a DE touch up pass. This meant if I wanted to leave the house looking tidy then I’d have to pull my finger out and really learn to use this thing. Plus I hated the idea of needing a 2nd razor to do the job. It would’ve been like using a cartridge to finish a DE shave. Making this choice early moved me on considerably I believe and not long after doing it I was rewarded with comparable shaves to my DE. Plus not using the DE let me know which areas I was really missing and I had to adjust and learn new techniques fast so I could hit them.
    4: Consistent lather. The lather for me has to be much wetter than for a DE. But still slick and cushioning.The difference between a smooth close shave and a rough and bloody one is now for me 90% lather. I face lather and I add plenty of water and I find the likes of Proraso Green and Red which are great soaps but not the richest texture-wise, work best. I find some of my slicker soaps can affect the closeness of the cut. I also like Tabac and Palmolive and Speick Shave sticks.

    5. Trying different razors. I started with a 1950’s 5/8ths Thomas Turner & Co Sheffield steel hollow grind which I love. Next I tried a wider blade in a Gold Dollar 66 which is 13/16ths or there about. I liked it a lot as the razor felt heavier which helped cut better and the wider blade meant less rinsing. Next I got a Henckels Friodur 7/8th NOS stainless with a 1/4 hollow grind from the 1970’s. Lovely big blade with serious weight compared to the other two but still well balanced in the hand. My favourite at the minute is probably the 5/8ths Turner & Co as it really seems to like my face and is lovely and soft and smooth. Plus it’s nimble and at the minute I have it just a bit sharper than the other two.

    6. The refresh. Any blade is only as good as it’s edge. I received all my razors shave ready although my first one wasn’t brilliant in this respect so I sent it to be redone. It’s been brilliant since. I knew though that a man should know how to maintain his own razor, I’d have felt like a ***** if I’d had to keep sending them away because I couldn’t sharpen them. I’ve done some experimenting and been able to bring back edges which I’d dulled considerably through rubbish honing technique. I’m really only on the first rung of the honing ladder and the more I try and the more I read, the more I begin to realise how tall that ladder really is. I’ve had to endure some rough learning shaves but I’m pretty confident I can at least keep a razor refreshed and sharp for now.

    7. 50 shaves. This was quite a milestone for me as it was where the daily cuts mostly stopped and bbs started to happen regularly. I became relaxed and comfortable with the thing.

    8. 100 shaves. So now I have an idea of what I like in a razor, I’m happy using different sizes and weights and grinds. I can use it with either hand in all directions wtg, xtg and atg. I can do it in a misty bathroom with hardly any visibility. I use it every single day. I’m quicker than I used to be, with a 3.5 pass shave down to about 30-40 mins which includes a shower, teeth brushing and a bathroom and razor clean up. Though I still take longer than this at weekends and look for bbs. I can whip up a great lather that’s built for purpose. I can go atg on my chin and top lip and have them smooth as anything. I can negotiate the curves and angles of my face without the fear of chopping bits of my face off. I can keep the thing sharp though I still need lots of work on this there’s just so much to learn. I rarely cut myself (at first I was averaging two cuts per shave). So far so good. On the downside I still rash my face up more often than I’d like. I’d like to be quicker. I need to improve my stretching.
  9. Shave 101, 2nd on Friodur after refresh.
    Used TOBS Sandalwood soap today. Great spicy soapy scent and it holds lots of water well, though I’d still give Proraso and Tabac and Palmolive the edge.
    The blade felt nice and smooth today and I was conscious not to use much pressure as I’d had a couple of days of the old red face. My first 2 passes were lovely and smooth. On the third going atg on my chin i lost concentration for a millisecond. I heard myself swear as the edge sank into my chin just as my girlfriend was coming into the bathroom. She laughed and called me a Tourette’s shaver. A little more cautiously I finished the pass then did a touch up. A lovely ice cold rinse then a splash of Speick aftershave which burned like acid for a few seconds then cooled down nicely. Lovely long lasting smooth shave.
  10. An envelope of various sheets of lapping film arrived yesterday.
    This is the listing on eBay with the grits.
    I cut them into 3 inch wide strips today. I fancy having a go at honing one of the two Gold Dollars I have. They’re both shave ready but I want to try resetting a bevel then taking it through a progression as the coarsest thing I’ve used so far has just been the 1u film which I use for refresh. I’m thinking after raising a burr and setting the bevel to do about 50 round laps on each of the grits does this sound about right?
  11. I’m betting you know this, but IMO the grits referenced don’t line up with the micron abrasive size too well if you’re trying a level comparison against common water stones/DMT.

    I think DMT/Atoma “1200” diamond plates are ~9mu, meaning you shouldn’t really need the 30u film unless you want to remove some SERIOUS metal.

    3u is the particle size for the nice brand 5,000 JIS waterstones, only norton tries to pass off 3u abrasive as being 8k but it’s just not there.

    1u abrasive probably puts you in the ballpark of a really nice 8,000 or maybe 10,000 JIS stone. At point any real work is already done, so if you do a few passes (12? 20?) and you aren’t clearly done polishing the full bevel with consistent undercutting the fluid on the film... you need to drop back down and try again.

    .3u I’m guessing puts you around the top Suehiro or Shapton whatever grit they claim... 20k? Probably depends more on the advertising department than any kind of science.

    I’d think 50 laps is overkill on any known good edge, especially if you’re dropping to 9u to start off. Really try to just go each grit until you feel like it’s smoothed out and the fluid undercut looks right making a SLOW pass. Then do a few more laps focusing on minimal pressure, whatever is the lightest you can manage with consistent form. Then you move up the next grit and go until you feel it smoothing out and see nice undercut again, reduce pressure again... really I’d think maybe 20-30 laps total including the no pressure laps on each grit. Maybe even fewer laps and only do light pressure laps on the .3u and strop clean linen/leather and test shave. I would only do “x strokes” to keep things constant until you figure out what other variables make an impact. How long of a strip of film do you have? A lot of time people talk about huge numbers of passes to hone but they may be talking about a 5”x2.5” natural stone, and a 10”x3” strip of fresh film could strip 4 times as many steel particles off per pass! Also if you’re feeling the need to do too many passes on a higher grit things probably aren’t shaped quite right in a lower grit yet.
  12. Also when I say a “few laps” I’m saying like 8-12 with a normal 8”x2” ish stone so figure less if you have something bigger/more aggressive.

    Also also, you can go from stropping/test shave right back to the finest stone for another ~12 laps and you should still easily be reaching the very edge on the stone. A lot of vintage barber hones weren’t actually very fine, they recommended thick lather on the surface and doing a few laps on the stone then strop then laps then strop.... until the edge “felt renewed”
  13. Thanks so much for this a lot of great advice, tons of helpful ideas and plenty of food for thought as always.

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