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Finishers that give the most comfortable edge (and are easy to use).

I've been shaving with professionally hones straights that were finished with jnats and diamond-pasted balsa progressions. Even though the shave went well during the process of shaving (in other words the edge didn't feel harsh while I was actually shaving), I am getting a sting or light burning sensation that lasts half or most of the day. I am not sure if the edges are just too aggressive for me. In the DE world, my sensitive skin doesn't do well with feathers either. This leads me to the question...

If you had to select a finisher based on an emphasis on how comfortable the edge it provided was - what would you select? The slight kicker is that I am new to this and I am also asking for something easy to use (and relatively consistent for a newbie) which basically rules out coticules. If I can't stop the burn, I may have to go back to DEs (say it isn't so).

Thank you in advance!
 
I think with more experience the irritation will decrease. That said, for an easy close comfortable shave a naniwa 12k superstone sets a high standard. A few strokes on that after an 8k superstone and you are good to go. Will not be hyper-keen like a diamond pasted balsa. Much easier than a JNAT, in general. Coticules are known for their comfortable shaves, which has been my experience too. That said, there is no question they are harder to use than a naniwa 12k. You buy 10 different naniwa 12k stones and they will be identical for a intents and purposes. You buy 10 coticules and none will be like the other. You want easy use a synth, after that, if you want, you can try a natural finisher.

I used a 1k naniwa chosera, or 1k naniwa traditional (cheap but nice soaker), 3k naniwa superstone, 8k superstone, then the 12k superstone and had great results. IIRC, I read Ralf Aust sends out the razors he makes with a 12k SS edge. Don't quote me on that...
 
After my mystery Jnat, coticules do give the most comfortable edge for me.

They are not that tricky to use if you are just finishing on them, but it really depends on the stone. I do touch ups at the sink, giving the hone a quick rinse every five laps, and use a light touch. That’s it.

Maybe send your razor to a honer who uses coticules and see if it fixes your problem first. If the razor is properly honed on a coti and you are still getting irritation then the issue is probably your technique.
 
It could be the edge, yes. But it takes a while to learn, and to teach your hands, just how little pressure you should be using when shaving with an SR. Once I finally fully absorbed that lesson, irritation was a thing of the past, unless I mess up.

While I too have a magic mystery JNat that makes comfortable-but-keen edges, I also find that the Suehiro Gokumyo 20K produces edges that have admirable characteristics in a similar sort of way.
 
I agree with @SilverSteel on this. I also suggest that you maintain your SR on a 0.1μm diamond pasted balsa strop after each and every shave. It is particularly important to include the short X-strokes on this balsa strop. That is a game changer for shaving comfort.

Remember, the keener the edge the flatter the shave angle. Forget that 30° stuff mentioned on YouTube. Shave with a gap of just a half to one spine thickness between the blade's spine and your skin.

Shave with enough pressure to just remove the lather. Don't worry about cutting your whiskers. If the edge is truly shave-ready, they will come away with the lather.

This morning I did a six-pass SR shave on my neck (WTG + 2 x XTG + 3 x ATG) for a BBS result without any skin damage or irritation.
 
@catchacoolbreeze, as a SR shaving n00bie, you probably still have a lot to learn. SR shave daily to more quickly build up muscle memory. Things should start falling into place at around 30 SR shaves. By 100 shaves, you should be nearing perfection. Not shaving daily will greatly increase those numbers.

Now for some n00bie tips:
  • Don't try for a BBS result. That will come naturally as your technique develops.
  • Strop about 50 to 60 laps on clean leather before each shave. Hold the leather tight and strop with such little pressure against the strop that there is almost no noticeable deflection of the strop.
  • If using diamond pasted balsa strops (and you should after each shave), never strop on pasted cloth or leather.
  • If you haven't already done so, assembly yourself three diamond pasted balsa strops; 0.5μm, 0.25μm and 0.1μm. They are cheap and easy to use. With them, your SR should never need to touch a whetstone or lapping film again.
 
More than likely your irritation is due to you being a beginner. I agree that a coticule isn't nearly as hard to use as most make it out to be. If you are looking for the most comfortable edge the coticule would be high on my list. You can use it as just a finisher at first, no harder to use than any other stone.

You will mess up an edge more than once being new, I know I did. Just keep at it and it will all click at some point.
 
“Finished with jnats and diamond-pasted balsa progressions.”

So, that is an interesting combination and perhaps a source of your problem. First look at your edges with magnification. What you are describing sounds like a failed microchipped edge.

If a razor is properly finished on a Jnat, you do not need a diamond pasted balsa “progression” or any paste. And if you finish on a Diamond balsa progression, you do not need to finish on a Jnat.

Also, as said it is common for new stropper to roll an edge in but a few laps. What you are experiencing is not unusual.

Get some 60/100 magnification and take a look at your edges.
 
After my mystery Jnat, coticules do give the most comfortable edge for me.

They are not that tricky to use if you are just finishing on them, but it really depends on the stone. I do touch ups at the sink, giving the hone a quick rinse every five laps, and use a light touch. That’s it.

Maybe send your razor to a honer who uses coticules and see if it fixes your problem first. If the razor is properly honed on a coti and you are still getting irritation then the issue is probably your technique.
Great suggestion - may I ask if you can recommend anyone that provides coti honing? I vaguely remember reading about a name in the UK that provides excellent coti honing but I would like to try to keep it in the states if possible.
 
@catchacoolbreeze are you doing your short x-strokes at the end of your .1 balsa stropping? Both heel leading and toe leading. Many of us have found that 20-30 short x-stroke laps (so, 10-15 heel leading and 10-15 toe leading) makes a pretty significant difference in comfort.

That said I think the question you're asking is valuable and worth discussing; it's one I'm interested in too.
Yes I am doing x-strokes. I definitely remember seeing that towards the end of the massive thread on the subject. That being said I am not ruling out that its my honing ability :)

Even if its just my fault, - like you I think its a valuable subject that I am interested in learning about.
 
Great suggestion - may I ask if you can recommend anyone that provides coti honing? I vaguely remember reading about a name in the UK that provides excellent coti honing but I would like to try to keep it in the states if possible.
@Doc226 Comes pretty highly recommended. I'm not sure what he normally hones with, but I'd be surprised if he couldn't finish with a coticule on request.
 
It could be the edge, yes. But it takes a while to learn, and to teach your hands, just how little pressure you should be using when shaving with an SR. Once I finally fully absorbed that lesson, irritation was a thing of the past, unless I mess up.

While I too have a magic mystery JNat that makes comfortable-but-keen edges, I also find that the Suehiro Gokumyo 20K produces edges that have admirable characteristics in a similar sort of way.

Gokumyo 20k after 8k.
Foolproof.

wow - I would have never thought a synthetic would be recommended as comfortable over naturals. I love the fact that the synthetic is consistent in that its not the stone lottery when purchasing. What do you recommend as a way to use it to touch up an edge that is dull from a bunch of shaves? Does it require a two stone progression? Can you really jump from 8k to 20k?
 
Shave with enough pressure to just remove the lather. Don't worry about cutting your whiskers. If the edge is truly shave-ready, they will come away with the lather.

This morning I did a six-pass SR shave on my neck (WTG + 2 x XTG + 3 x ATG) for a BBS result without any skin damage or irritation.
As for being shave ready - they are passing HTT and tree topping. I will definitely be more mindful of my pressure either way. The way you describe shaving with just enough pressure to remove lather seems way to light to me. That would be even less pressure than what the razor actually weighs! I will do my best though!

As for you 6 pass shave - with those sharp edges you get, I have no doubt you have no skin damage. That being said, I must ask - is you skin still attached to your face or did it come right off? 🤪🤪
 
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