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First ATG straight razor shave (parital)

Got the bug again (I should spend less time on line I think) and got the stones out. Honed up one of my Gold Dollar 208s, easy peasy, and set the bevel on a Bester 1200, polished on a Naniw Blue Aoto, then a King 6k, and finished on one of AJ's slates (not sure which one) and stropped. Couldn't find my pasted wood strop, I saw it a couple days ago, but it's gone into hiding so I didn't use it like I planned.

Being a nut case, I then whipped up some cold lather and slapped it on and started shaving my cheeks.

Believe it or not, it wasn't bad. Blade is not sharp enough yet, so will probably go back to the bevel setter this weekend and work it up again, taking more time, but I actually have a BBS shave where I ran against the grain, at least as close as I usually get with a DE, and only a few tiny weepers. A little irritation from scraping, and I expect I'd get a better shave after a shower, but I and the blade both survived the experiment!

I can see why using a straight is popular, once I figure it all out and learn not to slice any body parts off, the shave is wonderful, and once I go the pressure right, pretty comfortable too. Very close where I managed the ATG well too!

So I guess my DE blades are gonna end up lasting me more than 410 years if I figure this straight razor thing out.....
Well done on your shave. No harm in not going ATG, some people get irritation regardless of the sharpness of the blade.

I always say when starting with a straight the main objective is to keep the blood on the inside of the skin, and removing hair comes second.

As you get more familiar with using a straight and your confidence increases, go for the XTG and/or ATG if you are so inclined. Just remember that patience is required as razors can bite.
Unless straight razors work enough differently than safety razors, ATG is a requirement, not an option for me. But we will see!
Unless straight razors work enough differently than safety razors, ATG is a requirement, not an option for me. But we will see!
You might be surprised. 99% of the time I shave with a straight, but used a DE a couple days ago just for fun. Three passes with the DE gave me about the same closeness as two passes with a well-honed straight. I was surprised actually that the DE shave wasn't closer. To be fair it was a mild razor (Gillette Tech) and I used really light pressure to avoid irritation. The key to a great SR shave is a great edge.
Yup, ATG will tell you how good your edge is. Coming off your first Gold Dollar, eBay slates are probably in the 6k range occasionally, a bit higher, maybe, with good technique and no slurry. But there are way better edges in your future.

You can drop the Blue Aoto from the progression, it is not doing anything the 6k cant. Stropping on paste Chrome Oxide or .50 um CBN may improve the slate edge if the bevels are meeting fully.

Look straight down on the edge with magnification, any shiny spots are where the bevels are not meeting or a rolled edge.

Good news, you are probably very close to a good shaving edge.
Agree with boonshaft above, you're probably getting pretty close. My first couple of tries I was really proud of, and thought I did great. I took a vintage razor off ebay that wouldn't shave leg hair and got it to actually kinda shave in a reasonable amount of time. Proud Ole me thought I had mastered it in a day! (I have been honing knives and woodworking tools foe years, after all, so I had some experience). Alas, I was probably about where you are right now. Close, but with room for significant improvement.

As a side note, i recently shaved with one of my early razors that I put away because I didn't care for the blade shape. I was proud of that edge too, thinking at the time I had one of the best edges yet. A couple of shaves with it and I moved on to better razors. I took it out about a month ago, as I plan to give it away. That edge that was my "best yet" at the time seems barely mediocre now. Keep at it, 6 months from now it will begin to be ingrained and you'll be good to go.
My first ATG shave with a straight was last night. As advised allowed myself plenty of time and went slowly. Was a bit daunting but got through it without any nicks. I wanted to crack open a bottle of wine to celebrate. It’s only the start but hopefully things will only get better
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