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First Straight Razor - Any advice?

Hey guys,

I'm looking to invest in my first straight razor. Any advice? At the moment I am considering a 6/8 inch (although, I read only it's recommended to start with a 5/8 inch) wide rounded blade with some hollow curvature on the grind. I have been browsing a few websites that include Art of shaving (which, frankly, seems rather expensive compared to other sites), classicedge (a canadian website), westcoast shaving, and menessentials. Any recommendations as to reputable vendors for quality products?
 
Talk to Larry over at whippeddog.com. He has a sight unseen razor that are a cheap price. They are nothing pretty but for a first razor on a budget he is not bad that I have heard. I have not bought from him directly but have gotten one of his razors from the B&B B/S/T page. That is another place you can find a shave ready razor here on the B/S/T. If you buy from AoS you are paying for their name on someone else's razor and their name means something to them. If you are looking for something new I have used Straight Razor Design, The Superior Shave and Maggard Razors.
 
before you use your new razor, make sure the bevel is set correctly and the razor is honed by a honemeister otherwise it will not shave. I have purchased razors from SRD and they come in honed and shave ready. You can't beat a Aust for quality, shave and price.
 
Well, its been over a year. Samuel, did you ever buy your first razor yet? If not, I can recommend a Dovo Bismarck from the superiorshave.com, which will ship shave ready. A great razor, a pretty good edge, and a respected vendor.
 

steveclarkus

Goose Poop Connoisseur
Amazon has a Gold Dollar W62 for $24. It has real ebony wood scales and the blade is finished quite well and I'll guarantee it is a better razor than a Dovo Best at a quarter of the price. You will have to have someone hone it for you but it will be worth it. Get it quickly because if tariffs are imposed the price may go up to $25 or $26.:001_smile
 
Amazon has a Gold Dollar W62 for $24. It has real ebony wood scales and the blade is finished quite well and I'll guarantee it is a better razor than a Dovo Best at a quarter of the price. You will have to have someone hone it for you but it will be worth it. Get it quickly because if tariffs are imposed the price may go up to $25 or $26.:001_smile

Sorry to revive an old thread, but I was about to start a new one asking the exact same question. This looks like solid advice. They've got one now for $10. I'm going to see what sort of damage I can do with that, a 12K stone, and a leather strop.
 
What did you buy for 10 bucks? If you went with a Gold Dollar remember it needs to be sent out for honing before you can use it. Most razors you will find need this service unless your buying from a custom maker of razors. Then the cost will go WAY UP from 10 bucks. Buying from the B.S.T. will get you a razor honed already and ready to shave with. Good luck with whatever you bought and let us know what it was. Hopefully not an RSO. :a47:

BTW, That means, Razor Shaped Object. Those will never shave but look perty on the wall. :)
 
What did you buy for 10 bucks? If you went with a Gold Dollar remember it needs to be sent out for honing before you can use it. Most razors you will find need this service unless your buying from a custom maker of razors. Then the cost will go WAY UP from 10 bucks. Buying from the B.S.T. will get you a razor honed already and ready to shave with. Good luck with whatever you bought and let us know what it was. Hopefully not an RSO. :a47:

BTW, That means, Razor Shaped Object. Those will never shave but look perty on the wall. :)
Does not need to be sent anywhere. That's an old wives tale. Get a pack of films for $30 and so it yourself.
 
What did you buy for 10 bucks? If you went with a Gold Dollar remember it needs to be sent out for honing before you can use it. Most razors you will find need this service unless your buying from a custom maker of razors. Then the cost will go WAY UP from 10 bucks. Buying from the B.S.T. will get you a razor honed already and ready to shave with. Good luck with whatever you bought and let us know what it was. Hopefully not an RSO. :a47:

BTW, That means, Razor Shaped Object. Those will never shave but look perty on the wall. :)
I'm with ya. I'm making two assumptions. (1) If I stick with this, I'll want to be able to hone my own blade(s). (2) I can use this RSO to learn to hone.

If I give up, I'm out $9.99 and still have a 12k stone and a strop I can use with my other blades (knives).

Here's the RSO:

https://www.amazon.com/Straight-without-stabilizer-straight-acrylic/dp/B07515QTX9

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk
 
I'm with ya. I'm making two assumptions. (1) If I stick with this, I'll want to be able to hone my own blade(s). (2) I can use this RSO to learn to hone.

If I give up, I'm out $9.99 and still have a 12k stone and a strop I can use with my other blades (knives).

Here's the RSO:

https://www.amazon.com/Straight-without-stabilizer-straight-acrylic/dp/B07515QTX9

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk

It's a gold dollar, so it is a razor, not an RSO. RSOs won't either take an edge, or hold an edge. Their temper/hardening is wrong for being a razor. Gold dollars just need to be honed, they will then be usable.
 
Sweet! I'm pumped.
It's a gold dollar, so it is a razor, not an RSO. RSOs won't either take an edge, or hold an edge. Their temper/hardening is wrong for being a razor. Gold dollars just need to be honed, they will then be usable.

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk
 
What brand 12k stone?

Regardless, the 12k is only a finisher. You cannot set a bevel with that level of stone. Well, you could, but it would take a very long time and you would definitely wear that stone down a lot. And you would have to re lap several times, I think. Have you lapped your stone? It needs to be lapped before use and lapped again periodically. Honing a razor from scratch calls for a bevel setter, a couple of intermediate grit stones, and a finisher. Sometimes a coarse repair stone before the bevel setter. Same goes for lapping film except of course you don't have to lap your lapping film, just use it on a verifiably flat base.

It is exceedingly difficult and potentially frustrating and confusing to try to learn to hone a razor that you are also trying to learn to shave with. I once recommended absolutely against even trying this. I still think it is way harder than simply starting out with a sharp razor, experiencing the edge, learning to shave and appreciate what the razor does and how it behaves on the face, and THEN learning to hone it once it gets dull. However lately it has been a thing, for newbies to start out with an unproven razor, hone it using The Method, testing for sharpness using the treetop test or the HHT, and then try shaving with it. Shaving arm hair is no test of a razor. It is a test of a pocketknife. A razor is levels of magnitude sharper than that. It should treetop, or else give a solid HHT4, for a nice easy shave. Your pocketknife can't do that. Check out the Newbie Honing Compendium. READ the base threads beginning to end. They will answer all of your questions. If you can follow directions, you can probably learn to hone, and get it right by probably the second or third attempt. Maybe even the first time at bat, if you don't try to freestyle it or leave out stuff or substitute stuff. The Method is inexpensive, easy to learn, even for a newbie, and gives better than professional quality edges once you are nailing it. A 12k rock by itself does not a Method Edge make.

A Gold Dollar is nice steel. Crudely ground, and having IMHO rather poor geometry, but it can certainly be made to shave and GDs have many happy owners. Properly honed, it will give you way more than your money's worth.
 
Good stuff. Thanks. I should have mentioned that I already own a 1k, 3k, 6k, & 8k for other applications, but nothing finer than that. I'm going to have to spend some time on each of them with my flattening stone.

I read good things about Naniwa and didn't mind spending the extra $ on something I can get other uses from.

I'll check out The Method.

You're probably right, and it will frustrate me to the point of quitting. I'll report back either way. I've never been one who's shy about admitting a mistake, else I wouldn't have much to say ;).

Thanks!
What brand 12k stone?

Regardless, the 12k is only a finisher. You cannot set a bevel with that level of stone. Well, you could, but it would take a very long time and you would definitely wear that stone down a lot. And you would have to re lap several times, I think. Have you lapped your stone? It needs to be lapped before use and lapped again periodically. Honing a razor from scratch calls for a bevel setter, a couple of intermediate grit stones, and a finisher. Sometimes a coarse repair stone before the bevel setter. Same goes for lapping film except of course you don't have to lap your lapping film, just use it on a verifiably flat base.

It is exceedingly difficult and potentially frustrating and confusing to try to learn to hone a razor that you are also trying to learn to shave with. I once recommended absolutely against even trying this. I still think it is way harder than simply starting out with a sharp razor, experiencing the edge, learning to shave and appreciate what the razor does and how it behaves on the face, and THEN learning to hone it once it gets dull. However lately it has been a thing, for newbies to start out with an unproven razor, hone it using The Method, testing for sharpness using the treetop test or the HHT, and then try shaving with it. Shaving arm hair is no test of a razor. It is a test of a pocketknife. A razor is levels of magnitude sharper than that. It should treetop, or else give a solid HHT4, for a nice easy shave. Your pocketknife can't do that. Check out the Newbie Honing Compendium. READ the base threads beginning to end. They will answer all of your questions. If you can follow directions, you can probably learn to hone, and get it right by probably the second or third attempt. Maybe even the first time at bat, if you don't try to freestyle it or leave out stuff or substitute stuff. The Method is inexpensive, easy to learn, even for a newbie, and gives better than professional quality edges once you are nailing it. A 12k rock by itself does not a Method Edge make.

A Gold Dollar is nice steel. Crudely ground, and having IMHO rather poor geometry, but it can certainly be made to shave and GDs have many happy owners. Properly honed, it will give you way more than your money's worth.

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk
 
I started the end of September '18 had never honed a SR or shaved with one. After much to do about nothing from the experts, I finally found a friend who had recently went through then process. He told me to follow the burr method where you do 40 plus laps on a progression films sourced from eBay ( 30, 12, 9, 3, 1, .3, .5 microns) affixed by water suction on a piece of marble tile I found at Home Depot $4 followed by stopping of one type or another. The first time I honed a razor and used it I was surprised how simple the whole process had been. It dispelled the myths often perpetrated by the experts that honing it complicated.

Since then I have honed close to 9 razors, the wedges with tape and the hollow grounded ones without.

As to stropping, I have a hanging Illinois strop of horse hide and firehose linen. I have a paddle strop with one side for use with chromium oxide. I have balsa with diamond that I follow Slash's directions of how to hold.

There are at least two sellers I have used that understand what it means to provide "shave ready". However, you will pay more if you only purchase from these sellers. I've found several of my best at estate sellers and honed them myself for $10-30 depending mostly on age and condition.
 
I currently sharpen tools by drawing a burr on each side, then finishing. Good to know that can still be applied here.

Thanks!
I started the end of September '18 had never honed a SR or shaved with one. After much to do about nothing from the experts, I finally found a friend who had recently went through then process. He told me to follow the burr method where you do 40 plus laps on a progression films sourced from eBay ( 30, 12, 9, 3, 1, .3, .5 microns) affixed by water suction on a piece of marble tile I found at Home Depot $4 followed by stopping of one type or another. The first time I honed a razor and used it I was surprised how simple the whole process had been. It dispelled the myths often perpetrated by the experts that honing it complicated.

Since then I have honed close to 9 razors, the wedges with tape and the hollow grounded ones without.

As to stropping, I have a hanging Illinois strop of horse hide and firehose linen. I have a paddle strop with one side for use with chromium oxide. I have balsa with diamond that I follow Slash's directions of how to hold.

There are at least two sellers I have used that understand what it means to provide "shave ready". However, you will pay more if you only purchase from these sellers. I've found several of my best at estate sellers and honed them myself for $10-30 depending mostly on age and condition.

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk
 
I currently sharpen tools by drawing a burr on each side, then finishing. Good to know that can still be applied here.

Thanks!

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk
Oh yeah, you are way ahead of me. I've just sharpened pocket utility and kitchen/camp knives before, but never learned how properly.
 
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