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First time out, how do you guys do this?

Finally my first straight arrived. So naturally I had to take it out for a test spin. This stropping business definitely seems easier on youtube. But taking it slow I managed. I assume one day things will speed up. Since I normally shave in the morning I just had a quick shower to have some sort of prep. Lathered up, put the blade to my face and it just bumps around, no gliding at all. So I figured I'd better stop instead of injuring myself. Meanwhile my trusty DE was staring at me as if saying: et tu, Brutes...
So I did a quick first WTG pass with the DE. And this was gliding over my face so smoothly. So I figured even though I didn't do a proper prep, the lather seems ok, so I must be having the angles all wrong. So I lather up again and try again with the straight. Better, not the smooth gliding action as with the DE, but at least the blade doesn't seem to try to dig in there. So I reckon the angle was better that time around.

This brings me to my question: How on earth do I see at what angle I am holding it. I mean I either see the angle and might cut off my ear, or I turn my head slightly, save my ear, but the blade is in front of me, so I can't work out the angle. How do you guys do this?

I shaved with the straight WTG, just under the sideburns and the cheeks on both sides. I was impressed with the result though. That one WTG pass does remove as much as two XTG passes with the DE it seems. So all in all I am happy with the results. Left side little less smooth, but that was my first ever holding something sharp with my non dominant hand. And no burn whatsoever. :001_smile

Any tips on checking the blade angle would be very much appreciated. Or should I just fiddle around till it feels it glides instead of drags?

Oops wrong section. Could a mod be so kind to move this to General straight talk. thnx
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keep at it. It took me at least 5 shaves before it felt like it was working. I wouldn't worry too much about exact angle, just make sure it's not too steep otherwise you will scrape more than slice the hairs. Also skin stretching will help the razor glide better. After awhile you will rely more on muscle memory and feel to get the proper angle for the razor you are using.

Also read the stickie pages if you haven't already.

Good luck, and welcome to the masochist, I mean cool kids club.
Start with the blade resting flat on your cheek, then slowly raise the spine until you are cutting whiskers. When you start to feel and hear the whiskers being cut, you have established the correct angle.
Yep... practice... practice... practice...
When I started it took about 45 minutes to shave (2 passes), and a number of re-lathers.

I went WTG for both passes using my left hand for left side of face and neck, then right hand for the right side.

As I progressed and added XTG strokes, I used cross-hand for the XTG strokes on the face, pulling ear to chin. I then added ATG on the neck and I still use only my right hand for both sides of the neck for ATG... trial and error equates to using the method that works :ohmy:
That's the beauty of it... It takes time and practice.

Meaning you'll learn what not to do when you see blood.:lol:

I would recommend laying the razor completely flat against your face. The raise it a bit and just begin downward slowly. Do ~1" strokes to avoid the any cuts and I especially recommend it when the areas around the jawline and chin.


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How do we do it?

Well, now you mention it, we are pretty awesome. :lol:

Nah, just keep practising. In my opinion anybody who says it is easy after their first try is exaggerating.

With the angle it is probably better to have the blade too flat against your face than too steep. After you have done it a while you hand will remember the angle.
Like others have said you can start flat and go from there. Also a nice little tip I picked up here which is especially good starting out is. Do a pass with your DE then do your passes with the straight. It's helpful where you have tough spots or around your chin and lip areas (always the toughest to learn how to do). Since there will be less stubble there you won't have as much as a problem. Also I started out doing my entire face with my dominant hand. It wasn't until I got a lot more comfortable before I tried switching hands. I still primarily use my dominant hand a bit more but I can tell you it's possible to shave your entire face with your dominant hand. With time, practice, and muscle memory you'll get the hang of it.
Thanks for the tips. Tried it on my second shave today. It went slightly better, but I see this will take lot of time and practice. Now the waiting game starts till tomorrow's shave :001_smile
+1 on Ace43's advice. Most people seem to start with waaaaaay to sharp of angles. Try a spine width off the cheek and make small adjustments from there. This truly is one of those things that require "the touch" - which is sometimes quite different between individual gents.

Another thing is did you get your razor shave-ready? If not, you could be causing yourself a lot of heart ache with a dull razor. At any rate, keep at it, take your time and keep the pressure at zero, and you will soon achieve shaving Nirvana!
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