What's new

I'm embarking on my SR shaving journey

@icemanjs4 you are coming along well.

Just stick with the 0.1μm balsa stropping. That should be all you need. Because your bevel is slightly concave from the original convex honing, the blade's edge is in contact with the balsa and 0.1μm paste. That is what matters.

If you later feel that the quality of the edge could be improved, put the blade through a full diamond pasted balsa strop progression. Don't forget your short X-stroke laps when ding that.

A problem arises when a blade with a convex bevel (like from stropping on a pasted hanging leather or cloth strop) is stropped on pasted balsa. Then the edge is often not in contact with the balsa and paste.
 
Last edited:
Shave #11
I find that the 1st 2-3 passes go fairly smoothly, yet I'm still left with a significant amount of stubble. Then I go to a touchup pass - and here's where all the learning really comes in as I slow down and experiment.

Today I learned that I'm doing too much blade buffing, and not enough sliding the razor across the skin smoothly. I think the constant lifting then dropping the blade is leading to irritation. This is exciting though because everyday I feel like I'm learning something new.

@rbscebu As to the diamond stropping - I'm in a bit of a middle ground. My bevel wasn't set on flat stones, but rather convex stones (so the bevel is curved like the rest of the blade). Even mild honing/polishing on a flat balsa wood strop is slightly reshaping the bevel. That said, I haven't had a chance to experiment with modifying the strop to add a curve. So for now I'm limiting myself to only the final 0.1u strop followed by stropping on leather. That seems to work wonders on the edge so I'm happy for now.

BTW, I'm only using my "practice strop" which is Fast Bridle leather from Tony Miller while I perfect my technique. It's forcing me to learn good X-stroke stropping. Since the first day I haven't nicked the strop - so I'm feeling more confident. But I'm saving the good Horsehide strop until I've gone a few weeks with no nicks.
A convex stone creates a concave bevel and a lower final bevel angle. Not a reason to be concerned about use of pasted balsa. IF anything, such a bevel will be even more conducive to improvement by use of the balsa, if done correctly. So do it or don't, as you prefer.
 
Shave #10
Today was a breakthrough in learning. The 1st half of my shave was mediocre at best - still felt like I was fumbling and the blade would stick at the beginning of some strokes. Then 2/3 of the way through the shave I decided to quit while I was ahead and not too irritated, and maybe just clean up a few spots.

Well touching up one or two places led to me touching up my whole face. I suddenly found a motion and blade angle where it almost felt like the whole blade was lying on my face and there was BARELY any pressure where the edge met my skin. The razor was now gliding smoothly and effortlessly, and I felt so much less risk of cutting myself.

End result is a really good shave, with less irritation than I've had from a SR and 0 cuts or weepers! Huzzzah!

Here's to hoping I don't forget what I did when I shave tomorrow :D

Congrats on your journey, @icemanjs4!

The barely any pressure thing is important. It’s pretty amazing how little pressure is required to shave. I am now learning how shave over my moles - again, with close to zero pressure.

This same principle seems to apply to honing when finishing the process of removing scratch marks - for a particular grit.

I postulate that this is yet another aspect of why “The Method” is so effective. The balsa provides a foundation on which you can more easily sense the amount of pressure being applied - as opposed to a harder surface like a stone.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
Shave #12
My new motto: Thou shalt not move they wrist when straight razor shaving...

Question for the experts out there. Is it better for me to work on a 2 pass shave that is nowhere near smooth, but irritation free, or for me to try the 3rd /4th passes against the grain and touch up to learn those techniques, even if it leads to irritaton?

Also, how do y'all approach your moustache area? Nothing works for me there.
 
Go for a two-pass shave (WTG + XTG) for a CCS result. Once that is achieved without skin irritation, move on to a three-pass shave (WTG + 2 x XTG) working towards a DFS result with no irritation. From there, the SR shaving world is your oyster.

I am a little surprised that you are still having skin irritation problems. For me, that was one of the first improvements that I got from SR shaving. Skin irritation comes from one or more of the following (in no particular order):
  • Too steep a shave angle.
  • Too much pressure - edge against skin.
  • Not a good lather (try a wet lather, almost dripping off your face).
As for the moustache area, that will depend on your whisker growth direction, the quality of the edge and your skill. I suggest that you just shave this area WTG until your technique is developed more (say after about 30 SR shaves). Then you can try XTG and later ATG (fool's pass).
 
  • Too much pressure - edge against skin.
  • Not a good lather (try a wet lather, almost dripping off your face).
As for the moustache area, that will depend on your whisker growth direction, the quality of the edge and your skill. I suggest that you just shave this area WTG until your technique is developed more (say after about 30 SR shaves). Then you can try XTG and later ATG (fool's pass).

What's with the extra wet shaving cream? I've heard several people say that but never see it in shave videos. Why do we want it extra wet?
 
What's with the extra wet shaving cream? I've heard several people say that but never see it in shave videos. Why do we want it extra wet?
Try it. Early in my SR journey I found that an extra-wet lather worked best for me. As my technique improved (and at the suggestion of @camoloc), I gradually thickened up my lather to where I found about halfway beteeen extra-wet and DE preferred lather was the best for my SR shaving.
 
I'll give it a shot. I've been experimenting with the moisture in my DE shaving lately as well. Often I use PAA The Cube as a slippery glycerin base before lathering and that is slick!
 
Ok we're starting to get some real progress.
My mantra of "though shalt not use thy wrist when straight razor shaving" is paying off. Today I got a DFS with much less irritation than normal. I still did get weepers (mostly on ATG pass and around the chin / moustache). But I'm getting much more confident in my form, and if I stopped at 2 passes, I'm sure I'd have little irritatioin and no weepers.

All that said, it looks like I got into a knife fight with some kids from the hood from all the practice I'm doing hahahah.

Interestingly enough, the .1um balsa strop, coupled with my 2.5" Tony Miller Practice strop (using X-stropping) has been working great!
 
Replace the ATG pass with another XTG in the opposite direction. Reduce your pressure even more. Just shave the very wet (almost dripping off) lather. Forget about trying to shave your whiskers off. They will just come off with the lather.
 
Today's shave was fantastic, but in a whole different way. I focused on the lightest touch possible, and kept the razor practically flat to my face. In fact there were many strokes where I could tell I "missed" and had to try again by slightly raising the angle.
Given I'm shaving daily, I didn't have a ton of hair to start with, so I went straight to a XTG pass.

End result - ALMOST irritation free, and totally nick free. It wasn't the closest shave ever, but was totally respectable. I'll take it!
 
I’ve been messing around with balsa progressions and have 3 nice balsa edges. They are keen and smooth. I just put a nice Ozuku edge through 0.5, 0,25, and 0.1 with 25 laps on each. The edge seems super keen on HHT.
 
I’ve been messing around with balsa progressions and have 3 nice balsa edges. They are keen and smooth. I just put a nice Ozuku edge through 0.5, 0,25, and 0.1 with 25 laps on each. The edge seems super keen on HHT.
It's the shave test that really matters. You will notice the improvement by going through to 0.1μm.

After each shave repeat the full balsa progression until you stop noticing an improvement with your shaves. Then drop to just 0.25μm and 0.1μm for a few shaves. Finally just use a 0.1μm hanging balsa after each shave.
 
It's the shave test that really matters. You will notice the improvement by going through to 0.1μm.

After each shave repeat the full balsa progression until you stop noticing an improvement with your shaves. Then drop to just 0.25μm and 0.1μm for a few shaves. Finally just use a 0.1μm hanging balsa after each shave.

Thanks for the tips. I am still tinkering around. I did 25 laps on 0.1 after the shave.
 
Thanks for the tips. I am still tinkering around. I did 25 laps on 0.1 after the shave.
My initial balsa progression on a freshly honed blade consists of:
0.5μm hand held with weight of blade pressure only.
30 x standard laps​
6 x pull strokes​
30 x standard laps​
6 x pull strokes​
End-for-end the balsa​
30 x standard laps​
6 x pull strokes​
30 x standard laps​
12 x short X strokes​
Clean blade and hands to remove any trace of diamond particles.

0.25μm hand held with weight of blade pressure only.
15 x standard laps​
6 x pull strokes​
15 x standard laps​
6 x pull strokes​
End-for-end the balsa​
15 x standard laps​
6 x pull strokes​
15 x standard laps​
12 x short X strokes​
Clean blade and hands to remove any trace of diamond particles.

0.1μm hand held with weight of blade only pressure.
15 x standard laps​
6 x pull strokes​
15 x standard laps​
6 x pull strokes​
End-for-end the balsa​
15 x standard laps​
6 x pull strokes​
15 x standard laps​
12 x short X strokes​
0.1μm (hanging) hand held at 9ne end between thumb and one finger, less than weight of blade pressure.
15 x standard laps​
6 x short X strokes​
15 x standard laps​
10 x short X strokes​
End-for-end the balsa​
15 x standard laps​
14 x short X strokes​
15 x standard laps​
18 x short X strokes​

Subsequent full balsa progressions are the same execpt "30 x standard laps" is replaced with "15 x standard laps".
 
Last edited:
My initial balsa progression on a freshly honed blade consists of:
0.5μm
30 x standard laps​
6 x pull strokes​
30 x standard laps​
6 x pull strokes​
End-for-end the balsa​
30 x standard laps​
6 x pull strokes​
30 x standard laps​
12 x short X strokes​
Clean blade and hands to remove any trace of diamond particles.

0.25μm
15 x standard laps​
6 x pull strokes​
15 x standard laps​
6 x pull strokes​
End-for-end the balsa​
15 x standard laps​
6 x pull strokes​
15 x standard laps​
12 x short X strokes​
Clean blade and hands to remove any trace of diamond particles.

0.1μm
15 x standard laps​
6 x pull strokes​
15 x standard laps​
6 x pull strokes​
End-for-end the balsa​
15 x standard laps​
6 x pull strokes​
15 x standard laps​
12 x short X strokes​
0.1μm (hanging)
15 x standard laps
6 x short X strokes
15 x standard laps
10 x short X strokes
End-for-end the balsa
15 x standard laps 6 x pull strokes 15 x standard laps 12 x short X strokes

Wow that’s a lot of laps. I’ll have to test out more laps.
 
Wow that’s a lot of laps. I’ll have to test out more laps.
Once your edge is "there", post-shave edge maintenance is only the 0.1μm hanging work. That takes about 2 or 3 minutes each shave. A overall faster method is to omit the post-shave edge maintenance and refresh the edge on stone/film when needed (say after 30 or more shaves) and just do a subsequent full balsa progression once only again.

I prefer 0.1μm after each shave as that gives me a perfect edge for every shave.
 
Top Bottom