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J's Straight Razor Shave Journal

Luc

Moderator Emeritus
As I was getting BBS shaves on every DE shave, the bar was high when I picked up a straight. I now have consistent BBS or very close BBS shaves. I've been shaving since Christmas 2009 every day! The BBS started to be consistent at 4 months...
 
As I was getting BBS shaves on every DE shave, the bar was high when I picked up a straight. I now have consistent BBS or very close BBS shaves. I've been shaving since Christmas 2009 every day! The BBS started to be consistent at 4 months...
I very much appreciate the encouragement. I really enjoy everything about straight shaving. With the exception of the end result, for now anyway! Anyone used to regular BBS shaves would feel the same way I'm sure.

BBS will accompany my straight shaves soon enough. It helps to hear of other peoples experience who have been in the same position!
 
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I easily get a better shave out of a straight than a DE.
Two passes with a straight = 4 with a DE, even a top end DE.

Straights just shave closer.

+B
 
Shave #7 -- 7/5

Shave prep: a relaxing shower and AOS Sandalwood soap

Definitely getting more comfortable using the straight razor. Once comfortable, however I tend to move a bit quicker, and was rewarded early in this shave with a nice little nick from the spike point. I was working a 'scythe type' motion on the upper right cheek when the blade thought it fit to remind me how new I am at this. It wasn't the case this time, but on occasion i confess that when making a stroke, I go on faith that the spike isn't too hungry! More practice is all it will take to be a bit more aware of where the tip is, and what it's up to, I'm sure.

Aside from that one slip, this evening's shave went very well. Two passes was all that was required this evening. I did a mostly WTG and a mostly XTG. The time taken was noticeably shorter than usual as well! Upon reflection, there's not much- besides avoiding the Nick that I would have done different this time around. I was trying to pay attention to pressure on the blade, and even had a couple of strokes that seemed particularly inspired as far as technique goes. Even though those magic strokes were more the result of luck or experimentation, I can only guess that they are an encouraging sign.

All things considered, tonights shave gets a B- for me, just because of the extra spike point love. Were it not for that, I would have rated it a B+ for sure! Best hair reduction yet for a straight shave (solid DFS), much less time taken, and by far the least irritation I've had yet! The alum block did still have a nice burn to it though... That's it for this one. Looking forward to the next already!
 

Luc

Moderator Emeritus
A spike point is a bit tricky for that. I don't like them because of that. I can achieve the same precision with a round point or muted spike.

In all cases! Good work!
 
+1 Luc, i get around just dandy with a round point.

Which leads me to a question for you J at this point in your experience;
Do you think it would be be better for newbs to learn with a round point?
To make for one less thing to work with...


+Sz
 
It takes time, I have completed my 11th shave and it still is not DE-quality and most probably it will not be for a long time yet. However, I think the overall shave experience beats the DE by leaps and bounds. Just take it easy and within the first 10 shaves you should see a huge improvement.
Thanks for the encouragement. I intend to stick at this and to profit on a personal basis from the overall experience.
 
Yep! If I were starting again, I think I would go for a round point. The only nicks/ cuts I have had so far at all have been from that tricky spike point. Not that I am complaining at all, I wouldn't hesitate to use a spike as a beginner if that was what I had. It's just one more thing to worry about. Luckily the nicks aren't painful at all, as the blade is so sharp, but when I feel that point dig in, I know what is coming next!

+1 vote for gently leaning toward a round point when just starting out... 1 less thing to concern yourself with! Unless your chick digs scars, that is... My chick does, so for me it's a bit of a wash! :lol:



+1 Luc, i get around just dandy with a round point.

Which leads me to a question for you J at this point in your experience;
Do you think it would be be better for newbs to learn with a round point?
To make for one less thing to work with...


+Sz
 
I had almost the exact same experience. I realized that I had wiped the razor inappropriately on the towel. We think of steel as being strong, but the leading edge of the razor is so thin that it doesn't take much to essentially fold it over. My second shave sucked dirt. After propper stropping and subsequently "wiping" the blade only with a gentle "stropping-like" motion on the towel cured the problem. Incidently the comment on DE razor blade packaging to never wipe the blade (only rinse) instantly made a lot more sense.
 
Ya I've been as careful as possible with the edge. Don't want to mess up Larry's fine honing job this early in the game. Haha. Now that i said that, I have to be extra careful not to drop that sucker so my next post doesn't start with: 'ya, I dropped the razor... Any chance of stropping this big chip out of the blade?'. :lol:
 
Shave #8 -- 7/7

I took a day off from shaving. Not for any reason in particular, yesterday just got away from me, and before I knew it it was time to hit the sack. The extra day of stubble gave me a unique opportunity to see how I do with some thicker growth. Here's my report:

Pre- shave prep:
Shower, AOS Sandalwood soap (I sure like this soap!) 30ish strops pre shave on the blade.

Had a great lather again tonight, creamy lather as far as the eye could see. I had a 3 pass shave, with a few touch ups. First pass was mostly guillotine strokes, and E-W passes where required, under the nose and such. Most of the shave I worked just as I have the past few shaves. I was pleased to realize that for the most part, I am getting away with much less pressure on my strokes, and getting better hair reduction than previously as a result.

Second pass was mostly E-W, with a few N-S as necessary. The third pass (above the neck) is where things got a little interesting, as I stumbled on a stroke I have never used before. Instead of using the right hand for right side of my face, and left for left, I switched it up. Right hand for left side, and vice versa. It was very comfortable to do, and instead of going from the nose to ear direction, I went ear to nose direction. Hopefully that makes sense.

The result of this shave was excellent. I would rate it a solid DFS, and grad it a very solid B. The best hair reduction I've had yet with a straight, no new cuts or nicks (just one small weeper over my top lip), and the least amount of irritation I've had with a straight. Still a bit more irritation than a DE, but I'm still under 10 straight shaves! I'm feeling great about my progress, and feeling right with the world. :jump:
 
Excellent! You are ahead of me already, I did not do as well until shave no 12. I have also discovered the delight of shaving my left cheek with my right hand going from ear to mouth, especially when going XTG as well as the effectiveness of the guillotine stroke. Both of these things together with consequent skin stretching was the makings of my first str8 DFS.
 

Luc

Moderator Emeritus
Excellent! You are ahead of me already, I did not do as well until shave no 12. I have also discovered the delight of shaving my left cheek with my right hand going from ear to mouth, especially when going XTG as well as the effectiveness of the guillotine stroke. Both of these things together with consequent skin stretching was the makings of my first str8 DFS.
That's what I do! I find it easier to pull the razor than push it in this case...
 
That's what I do! I find it easier to pull the razor than push it in this case...
Ya, it's pretty cool! The hairs were never expecting getting attacked from the opposite direction. I think I caught them flat- footed! I was really expecting having to report a lot more negatives on my venture into straight shaving to everyone. I'm pleasantly surprised it seems to be going quite well for me.
 

Luc

Moderator Emeritus
Ya, it's pretty cool! The hairs were never expecting getting attacked from the opposite direction. I think I caught them flat- footed! I was really expecting having to report a lot more negatives on my venture into straight shaving to everyone. I'm pleasantly surprised it seems to be going quite well for me.
:thumbup1: Just like Erik, you are making big leaps! Mine wasn't that quick!
 
Shave #9 -- 7/8

Shave prep: Warm shower- it was 95 degrees outside. Hot shower sounded no fun at all! AOS Sandalwood soap

Most of my shave went just like my earlier ones... 3 passes, great hair reduction, I did the ear to nose 'pulling technique' again with great success. After riding high with my early 'beginner's luck', the Zartina blade struck back a bit today.

I was doing a few last touch up strokes after the proper shave, working on my chin. I lathered up my chin, cleared the lather and a bit more hair with a few strokes. Next, I inched closer to the mirror, and saw just a few hairs that I wanted to pop off of the bony part of my chin. Without lather (feeling a bit smug, I guess), and with the utmost care and scrutiny I went for one last stroke. I was right up in the mirror, watching intently, as I swiped my chin as I have 60 or so times before. (No lather this time though!) The stroke started fine, and I watched with interest as the skin beneath the blade began to bunch up a bit. In the next instant, the blade skipped over the bunchy skin, and made an impressive landing on the other side of it just on the underside.

The blade landed with that familiar feeling that I usually get from the spiky tip, a slight burning as it punched into the underside of my chin. A nice little cut was my reward. It didn't bleed too bad, but I'm happy to have it there as a reminder of my foolhardiness.

Aside from that misstep, another respectable shave. I'll knock it down a full grade from a solid B to a C just for my newbie mistake! I told my wife tonight that I am beginning to resign myself to the fact that I may have a few nicks visible on my face for the forseeable future. "It's ok" she said... "I dig scars" :thumbup:
 
Shave #10 -- 7/9

Going to a concert tonight, so had an early shave. Shower and AOS Sandalwood for prep.

Decided to really take my time on this one. Didn't have any "AH-HAH!" moments, but I did have a relaxing, zen-like DFS worthy shave. 3 passes, WTG, XTG (nose to ear) and XTG ear to nose. No new nicks today, and I am feeling much more relaxed than before I started. Short report for today, as I'm getting my household ready for a weekend away. My next report should include my "travel" Arko shave stick! Stay tuned...
 

Luc

Moderator Emeritus
Shave sticks are awesome IMO!

I didn't like Arko scent but if I take that bit out, excellent performer!
 
Shave 11 -- 7/11

OK, this shave I was on the road visiting relatives... I brought with me my trusty straight, Simpson PJ2 (safely nestled in an empty toilet paper roll), an Arko stick, and alum block. On to the shave!

I think I'll entitle this shave: "We've got a bleeder!" I can't say I had a terrible shave, but there was certainly a fair amount of blood involved... As I began shaving, I was acutely aware that my wife's birthday party was starting in an hour. I was also in an unfamiliar bathroom, and had a couple of family members popping their heads into the bathroom as they were horrified, and interested in my straight shaving. Before I even began, I sensed that this shave had the potential to go very, very sideways.

Face lathered with the Arko, and was pleased to have a good lather foundation to work with. I started on my right cheek as usual, and was unsurprised when I reopened a tiny cut from the spike point earlier in the week. I reasoned with myself that it is probably good to get the blood out of the way early, heck, it was a tiny cut that the alum would take care of easily. A splash of cold water would probably do the trick. No problem. Deep breath, and we'll get through this.

The shave still just out of the gates, I move to the chin area, just as my wife pops into the bathroom to gussy up a bit. Unlike our bathroom at home, this one had room for both of us to belly up to the sink. I pause briefly to greet my sweet birthday lady, and get right back to my shave. I was just starting to make the transition from my cheek to my mouth with a guillotine stroke, and as I pulled the razor from my face, there was a gusher about one inch to the right, and one inch down from the corner of my mouth. Maybe not a BP style gusher, but a garden hose for sure. The wound is about the size of a pencil eraser, when viewing it from the top. I finished my shave with a piece of toilet paper stemming the flood, and after 4 more pieces of toilet paper, and a couple of passes with the alum- thank goodness I brought that with me, the well was capped, so to speak.

The party was a delight, but I was a little self conscious about the cut, as the family already thought I was a bit nuts for using a straight razor. I did a famous job reinforcing that notion with them! I couldn't help being reminded of the old movie "A Christmas Story" with the Red Rider BB Gun... "You'll shoot you're eye out!" LOL Oh well. They can't all be great shaves. The wife is pretty sure I would get a scar from this one. She is pretty excited about that. The classic case of chicks digging scars and such.

The only thing that bothers me about the cut is I have no idea how it happened. I think tonight I may try and recreate the conditions tonight to the best of my ability (get all CSI on it, if you will) and figure out what happened so I can learn from this one!
 
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