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LBussy's Straight Razor Shave Journal

I enjoyed reading a few of the other journals here, and I can see the strength in keeping a journal, so this will be mine. I will move over a few things from this thread so I can keep it all in one place.
 
My weapon:

$photo.jpg

Date: 4/24/14 (evening)
Prep: Nothing but water!
Soap: Cella!
Brush: Vie Long Natural Horsehair
Razor: Gold Dollar 208
Post: Osma Alum
A/S: Captain Choice Bay Rum (my own mix)

Well, I'm alive. No choirs of angels sang, but I didn't hear sirens either. First shave on a straight (where I was driving). I shaved 5 o'clock shadow which I think is pretty significant growth compared to some folk.

I wear a Vandyke so no chin or under nose to worry about. Cheeks went pretty good for a first try, jawline as well. My neck was tough, and I didn't have the grip/angle right. It bounced/chattered some so I needed to stop and regroup a few times. Hands shook as well. I have a surgical scar on my neck which is a problem area - no different than with the DE.

I did a passable job on cheeks and jaw and a crappy job on my neck. Two weepers, strike that ... in the light of the next day there was one raw/weepy area and one minor cut on my neck. All in all it was not a complete failure so I'm going to try it again. I had a good 5-o'clock shadow, not bad when I started. Not sure whether tomorrow morning will be DE or straight but I will be trying it again for sure.

A note about my "special mix" aftershave. To me a lot of aftershaves seem very strong. I am deathly afraid of being "that guy" when it comes to fragrance. Up till recently I used a 50:50 blend of witch hazel and 70% alcohol. This time I have about 25% Captain's Bay Rum (sample but I will restock) and 75% of my 50:50 mix. People at work have told me they can barely smell it so I will go up from here.

Here are a couple replies I had in the other thread:

Hey LBussy,

First off, welcome to the world of SR shaving.

I know some people shave every single days, then there are those that shave every couple. I tend to shave M-F, and usually took Sat & Sun off. My Monday shave, typically is a nice shave. I don't know if it is due to the extra day off, or what, but I typically like Monday's shave. The other reason I have considered is I have a day off for my face to heal/relax/whatever.

The "chatter" problem is something I had early on too - or at least I think I am talking about the same thing. I found it was due to a number of things, at least for me, in my routine. Even though I felt like I was keeping a shallow angle, I wasn't. Or at least I wasn't keeping a shallow angle consistently through the shave. I was able to help this by using shorter strokes, instead of trying to do one long swipe. As you get better, you can start to lengthen the stroke. Another thing that contributed to the "chatter" was indeed the lather. I realized, with the help of others, that SR shaving lather is/can be different than what you may use for DE shaving. The thinner, wetter, slicker, sloppier (however you want to classify it) lather is really, really, really (did I say really :lol:) helpful, almost necessary, in SR shaving.

As for you "before shower shaving". I think you can get away with this, provided you do a good prep job. Make sure you get those whiskers hydrated in some way. A nice way to do this would be to soak your soap for a bit. Pour some of that soapy residue in your palms and rub it into your whiskers. Go off and strop your razor. Come back and maybe put a bit more in your palms and rub it in again. Get the rest of your stuff ready. Depending on how you lather, face/bowl, load over a bowl catching some of that proto-lather. Once you are done loading, rub a bit more into your whiskers. By this time, your whiskers should be pretty well hydrated, plus you should have a nice slick base for you lathering.

Rinse or wipe. When I first started SR shaving, I rinsed each time I needed to clear the blade. Then I whacked it on the faucet, necessitating a trip to a honemeister. At this point, I got a lot of advice in getting a sponge. Since then I have been using the sponge. What I do is wet the sponge and put it on the side of my sink basin (outside of the basin as i don't want to whack the blade again). When the blade need to be cleared I just wipe it off on the sponge. I really like it, and I haven't even come close to having an issue since.

Lastly, keep the journal going. The guys in this part of the forum are fantastic. They have tons of knowledge, and share it freely.

I hope this has helped...
.. and ...

Hey LBussy congrats on the first shave. I think Rob has you covered on most of your questions, not much more to add there. Regarding wiping or rinsing between passes, both are fine. But beware the sink monster, if you choose to continue to rinse. I would recommend only rinsing with the edge down, so that when you inadvertently tap the faucet, which will happen, you tap the spine and don't damage the shaving edge. If you choose to try wiping your blade, many of us use one of those big yellow sponges. I cut mine in half do to limited counter space. Either way, be careful to avoid getting water and lather in the razor pivot.

Good luck.
 
Last edited:
Pre: 30 crox, 20 cloth, 25 leather
Date: 4/26/14 (afternoon)
Prep: Face wash and olive oil
Soap: Cella
Brush: Vie Long Natural Horsehair
Razor: Gold Dollar 208
Post: Osma Alum
A/S: Captain Choice Bay Rum (my own mix)

Again, taken from my original thread:

My follow-up the next morning to my first shave was with the DE. My neck was sore in a couple spots and I was in front of some execs so I had to be purty.

Okay today I tried a few new things. I used olive oil to soften up my face after a brief wash. I was a little more religious about my Cella prep, I used a counted number of strokes with a dead rat to get my lather rather than winging it. Pretty sure I saw on a tag line that the dead rat is preferred.

I also tried out the crox on balsa and the strop (no prep before the first time). While I was not able to tree-top any arm hairs, shaving arm hairs went very well so I felt pretty good there. Also added the sponge to the arsenal. Someone made a comment somewhere about being cool to see all the hairs on the foam on the sponge. I'm sure that person has more dark hairs than gray ... I sadly do not.

I all in all it went pretty well. I did two passes; no WTG, XTG stuff. I did it however I could get it done. My alum bar had a little more bite to it than with my DE but no blood that I can see. Lest I jinx myself I think I might almost say I got a DFS.

Sitting here moving my thoughts to this thread from the other one I have a little burn, same as last time, so a couple subsequent applications of A/S helps cool it down. I'm also sipping a nice Whiskey Sour so it's much more easy to wax philosophical at this point.

Follow-up thoughts:

Stopping on crox was interesting. I found myself making a couple passes edge first somewhere along the way ... somehow I got mixed up on which direction I was going. I believe (and this seems to be the case) that no damage was done. I did not take any balsa off so it must have been very even/level strokes.

My strop is a 2.5" (or so) canvas and "leather" affair. I don't think this is really leather on the top but it seems to work and I'll probably kill it at some point so I'm not going to worry too much. Here are the strops that came in my "beginner kit":

$photo 2.jpg $photo 1.jpg

The pics are after stropping so you can see whatever harm I did if any to the balsa was minor.

So .. 2nd time, all is well. I think if I had a hot date I would still want to follow up with a DE but I might get the hang of this. I have two new/old razors on the shelf and some lapping film and a stone which will be here on Monday so I may give one of those a go.
 
Subscribed.

I'll be pulling for your success Lee, great to see that you now have a straight journal. Looking forward to hearing your critique of my edges, be it good or bad.

Frank
 
Heya Frank, thanks for the good wishes.

I meant ask you about whether those were honed or not. I guess they are so I'll give them a go. My thought was to stick with one for a while but that Henry Sears blade speaks to me.
 
They have both been honed with Naniwa Super Stones (5k-12k) after bevel set on a Norton 1k. And then each was stropped 10 times on hard pressed felt linen treated with .5 micron diamond spray. Afterward, both were given 100 passes on leather. They are also disinfected with barbicide so they are safe to shave right away.

That Henry Sears & Son was very tough for me to part with, it was my first bevel set and it really sings (feedback) on the whiskers. He's a sharp little 9/16. I hope my edges work for you Lee as they have for me.

Frank
 
Glad to see you create a shave journal.

Did the advice help any?

Keep your thoughts going.
Well your advice is one of the pieces I tried to incorporate. I also went back and ready a few journals (including yours) which began to make some more sense. I believe my basic issue was a dry face under the foam. The quick fix was a little olive oil and paying more attention to the lather build. If I can switch my mornings around to shave after the shower it might work better for the shaving. I just hate changing my ritual! :001_smile
 
Pre: 25 leather
Date: 4/27/14 (afternoon)
Prep: Face wash and olive oil
Soap: Cella
Brush: Vie Long Natural Horsehair
Razor: Henry Sears & Son 9/16
Post: Osma Alum
A/S: Captain Choice Bay Rum (my own mix)

Today I decided to try Lakebound's Henry Sears razor mentioned above. All in all it went very well. I can tell that this is a slightly narrower/more delicate blade. I had a little more trouble getting the angle right on my face. The hone was fantastic through the first pass but I had to stop and strop a little before the second pass as it got a little harsh. This is more likely to do with my shaving style than the hone job. The Cro-Magnon approach may work for a slant, but not for a 100+ year old razor!

$photo (1).jpg

A note about the stropping: I have a cheapie strop hanging from some towel hooks on the back of my bathroom door. I need to fix that whole setup. It's too high and the strop is too short for that to be effective for me. I noted Doc226 shared in another thread that his strop was hanging from the center hinge pin on his door. That seems very sturdy and I might try that.

No blood, less irritation, the alum let me know it was there as always. I still can't make myself try a shower before shaving ... I'm sure it would be a much better experience but my rhythm just doesn't let me (yet).

I am concentrating on really loading the brush beforehand along the lines of Marco's post. That and leaving it a little more yogurty and less foam explosiony. That's hard to do with Cella, it lives to foam. I have some Jabonman soap that just came in, I might try that next and see how it works with the straight.

So I'm now enjoying another Whiskey Sour ... must seem like I do that a lot but I don't! I have to recommend making one's own Sour mix by the way. Oh so good! I need to figure out a way to have one of these after shaving/before work each morning and maybe the commute will be less stressful.
 
I have a towel bar that is in two beams. I use plastic tie downs to attach the strops to the bar. Doc's hinge hanger is very popular.
 
I use the popped-up door hinge myself. One thing I do now (lesson-learned) is to keep the leather portion of the strop facing the door/wall and the fabric side out--keeps errant water drops from flying to the strop and leaving water stains on the leather 😁
 
Pre: 25 leather
Date: 4/27/14 (afternoon)
Prep: Face wash and olive oil
Soap: Cella
Brush: Vie Long Natural Horsehair
Razor: Henry Sears & Son 9/16
Post: Osma Alum
A/S: Captain Choice Bay Rum (my own mix)

Today I decided to try Lakebound's Henry Sears razor mentioned above. All in all it went very well. I can tell that this is a slightly narrower/more delicate blade. I had a little more trouble getting the angle right on my face. The hone was fantastic through the first pass but I had to stop and strop a little before the second pass as it got a little harsh. This is more likely to do with my shaving style than the hone job. The Cro-Magnon approach may work for a slant, but not for a 100+ year old razor!

View attachment 441312

A note about the stropping: I have a cheapie strop hanging from some towel hooks on the back of my bathroom door. I need to fix that whole setup. It's too high and the strop is too short for that to be effective for me. I noted Doc226 shared in another thread that his strop was hanging from the center hinge pin on his door. That seems very sturdy and I might try that.

No blood, less irritation, the alum let me know it was there as always. I still can't make myself try a shower before shaving ... I'm sure it would be a much better experience but my rhythm just doesn't let me (yet).

I am concentrating on really loading the brush beforehand along the lines of Marco's post. That and leaving it a little more yogurty and less foam explosiony. That's hard to do with Cella, it lives to foam. I have some Jabonman soap that just came in, I might try that next and see how it works with the straight.

So I'm now enjoying another Whiskey Sour ... must seem like I do that a lot but I don't! I have to recommend making one's own Sour mix by the way. Oh so good! I need to figure out a way to have one of these after shaving/before work each morning and maybe the commute will be less stressful.
Lee,

The 9/16 blade takes some getting used to and you are correct, that blade is thin and you probably noted the feedback when you were shaving. I would take a look at your angle during the shave and put the blade flat to your face, angle the spine out ever so slightly and then go with the stroke. The smaller blade has less heft and it is easier to tend to go a little faster because it feels lighter in the hand.

I don't know if you have attempted ATG shaves on the neck yet, but be sure to start out flat and simply try that whilst you complete the upstroke taking your time. Since you mentioned alum, I would suggest that you try using alum on your support/stretching hand's fingertips while you stretch and shave. The alum on the fingertips give you much needed "grip" so that you can get a good stretch on the skin during the pass. Give it a go and let us know how it goes. The better that you are able to stretch the skin while you shave, the closer the shave and the irritation will all bust disappear.

Also, with regard to the strop position I would concur with you that you need to bring it down more and I recommend belly-button or hip level. Cheapie or not, if it is hung at the correct leather and used properly, it will do the job for you. Just take your time and go lightly, hardly any pressure and keep your spine in contact with the strop.

I look forward to hearing how the other edges perform for you, best of luck and thank you for featuring one of the razors that I honed. Both of us are now experiencing a little boost of confidence this evening. :001_smile

Frank
 

Shave_Rat

Moderator Emeritus
Subscribed as well, and looking forward to following your progression. It's a longer learning curve than with DE's, but the reward at the end is totally worth it!
 
Bless me Sheffield, for I have sinned, it's been two days since my last straight shave.

I decided to do a couple days back on my DE (I remember when I thought my slant was aggressive!) to let my neck calm down a bit. I kept re-irritating the spot where I got a little cut the first time with the straight. Shaving should not be painful, so I won't let it be.

Neck looks pretty good today, assuming it stays that way I should be back on the straight tomorrow.
 
Bless me Sheffield, for I have sinned, it's been two days since my last straight shave.

I decided to do a couple days back on my DE (I remember when I thought my slant was aggressive!) to let my neck calm down a bit. I kept re-irritating the spot where I got a little cut the first time with the straight. Shaving should not be painful, so I won't let it be.

Neck looks pretty good today, assuming it stays that way I should be back on the straight tomorrow.

We've all been there and done that Lee. Smart move letting things relax a bit.

Some pointers for you on the neck:

- Slicker, wetter lather
- Stretching of the skin even sideways at times paying attention to growth patterns and cowlicks
- Short, deliberate strokes versus longer ones.

Frank
 
Pre: 25 leather
Date: 4/29/14 (afternoon)
Prep: Face wash and olive oil
Soap: Jabónman Ylang-Ylang Patchouli Orange
Brush: Vie Long Natural Horsehair
Razor: Gold Dollar 208
Post: Osma Alum
A/S: Captain Choice Lime + alcohol and witch hazel

It doesn't seem like just 4 ... not sure how to explain that. I'm not scared of the blade anymore, just frustrated that I'm not getting a closer shave. I did a triple-pass and then followed it up with my DE. Some stuff:

I checked the edge of the GD with a loupe. I could see what looked like metal shavings on the edge. My guess is the edge rolled and bad stropping on my part failed to get it all off. After stropping this time I checked with the loupe and all seemed better. This probably explains why I felt a lot of harshness.

So this brings up a question - are razors that delicate? Should I have to treat this like an egg-shell? That does't seem right to me. I've seen barbers and they don't rope off the area when the razor comes out. I didn't bang these around, strop them at 90 degrees or anything like that. I finished my shave convinced that the razor is not sharp and that doesn't seem right. I have a granite stone and some lapping films, I guess I get to learn how to hone next.

I'm still not comfortable with all the angles and such. I my neck scars and my Adam's apple are close enough together to make it a tricky area. No cuts but after three passes with a straight and then a follow-up with the DE the alum was talking to me.

Thankfully, while I work in an office I'm surrounded by programmers most of the time who don't care if I shave or not. I'm giving it two days in between each time for my face to "cool off".
 
Sounds like a rolled edge to me and it happens to all of us. If not rolled, you may have a slight wired edge. And yes, the razors really are that delicate and the edge can be damaged by strop, by beard hairs that are not hydrated enough and by poor shave angles. The blade edge slams into these hairs and if they are not hydrated enough, they will dull your razor at that microscopic level. It may be your angle as well and without someone there to watch,, it's difficult to know for sure but it is possible to go solo and learn on your own as most of us have.

Take heart, you are not alone Lee.

Take a moment to watch a video on checking your razor for certain common damages here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZYFsOP7rBc

I cannot comment on the use of films on granite because I have never tried it myself. Many here to include Slash McCoy have had great success with lapping film from bevel set to finish. If you have a wire or rolled edge, you should be able to hone it out. So, Best of luck to you there.

Letting your beard rest for a couple of days is prudent IMO.

Keep your chin up, you will get there and you will have your breakthrough "Aha!" moment I promise you.

Frank
 
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