What's new

McVeyMac Straight Journal

That sounds great! Would look even GREATER with a pic or 5!

+3! You know the rules! Pics or it didn't happen. [emoji14]

I know, I know! Hopefully I can get some pics up today. I have a bit of a cumbersome SD card and storage setup that had me transferring rather large raw photos from storage at work to home computers to make some pictures as XMas presents. That work is now done, so the SD card can go back to the camera. Stay tuned. Oh, and here is a Nate photo

Last edited:
You guys asked for it...




Last edited:
Well the Nate's Straight is back in the box, and I am back to the Dovo. I had about 1.5 days worth of growth which felt very weird to me as I have shaved every day for about a month and a half.

Setup was the same as before, and I did my usual WTG and XTG/ATG two pass shave with a touch up on the neck. In total, today was the closest straight shave I have been able to obtain yet. Not even close to perfect, but it was pretty good. I am not sure if the extra growth had anything to do with it, or if it was just my technique starting to come together for a decent result. If I can start getting this level of shave on a daily basis with my straight, I will have to sell my DE setups.
As fantastic as I thought the DEs were when I made the jump from carts, once I found the straights the DEs were history. All but two have been PIFed. I am saving two for if/when I am too feeble to use a proper razor. Last time I used one, out of curiosity, after I finished I put it down and thought, "Well, that was a wasted shave." lol
I am calling today's shave 31 again as it looks like I was math challenged along the way, and I skipped a number.

Today was back to the Dovo with the same setup. An area of weakness has risen to the top. I have been using both strong (RH) and weak (LH) when approapproaching this straight learning. I an able to get a pretty good WTG pass using the LH to the midline. On my second pass, I have been going XTG ear to mid, then go ATG on the neck. Today the LH ATG on the right neck was incredibly horrible as was the XTG on the right with the LH. I even did a third ATG on the neck using only the RH so that the result was satisfactory.

Using the RH where the LH is called for I view as a crutch. So I will continue to try to build dexterity with the LH, and do an extra pass using the RH if required.

Overall the shave was good. Feeling it now at the end of the day, it is not as close as yesterday's shave. But it was clearly acceptable.
Last edited:
Same setup with 5/8 Dovo.

Early start today, so was getting everything started early. Two pass with a tough up with some pretty good results. Nothing mind blowing. I did manage to get one nick on the right cheek that I did not even notice doing. Got through the entire straight shave and left for work. I am questioning the sharpness of my Dovo now as the ATG around the chin seem to not be whacking off the whisker as it once did. It could be an angle/technique issue. At any rate, sometime soon I will test the blade and determine if a touch up is required. I have a 6/8" Dovo ready to go if I think the 5/8 needs some attention.

Traveling tonight and tomorrow, so Wednesday will be a DE shave. I have no suitable travel setup for the straight yet.
Same setup with 5/8 Dovo.
I have no suitable travel setup for the straight yet.

Given that I don't think such a thing exists without checking luggage, I just gave up and have single blade bic's with a soap and brush for when I travel.. (which is too frequently)
Given that I don't think such a thing exists without checking luggage, I just gave up and have single blade bic's with a soap and brush for when I travel.. (which is too frequently)
I should have qualified. I was traveling by car, so straight razor was possible. I have a suitable travel case for my DE setup, but not the straight, yet. Most of my air travel is international, so I always check a bag in this situation.

Since domestic air travel is not something I do frequently, I usually just check my bag any way as I do not have a carryon compliant toiletry setup any way.
Back to straight only having shaved DE on Wednesday while on the road.

Razor was Dovo 5/8", and shave setup is the same as before. During the WTG pass using both non- and dominant hands, the razor appears to cut efficiently with no apparent tugging at whiskers, and comfort is about equal to the shave ready razors that I have used that were honed by others. In my last entry I had questioned if the Dovo was loosing some edge. I am trying very hard to maintain focus on the WTG to only have as much pressure towards the face as is required to allow the blade to be against the skin, and then pretty much allow the weight of the razor (gravity) provide the downward movement. Of course, paying particular attention to the blade angle. This has been working out very well. Maneuvering the blade around the jawline to maintain the same angle has proved challenging as the angle changes rapidly over short distances, but this appears to be working fairly well for me. Not perfectly, but getting better with each session.

I am having a challenge on the ATG neck to and around jaw line and chin though. The problem that I seem to be having is, of course, I am working against gravity. Keeping a fluid but very light touch movement around the changing angles is problematic, and add too this that the ATG whiskers tend to catch the edge and want to drive the edge into the skin. This does not happen on WTG passes.

When using the 5/8" Dovo this AM on the ATG pass, it seemed to feel exceptionally rough to me near the chin, making me again question my edge. The WTG pass was smooth and comfortable. I sat this razor down and finished the shave with my 6/8" Dovo, an edge that I also put on that razor, but only shaved with once to test the edge. I had put the edge on both Dovo razors at the same time, and determined that there was no discernible difference between these edges and two of the shave ready razors that I had at the time (keep in mind that I did this assessment with little actual shaving experience). I found that the 6/8" Dovo was equally rough feeling ATG as was the 5/8" one. I conclude that there really is no discernible difference in the feel between the two Dovo razors, and that my 5/8" still has an adequate edge. What I failed to do was to pick up one of my shave ready razors to compare the ATG experience to see if it was different today. Of the three razors that I have purchased as shave ready, I have tried all of them and found their edges to feel very similar to my Dovos with respect to smoothness and sharpness. But as my shaving skills improve, I expect that my ability to discern subtle differences in sharpness and keenness between razors will also become more acute. I currently do not have a shave ready razor that I have not stropped, so none of the edges remain exactly as I have received them.

For tomorrow:

Shave with the 5/8" Dovo WTG. On the ATG pass, compare the result and cutting efficiency (tendency to want to stop the razor or direct the edge into the skin) of the Dovo with one of the shave ready razors that I own to see if there is a discernible difference. If there is no difference (as I originally was able to discern) then what I am dealing with is purely technique as best as I can tell until the next shave ready razor arrives at the door. If this is the case, I will continue to use the 5/8" Dovo. If there is a discernible difference in the performance of these razors with the Dovo having the poorer performance, then I will take the Dovo to the fine stone(s) for a touch up and try again.

My philosophy is that it is my responsibility to keep my tools sharp. So I actually have two things that I am learning simultaneously. How to shave with a straight, and how to make a straight shave ready. The problem that we all have is defining what "shave ready" is, and this is subjective. The trained honemeister and straight user might take my Dovo edge and say that it is far from shave ready, then take one of my shave ready edges and say that this is much better. This could be true even though I could not discern the difference in feel between the two edges when I initially evaluated them. However, I will never rely on someone else to make any of my tools sharp unless it is an extreme situation requiring excessive honing at the 1K level to set a bevel on a razor that has multiple problems. And that does not apply to any of the razors that I currently own.

In a way, this journal is just as much of a straight honing journal as it is a straight shaving journal.
Today I did an HHT with the Dovo a couple of times. First time through, the heel to mid was failing, but mid to toe was passing. I then wet the hair and repeated. I got HHT 4 accross the blade. I doubt that any shave performance issues have anything to do with the razor.

Dovo 5/8", same setup as always. The shave was pretty good on the WTG with as good of a single WTG shave as I have gotten to date. The XTG/ATG pass was very slow going, and I got very weary using the weak hand ATG on the neck. I got about half way through and switched to strong hand. Did a touch up third pass on problem areas.

Overall a very close shave sans the couple problem areas I touched up. These have a different direction of hair growth, and my S/N ATG is not really ATG here. I must figure a consistent way to take care of these areas. I think that I can stretch most of this area above the jaw line using strong hand, then shave it above the jaw line using a weak hand attack.

I have broken in a recently obtained surgical black Arkansas stone, and I wanted to get acquainted with it any way. So tonight I touched up the edge of the Dovo razor on it. Tomorrow I will determine if I made it better or worse or no effect.
it seems that the angle in which your
stubble grows is providing quite the
obstacle with a second ATG pass.
I would see if I could accomplish a
XTG pass as a second, as this may
work better for you and alleviate
some obsesssing over how shave
ready your razors are. Just a
suggestion as some have stubborn
stubble that won't go quietly into
the night. You could then try a
touch up pass ATG to see if it proves
I agree - I can't do an e/w (I don't worry about grain with a straight!) on the neck, so where the second pass on the face is mouth to ear, the neck gets another n/s pass. Then both get the third pass of s/n
Sound advice guys, thanks. Today I approached the shave a little differntly.

First, the razor edge was in fact worse than it was before, tugging more on the WTG pass. As disappointed as I was, I decided to finish the shave with this razor. I went 1. N-S, 2. Ear to Mindline, S-N on the neck, 3. Midline to Ear with S-N on neck and around and above the mouth with two hands. I also did some touching up on the neck.

Result: probably the best overall straight shave I ever had, putting an explanation mark on both of your points. There are some areas that I am not completely happy with, but it is very good overall.

I think that the only way to learn honing is to hone, then shave to see the result. Just like the only way to learn to shave is to shave, then see the result. In this case, I have broken in an Arkansas finishing stone, and I really was interested in how broken in it was. I think I have my answer. I have a 12K synthetic to smooth the edge up, and try again later after doing more work on the stone.
Ok, yesterday's shave was the roughest shave I ever had off of my Dovo, but it was also without a doubt the closest straight razor shave I ever had. Not sure what to conclude. One conclusion might be that the surgical Arky is not broken in enough as of yet, hence the roughness, but the closeness of the shave might indicate it was very sharp. Another conclusion might be that my angle and technique has been too upright, and the shave would have felt better with less irritation if I had applied better technique. Perhaps both.

Either way, I will continue to break in the surgical Arky, and I vowed to take the Dovo back to re-set the bevel, then bring it through the progression of srones. I have a new Chosera 1K and 3K that I lapped and then used an 8K Ninawa on it and Apache Strata finish. I need to build my honing skills, and the purpose of this razor is to learn everything from honing to shaving. A note, the shave this AM was back to a very smooth shave, and all roughness from yesterday was gone.

Today the shave was the same setup on the freshly honed Dovo. The focus today was to use very short strokes all over with the entire shave. I did the normal N-S with the second being ear to midline with a S-N on the neck to jawline. I also incorporated additional angles approaching the chin that I incorporated yesterday to good success. I incorporated a 3rd neck to jawline pass to take car of problem areas.

Observations: 1. very close and comfortable shave on cheeks, around the mouth and the chin. I stretched the skin from the neck to above the jaw line as much as possible, and applied an ear to midline attack on the second pass with pretty good result. 2. The neck problem area requires a bit of an ear to midline attack to get really smooth, and I did try this. However, the result was not quite as close as yesterday's, but it was pretty good. For now, I have abandoned trying to use my left hand on the S-N pass on the neck to chin-jawline. I am still using it in N-S, and ear to midline above the jawline. No good with it above the mouth with left, so I always cleanup with right.

No nicks, cuts or weepers. Overall a good shave.
Same setup as before, 5/8" Dovo, stropped after yesterday, and before today.

Back to work today, so I am doing my two pass routine, then out the door. I vowed that for better or worse, I was going to live with the result for the entire day, and I wans not going to touch up anything. I have to say that all in all, this was a very close shave indeed. Even in the problem areas that on the weekends I obsess about in touch ups trying to get BBS. On the XTG pass I am using the off hand to stretch the skin above the jawline to get this better, and I am taking it further to the midline of the chin. This has done a pretty good job of getting the side of the chin problem area what tends to grow slightly laterally towards the ear slightly.

A good shave, and no cuts, weepers or irritation.
Ok, I think that I am going to stand clear of the honing crowd here. I made some inquiries regarding the Ark, and also followed another thread where a guy was asking how much should you hone. One guy answered every day for a year, then the best you can achieve in this time is a 5 or a 6 out of I don't know how many. Then he went on to allude what it might take to hit 11. This is not rocket science for crying out load, it is honing. I wanted to try an Ark as I heard several honhonemeisters say that it has given them one of the closest and smoothest shaves of any stone in their arsenal. I learned to hone on Arks many years ago so it is nostalgic for me. Well today I went back to a 1K, 3K, 6K, 8K progression and finished on the Ark. As per some suggestions I spent a lot more time on the Ark. In fact I honed on it for 45 minutes straight.

The resulting shave was much much smoother than my previous attempt at the Ark, but the edge did not cut like my edge yesterday. I think that when I run that many passes for that long on a stone that is only 2" wide, I tend to get some bad passes, and they add up, undoing the edge I got on the previous and more efficient stones. Tomorrow I am going back to the Apache Stratus. I can get anything under the sun sharper on synthetic stones and do it faster than any progression of Arks that I have ever used. I can get every bit as good of an edge on my razor as the one I got from Nate pictured above, and I can do it rather quickly and efficiently. I would argue that the edge I can get is probably in the order of 98 to 99% of the honemeisters, and I have been doing this for only a little over a month. I have honed perhaps 6 times starting from the 1K. I can hone a razor and get a great shave, they can hone a razor and get an exceptional shave. But I am not willing to hone every day for a year and wear out one or more razors in order to achieve exceptional. I will settle for great.

Today's shave was not bad, but I had better yesterday, much better. Normal N-S and XTG with a third ATG on neck, chin and mouth area. My dexterity in both hands is improving a lot, and I am focusing on low angle, no pressure and short multiple strokes across all parts of the face.
Top Bottom