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My first straight razor shave... A disappointment in the making

So after purchasing my first straight razors by a Gent on here in b&b... I decided to watch a YouTube video from geofatboy to learn on how to shave with a straight razor for the first time. Geofatboy stated you will need to learn straight shaving , which can take 100 shaves or so on how to Hone in the techuniqe. The way my shave went tonight, he ain't lying!!! The razor that is used is a 5/8" razor from solingen germany. I believe that the razor was shave ready so I shaved with it. When the The shave did not feel all that stellar. As I shaved with the grain, I felt the blade tugging on the hairs. This leads me to think that the razor may not be sharp. It will require stropping.

So I won't be exaggerating if I told you it took 6 to 8 passes with the grain to knock down the facial hair. And I found the razor difficult to hold, yet I managed with the shave. I needed at least 3 passes atg on the cheek area and maybe 4 to 6 passes on the neck area. When all is said and done, it is a miracle I did not cut myself on my first try. And after all this many passes, I still feel hair on the neck, chin, and fuzz on the cheeks. With my DE shaves, I get a much closer shave. I barely feel any fuzz on the neck area, and my cheeks are bbs.

I also acquired a dovo, a Derby, a couple of bokers and a couple of ralf aust straight razors which I will try soon. For now, I plan to strop the razor I used tonight with 25 laps both ways on the linen, then 50 laps on the leather to sharpen the blade.

What do you guys think?

I will need to strop it after tonights shave.
 
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So after purchasing my first straight razors by a Gent on here in b&b... I decided to watch a YouTube video from geofatboy to learn on how to shave with a straight razor for the first time. Geofatboy stated you will need to learn straight shaving , which can take 100 shaves or so on how to Hone in the techuniqe. The way my shave went tonight, he ain't lying!!! The razor that is used is a 5/8" razor from solingen germany. I believe that the razor was shave ready so I shaved with it. The shave did not feel all that stellar. As I shaved with the grain, I felt the blade tugging on the hairs. This leads me to think that the razor may not be sharp as I was led to believe.

So I won't be exaggerating if I told you it took 6 to 8 passes with the grain to knock down the hair growth. And I found the razor difficult to hold, yet I managed with the shave. learning how to hold the razor when shaving on both sides of the face, and going wtg and atg all use different holding techniques. learning these four sha ing positions is a learning curve in itself. I needed at least 3 passes atg on the cheek area and maybe 4 to 6 passes on the neck area. When all is said and done, it is a miracle I did not cut myself on my first try. And this many shaving passes, I still feel hair on the neck, chin, and fuzz on the cheeks. It was knocked down, but no way was it a bbs or a dfs. If was just a knock down shave. With my DE shaves, I get a much closer shave. I barely feel any fuzz on the neck area, and my cheeks are always bbs.

I also acquired a dovo, a Derby, a couple of bokers and a couple of ralf aust straight razors which I will try soon, sometimenover the next month or so. For now, I plan to strop the razor I used tonight with 25 laps both ways on the linen, then 50 laps on the leather to sharpen the blade, which I will use again for the next shave.

What do you guys think?

I will need to strop it after tonights shave.
 
I don’t don’t think that anyone has ever had a particularly good first SR shave. An SAS finish and no blood should be viewed as a success on the first outting.

It should get noticeably better quickly with big gains at the 10 and 30 shave mark. Muscle memory is an incredible thing. Just accept that you won’t get the closest shaves early on and go easy on your face with the number of passes. You’ll get another shot at the rough patches tomorrow.

A hanging hair test (HHT) will give you a good indication if the edge is shave ready. I wouldn’t attempt to shave with anything that doesn’t pass a basic HHT. You can Google search the details. It’s an easy test to do.
 
Even with a good edge, the first few shaves aren't great for a new shaver. Make sure your lather is well-hydrated, it will probably need to be wetter than you're used to. Make sure you're stretching your skin really well with your other hand. Focus on using about a third of the blade at a time.

Also I would NOT emulate Mr Fatboy's shave angle. It's too high, in my opinion. Lay the blade flat on your face and rotate it away about the width of the spine or a little more.

It gets better.

And watch a stropping video or two, because it's a delicate process that's prone to error until you get comfortable with it. Alfredo (doc226) has a good one.
 
So after purchasing my first straight razors by a Gent on here in b&b... I decided to watch a YouTube video from geofatboy to learn on how to shave with a straight razor for the first time. Geofatboy stated you will need to learn straight shaving , which can take 100 shaves or so on how to Hone in the techuniqe. The way my shave went tonight, he ain't lying!!! The razor that is used is a 5/8" razor from solingen germany. I believe that the razor was shave ready so I shaved with it. The shave did not feel all that stellar. As I shaved with the grain, I felt the blade tugging on the hairs. This leads me to think that the razor may not be sharp as I was led to believe.

So I won't be exaggerating if I told you it took 6 to 8 passes with the grain to knock down the hair growth. And I found the razor difficult to hold, yet I managed with the shave. learning how to hold the razor when shaving on both sides of the face, and going wtg and atg all use different holding techniques. learning these four sha ing positions is a learning curve in itself. I needed at least 3 passes atg on the cheek area and maybe 4 to 6 passes on the neck area. When all is said and done, it is a miracle I did not cut myself on my first try. And this many shaving passes, I still feel hair on the neck, chin, and fuzz on the cheeks. It was knocked down, but no way was it a bbs or a dfs. If was just a knock down shave. With my DE shaves, I get a much closer shave. I barely feel any fuzz on the neck area, and my cheeks are always bbs.

I also acquired a dovo, a Derby, a couple of bokers and a couple of ralf aust straight razors which I will try soon, sometimenover the next month or so. For now, I plan to strop the razor I used tonight with 25 laps both ways on the linen, then 50 laps on the leather to sharpen the blade, which I will use again for the next shave.

What do you guys think?

I will need to strop it after tonights shave.
I would strop the razor lightly and slowly on plain leather only. Make sure that the spine is the first and last part of the razor to touch the strop. It doesn’t hurt to practice with an old belt and butter knife until you get a feel for the motion. Keep the strop taught with minimal defection under the blade.

Do a HHT after stropping. If you can’t cut a hanging hair at 10mm from your fingers with the root out, put the razor away to be sharpen and pick a different one. Thick hairs will be easier than fine ones. If it can’t do a thick one it’s not sharp enough.
 
I will need to strop it after tonights shave
You'll need to strop after every shave (or before the next one). I like to hit the linen post shave to get any residual moisture and soap off the edge, then leather prior to the next shave.

Also the HHT that @Tomo mentions, if you're going to do that do it after stropping on leather. It may or may not pass after a multipass shave but it should after stropping.
 
Also I would NOT emulate Mr Fatboy's shave angle. It's too high, in my opinion. Lay the blade flat on your face and rotate it away about the width of the spine or a little more.

It gets better.

And watch a stropping video or two, because it's a delicate process that's prone to error until you get comfortable with it. Alfredo (doc226) has a good one.
Yes, I layed the razor flat on my face when I started. I started slow strokes and managed to go faster after a few passes. I could hear the razor cutting with each pass. Neck and chin area was the most difficult part. I can't tell you how many times I debated on moving back to De shaving to finish the neck and chin area.
 

Slash McCoy

I freehand dog rockets
For your first shave, you did fine. Blood free. Congratulations are in order.

It does sound like your razor could be sharper. Sweep the razor over your forearm, about 1/4" ABOVE the skin. If it is shave ready it should lop the tip off at least one or two hairs per pass. If not, then try at 1/8", which for most of us signifies sort of a minimum standard of sharpness. If no joy at 1/8" then your razor probably needs honing. "Shave ready" means different things to different people. To some, it just means that the razor has a blade and has a functional "handle". To others, it means you can scrape hairs off your arm or maybe off your face. To others, it means the razor if used with care and with a good lather will glide over tje skin and sever whiskers with almost zero feedback. Yiu have some guys who swear on a stack of bibles tat a straigjt razor can never be as sharp as a DE blade. Others are disappointed if it is not sharper than the average DE blade, and comparable to the mighty Feather. It is a sibjective thing, but it sounds like you want sharper than what you got.
 
Yes, I layed the razor flat on my face when I started. I started slow strokes and managed to go faster after a few passes. I could hear the razor cutting with each pass. Neck and chin area was the most difficult part. I can't tell you how many times I debated on moving back to De shaving to finish the neck and chin area.
Nothing wrong with that, start with the easy parts and use a DE for the tough parts until you get the muscle memory down. Or do one pass with the straight and a second with the DE.

For the record, I found a South to North pass on the neck was easier to control than the opposite when I was first learning. Not sure why but it felt more natural.

Regardless, though, a very close shave on the neck and chin is highly technique dependent. Also the direction of your whisker growth on the neck plays a role.

For now, assuming the edge is acceptable, focus on building technique and keeping most of your blood inside you. Close will come with time.
 
I am having flashbacks ... that sounds like my first half dozen shaves. I kept a Feather DX or Vector with AC blade to finish the job to my satisfaction. No shame in touchup until you no longer find it necessary.

Early days I was happy to exit a shave with no nicks (a wish not always granted) or a sense that I had a devised a successful plan of attack for difficult areas, or I managed to keep lather off the pivot this time, or my off-hand was getting less shaky, etc. Little victories until it gradually started to come together, the stress level started to lower, and the enjoyment factor ramped up in a surprising way.

There are *many* variables at play and one by one you will sort them, if patient and persistent.

One of the weird things that I have noticed in the last year with dozens of different razors is that sometimes I *swear* it's going to be a garbage shave — feels like tugging, I have to push (or pull) hard to get through my generally trivial stubble, and so on — yet when I finally give up, rinse my face, apply some splash and give it the once-over ... my face is astonishingly smooth.

How did that happen? I never know. Was it some characteristic of the blade shape, it's edge quality, my lather? Did my technique overcome a bad edge, or was my assessment of "bad edge' during the shave really just a different "flavor" of edge coming from a combo of particular steel with particular finishing process? I dunno, I just persisted and ended up DFS or DFS+ despite my dire in-shave prediction.
 
Good advice above; anbd things will get better. However, I will add this note. Because the razor was tugging when going with the grain, I suspect that it is not truly shave ready. And in that case, no amount of stropping will make up for what was not done on the stone.

And you have other razors that you will try soon. This will give you a basis for comparison. But most razors are received in a "not shave ready" condition, although the seller states otherwise. If you still find no satisfaction, send one to doc226 for honing. This will provide you with a benchmark or standard for comparison.
 
Not piling on, just remembering various things ...

One thing that took me a while to stop doing was going over and over the same place. Nearly all my 'mishaps' and unusual irritation were followed by me muttering "should have stopped while I was ahead!"

Things got faster and oddly better when I'd just do a pass, WTG for example, and accept that it was not going to get everything. When the lather was gone, I was done. Same with XTG; same with AGT. Then at the end I'd feel around for touchup what didn't get hit with those three passes. (This is how I ended up with a five-pass upper lip routine :p ) During cleanup give each missed area another try from AGT and/or a different angle and then, accept the shave as it was. Followed up with a DE or shavette if I felt compelled. Or just say, "not bad, will get better" and take the win.
 
I am having flashbacks ... that sounds like my first half dozen shaves. I kept a Feather DX or Vector with AC blade to finish the job to my satisfaction. No shame in touchup until you no longer find it necessary.

Early days I was happy to exit a shave with no nicks (a wish not always granted) or a sense that I had a devised a successful plan of attack for difficult areas, or I managed to keep lather off the pivot this time, or my off-hand was getting less shaky, etc. Little victories until it gradually started to come together, the stress level started to lower, and the enjoyment factor ramped up in a surprising way.

There are *many* variables at play and one by one you will sort them, if patient and persistent.

One of the weird things that I have noticed in the last year with dozens of different razors is that sometimes I *swear* it's going to be a garbage shave — feels like tugging, I have to push (or pull) hard to get through my generally trivial stubble, and so on — yet when I finally give up, rinse my face, apply some splash and give it the once-over ... my face is astonishingly smooth.

How did that happen? I never know. Was it some characteristic of the blade shape, it's edge quality, my lather? Did my technique overcome a bad edge, or was my assessment of "bad edge' during the shave really just a different "flavor" of edge coming from a combo of particular steel with particular finishing process? I dunno, I just persisted and ended up DFS or DFS+ despite my dire in-shave prediction.
I had purchased a few straight razors from Haggis. Just got the razors the other day - had not had a chance to try them out yet. But they do look beautiful and in excellent well-kept condition. Thanks for the speedy shipping. Looking forward to using them over the next few weeks.

Yes, that is how my first Straight Razor shave felt like - a tuggging to try and get the stubble off. It took me quite a few passes. Although current wisdom says that us rookie shavers should not get a good shave... and although that it has not been said - I feel that the right of passage to becoming a seasoned SE shaver - is that you will need to nick (or maybe even a blade cut) yourself with the blade a few times during the process. That did not happen to me, so I feel I must be doing something wrong.

Haggis is a good guy to work with if you plan on buying anything from him !!!!
 
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Not piling on, just remembering various things ...

One thing that took me a while to stop doing was going over and over the same place. Nearly all my 'mishaps' and unusual irritation were followed by me muttering "should have stopped while I was ahead!"

Things got faster and oddly better when I'd just do a pass, WTG for example, and accept that it was not going to get everything. When the lather was gone, I was done. Same with XTG; same with AGT. Then at the end I'd feel around for touchup what didn't get hit with those three passes. (This is how I ended up with a five-pass upper lip routine :p ) During cleanup give each missed area another try from AGT and/or a different angle and then, accept the shave as it was. Followed up with a DE or shavette if I felt compelled. Or just say, "not bad, will get better" and take the win.

This is experience talk right here. Along with everyone else who responded here. Thanks so much for the encouragement !

Only 5 passes you say ? I myself must have done 10 to 15 passes because I was trying to go for the typical BBS shave that I would get with my DE razors. Was not meant to be on my first try. I will stick with it though and see how this goes.

Just to note - I myself am not an under-the-nose shaver. My moustache is my prized possession. I can see @Star_Wahl_Clipper_Treker saying to himself... I am going to shave that moustache off on him for making me max out my credit cards on shaving creams and soaps. Shame on you SWCT for thinking that. Shame on you. ;-)
 
One of my other challenges I found during my first SE shave was that although I know I have to stretch the face while shaving, I found this difficult to do with the soap I was using - Sterling Soap.

I just did as best as I could with stretching the face using my facial muscles. It worked as best as it could.

Another challenge I also found was when going from one side to another, I had a hard time switching to my other hand. I suspect this will improve over time. Most of the shave - I found myself using just one hand during the shaving process.

DE shaving is SOOO much easier !!!

:-D
 
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