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My Straight Razor Checklist

So Im trying straights for the first time ever. Casting all good sense aside,
I have elected to have a brand new Koraat 7/8 w/ slightly smiling blade...
full bellied hollow grind (tough beards) and ivory/black paper micarta scales.1.jpg4.jpg

Here's my checklist of all the stuff I will need to make this work, do have a look-see and let me know if I missed
anything. I aim to make this a highly minimal set up so there won't be a lot of stuff.

1. 3" Premium Steerhide Old No.2 Leather & Linen strop (T. Miller)
2. Double-sided bench strop, rough texture on both sides, for touch up with green and red compounds (T. Miller)
3. Naniwa 3K/10K synthetic. Maker says 3K will set the bevel perfectly and 10K will give it a really sharp edge.
Then just a few strokes on green CrOx and should be good to go.
4. DMT 325 plate to lap the Naniwa stone.
5. Green and red finishing compound.

Some questions:

a. Do I really need one of those black stone holders while honing on the Naniwa or lapping it?
I'd much rather place it on a towel.

b. The green chrome oxide compound is 0.5 microns (40-60K grit) and the red one is Ferrous Oxide
0.1 micron...im scared to even imagine what grit that is...altho that formula sounds like rust to me.
Question is, can I just get by with green after the Naniwa 10K? What additional benefits does the red
confer?

c. These compounds come in crayon and paste....is one better than the other....I'll be applying to
a rough sided leather on a bench strop, not a cotton strop.

d. I initially wanted to get a hanging cotton strop for the green and red compound but settled for the bench strop.
I see these compounds more as part of honing rather than stropping...so I figured a really fat surface to move the
blade on would be helpful for a newbie like me so I don't compromise the bevel. Makes sense?

Am I on the right track here or way off base? I'll add more questions, observations as we go along.
I can't wait to make this project successful, if it works, I just want a Brian Brown semi-custom
and that will be it.
 
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Ice-Man

Moderator
TBH you wont need the 3k bevel set as the bevel is already set, all you will be doing is touch up so you just need a good finishing stone. May it be an ark or Jnat or a coticule it depends on what you like, and to be honest I have never used any paste.

I learned to hone doing the gold dollar mods back in 2017, with a lot of help from the members here they are a great bunch. Never be shy to ask questions even if it sounds silly to you trust me they aint, I do recommend getting a couple of vintage straights to learn to hone on that is a must.

As the last thing you want to do is wreck that beautiful Koraat by getting it wrong, trust me you will so hence cheap vintage straight is going to be your friend to practice on.
That smiling blade is going to be a challenge to start with as your going to have to learn x strokes. For the stone holder yes you do need one, as it gives it an extra half inch higher so it lifts you hone up away from the bench so your fingers dont keep catching.
 
A. No, a towel is fine, maybe better because it will allow the stone to move a little, just be sure that you have enough height for your fingers. Bench Dogs work well too.

B. The red paste is basically rust. Try the green and see, you make like the feel of one paste over another.

C. IDK on that one.

D. That’s fine. Pastes on a giving surface will eventually round the bevel and require resetting the bevel, but your 3k/10 should do well.

I think that you’re on a workable path. If it doesn’t turn out, send me the razor please, lol.
 
Thanks for chiming in gents.

Ok, it's good to hear some re-affirmation for picking a bench strop for compounds over
a cotton strop that might interfere with the bevel. Thanks.

I think I'll get the red compound too as it's not pricey and see how it goes.

The one thing I'm holding off on is the whole JNAT thing until Im absolutely sure this is what I want.
 
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If you have a finishing stone and leather strop, the other items are optional. That is what I used for several years. I've used a towel in the past while honing, but since it leaches water out of my stone I stopped. My Norton requires soaking though, so that probably made it much more noticeable than it would be with a splash and go like the Naniwa super stones. For a while I used a $1 frisbee. It was shallow enough to hone with, but still kept water from running everywhere.

I would eventually get a JNAT edge done by someone experienced and see if you like it. Cheaper than buying a bunch of stones and finding out it isn't your thing. They are interesting...
 

Polarbeard

Contributor
Ambassador
Personally I'd recommend a razor that was easy to shave with and that wouldn't break my heart if/when I broke it. A koraat is a great razor but it fills neither of the two requisites. Then again you only live once.
 
Personally I'd recommend a razor that was easy to shave with and that wouldn't break my heart if/when I broke it. A koraat is a great razor but it fills neither of the two requisites. Then again you only live once.
Are Koraat's difficult to shave with? I've seen some videos and they all seem to follow the same principles.
 
None of them are really difficult to shave with, though there are some features that you should be aware of that may cause you discomfort. un-muted spike points are one, a sharp heel on a Japanese kamisori (both ends can bite, they don’t call them ‘terror sticks’ for nothing), very narrow blades until you get the feel for them, to name a few.
 
None of them are really difficult to shave with, though there are some features that you should be aware of that may cause you discomfort. un-muted spike points are one, a sharp heel on a Japanese kamisori (both ends can bite, they don’t call them ‘terror sticks’ for nothing), very narrow blades until you get the feel for them, to name a few.
'Terror Sticks'? Now I want one even more.
 
None of them are really difficult to shave with, though there are some features that you should be aware of that may cause you discomfort. un-muted spike points are one, a sharp heel on a Japanese kamisori (both ends can bite, they don’t call them ‘terror sticks’ for nothing), very narrow blades until you get the feel for them, to name a few.
Oh yes, that was top of mind while I was configuring the razor....so I asked for the tip to be muted
and even the heel has a gentle curve to it.
 

Polarbeard

Contributor
Ambassador
Are Koraat's difficult to shave with? I've seen some videos and they all seem to follow the same principles.
Not Koraat razors specifically, but large razors in general. It's easier to learn to drive in a family sedan than in a Hummer.
 
'Terror Sticks'? Now I want one even more.
Lol, they’re a lot of fun and a good one shaves as well as any razor ever made. Get one that doesn’t have much wear on it, lesser is better, and tape the omote - the soft iron side - so it doesn’t wear too much when you hone it. I like 1 mil Kapton for this.
 
Not Koraat razors specifically, but large razors in general. It's easier to learn to drive in a family sedan than in a Hummer.
I would have to respectfully disagree. I’ve shaved with 9/8 to 3/16 (at the toe).

It’s all about developing muscle memory to shave/hone/use and of course your personal preferences as to size and shape.

There are more differences in us than razors. Once you learn, you can shave the same with all of them.
 
I have personally found that the classic vintage and same styled razors are smaller and lighter than the current custom razor that seems to be larger and heavier. In some cases, they also seem to be better balanced because of their lighter weight. Because of my observations, I think they would serve better for learning how to use a straight razor than custom or semi-custom razors. As a general rule, some would also say that a 5/8 or 6/8 razor is a better size to start with. Of course, this is just my opinion so take of it what you will. Good luck and enjoy the ride.

Mike
 
I think big heavy grinds are fine to learn on, there is less inherent struggle when the razor plows through stubble with its own momentum. Just be extra cautious not to use any pressure against your skin and let the razor do the work.

The razors from old 14 style blanks that Koraats are modeled after are not any more difficult to learn with than anything else IME. I’d actually say it’s easier to get a perfect shave with those wider heavy spine hollows. The slight smile and blunted point/heel are what will make a bigger impact on your safety than how wide the blade is.
 
Thank you for all the comments so far. I had wanted to give straights a try for a too long now.
At the same time I wanted to avoid the usual shaving forum progression that influences us to buy more and more
equipment for better performance (which then has to be sold at a loss as you move up the chain).

Start with a silver dollar 5/8, then buy a nice 6/8, try some vintages...buy some more worn staights
and have them restored. I was quite weary from my DE razor progression which really sapped a lot of time,
energy and $$$, so I decided to jump in right at the deep end....sink or swim.

If things work out, I would like to try a nice 1/4 hollow grind and then just alternate between two for as long
as I can. I found Koraat razors strike a nice balance of tradition, modernity and blade quality. I do admire
looking at some of the edgy, modern creations from other makers but I prefer simple and effective stuff.
 
My first razor was a 5/8 dovo followed by 6/8 dovo. Within few shaves I knew the 6/8 felt better. Didn't care for the 5/8. The point, like Steve said, yeah that's something to be careful of, only cuts I have ever had in the past almost 3 years were points getting me because I wasnt paying attention.
 
When I was reading up on the subject I came across a
line from a guy who said, don't focus on removing hair, focus on removing the lather.

That stayed with me. I think it's great advice.
 
So, Im wondering if I can save some money and trying sandpaper to lap
my Naniwa when it arrives.

Would you recommend dry or wet sandpaper?
What grit to lap 3K?
And what grit for 10K?
 
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