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My straight razor journey

Try the 12k first if you already ordered it, def be in that overlap of smooth/sharp.
 

quijas23

Contributor
Great post on this thread. Still learning after about 8 years or so of shaving with a straight and I feel i am light years ahead of where i am now compared to when I first started. Few of the items to confirm what others have said on this thread.
1. Chasing bbs is great, but for me it seems that on my throat area its almost impossible to get this. While i have gotten it before, I get really bad ingrown hairs so I've stopped chasing this.
2. I used to use only synthetics, but now I am using Jnats and am quite pleased with them as I found out what buttery smooth means in reference to straights. So now do synthetics on the lower grits and finish on a really nice Jnat. I do have some of the higher grit shaptons (16000 and 30000), but what you would use for a chisel, or plane blade is much different than what you would use on your face. There is a reason why JNats are so popular in our hobby.
3. I have sent off blades to honemeisters from here and other places to get a reference point. I suspect that although the forums are filled with straight shavers, we are really few and far between so its nice to get some outside help.
4. I kept my mach five around (and out on the sink) when I was learning. Sometimes its not your day.
5. Most important: the knowledge base on this site is immense. Ask questions- everyone here is very helpful and i have personally been helped with problems that perplexed me to no end. It is a great community that is here.
 

Aidah

Contributor
Today's shave was shave #5 with the SR. I had to wait a bit for my face to heal before I felt comfortable shaving again. Today's shave wasn't that close, I only did two passes but I only nicked myself twice. I'm mainly working on my motions and muscle memory at this point but I notice the razor tugging a bit in a few places. The chin is still a bit challenging to shave so I'm working on my technique with that. I know we normally want to hold the razor at an angle that is about the spine's width from the skin but are there any circumstances where anyone would recommend holding it at a higher angle?
 
Today's shave was shave #5 with the SR. I had to wait a bit for my face to heal before I felt comfortable shaving again. Today's shave wasn't that close, I only did two passes but I only nicked myself twice. I'm mainly working on my motions and muscle memory at this point but I notice the razor tugging a bit in a few places. The chin is still a bit challenging to shave so I'm working on my technique with that. I know we normally want to hold the razor at an angle that is about the spine's width from the skin but are there any circumstances where anyone would recommend holding it at a higher angle?
I actually have less tugging when the spine is laid closer to my skin. Sometimes feels as if it is not even cutting. Cannot feel the blade, like it does not feel "sharp" to my skin....but the hair is cut closer with less irritation. Just play with it and see what feels best. I think the "blade feel" and "tugging," that I experience any way, is from "scraping as opposed to cutting.
 

Aidah

Contributor
Shaves 6-8 have gone well and I 'm getting better at shaving with my straights and I'm getting better. The chin is still a challenging area to shave and I nicked myself pretty well on an across the grain shave. But I'm continuing to do a two pass shave with my straights only and I'm getting a pretty close shave just going with the grain then across it. Thank you for those of you who suggested I alternate hands when shaving as I'm getting a lot more comfortable using my non-dominate hand for that side of my face.

I took my Mentholay Japanese Vintage SR to my 12k shapton finishing stone and it's made all the difference. I'm half tempted to take it down to my 8k, then back to the 12k before going through the balsa strop progression to see how it improves it. Having a properly honed blade makes all the difference! I sent out my Ralf Aust to be honed and it's arriving back to day, so I'll update on it when I get my next shave in (will likely be tomorrow).

wed-nov-18-sotd.jpg
 

Aidah

Contributor
Sounds like you have made a lot of progress - great to hear! The chin area can be tough. Don't be afraid to take multiple passes on this area.
I usually don't cut myself on the first pass. Its the second pass where I'm going across the grain that I find myself more likely to end up with cuts on my chin.
 

haggis

Contributor
Pretty much the same here.

Cleanup is where I really do myself a disservice. I just can't stop trying to get those stubborn holdouts. For some reason a bit of a miss around the point of my chin doesn't really bother me, but the seemingly flat sides of my chin, one spot in the hollow of the underjaw, and ATG upper lip all taunt me. Fortunately I rarely get red skin, just extravagent 'feedback' from my splash, and a sometimes a couple weepers.
 

Aidah

Contributor
I think this was straight shave 10 but to be honest I've lost count. I finally got my Ralf Aust back from honing at Maggards and it is shaving better then ever. I'd say that today's shave was one of my best straight razor shaves yet at a solid 8/10. My technique is getting better and I'm not nicking myself more often then a normal shave. I've started to change up how I shave across the grain with my straight and I find it's working great for me. I'm now going at a slight angle instead of straight across the grain direction my hair grows in. I've found that this makes it easier for me to shave as well as reduces the chance of my skin getting cut.

Either way I'm quite happy with my shave today. I'm at the point where I'm now tempted to add another straight or so to my rotation since having two that I regularly shave with doesn't seem enough anymore haha. I'm thinking I want to add a 6/8 straight to my rotation to complement my 5/8 Ralf Aust and my 13/16 Japanese Vintage. I'm thinking maybe either a dovo bismark 6/8 or a Theirs Issard 6/8. Opinions on one over the other?

11-20-sotd.jpg
 
The Dovo Bismarck is currently one of their better SR's.

Both Dovo and Thiers-Issard SR's (new) can sometimes be hit or miss with their quality control for their price. If getting either, buy from a vendor that will happily accept returns if you are not completely satisfied.
 

Aidah

Contributor
The Dovo Bismarck is currently one of their better SR's.

Both Dovo and Thiers-Issard SR's (new) can sometimes be hit or miss with their quality control for their price. If getting either, buy from a vendor that will happily accept returns if you are not completely satisfied.
I’ve been looking at the superior shave since he seems to have favorable reviews and seems well regarded on this forum. I’ve also had great success with maggards so I’ll keep that in mind. This Bismarck model has caught my eye aside from the gold wash which I know will wear off with home wear. I’ve yet to try a Spanish point. BEB62D2E-85BC-4AEC-A49F-FF5F8B969864.png
 
I’ve been looking at the superior shave since he seems to have favorable reviews and seems well regarded on this forum. I’ve also had great success with maggards so I’ll keep that in mind. This Bismarck model has caught my eye aside from the gold wash which I know will wear off with home wear. I’ve yet to try a Spanish point. View attachment 1184962
The bergischer lowe is kind of a “unique” model in the hollowness. Check the sunday shaver, that might be similar without the extra stuff. very nice blades.

i dont think you’ll be losing much of the spine gold due to hone wear, if any. Setting a bevel on this is quick and maintenance is just as fast.
 
@Aidah, to the best of my knowledge, the Bergischer Lowe has a thinner grind than the Bismarck and requires a more careful touch when honing. I have a Bismarck (actually the Carre) which I bought from TSS and am very happy with. You will also notice that some folks sell the 5/8 versus the 6/8 inch Bergischer Lowe. Your plan to mix it up a bit makes a lot of sense to me.
 
Actually had my best shave in quite some time. Maybe that was because I wasn’t in a rush too go anywhere. Used a freshly honed Dovo Bismarck and Proraso green shave cream. First time I’ve used the Proraso green in several years. Face always feels so nice and smooth.
 

Aidah

Contributor
@Aidah, to the best of my knowledge, the Bergischer Lowe has a thinner grind than the Bismarck and requires a more careful touch when honing. I have a Bismarck (actually the Carre) which I bought from TSS and am very happy with. You will also notice that some folks sell the 5/8 versus the 6/8 inch Bergischer Lowe. Your plan to mix it up a bit makes a lot of sense to me.
I ended up deciding on the Dovo Carrie from tss. Thanks for the recommendation. I have a gold dollar I’m practicing my honing on currently. If I’m lucky by using the balsa strops and my finisher I won’t have to redone my Ralf Aust or this new Dovo for a while. I’m planning to rehone my vintage Japanese when I’m more comfortable honing.
 

Aidah

Contributor
Thank you @Frank Shaves for the Dovo Carre recommendation. I received this beauty in the mail today from the superior shave, and after running it through my balsa progression I've experienced probably my smoothest shave yet. I did two passes with only a few minor cuts and irritation but got a damn fine shave. I think this was shave #16 with straights but I'm getting more of the hang with it every time I shave.

I will also be close to having a non matching seven day set after some of these great black Friday sales. You guys weren't kidding when you say the rabbit hole goes deep.

I also ran my gold dollar p86 through my 4k, 8k, 12k hones and balsa progression. I found while honing that an uneven shoulder kept catching so I move the blade at an angle to the stone (keeping it flat) to sharpen it. Gold dollar gave me a good shave earlier this week so I'm pretty happy with my results.

OxCqM2m.jpg
 
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