New to Straights

Discussion in 'Straight Razor Shave Clinic' started by Rosseforp, Jul 8, 2019.

    Hey Guys,
    I have been trying to decide if I want to start SR shaving on a semi-regular basis. I just started DE shaving January this year after decades of electric razors.
    I have a modest collection of vintage Gillette and modern DE razors thanks to a bit of RAD, and have begun to enjoy using OC razors like my Piccolo.

    I also have my Grandpa's vintage straight that he used in the early 1900's when it was new. It had a fine layer of rust on it when I first took it out of the box, needles to say, it was not shave ready. I also got his Raven polishing stone, but it too, was well used and bowed.

    I have been slowly working on getting it shave ready, and got enough nerve to try shaving with it Friday, just my cheeks and under my nose. I just used my right hand and made it through without a cut, not that I would call it a great experience. I finished up with my GC68 and noticed the straight had removed a bit of stubble.
    I spent more time with the Raven and strop, and shaved my cheeks and under my nose Saturday using my right hand and left hand, this time the straight felt a little smoother and I finished up with my Piccolo.

    Today I got a new Norton 4000/8000 and some film also, so I spent some more time honing.....
    This time I shaved both cheeks and got a nice cut under my nose, so I guess it is sharp!!!
    I finished up with the Piccolo, but didn't go over the areas I shaved with the straight to see how it looks tomorrow............
    I'm not sure when I will get the nerve to shave my chin and neck, I can use all the advice I can get!!!

    Happy shaves
  1. Shaving with a blade you produce by honing and stropping is going to be different than a commercial blade. You've experienced, I suspect, that even with those commercial blades, you prefer some over others. If you can take your experience with those blades and apply it to a straight, it will help you decide what you need to do to get the straight to shave your hair.

    It's common, and was true for me, that a new SR user experiences tugging. This is usually the result of trying to use too steep an angle. The blade should be near flat on your face. This allows the blade to cut hair and not scrape, or worse cut.

    My experience based on my individual beard is that I can use a 12,000 edge on some parts, but a higher grit is required elsewhere. This is why I now have gone back to .5 and .03 films followed by 200 grit diamond paste on balsa wood. If you do decide to go fully into using an edge you make, take your time and search out a mentor. @steveclarkus was/is my mentor. I've shaved with the edges he's produced and they are superb giving me the shave/results that any commercial blade might produce with the proper technique.
  2. Sounds like you're throwing yourself into this hobby face first! Great job! Now you just need to refine your honing technique and your shaving technique.... This is akin to learning how to drive a stick shift and driving a car for the first time, but harder by a factor of ten. BUT, it can definitely be done. Great start with the Norton, have you purchased a flattening stone yet(Diamond Plate)? If not, your Norton will not stay flat very long. If you are using your Raven to finish on and it is also not flat, this could be causing issues as well. If you want the nicest possible edge, all your stones should be flat to start with.

    I personally only use stones to hone, but I hear those 100% synthetic setups with film and pastes are a cheap way to get great edges! I wish you good luck and happy honing.

    Cuts.... They will happen! Take your time and realize those touchdown nicks and cuts are gonna happen for a while and are totally normal. Enjoy the process and here's to hitting that magical number of 100, where you learn all the secrets of using a straight(I gave myself a nick the other day and I'm 800-1000 shaves in lol).
  3. I do envy you having your grandfathers razor! That is a real treasure.
  4. Thanks for the reply, yes I have noticed differences in DE blades, I'm partial to Nacets, GSBs, and Feathers have been my go-to blade from the start.

    My beard grows slow and thin, but the hairs are thick, so I need a sharp blade.
    On my first try with the straight the toe was noticeably smoother than the heel and middle, and with a loupe I could see why. I got a better edge with the new Norton stone, and was surprised how little the blade actually tugged on the second try.
    For the 3rd shave, I honed the blade with lapping film and could really feel the difference, so much that I left my Piccolo on the sink and shaved my neck also.
    Now I am not saying it was a great shave by any means, I missed a lot of spots, but I made it without any cuts.
    After the shave I gave the blade about a 100 laps with the Raven to get it ready for tonight.

    Wish me luck, I will need it.
  5. Thanks, I did a whole shave last night after getting a better edge with the Norton. Yes, I do have a diamond plate, and have had good luck using an old combo hardware stone to keep the stones flat. I flattened the Raven with a piece of 180 sandpaper on a glass plate. When it is wet the blade sticks to the stone.
    But you are right, I have sharpened knifes all my life, but getting a shave-able edge on a razor is a whole 'nother story there. I am also trying the lapping film, but the Raven seems to really give it that little extra it needs.

    Gonna try a whole shave again tonight, wish me luck
  6. Thanks @steveclarkus I hear you are just the person I need to talk to. I actually thought about selling my grandpa's razor, never thinking I would get the nerve to use it.
    Well, I have passed that bridge last night, I did a complete shave with only the straight. I had my Piccolo ready, but never picked it up.
    Now I am not saying it was a great shave, not even a good shave, unless getting through without a cut is considered a good shave. I have decided to use both hands to straight shave with, even though I only use my right hand DE shaving. I missed a lot of spots, as I am finding it hard to see my left side with my left hand in the way, but my right hand doesn't block my view on my right side.
    I guess it is a matter of turning my head around. Too bad I can't just take the blade out and practice like with a DE. Lol
    Gonna use the straight again tonight, wish me luck.
  7. Best to learn both hands in the beginning. Only takes a couple of weeks to get used to it. Also, you will need a well honed razor. If you want me to hone it just PM me.
  8. Fantastic! You're well on your way! Keep us up to date!
  9. Hey guys I watched Chimensch's video and I got what I would call a SAS last night. I almost gave up when I got to my chin and neck, but pushed my way through. I did get a close shave without any nicks. It also reminded me of my first DE shave with a Chieftain. Not very good, not very comfortable.
    I am fast realizing I need to upgrade my equipment, and I believe I need to get a decent used strop first, and a shave ready razor second.
    To that end I am asking for recommendations. I have read here that a used strop can be had for as little as $15-25, and a used shave ready straight razor for around $40.
    Happy shaves

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