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Possible to shave at too light of an angle?

Hi Gurus,

I'm continuing my straight razor journey, and having a blast.
Tonight I was using a 4/8" blade which was very lightweight, and just didn't seem to want to shave me smooth. I kept trying to keep the blade angle as close to the skin as possible, and it just didn't seem like it was cutting.

While doing a cleanup pass (which was more like a 4th pass), I tried experimenting by raising the angle a little bit (still pretty low). Well wherever I shaved was instant BBS. The tradeoff was that I definitely felt more of the blade edge. It felt like it does when I shave with a more aggressive DE razor.

Is it possible I've been trying to shave with too low of an angle up until now? I'm planning on trying some more experiments tomorrow.

FYI: I sharped this blade using the method and lapping film. The blade was popping hairs and felt incredibly sharp!
 
I raise the angle a little bit in places. A straight razor is the ultimate adjustable like that. Steeper is more aggressive. Too steep and you are scrapping and killing the edge though. It’s a balance. Play around and see what works. Different parts of you face may react differently.
 
@icemanjs4, I'm glad to hear that you are enjoying your journey into the gentlemanly art. Just be careful, it can become addictive.

There is no fixed rule on shave blade angle. It's a matter of finding the angle that best suits you, the part of your face that you are shaving and the blade. The blade's bevel angle also comes into play here. Normally, but not always, a more acute bevel angle would work better with a slightly reduced blade shave angle.

Just out of curiosity, how may SR shaves have you given yourself now?
 
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Remember, with a narrow blade, any minor adjustment is going to translate to a bigger change in the angle of attack than it would on a wider blade. I suppose there's less flex at the edge, too, though I'm not sure how much that affects the shave.

I find it I have better results with a 4/8 if I stick with the same razor for a few days to really dial in my technique.
 
With a sharp razor, I would think the true answer would be no, the angle cannot be "too shallow". This assumes that the shallowest angle would be with both the edge and the spine touching your skin (call it 0 degrees relative to the plane of your skin).

But, I think that at that shallow of an angle it would be easy to rotate the razor and lift the edge off of the skin. Technically that would be a negative angle, but I think it may be easy to do accidentally, given the curves and contours of your face, if you truly "shave flat".

So my final real-world answer is that it is possible to shave at too shallow of an angle where you occasionally lift the edge off of your skin. I recommend a shallow angle, not "flat".
 
For what its worth I sometimes use an angle shallow enough that I feel the etching in the hollow of the blade on my face. That's one reason I prefer gold wash over etching — gold wash is softer :p
 
OUCH! I decided to do an experiment tonight, using my trusty Dovo. I intentionally kept the razor angle steep (15-30 degrees). On the 1st pass it was great. The second pass was ok. The 3rd pass was pure agony! There was much blood and irritation (not like my first SR shaves, but lots of weepers). I did get a very smooth shave from it oddly enough.

So right now I'm finding a weird tradeoff between steeper angles more easily giving me a close shave, but much more irritation too.

I think my next experiment will be WTG, and 2 XTG passes, so work on my technique more. Back to shallower angles
 
@icemanjs4 with the edges you are getting off your diamond pasted balsa strops, the results you found with the increased shaving angle do not surprise me.

A spine-thickness away from the skin (on the flat) shaving angle is about 15° to 17°. A half-spine thickness is about half that while 30° (as many on YouTube espouse) is about two spine thicknesses.
 
Personally, I can get away with a steeper angle early in the shave (1st pass) but as the skin becomes progressively softer and tender, due to the prolonged contact with the lather, cuts and nicks are more likely to occur with a steep angle. For me starting steep and then reducing the angle is the way to go. Similarly for me, with DE shaving, starting with an ATG pass first helps prevent irritation, cuts and nicks whist the skin is still more tolerant to the 'attack' of blade on the skin.
 

steveclarkus

Goose Poop Connoisseur
Hi Gurus,

I'm continuing my straight razor journey, and having a blast.
Tonight I was using a 4/8" blade which was very lightweight, and just didn't seem to want to shave me smooth. I kept trying to keep the blade angle as close to the skin as possible, and it just didn't seem like it was cutting.

While doing a cleanup pass (which was more like a 4th pass), I tried experimenting by raising the angle a little bit (still pretty low). Well wherever I shaved was instant BBS. The tradeoff was that I definitely felt more of the blade edge. It felt like it does when I shave with a more aggressive DE razor.

Is it possible I've been trying to shave with too low of an angle up until now? I'm planning on trying some more experiments tomorrow.

FYI: I sharped this blade using the method and lapping film. The blade was popping hairs and felt incredibly sharp!
I prefer 4/8 and 9/16 razors and I expect you will learn to feel what is going on without paying so much attention to concentrating on the blade angle by looking at it. I used a 6/8 this morning and it felt so clumsy. This is difficult to explain except small blades handle like sports cars while I feel like I’m driving a truck with a large blade. It seems most are quite the opposite though. Perhaps that’s why they come in different sizes in the first place. In any case, I can rarely see what my blade angle is but I can feel it.
 
Hi Gurus,

I'm continuing my straight razor journey, and having a blast.
Tonight I was using a 4/8" blade which was very lightweight, and just didn't seem to want to shave me smooth. I kept trying to keep the blade angle as close to the skin as possible, and it just didn't seem like it was cutting.

While doing a cleanup pass (which was more like a 4th pass), I tried experimenting by raising the angle a little bit (still pretty low). Well wherever I shaved was instant BBS. The tradeoff was that I definitely felt more of the blade edge. It felt like it does when I shave with a more aggressive DE razor.

Is it possible I've been trying to shave with too low of an angle up until now? I'm planning on trying some more experiments tomorrow.

FYI: I sharped this blade using the method and lapping film. The blade was popping hairs and felt incredibly sharp!
For me the only time i need to have a really shallow angle is when i go against the grain. The biggest difference to me when i use light razors is to use slicing strokes, by leading slightly with the tow or the heel. You really do not need much lateral movement.

 
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