What's new

shave closeness

I just watched Lynn's video and was wondering why, with only the 2 directions, can the shave be closer than a DE? Is the Str8 that much sharper? What about the problem areas just under the chin on both sides? I am intrigued about this. I have always wanted to shave with a straight but just could not pull the trigger. Any info would help.:confused: :confused:

There is no evidence that the shave is closer than a DE so I don't really follow your question. The shave is close. Two passes are effective for both a straight and a DE. Without (hopefully) offending anyone a straight razor is simply a blade without the training wheels. You can get a little closer on the second pass if desired because there is no bar of metal on each side of the blade to prevent full exposure of the blade. This can be replicated nearly as well with any DE in the full open exposure position (if adjustable).

Straight razors in theory can provide the closest shave possible but the learning curve is pretty intense in order to achieve the results you seem to desire. I'd suggest not jumping into straights unless your fascinated with the idea of shaving with a straight. If your main goal is to get the closest shave possible I'd continue working with a DE or get an adjustable if your really well versed.

I get closer with a straight without going against the grain because the edge digs a little deeper into the skin. In my opinion the average user will get very close with either method but if your an against the grain DE shaver you might find yourself a tad dissapointed with a straight, especially in the beginning.

If you have doubts as to "pulling the trigger" continue learning and listen to your intuition. If you decide to "pull the trigger" get a shave ready razor, not one from some store or off Ebay. If you don't like it just sell it. You need a razor and a strop and a hone and your technically done for life. Everything you purchase after that is just part of the fun.
The "myth" that shaving with a straight razor will give you a closer shave than a DE has two camps. First, some guys may just be able to use the straight and get a better shave. Overall, I get a closer shave with a DE, but a more enjoyable shave with the straight. The second camp is guys who, back when it was commonly available, went out and got a straight shave from the local barber. The thing to think about here is prep. Compare your prep to having your face steamed by 2-3 towels, with hot lather or pre-shave oil applied with each towel. And then a professional who performs multiple shaves per day elimatates your beard. Odds are, that shave, in those days, would beat anything you could achieve at home.

Just my thoughts.

I can't comment about the difference between DE and STR8, as I never got good enough with the STR8.

What I can say is that I get shaves from my single-edged razors (injectors, GEM, Ever-Ready) that are at least as good as from my DE razors, with less passes. I can often go against the grain after one (N-S) or two (N-S followed by an across-the-grain), with no more burn or irritation than I get from doing so after three passes with a DE. In all cases, I need to do a bit of clean up/blade buffing.

I think that the SE and STR8 razors can better handle the against the grain pass without the need for multiple across the grain passes. Obviously, this speeds up the process considerably.

Also, my understanding is that Lynn is very experienced at both sharpening and using a STR8.
Lynn's been doing this for 20-30 years, you aren't going to replicate his skill in a few shaves.

I switched to straights pretty exclusively about four months ago, and I get a better shave with a straight than I did with the DE. My average straight shave is only two passes (sideburns->neck, and ear->centerline), and the stout razors I use don't really seem to care which direction my whiskers are growing. The patches where the DE got BBS in the standard 3 passes, the straight does in 2. The places where the DE needed an extra touch-up pass to get BBS, the straight doens't need any. The places where the DE just couldn't get quite BBS, the straight can't either, but it still only needs 2 passes to get as far as the DE did.

The other advantage of the straight is the ability to get whatever edge I need, I don't have to settle for what the various manufacturers produce. This leads straight razor shavers into HAD (hone acquisition disorder), which can be nearly as expensive as SBAD.

Plus the experience of using a truly sharp straight is a unique one, it feels like you're just wiping off the lather with a squeegee, except the whiskers are gone too. Even the feather doesn't give you this feeling, it's just too twitchy to just wipe your face with it like you can with a traditional straight.
Overall, I get a closer shave with a DE, but a more enjoyable shave with the straight.

YES, you put your finger on it. I actually can get as close as a DE with a straight razor, but it takes me 5 times as long, and always results in razor burn. :biggrin:

To use the car metaphor which came up a little while ago on straightrazorplace:

Electric razor = automatic with steering-wheel mounted lever
Cartridge razor = automatic with shift paddles
DE = F1 style automanual (SMG/DSG/Cambio Corsa)
Straight = Manual

You will get better acceleration and lightning-fast always perfect shifts with the automanual, but getting it almost perfect using the dance of your own hands and feet is always more fun IF you love driving. When I need to be perfectly shaved, I use my DE. When I want an excellent shave with more involvement, challenge, and careful savoring of the experience, I use the straight.
Whew! You guys have given some really good perspectives on str8 shaving. The gist of it seems to be, to me anyway, is the total experience of shaving with a str8. I can appreciate that!
I think that I am going to have to learn how to do it!

Many thanks for the excellent responses,
I started with a straight about three weeks ago, after using an electric. I had the decided benefit of a Trumpers lesson but feel that I am now getting at least decent shaves and no cuts. In addition to that, my skin is looking better already.
I think this topic has been well covered, but here are my 2 cents. I switched from a DE to a str8 only about 2.5 months ago, so my shaves aren't where they will be- But all of the things I liked about DE/wetshaving/whatever you want to call it - are magnified by 10 with the str8.

Ah yes, I can still feel that piece of carbon steel gliding over my face from this morning! Only about 1/3 of my straight shaves right now are really superb (some of my blades have steeper learning curves than others), but when I get it right, I am high off the success for the entire day. Today I got my first excellent shave out of my Dubl Duck (last 2 times I got razor burned like the dickens) and I feel amazing. Truth be told, the shave is only about 90% as perfect as my best DE shave, but I think you have to experience the "straight razor shaving success high" in order to understand what I mean. I'm on it right now. :tongue:
Plus the experience of using a truly sharp straight is a unique one, it feels like you're just wiping off the lather with a squeegee, except the whiskers are gone too. Even the feather doesn't give you this feeling, it's just too twitchy to just wipe your face with it like you can with a traditional straight.

Thanks for this great description.

Lynn makes it look so easy in his videos -- two swipes, and the quickest shave -- almost like a trick. I used to wonder how it could be that easy. Having experienced sharp blades I can now see how it might be possible, and so I'm intrigued!

Without having to go over to SRP, which is a good straight to start out with?
And are the feather straight-disposables comparable to the ones honed/stropped by Lynn?
Personally, I like both DEs and straights. I mix them up depending on my mood that day. I'll have to confess the straight has a much longer learning curve than a DE, but after you get the hang of it, it's a very satisfying feeling.

Also, I think the shave from a straight is greatly dependent on how sharp you keep it. I enjoy sharpening blades (knives and scissors) so the straight tends to fit into the hobby area just fine for me. If you're willing to spend some time keeping the blade sharp, give it a try; though that, too, is a skill which demands some effort. But as was mentioned earlier, in the beginning, it's best to get a shave-ready razor -- otherwise don't expect it to arrive ready to use. Ninery-nine percent of the time, it won't be.

Using a straight will probably be a little frustrating until you get the shaving technique down pat. Just be patient and give it some time. You may find you really like it.
I'm not sure that's true. What we're talking about when we discuss the learning curve usually boils down to "time before I regularly get better shaves than my previous razor". If your coming to DE's from M3's, that's a pretty low bar to meet, so the learning curve feels short. If you then take up the straight, your bar for success is much much higher, so the learning curve feels much bigger. And if your bar for success is some legendary "BBS for two days" kind of shave then your learning curve is very long indeed. But going from M3 to straight seems to have a similar learning curve to DE's; over on SRP it's not unusual to see guys get better-than-M3 shaves in only a few shaves if they start with a shave-ready razor. Not all of them do, but it's pretty common. I shaved with a straight for nearly a month before I got my first nick, though I got them a lot more often when I started honing my own razors, or at least when I attempted to shave with them. I got better, though it took awhile, becaues honing, now *that* has a learning curve. Unless you use the magic "mail it off to lynn" honing method, in which case you just have to know how to lick a stamp... It works well too, some of the guys on SRP have been shaving for years and never picked up a hone, they just ship their razors off to Lynn once or twice a year.
The thing that I noticed in the original thread was that you talk about 2 passes.....I do 4 when I have the time and 3 when I have less time. I get a closer/cleaner/more comfortable shave then when I use a DE.....but that might just be because I've never taken a lot of time to learn a DE.
My two cents/pence worth: it is reasonably easy to learn how to use a DE with a decent blade an achieve a close shave. It is much harder to achieve the same shave with a straight, at first. Once you have mastered using the straight you can get a shave at least as close, and probably more confortably, than you can with a DE.

Having said that, I like using both. The DE is quicker in the mornings but there is something more enjoyable about a straight shave.
Top Bottom