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St8 razor shaving - Help - didn't work, Technique issue or not sharp enough ?

Hello

I used a st8 razor for the first time. This is an old razor that I sent for restoration/honing. It came back looking really good with a feedback that it was a great razor and shave ready.

The blade didn't seem very sharp to me but since I have no other reference I tried to shave with it. I read some forums and video and tried to apply what I read (blade at 30 degree ...). It didn't work at all. It was hurting and burning and didn't cut the hairs at all. I had to finish with my DE which was a huge difference as far as cutting. Any idea what could be wrong ? Can I do something wrong so it doesn't cut ? How do you see if blade is shave ready ? I tried the hair test and it doesn't cut the hair. Even if I rub the hair against the blade, it doesn't cut it. But I have been told that this is not a good test.

Anyway, not sure what to do so if anybody has suggestions, it would be welcome. Otherwise I will continue with my DE. Thanks for your help.

Yves
 
Who did the restore and honing? Have you talked to them? Also did you do an initial stropping? That can ruin an edge in no time if done improperly.
 
Thanks for the asnwers,

- No if I run the blade along my arm hair it doesn't cut (pushes the hair away).
- Restoration was done by Ken at Rup Razor. I read pretty good feedback about him. I am very happy with the restoration work (looks very good) but I am having trouble using my razor (may be my technique, this is why I post here).
- I didn't do an initial stropping as it was recommended not to before the first shave.

Yves
 
Do you mean you are trying a hanging hair test? or are you shaving your arm hair ?

It sounds like you are trying a hanging hair test to me. I honestly dont think that test means anything at all. Its all about the "shave test" thats the only real test.

Try and shave your arm a little and see if its cutting hair before contacting Ken.
 
Most newbie problems are a combination of wrong angle plus too much pressure. Try this: lay the razor flat on your face and then lift up the spine just enough so that it's not touching. Then, use absolutely the minimum pressure required to make the blade touch your face, but not more, and then guide the razor but do not press it against your face.

EDIT: And don't forget to stretch, it's very important.
 
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Most newbie problems are a combination of wrong angle plus too much pressure. Try this: lay the razor flat on your face and then lift up the spine just enough so that it's not touching. Then, use absolutely the minimum pressure required to make the blade touch your face, but not more, and then guide the razor but do not press it against your face.

and do it between your sideburn and jawline


when you're new you are very likely to be underestimating the angle. plus at this point this is the only thing you can try, failing that if you still think it's dull you can send it to be checked.

it shouldn't be painful and tugging and whatnot, so if that's what you experience when following the above you should stop and not push it.
 
At first try I didn't stretch my skin to shave...I found out that this is imperative for str8 razor shaving. I also have now studied the way my hair grain grows so much that it is now just automatic knowing where to start and finish...at first I didn't do this either. Be patient it will come together in time. :smile:
 
If it does not even cut arm hairs, then something is wrong. I would contact your honing source and see what can be done about it. In my experience, if the blade refuses to cut arm hair, it cannot shave the face comfortably. It is possible that the edge got rolled somehow or another.

Also, you want to make sure you stretch the skin and add little to no pressure at all. Those are the most important to get right when starting. Proper blade angle will come with experience as well as learning your facial hair growth direction. Just take it slow, a half hour or more if necessary. When I first started, I took prolly longer than that and only did one area at a time.
 
I've never heard of a Rup razor not being shave ready, but if it isn't even cutting arm hair, perhaps it got damaged in shipping, or if you have anyone else in the house, maybe they were playing with it.

Other than that, it's all about technique.
 
Thanks everybody,

Your feedback is helpful. Based on your comments, I suspect that I don't have the right technique. I will try again at a smaller angle and let you know results.

Contacted Ken and he confirmed it should be shave ready and my blade is first class quality. I need to shave closer to the face (not 30 degrees). Will try. He proposed to check hone if it doesn't work.

By the way I am very happy with Ken's work as far as razor restoration. It was an old razor from my grand father, not looking very good, and it came back unbelievable. Seems that he really cares and is proud of his quality work. Nice to see that we still have artisans like that.

Had read that str8 shaving required a learning curve, I guess it is more than what I anticipated.

Yves.

Note : Tried again on my arm and it really doesn't cut the hairs half way as suggested in a post. Does it really has to do that ?
 
I like to say that when a newbie gets a straight, it's usually the newbie that is dull and not the blade :biggrin:.

My first blade was a Wapi from KenRup, and my first shave was rough and unbearable. I knew Ken's reputation and told myself it had to be my technique, and I was right. Several shaves later I started to get the hang of it, and just like I suspected, Ken's work was top notch.

The HHT and the arm hair tests aren't very good tests as others have chimed in. Honestly with any blade I've ever tried the HHT on, it's more a question of moving the blade in spastic motions to get it to cut than it is just sweeping it across the hair and it cuts (note it cuts some, but not all hairs). I've gotten blades closer to that vorpal "sweep and cut" stage, but then when I try to use them they are too harsh on my face :sad:. In summary, the HHT is a parlor trick. The only test I use is trying to actually shave a patch of arm hair, which any good blade will do.

Keep at it, you'll get the hang of it in time. You picked a good honemeister to do the restorations too :biggrin:.
 

Luc

"To Wiki or Not To Wiki, That's The Question".
+1 to Chris.

I would qualify me shaves of excellent or great at the moment. I can do a great shave with a DE at the moment and love it.

With a straight, I'm not there yet. Each shave improves and is better. It's a learning process, I just need to stick to it!
 
Chris,

I hate to say it but I think you are right, it is the newbie who is dull :ohmy: :)

It helps to know that other people found their first shave rough and unbearable (that's how I would describe mine). Kind of feel bad to have second guessed my blade/honing.

Tried again with a closer angle. Went much better although was still a little rough and results were not that good. But at least there is progress.

Thanks to all of you. It was very helpful to me (I was ready to put the str8 back in the drawer for the next generation).

Do you think the Lynn DVD would be helpful ? Any other recommendation ?

Yves.
 
Try even less of an angle. Say, the width of the spine above your skin(like 10 degrees or so?)
Prep, prep, and more prep.
Make sure your face is soaking wet, and you have a lather that is a bit wetter than you normally make.

Also, although I am NOT a fan of pre-shave oils, they really do help with the blade skipping, stalling and whatnot, when you are first starting out with a straight.
The only one I have tried is Jack Black Beard Lube.
 
You might try some pre-shave oil . Some people really like them . And make sure you have plenty of water on your face . Good luck partner .

cityjim
 
Lots of good advice given. I will reiterate a few points I think important:
  1. The arm hair test is not what it's cracked up to be. Do it over a clean sink and you might notice a few hairs do come off, but not many. That's my experience.
  2. Technique is more important than the tools, assuming the tools are at least in the ball-park of adequate.
  3. It will take way more than a few shaves to start geting it right. At least it did for me. But maybe I am a slow learner. I do read here occasionally where some seem to take to it like a hot knife to butter.
I didn't notice it mentioned above, but a good stropping technique is very important. As with most aspects of shaving, a light touch is one of the most important points.

One other thing. I recommend the WiKi at SRP, especially the "Advanced shaving techniques" at http://straightrazorplace.com/srpwiki/index.php/Pass. I found that the "advanced" techniques are really needed for a decent straight razor shave.
 
Try even less of an angle. Say, the width of the spine above your skin(like 10 degrees or so?)
Prep, prep, and more prep.
Make sure your face is soaking wet, and you have a lather that is a bit wetter than you normally make.

Also, although I am NOT a fan of pre-shave oils, they really do help with the blade skipping, stalling and whatnot, when you are first starting out with a straight.
The only one I have tried is Jack Black Beard Lube.

+1 to that. Better prep can help a lot.

I have never tried pre shave oil, but I have tried using some extra glycerin (I had it laying around) and water before a hot towel soak. Immediately after the soak, I lather up and shave. The glycerin is a nice addition, but the bulk of the benefit comes from the hot towel! You can put lather on under the towel too, and I have traditionally done that, but have started to believe it is unnecessary.

For me, the biggest aha moment was when I started using skin stretching. For about 2-3 weeks before that, I had much rougher shaves than when I tried stretching.

This will just take time. You will look like the unibomber after every shave until finally, you will get a SAS. It might take a while after that before you can get another SAS. When you get to where you can keep getting presentable shaves every time though, you will never want to go back!
 
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