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Straight Razor Newbies

great post. scratch that itch folks. a filly strop, together with either a gold dollar razor, shave ready vintage off the forums, or dovo special/best quality is all you need to get started - less than $100, as you probably already have soap, brushes, AS etc.

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: Strops? You will damage your first strop.
From a Straight newbie:100% accurate as far as I can tell and yes, my Vintage Blades Latigo has some nasty nicks in it. :blushing::001_rolle
Just a counterpoint on your first strop purchase. Yes, I'm a vendor and want you to spend your money, but this perspective has nothing to do with profit margins. While I am in 100% agreement on the recommendation of the razor (see my website where I make recommendations), I feel the strop is something you should not skimp on. Yes there is a chance that you can damage your first strop, however, if you purchase one that is assembled with screws rather than with rivets or is stitched together, you can replace any component that is damaged. In real terms, the cost difference between a "cheap" strop and a quality strop is only about $20 for a 2" model and a 2" replacement Latigo leather costs $25 on our site when that eventuality arises. Anyway, just another point of view.
 
Just a counterpoint on your first strop purchase. Yes, I'm a vendor and want you to spend your money, but this perspective has nothing to do with profit margins. While I am in 100% agreement on the recommendation of the razor (see my website where I make recommendations), I feel the strop is something you should not skimp on. Yes there is a chance that you can damage your first strop, however, if you purchase one that is assembled with screws rather than with rivets or is stitched together, you can replace any component that is damaged. In real terms, the cost difference between a "cheap" strop and a quality strop is only about $20 for a 2" model and a 2" replacement Latigo leather costs $25 on our site when that eventuality arises. Anyway, just another point of view.
You make a great point. However, Ken Rup's Filly strop is a quality strop. Additionally, his Paladin strop gets good press as well both are very reasonably priced. The main point is that newbies shouldn't be worrying about not nicking their strops because it is very likely going to happen. In other words, hold off on the Kanayama $200+ strops and either get a cheaper strop or spend some coin on one with replaceable parts. You can effectively maintain an edge with a Filly... Like I said, newbies don't even REALLY know if they are in it for the long haul. Why spend more than they have to when getting started?
 
richmondesi;1744715 [COLOR="RoyalBlue" said:
1. "What should I get?"

It doesn't really matter as long as it's shave ready. You'll see a lot of thoughts about this from a lot of guys, but I know gents who've started out with everything from a 3/8 wedge to 5/8 full hollow to 8/8 wedge. It doesn't really matter as long as it's legitimately "shave ready". Sure, a 5/8 or 6/8 is a nice starting place because of the relative ease of shaving and stropping of those sizes, but it's not a hard and fast rule. I've personally discussed with one gent how his "3/8 razor was much easier to use in my noob hands". It's not typical, but he'd previously used a 6/8 and wasn't having as much luck... The point is this: a) you don't know enough your about preferences (irrespective of how much reading you've done to REALLY know what you want), b) being new to the process, you have a good chance of messing up the edge by dropping it or improperly stropping it anyway, c) you don't REALLY know that you are in it for the long haul, so get in as cheap as possible.[/COLOR]
I have been asked that same question many many times and here is my answer and the reasoning behind it... Take it for what it may be worth...

What razor to target ???

Dead center of the road for the same reason as Paul gave "You are too new to have an opinion"

6/8, half hollow, round point, straight edge, razor and why.. (Truly Shave Ready, so no stropping before first shave)

6/8 = Dead center size you can decide if you want bigger or smaller later and it is easier to strop then a 4/8 or an 8/8 for a beginner (I don't consider 3/8 a shaving razor, only a trimmer)

Half Hollow = again dead center enough flex for comfort yet enough stiffness for control and again you can decide what direction to go after this one..

Round Point = Ya know really this is just an illusion of being safer :biggrin1: so I am not as sold on this part ...

Straight Edge = As opposed to a smiler, because it is easier to strop, and to touch up later on...

So those are my thoughts and suggestions every single time someone asks YMMV of course...
 
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And now you make a great point. There is nothing that you have offered to those new to "the game" with which I find fault. I know all of us appreciate what you are doing on the Wiki front. Now if you would just be willing to let me forward some of the questions that Erin and I get on a daily basis on to you, it would be a great help. :lol:
 
Just a counterpoint on your first strop purchase. Yes, I'm a vendor and want you to spend your money, but this perspective has nothing to do with profit margins. While I am in 100% agreement on the recommendation of the razor (see my website where I make recommendations), I feel the strop is something you should not skimp on. Yes there is a chance that you can damage your first strop, however, if you purchase one that is assembled with screws rather than with rivets or is stitched together, you can replace any component that is damaged. In real terms, the cost difference between a "cheap" strop and a quality strop is only about $20 for a 2" model and a 2" replacement Latigo leather costs $25 on our site when that eventuality arises. Anyway, just another point of view.
Jim,
I know you sell great products and the replacement costs of your strop are certainly very reasonable, but I must disagree.

Whats the difference between replacing a $20 Filly and that latigo piece? Either way, both are "ruined." However, its very unlikely that either are ruined beyond the point of usage. Quite the contrary, its just ugly from all the nicks. Well, unless they decided to slice it up like my horsehide I had to replace a while ago... Another story.

If they get the Filly, they save $5 plus shipping. Ken ships free at the time of this post. Not only that, they get a free standing strop. This free standing strop will then become the travel strop. Or will be sold on the BST to a newbie in need of a cheap practice strop. Not so with your replacement leather. It needs mounting hardware to be useful.

In the end, the Filly will win out because it is a standalone. It does not need hardware to be useful, its good to go right out of the box. Now, if you sold a Filly substitute, I would be hard pressed to recommend one over the other. Maybe you do and I don't look hard enough. Please forgive me if you do. :tongue_sm Anyway, back on point. The Filly is a whole strop, and its not going to be useless because of a few nicks. However, the latigo piece is quite useless without mounting hardware.


And not only that. But newbies have no idea what they want. Maybe they want a Tony or a Kanayama. We shouldn't be forcing something down their throats that they may or may not want once they figure out their particular tastes. The Filly can be resold for practically what they paid for it. Unless they completely destroy it... I digress again. Besides, a lot of people quit SR shaving. We shouldn't burden them with something they have to sell on the BST. The Filly is $20 period. A fancy strop is much more, and taking a hit on that is painful to those without large amounts of disposable income. But $20 is not that much. And not only that, used Filly's are in great demand, I'm sure a newbie can get $15 for his used Filly. Sure, shipping costs would probably eat $5 of that, but $5 of the original $20 went to the post office too.

Ok, tirade over. Hope I'm making logical sense.
 
Glen,

Those are very reasonable opinions regarding which razor to start with, and logic that I can support... just so long as it's legitimately shave ready :tongue_sm

Jim,

Thanks, but I'd rather not :lol1:
 
Paul,

Don't worry. Believe me, having to deal with you guys on a daily basis, I have very thick skin. :lol: My background, in addition to 30 years in the militarily (active and reserves) included a ten year stint involved in contract negotiations with the federal government. So, I am used to a little, shall we say, "give and take". Ha! I was just have fun pushing back our our friend Leighton. No offense taken. There is certainly more than enough room for diverse opinions in this wonderful place.
 

professorchaos

Moderator Emeritus
Just a counterpoint on your first strop purchase. Yes, I'm a vendor and want you to spend your money, but this perspective has nothing to do with profit margins. While I am in 100% agreement on the recommendation of the razor (see my website where I make recommendations), I feel the strop is something you should not skimp on. Yes there is a chance that you can damage your first strop, however, if you purchase one that is assembled with screws rather than with rivets or is stitched together, you can replace any component that is damaged. In real terms, the cost difference between a "cheap" strop and a quality strop is only about $20 for a 2" model and a 2" replacement Latigo leather costs $25 on our site when that eventuality arises. Anyway, just another point of view.

There is merit to this suggestion ... my first strop was a TM latigo and it is still being used. A year into our magnificent obsession, I picked up another TM. This time a wonderful 2" horsehide and latigo. First time I used it, I sliced the horsehide wide open.
 
Now, my feelings are really hurt. I'm taking my ball and going home.
:biggrin:

I knew you had thick skin.


Anyway, I actually really like the jumping in with both feet strategy. If your going to stick with it and know you are, might as well get the thing you want. Just get the practice strop too.

Unfortunately, I've seen about 50% dropout rate. Or at least 50% of people who buy a razor and I never hear from them again. :crying:
 
Great Post! Honestly speaking my first strops I got on the bst (a cheap vintage pair in great shape), and while I 100% agree that almost everyone is going to 'damage' their first one, I also feel getting a good one is worth doing if you're serious about keeping with str8s.

Any marks I've made so far on the quality ones I have were buffed out with neats oil and a little rubbing with my palm. Neither may be resold as perfect for sure, but they are perfectly use-able by me still.

Either way, I love strops and could probably keep buying more of them just because I love the look of them, but whether you get a high quality one or cheap filly to begin with as long as you take your time, it should be something that you can use for years to come, regardless of a couple nicks and scuffs. Just my 2 cents. :blush:
 
I think that the choice that is available in the market place nowdays is amazing.

Just a few years ago, the discussion about which strop to purchase wasn't really an option. The discussion was.....Does anybody know were you can buy a strop? Discussion on the merits of different types was only between those who had been fortunate to find one.

Incidentally, on the size of razor to recommend to a newbee......I usually would say 5/8" full hollow because they are the most popular by a very very large margin. Second I think is 4/8" which is enjoyed by those who find it difficult to shave under the nose. The main advantage of the 5/8" is it holds more soap and therefore needs to be wiped off less frequently. Third I would recommend the 6/8" but to a man with a heavier beard. The blade size also tends to be in proportion to a mans face size and hand size. I agree 3/8" is not a good shaving razor and I think all of the wedges and large blades are for the knowledgeable and experienced. But I don't think you are going to come to grief if you start with a 6/8".

For myself, the ability of the steel to hold a smooth sharp edge comes before razor size. The old, pre second world war carbon steel and silver steel never seems to fail. So many of the newer razors are in my opinion quite crude shaving implements (not all by any means). The use of all of these new pastes and super finishing hones just never seemed to matter until the new super hard steels arrived on the scene. New guys try every single option because they clearly are not getting a level of comfort they find satisfying. I have been down that route to persue a hobby and not a need. The result was often razor burn or at least an uncomfortable shave.
 
Hope no one minds but I am reviving this one since I have seen many people asking these questions recently...including myself!!:wink2:
 
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