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Taking the straight razor plunge

I went with the Boker. It is a thing of beauty. I love it. Didn’t realise it would be so small. Strop hasn’t arrived yet so haven’t shaved with it yet. Held it against my cheek. Didn’t feel as intimidating as I thought it would.
I’m tempted to get the Edo as well now. Better than spending that money on more soaps and aftershaves
 

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In the UK I would encourage patronizing The Invisible Edge Straight Razor Sharpening Service - Invisible Edge - https://www.theinvisibleedge.co.uk/product-category/razor-sharpening/straight-razor-sharpening-service/

They restore vintage, as well as well new and offer honing service. I've read only good things, and they have some quality straight razor research written up. I bet if you called them up they'd source and hone an Edo for you
They do have Edo in stock. They have 3 of the 4 wood colour options for the scales. Now it’s a question of choosing which colour
 
Strop came in so now there is no excuse not to start shaving 😊
It is quite small which I wasn’t expecting. Is this standard size or did I get a particularly small one? It’s a Boker one with canvas and leather.
It looks like a tall order to strop the whole blade as it barely covers half of it if that
 

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Strop came in so now there is no excuse not to start shaving 😊
It is quite small which I wasn’t expecting. Is this standard size or did I get a particularly small one? It’s a Boker one with canvas and leather.
It looks like a tall order to strop the whole blade as it barely covers half of it if that
2” is on the narrow side of things but it’ll do the job. You’ll have to jump in the deep end and learn some x-strokes. There are benefits to a narrow strop. Many people prefer them once they learn the ropes.
 
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Legion

Staff member
Strop came in so now there is no excuse not to start shaving 😊
It is quite small which I wasn’t expecting. Is this standard size or did I get a particularly small one? It’s a Boker one with canvas and leather.
It looks like a tall order to strop the whole blade as it barely covers half of it if that
Yep. Search the info on x strokes. It is actually the correct way to do it, IMO. 2” wide strops were the norm in the olden days.
 
You must get your razor professionally sharpened. There are some on this forum that are professionals. I am late to the party. I was going to tell you that theinvisibleedge.com sharpens every razor before it leaves the shop. You won't enjoy the experience without a proper edge and they don't come that way from the factory.

Second, a little fear is a good thing and will keep you from getting cut. Just go easy. After 100 shaves you will be good at it.

Third, Don't use the entire length of the blade. You'll get cut. Just use the forward half or less, or the back half (or less), depending on where you are shaving.
 
Ok so I attempted my first strop.
I nicked the leather. I lost focus and instead of pivoting on the spine did it on the edge. Not great but it for worse. After I noticed what thought was dirt at the toe towards the spine so I tried to remove it but it seems like part of the metal was filed off. Not sure if the photo shows it. Overall a pretty crap start but on the plus it can only get better.
 

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You must get your razor professionally sharpened. There are some on this forum that are professionals. I am late to the party. I was going to tell you that theinvisibleedge.com sharpens every razor before it leaves the shop. You won't enjoy the experience without a proper edge and they don't come that way from the factory.

Second, a little fear is a good thing and will keep you from getting cut. Just go easy. After 100 shaves you will be good at it.

Third, Don't use the entire length of the blade. You'll get cut. Just use the forward half or less, or the back half (or less), depending on where you are shaving.
That is some good advice thank you. I wouldn’t have thought not to use the full blade
 

informative video. I noticed he only did with the growth and against the growth. Do you do across the growth with straight razor?
 
Ok guys first run out with the straight. Terrible shave but that was the most manly thing ever. I love it.

I did three passes, with, against and with again as there was still so much hair left it didn't make a difference. Very small cut on neck, but nothing worse than what I would have done with a DE.

I struggled a lot to get a smooth shave and used the DE for two passes after to clean up. So much quicker but not as fun.

The angles I found very difficult. Also my left was a total disaster so I reverted mainly to my right. Is that bad?

It was the longest shave ever as I was so slow and careful. The lather dried out between passes I was that slow. It didn't feel very smooth gliding across. I don't know if that's my technique, or the razor, or if the lather was too dense for a straight razor.

And my neck is on fire. Even worse than when I used Noble Otter shaving soap. I also picked up a bit of debris when applying aftershave. Never had that before so I assume it's skin.
 
Ok guys first run out with the straight. Terrible shave but that was the most manly thing ever. I love it.

I did three passes, with, against and with again as there was still so much hair left it didn't make a difference. Very small cut on neck, but nothing worse than what I would have done with a DE.

I struggled a lot to get a smooth shave and used the DE for two passes after to clean up. So much quicker but not as fun.

The angles I found very difficult. Also my left was a total disaster so I reverted mainly to my right. Is that bad?

It was the longest shave ever as I was so slow and careful. The lather dried out between passes I was that slow. It didn't feel very smooth gliding across. I don't know if that's my technique, or the razor, or if the lather was too dense for a straight razor.

And my neck is on fire. Even worse than when I used Noble Otter shaving soap. I also picked up a bit of debris when applying aftershave. Never had that before so I assume it's skin.
Congrats on you first SR shave! There's nothing else like it. Based on the amount of stubble left, I'd guess your razor wasn't fully shave ready. The angles and using your left hand will come (quickly!) with time, but without a good edge you're going nowhere. A good stropping may bring it back to life, it's worth a try. Just go slow and steady focussing on the flip and how you lay down the edge as you begin each stroke. You can even stop completely at each end, just make sure the edge is up in the air each time. If that doesn't work then The Invisible Edge seems to have good reviews as a honer in the UK.

Starting out SR shaving is tough, the learning curve is basically vertical. You have to figure out how to shave, strop, and hone all at the same time. Nobody is good at these things right away but the progress and improvement is shockingly fast in the beginning. Without a good edge it's going to take 10x longer though.

I noticed he only did with the growth and against the growth. Do you do across the growth with straight razor?
90% of the time I shave one pass with the grain (WTG) and then a 2nd pass across the grain (XTG) and that's it. This gives me better shaves than a 3-pass DE shave. Sometimes I'll do a 3rd pass against the grain (ATG) if I'm really loving the edge. You'll figure out what works for you.

It was the longest shave ever as I was so slow and careful. The lather dried out between passes I was that slow.
Yep, been there. It's not a race, your shaves will get faster over time. Just reapply to keep your lather hydrated.

I don't know if that's my technique, or the razor, or if the lather was too dense for a straight razor.
My guess is the edge wasn't shave ready. 90% (probably 95% tbh) of the shave is having a shave-ready edge (notice a theme?) and half decent lather. That last 5% is the perfect lather and what type of finisher was used and was it honed on slurry or water or oil or lather and all that stuff. Don't worry about that now, just focus on the first 90%. Get the edge professionally honed, strop it slowly and carefully, and have at it.
 
Ok, so developed this rash after my first go with the straight razor. Not ideal. It’s faded now but I wouldn’t like a repeat next time round. I’ll try applying less pressure. I’ll add that going over with an alum block after the shave was pure torture.
I’m away until Monday so won’t go for round two before then
 

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Ravenonrock

I shaved the pig
That looks angry! Taking a break makes sense to let things fully calm down before trying again. I’ve never used alum, so I can’t comment there. Perhaps a single pass and leave it at that for now. Thinking less is more during the initial learning stage. My first shaves weren’t great as I recall and my edge was not where it needed to be for comfort. Hang in there and I hope things get better!
 
You're edge probably wasn't up to scratch and your lather probably was too dry. You want your lather dense and very, very wet. If your lather can sustain "peaks" it's too dry. The summit of your peaks should be narrow and fall against your face when you form them.

I also wouldn't be surprising if your angle was too steep or you used too much pressure
 
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Ok, so developed this rash after my first go with the straight razor. Not ideal. It’s faded now but I wouldn’t like a repeat next time round. I’ll try applying less pressure. I’ll add that going over with an alum block after the shave was pure torture.
I’m away until Monday so won’t go for round two before then
I did that kind of thing to myself when I was starting out with a straight, and the cause was definitely too much pressure. You want basically no pressure. Took a while to train my hands to do that.
 
Thank you guys for the advice and encouragement. I will persist in my quest to master the straight razor. It's a bit crazy as I can I get a real smooth shave with a DE without much effort but that's the easy route.

with that, round two tonight went well. Two passes only and I reduced the thickness of the lather a lot as suggested which helped immensely. The pre shave strop I felt was a lot better too. Not as much burning as first time round. I'm hoping I won't develop a rash again. Doesn't feel like I will. Went for a few more practice passes on my cheeks after trying to perfect the angles. I was improving at it. Wasn't as much work left for the DE as last time.
 
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