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The Minimalists Requirements For Traditional SR Shaving

I am thinking you need at a minimum, a couple hundred razors, 20 or 30 brushes, about 40lbs of various diamond, synthetic and natural hones, various lapping plates, and about a dozen cordovan and bridal strops. That will get you started. Later on you can add the workshop full of tools to make and restore scales, blades, strops, etc. JMHE :straight:
 
being a newbie, I will still declare "dont cheap on the strop"

there are worlds of difference between the $15 one I have and the Miller one I have now.

camo

Quite right. But a TM is not quite as expendable as what I would recommend for a first strop. I would regard a TM strop as a very good and still fairly economical upgrade, about 30 shaves in. Then if the expendable learner strop has survived, it can be relagated to travel or backup duty. YMMV, of course. If the beginner is confident that he won't slice and dice it, then maybe worth the risk to start out with a TM or equivalent.
 
After over 100 SR shaves, I am still using my cheap(er) strops. Just last week I was reminded why.

IMG_20200508_092606.jpg
I let my concentration laps a little while stropping. Fortunately I still have a few more spare to slice through. These calf-hide strops came "free" with each of my Titan SR's.

Lexie likes chewing on leather so I removed the hardware and gave the remains to her.
 
There are times when a DE/SE shaver wants to try traditional SR shaving but may be put off by the gear they think they will need. Here I am trying to list the minimum requirements in both number of items be cost to experience SR shaving.

Assuming the shaver has brush and software, here are my suggestions:

Razor
1 x Gold Dollar 66 truly shave ready and finished off on 0.5u, 0.25u & 0.1u pasted balsa strops. Cost about $25(?).

Strop
1 x cow-hide about 60mm wide. This is used to strop the razor before each shave. Can be purchased on AliExpress for about $10 and includes an integrated denim strop.

Balsa Strop
1 x 300mm x 75mm x 6mm to 12mm thick balsa wood glued to a similar sized but 20mm to 25mm thick non-warping flat substrate (e.g., cast acrylic) using rubber glue. This is used with diamond paste to refine the blades edge after each use. Cost $10 to $20.

Diamond Paste
1 x 5g 0.1um tube. This is applied to the balsa Strop. Cost about $8.

Sandpaper
1 x 120 grit sheet & 1 x 320 grit sheet wet & dry. These are used on a marble tile to flatted the balsa strop surface. Total cost about $1.

Marble Tile
At least as big as the sandpaper sheets and at least 6mm thick. This is used as a perfectly flat backing for the sandpaper. Cost about $1.

There you have my minimalist traditional SR shaving setup. Total cost is about $50 to $60, not included shipping.

If you cannot get a suitable truly shave-ready razor, you will need additional equipment like sheets of lapping film, a lapping film substrate, two more balsa strops and two more diamond pastes (0.5um & 0.25um).

The super cheap aliexpress strops are kinda iffy. Some will work okay and some will suck massively. I would go with one from a maker with a track record, like theexbay and his 2-1/2" model which is adequate for a beginner. For an upgrade, maybe a DIY one. The GD66 yeah, but for just a few dollars more one could have a 208 which is somewhat better. An option to consider, anyway. The 66 is probably the cheapest razor that could actually work, depending on the honer.
 
After over 100 SR shaves, I am still using my cheap(er) strops. Just last week I was reminded why.

I let my concentration laps a little while stropping. Fortunately I still have a few more spare to slice through. These calf-hide strops came "free" with each of my Titan SR's.

Lexie likes chewing on leather so I removed the hardware and gave the remains to her.
Another GF? She sounds awesome.
 
I kinda peeked around the site. didnt see anything that specifically said for lapping or polishing surfaces. already found out that the 3M 14k is a good film.

camo
Order a piece of 3/4" cast acrylic sheet, cut 3" x 12" and bobs yer uncle. It's what I use for film or for stabilizing balsa.
 
When starting out in SR shaving, as suggested in B&B, I looked for a shave-ready vintage. Very few were available, didn't ship to the Philippines, and cost $50 to $100 or more. Well beyond my then anticipated budget.

I settled on a Titan ACRM-2 with natural finishing stone of about 8k, dual leather and denim hanging strop and paste. The seller never claimed "shave-ready", just very sharp and it was. That set me up for about $70 including shipping.

Luckily the blade's bevel was reasonably well set. After a LOT of work on the stone and pasted denim, I got that SR shaveable.

I then discovered the "Method" of sharpening a SR. That took me into the whole new world of what SR shaving is all about. I put together my lapping films, acrylic sudstrate and three balsa strops. From there I was in free-fall to where I am now developing M7DSAD.

If only I had never looked at B&B, I would be still just like most (ab)normal people. It's all Slash McCoy's fault.
I neither twisted your arm, nor brought you here. Just sayin. Mr Moth, meet Mr. Flame.
 
roger that.....will evaluate. also thought about getting a small flat piece from a local headstone company. for some reason my small city has a couple of businesses.

camo
Sometimes you can score a sink cutout from a polished granite countertop for free. Cut it to size, give the edges a tiny bit of a bevel, and you are good to go.
 
Quite right. But a TM is not quite as expendable as what I would recommend for a first strop. I would regard a TM strop as a very good and still fairly economical upgrade, about 30 shaves in. Then if the expendable learner strop has survived, it can be relagated to travel or backup duty. YMMV, of course. If the beginner is confident that he won't slice and dice it, then maybe worth the risk to start out with a TM or equivalent.

Another thing to remember... some stropmeisters will gladly sell you a replacement leather body for quite a bit less than the cost of the whole strop. Just disassemble the strop and switch-o, change-o. It's worth asking about.
 
enjoyed reading the responses.
I have been thinking alot about this topic as I've been trying to pull some of my inner circle into this matrix. I've even offered to sharpen the razors for them if they decide to go this route as this is the main obstacle in my opinion. Stones, decent strop, technique practice etc. seems like a bridge to far initially when you compare to the cartridge side of shaving.
And to get a really great, amazing shave, you really need (in my opinion) at least some of the above listed items; at least I did before I got that amazing shave that I heard so much about.
 
Another thing to remember... some stropmeisters will gladly sell you a replacement leather body for quite a bit less than the cost of the whole strop. Just disassemble the strop and switch-o, change-o. It's worth asking about.

that would be a helluva program to buy into!!!!!

3 inch is even easier for me and I'm experiencing smooth sailing.

camo
 
I don’t know about minimalistic. I guess just one razor, one brush, one soap, cold water for aftershave?
For me personally, I think most minimal would be just my 7 set of SR, my TM veg tanned/linen strops, brush, a soap and aftershave.
 
Quite right. But a TM is not quite as expendable as what I would recommend for a first strop. I would regard a TM strop as a very good and still fairly economical upgrade, about 30 shaves in. Then if the expendable learner strop has survived, it can be relagated to travel or backup duty. YMMV, of course. If the beginner is confident that he won't slice and dice it, then maybe worth the risk to start out with a TM or equivalent.
I started with a TM strop and couldn’t be more satisfied. Tony offers the best customer service and helps set you up with a strop that you need. You can always replace whatever parts of the strop that fail or get damaged.
 
On the acrylic sheet, I imagine that you do NOT want the edges rounded or chamfered. Nice clean 90* angles? Been reading through this an the lapping film Thread. An have decided to ordered a piece instead of glass or machine grade granite.
 
On the acrylic sheet, I imagine that you do NOT want the edges rounded or chamfered. Nice clean 90* angles? Been reading through this an the lapping film Thread. An have decided to ordered a piece instead of glass or machine grade granite.

I only knock off a few thousandths. Sometimes the cutting leaves a slight burr on an edge, and that little bit of knockdown beveling makes the world a better place. You certainly don't have to do that if the cutting was perfect.

The acrylic has a lot of advantages. Practically unbreakable, very stable, and light enough to hold in hand comfortably. Pretty cheap, too.
 

Steve56

Ask me about shaving naked!
Too fine and they will push hair instead of cut it.
After over 100 SR shaves, I am still using my cheap(er) strops. Just last week I was reminded why.

I let my concentration laps a little while stropping. Fortunately I still have a few more spare to slice through. These calf-hide strops came "free" with each of my Titan SR's.

Lexie likes chewing on leather so I removed the hardware and gave the remains to her.

Don’t do that while you’re shaving.....
 
Taking bluesman 7's suggestion in post #4, probably the best minimalist approach considering cost and/or available space would be:
  • A truly shave-ready Gold Dollar 66 for about $25(?).
  • A dual leather and denim Strop for about $10 on AliExpress
  • Some stropping paste for a dollar or two. Others here would have to recommend which to get as I have never used it.
This would get you started for under $40 and cover your requirements for many months. If you want to refine your SR edge even further, you could then get the diamond pasted balsa strop setup.

All sounds good to me.

So where could I find a truly shave ready razor for $25?
 
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