What's new
  • Guest
    As per our long standing policy of not permitting medical advice on the forum - all threads concerning the Coronavirus will be locked.
    For more info on the coronavirus please see the link below:
    https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/summary.html

Westie's Straight Shaving Journal

Doin' it the way it was meant to be done!

Hurrah!

My tools are now assembled and I know that tomorrow night I will be having my first shave with a "real" straight razor.:thumbup:

I thought I would open my shave journal before my first shave. Because that's how I roll: I plan and prepare. So if you're looking for a shave post... go to post number 9 - this first post might be bedtime reading... :001_huh:

Pictures, show me pictures
Check out post #2 for pictures of my kit. Without any of the boring words.:thumbup1:

Shaving background:
I went to a boys only boarding school in Western NSW. It was an era of double denim and mullet hair-does, glam rock, and... bad shaving equipment??

Somehow, around the time I was 16, I'm pretty sure Gillette dropped shaving gear on the whole form as part of our Health & Physical Education. I'd grown up on a farm with a father who did a lot of manual type work (lots of shearing sheep and other rural work), whose shave routine consisted of - single blade disposable or cart, luke-warm running water, and scraping his face. Hardly any better than what he did to the back end of sheep really. So the thing is, the shave creame Gillette droped on us was a bit of a :001_huh: *** moment.

For the next 20 years, a lot of which involved part-time millitary service, my shaves were either double-blade swivel carts, or electric. Even now that I'm approaching 40 years old, I don't particularly need a daily shave even for a fairly traditional office type environment.

But my electric has been increasingly lacking in the "satisfying process" stakes.

Planning the move
With my Braun Series 3 not really cutting the satisfacion mustard any more I poked around a bit for alternatives.
Being a frequent poster on the Australian "Whirlpool" forum, I checked out their "Classic shaving instruments" series of posts, asked questions, "politely ignored" the links to B&B, then tried the low-financial-risk and bought myself a Wahl "Barbers Straight". This came with a starter set of 10 Gillette DE blades (and with Shaver Shop pricing, it's almost cheaper to buy this than it is to just buy the blades :lol: ).

To go with that I bought some Crabtree & Evelyn soap. I was still relying on an old brush though.

Straight with Training Wheels
I still regard my approach as valid, but I haven't put my "real" straight to my face yet :lol: Time will tell there I guess?

The main factor I was concerned about, was: What if I can't keep a blade sharp? Here is where the shavette takes away the concern - any time it doesn't seem up to scratch, just replace the blade. There is also none of the hygeine concerns that come with second hand equipment when you're first starting out (although my body-piercing habits might be showing through there? :blink:) - if someone may have drawn blood with a blade do I really want it anywhere near me? Still, that's nothing boiling and barbicide won't handle.

I had several shaves with my Wahl, in all it must have been a shave count of 30 or so - because I was getting around 3 shaves per 1/2 blade, I used about 5 blades all up. No real disasters, my shaves were somewhat rough but became better as time went on and the shave count came up.

Eventually I made the decision that this was something I wanted to do, so about the end of the Australian financial year (June 30) I committed to getting my tax sorted out promptly, and if I did, I would look towards getting a straight and the gear that needs in time for Fathers Day.

Buying "the real deal"
So I get my tax sorted and I still don't know how to proceed, it is now time to join B&B. I made my first post in the usual spot, because friendly though this site is I couldn't really find what I was looking for. I quickly met some friendly types, who put me on the right track.

So it was that I ordered my first real straight and brush, in true B&B fashion, via PM to a fellow member with an overflowing shave den.

Thanks Luc! :thumbup:

The Equipment
The package took FOR EVER!! to turn up (not really). Mrs Westie nicely enough picked it up for me, then forgot that she'd done it.... I still needed a strop, and I picked up a Barbers style strop from a nearby bricks & mortar store - Hair & Beauty Bargain Bazaar. It seems "functional" and priced sensibly enough. All in all, for under $200 (Australian) (about $50 US :lol: well a bit more really ) I've got:
Straight razor
Strop
Shave soap
Badger brush
Bay Rum aftershave

That's pretty affordable, and so long as I look after things, the only other "must have" will be a Barbers Hone I guess? (Go on, tell me I'm wrong with that choice I'm open for advice on this point :huh:)
 
Last edited:
Shaving Den
Wet area

Unfortunately, I don't actually have a vanity unit!
Dry area

This tall-boy has was in a boarding house my grandparents ran in the 50's. Don't really know how old it is!

The Nasty
Braun Series 1

For a while, I was using this 4 days a week - a Gillette twin-blade cartridge on Mondays, then Tues, Wed, Thur, Friday with this thing.
While it isn't too bad one day at a time - four days at a time it's just not very nice to use.

Trial run equipment

Previous shave brush


Wahl shavette
This convinced me, I want to go ahead with a real straight - with everything that goes with that.


Crabtree & Evelyn Sandlewood shave soap. Still my only "real" soap - I've got a bit of Menen that's over 15 years old, and some Menen shave cream that's also a bit long in the tooth.

The real deal

Brush restored by B&B member Luc with 20mm Badger hair knot. (corrected, thanks Luc)


Straight also via Luc


My Traditional Bay Rum, Hair and Beauty Bargain Bazaars' own "Good Ol' Times" brand (which seems to be, Wahl product in a different bottle).


Strop, from save location as the aftershave.


My "scuttle" loaded up with my kit.

All I need now is a new scuttle - something tells me the tupperware mug hasn't got the wow-factor that my new equipment needs :laugh:
 
Last edited:

mdunn

Moderator Emeritus
its all coming along nicely, mate.

Im in town, if you need a hand with anything too.
 
Hi Westie.

A scuttle is a specific type of shaving-equipment. You have lathering-mugs (which is what you have there), or lathering bowls, but scuttles are shaped differently from either. This is my shaving-scuttle from the 1920s:



That's the scuttle at the back, with the spoon and the brush in it. Here's another photograph:



The soap or cream goes in the top bowl (the holes are for drainage to prevent soap getting all slaggy and yuck) and hot water goes into the bottom chamber through the spout at the front. The shaving-brush also goes in there to moisten up and soften for the task ahead. I love my shaving-scuttle. It provides me with perfect shave-lather every single time without fail. I was hopeless with bowls and mugs...the scuttle saved my soap from being chucked out. I use the top bowl as a lathering-bowl as well. I have a small brush so it's easily done, but others might find it hard and would prefer to transfer it to a larger bowl for the actual lathering.
 
Last edited:
Good stuff mate!
Glad to see you got it rolling well.
Me too I recently had my very first str8 rzr shave!
It live up to my expectations!

Btw, Luc is a great guy.

Cheers
 
Hi Westie.

A scuttle is a specific type of shaving-equipment. You have lathering-mugs (which is what you have there), or lathering bowls, but scuttles are shaped differently from either.
Oops. "Scuttle" was my attempt at marking it as "sarcastic".

My high-quality shave mug was "borrowed" from Western Sydney Area Health when one of my kids was born. Please don't tell them we still have it. However after use as a shave mug I don't think it would fit in all that well back at a hospital?

A Scuttle, along with an actual basin to shave in, is right up there on my must-buy items list. I'm sure I've got an actual shave mug here somewhere, but in between having three kids things like that - which I'm sure I've got, but have never wanted to use till now - just seem to grow legs.... :blink:

I must be the only guy on here with an en suite to shave in, that doesn't have a hand-basin (let alone, heavens forbid, a double-basin vanity unit)! I'm pretty over shaving standing in the bath-tub. Plenty of room for a bathtub, but no shower and no handbasin. What the previous owner was thinking when they extended the house I'll never know.

Now, if you happen to have a spare scuttle or three, let me know... Maybe there's some local Aussie knick-nack I can trade for it?:tongue_sm

Hoping that the "first shave" pics will be on here in about an hour or two. Now that I'm into actual shaving - things should consist at most of, a few lines of text, and a couple of before/after pictures.
 
Scuttles can be bought from ClassicShaving.com, or if you're lucky like I was, they can be picked up at antiques shops and flea-markets.
 
Hoping that the "first shave" pics will be on here in about an hour or two. Now that I'm into actual shaving - things should consist at most of, a few lines of text, and a couple of before/after pictures.
OK, so I was uploading a video of my son onto You-tube so there is only one pic - after the event.

Previous shave - Tuesday, with a Wahl Barbers Straight / Shavette (see Post 1). Wednesday, no shave. Thursday, Electric shave (see Post 1). Friday - Jeans day @ work - no shave. Saturday - no shave.
So yeah, there was a bit of undergrowth there!

Prep: Ran a HOT bath, laid in it with a decently strong bourbon, washed face with bath soap, lay with hot as I could stand face-cloth over my neck up to my top lip. Re-washed face three times, while my brush (see Post 1) soaked in my "collectors edition shave mug" </sarcasm> :lol:.

Prepared lather with the Crabtree & Evelyn Sandlewood shave soap. Seems to be a bit more than normal??? :biggrin1:

Not to self: There is no problem with, shaving one pass only WTG, cheeks only.

The shave:
Pass 1: Once WTG. Left cheek first, then left side top lip, then left side neck, left side chin. Having problems convincing myself that I am doing anything.
Wipe blade. Crikey! There is a bucket load and a half of hair there. :thumbup1:
Shave the right side of my face. Pretty much as above.

There is still a lot of whiskers left on my face :001_huh:

Pass 2
Wash face, re-lather.

Hmm, first time ever I have been able to re-lather without rinsing & re-loading a brush. There IS something to be said for this 20mm Badger brush! Thanks Luc! :thumbup:
One pass XTG. From centre working outwards. Cheek, neck, top lip, chin. Wash face. Still plenty left behind.
Worryingly, between my adams apple and the point of my chin seems to have remained untouched.

So: on to what I had assumed would NOT be happening:
Pass 3!
Wash the brush out, top up bath with hot water, soak face a fair bit longer with face-cloth while re-soaking brush.
Re-lather the brush, then my face, then
one pass, ATG.
Again, left side first, cheeks first then top lip then chin then from neck up to my chin. Then right side, same sequence.

Result:
Visually, the mirror tells me I've had better end results with my Braun electric. By the feel of my face, it's quite good. then on with the Bay Rum, and... my eyes lied a little, there is a few patches of... well, nothing serious but clearly I've irritated myself in about five places. But noting to see!


Webcam pic from the netbook. While it doesn't highlight the remaining stubble, it doesn't overly hide it either.
 
Great job champ, another very detailed account. You should be proud of yourself too as I can't see any blood in the pic :001_smile
 
Looks good to me :w00t: I have a netbook with a camera so I know the picture is probably not showing us the full picture, but from what I see it looks nice enough. I'm sure the shavette helped eh?
 
Looks good to me :w00t: I have a netbook with a camera so I know the picture is probably not showing us the full picture, but from what I see it looks nice enough. I'm sure the shavette helped eh?
You're right about the netbook camera - it's provided a rather less-than-critical shot of my shave. But as has been mentioned, there's no blood so it was a pretty good first go :lol:

I think I learned a bit about how to push a blade across my face with a shavette, but it's literally only 1/2 as much blade length as my straight razor.

So while it wasn't totally different, there were enough differences that attempting to shave with exactly the same technique would have seen my ear, or nose, or lip, lying on the floor before I'd finished!! :blink:

This morning, my face is feeling quite good. A couple of spots where I could probably do better next time - either less harsh on my skin, or closer shave needed. But overall, a happy result.
 
Todays challenge: take a "challenged" child to be assessed by healthcare professionals before he starts "big school" next year.
As you may imagine, the house (with 2 other kids, the one "challenged" kid, and a stressed mum) was bedlam.

I had "waited" (in between doing all sorts of stuff that needed doing) till 8:10 to shower, shave, brush teeth, and get dressed before being out the door at 8:30.

Prep: Shower, wash face with normal soap. Lather face, leave face lathered while I brushed my teeth.
Swear because I'd managed to put a spot on my razor the first time I'd used it - apparently there was some moisture in the scales when I put it away :crying: but it should polish out OK?? (yes, the swearing was an essential part of preparation).

Listen to my wife yelling about how long I was taking (even though she wasn't ready either).

Wash face, re-lather.
1 pass WTG. Did a lot more of my face this time than the first time.
Re-lather - I probably should have rinsed my face? But I didn't.
1 pass ATG.


Post-shave: Hot rinse, cold rinse, Bay Rum.

Result: a quite acceptable shave, and I think in less than 5 minutes. No gashes, weepers, but definately not BBS. I guess SAS plus a bit? Does that make it CCS? I wouldn't say it was quite gentle enough to call it "comfortable" so that probably answers my own question.

I need to watch some stropping videos, and work out where the hell I can hang my strop. :001_unsur That should let me get the razor back to as good as I can have it before I get a high-grade maintenance hone.
 
Can't you just hang the strop on a towel-rail?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2h1GC34yyKE

Liam Finnegan, proprietor and barber at the Waldorf Barbershop in...Dublin, Ireland, I believe...stropping a straight-razor. This place is apparently famous for its vintage, retro and antique charm, for giving classic-styled haircuts and old-fashioned straight-razor shaves, all with period-correct vintage equipment restored to working condition. It's run by a father-and-daughter team of the Finnegan. It's been operating since 1929.
 
Last edited:
Can't you just hang the strop on a towel-rail?
Only if I want to stand in a bath-tub to STROP.

It's bad enough standing in there to SHAVE.:blink: What were the previous owners of my house on?

All I can say is, I guess the ensuite was planned by the teenage daughter (the mother looked like she shaved her chin more often than I do) :lol:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2h1GC34yyKE

Liam Finnegan, proprietor and barber at the Waldorf Barbershop in...Dublin, Ireland, I believe...stropping a straight-razor. This place is apparently famous for its vintage, retro and antique charm, for giving classic-styled haircuts and old-fashioned straight-razor shaves, all with period-correct vintage equipment restored to working condition. It's run by a father-and-daughter team of the Finnegan. It's been operating since 1929.
Thanks, yet another you-tube thread to watch. :blink:
"No dear, I'm not taking the netbook upstairs to watch porn" :blushing:
 
Mate, sensational.:thumbup1:

Very impressed that you have taken the challenge of a straight. I can tell that I'm going to be tempted someday.......
 
Top Bottom