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What equipment, at moderate cost, do I need...

In terms of keeping start-up costs down
1) Many brand-new razors do not come with factory edges that are really high quality. Why not? Because getting a truly shave-ready edge is pretty time-consuming and that adds to the cost. So I am a big fan of following the vintage route. There are some eBay vendors from whom you can get a user-grade shave-ready razor for $50. I do agree its good to have 2 razors to start with, and 2 shave-ready razors for under $100 is definitely possible. You can also get a non-shave ready - many decent brands are available for $20-$30, then you pay someone $20 to sharpen it - end result is a similar cost. Other benefit is that if you enjoy sharpening knives you eventually will want to hone your razors. If you have a $50 beater you won’t feel bad wearing it out practicing your honing!
2) Others have suggested and I agree - you don’t need a full set of stones. If you sharpen knives a lot then I expect that you at least have a bevel setter. So worst case you need a mid-range (4-8k) and a finisher. I don’t use lapping film much but I agree it is the cheapest route. Even with rocks you can 2 stones like this < $200 and perhaps even < $100 depending on what you choose.
3) If you plan to use stones, make sure you have a flattener - usually a diamond plate. Having a flat surface is much more important for a razor than for a knife. But you can get a cheap one for $20-$40.
4) Crox can get you a good edge. A few grades of diamond paste with balsa can get you a fantastic edge. There are a lot of ways to finish a razor’s edge, but most agree that you need to get at least to 8k grit equivalent. There are a lot of stones that can do this, Arkansas, coticule, JNAT, slate, and of course films and pasted balsa. At the beginning, all you need is ONE way.

I started with a on-line purchased razor for $75. It wasn’t quite as “shave ready” as advertised. But I had some 0.5 diamond paste from my knife sharpening, which I rubbed onto a strip of denim (literally cut from the leg of a worn-out pair of jeans). That made a big difference. I don’t use that anymore, but it held me for a month or so.

Can you spend a lot more? Absolutely. I have far more razors than I need, also far more stones than I need to keep them in good shape. And the Method honors are right - once you get the Method down, its “one and done” I almost never have to hone a razor a 2nd time - just maintain.
 
PitViper, there is absolutely nothing sub par with lapping films when compared to synthetic stones. I find them a bit fussy and they do wear out, but the edges attainable are very comparable. I don't see where you listed any stones that you use for your knife sharpening, but it's likely that they will suffice for the low and mid range if you get to where you need to do more that touch up an edge. You probably only need 1 and 3 micron films. Make sure to buy plain film and not the PSA backed stuff.

I don't have any direct experience with Maggard's edges, but I'm pretty sure that I've read good things on that front.
I actually have a few sharpening systems. 1) Edge Pro Apex pro. 2)Spyderco tri-angke sharpmaker, and the one that I use most, 3) dmt kit, with the 3 stones it comes with, plus the extra course, and extra fine. These are not the full size bench stones, rather the ones that are like 1"x4", or somewhere in that neighborhood.
 
In terms of keeping start-up costs down
1) Many brand-new razors do not come with factory edges that are really high quality. Why not? Because getting a truly shave-ready edge is pretty time-consuming and that adds to the cost. So I am a big fan of following the vintage route. There are some eBay vendors from whom you can get a user-grade shave-ready razor for $50. I do agree its good to have 2 razors to start with, and 2 shave-ready razors for under $100 is definitely possible. You can also get a non-shave ready - many decent brands are available for $20-$30, then you pay someone $20 to sharpen it - end result is a similar cost. Other benefit is that if you enjoy sharpening knives you eventually will want to hone your razors. If you have a $50 beater you won’t feel bad wearing it out practicing your honing!
2) Others have suggested and I agree - you don’t need a full set of stones. If you sharpen knives a lot then I expect that you at least have a bevel setter. So worst case you need a mid-range (4-8k) and a finisher. I don’t use lapping film much but I agree it is the cheapest route. Even with rocks you can 2 stones like this < $200 and perhaps even < $100 depending on what you choose.
3) If you plan to use stones, make sure you have a flattener - usually a diamond plate. Having a flat surface is much more important for a razor than for a knife. But you can get a cheap one for $20-$40.
4) Crox can get you a good edge. A few grades of diamond paste with balsa can get you a fantastic edge. There are a lot of ways to finish a razor’s edge, but most agree that you need to get at least to 8k grit equivalent. There are a lot of stones that can do this, Arkansas, coticule, JNAT, slate, and of course films and pasted balsa. At the beginning, all you need is ONE way.

I started with a on-line purchased razor for $75. It wasn’t quite as “shave ready” as advertised. But I had some 0.5 diamond paste from my knife sharpening, which I rubbed onto a strip of denim (literally cut from the leg of a worn-out pair of jeans). That made a big difference. I don’t use that anymore, but it held me for a month or so.

Can you spend a lot more? Absolutely. I have far more razors than I need, also far more stones than I need to keep them in good shape. And the Method honors are right - once you get the Method down, its “one and done” I almost never have to hone a razor a 2nd time - just maintain.
I like everything you've said, and was thinking the film/diamond pasted balsa route to start. Also, I am gonna seek out what you have described on evay
That sounds like a very enticing option for starters.

Thank you!
 
I like everything you've said, and was thinking the film/diamond pasted balsa route to start. Also, I am gonna seek out what you have described on evay
That sounds like a very enticing option for starters.

Thank you!
Wanted to add: just picked up a a near mint shave ready Fromm 5/8 from ebay
Thank you for the advice. Fromm is a brand that I actually have scissors from, so I'm a little familiar with their reputation. The eBay advice was golden! I hope it is indeed shave ready...
 
If I get the time. I'll try and put together a guide to daily leather stropping. My guide will only cover stropping on clean hanging leather and clean hanging cloth as I am not experienced enough with pasted hanging strops. Someone else may be able to put together one for pasted stropping.

The use of pasted balsa strops is well covered here:


There is no shortcut to learning this skill. Read all of the thread taking notes as you go. Then read all of it again to check and modify your notes. It shouldn't take longer than a few hours. Well worth it for the knowledge that you will gain.

The pasted balsa progression that I normally use is given here:

How To Use a Pasted Balsa Strop - https://www.badgerandblade.com/forum/threads/how-to-use-a-pasted-balsa-strop.473580/post-11382391
Hi and thank you.

I have already previously found your balsa strop thread, and even printed it out for reference! You are quite knowledgeable!

Thank You!
 

Slash McCoy

I freehand dog rockets
So, regarding the title of this thread, what is the "moderate" cost of joining the cult of straights?
Around $40 for a shave ready old beater of a vintage razor, er, I mean a classic, historical heirloom. About $40 for a nice big silvertip badger brush from Whipped Dog. $3 to $10 for a soap or cream. $20 to $50 to make a pretty good strop or buy one, fit for learning with. The razor will last around 150 years, the brush probably 20, the soap should be good for 6 months, the strop for maybe 40 years. You will need someone to hone your razor every several months unless you learn to do it yourself. About $60 for a good balsa setup, $15 for a 4th piece of acrylic and $2 or so for a sheet of 1u lapping film which you will only need once. Ditto the two coarser grades of diamond on balsa, but you will use the finest grade after every shave. I will let you do the addition.

Kinda hard to get any cheaper than that, though if you don't mind boar, you cn save $20 or so on the brush. It won't affect the final results of your shave at all.

I guess you could compare the per year cost with the cost of your current system and probably find that you don't save a lot of money with straight razors, but at least you are throwing away less crap. Your shave quality should improve, depending on your enthusiasm for learning the fine points. Plus you have sneering rights over throwaway and cartridge shavers, and you can pat DE shavers condescendingly on the head and tell them that DE shaving isn't so bad. Or instead of sneering, you can just walk with a bit of a swagger. Me, I am more of a swaggerer than a sneerer.
 

rbscebu

Girls call me Makaluod
So, regarding the title of this thread, what is the "moderate" cost of joining the cult of straights?
For me it would be (March 2022 prices):

SR Titan ACRM-2 T.H.60 = USD 20 (AliExpress)
Honing of SR = USD 30 (incl. shipping both ways)
Strop generic Chinese 60mm wide = USD 12 (AliExpress)
Brush generic Chinese synthetic = USD 3 (AliExpress)
Shaving cream or stick, your choice from about USD 3 (local)
Diamond pastes (0.5μm, 0.25μm & 0.1μm) USD 25 incl. shipping
3 x balsa strops USD 25 total

USD 118 total including shipping. With a Gold Dollar 208 or P81, you could save about USD 10 but I prefer timber scales on my SR. You could also do it about USD 10 cheaper by doing your own honing using lapping films (about USD 20 for the gear), but then you have a lot more reading, studying and learning to do.

So it is possible to get a reasonably good setup for under USD 100 with everything except soap lasting you 10 years or more of daily shaving.
 
So, regarding the title of this thread, what is the "moderate" cost of joining the cult of straights?

Coincidentally, I was thinking about this very topic earlier today, spurred on by my continuously growing collection of shaving equipment.
If I had to start over, on a very tight budget, a bare minimum would be a generic shavette and 100 ct. of Astra Superior Stainless - ~$25. with shipping. If I wanted an actual straight to shave with, I would get a Gold Dollar from Amazon ($12.), some lapping film to place on top of my glass coffee table for honing, and get an heirloom strop for $50'ish. If I was feeling loose and free, I'd spring $20. for a CrOx bar. For around $100, with shipping included, I'd have a pretty solid set-up. Van Der Hagen would supply the suds and bristles. I wish I would have had that set-up and my current knowledge 30 years ago.

...but don't we all?
 
I would suggest before worrying about sharpening your razor you find an edge you like to shave with. Let's you practice maintaining an edge and see what type of edge you want to chase.

I suggest a decent hanging strop, you can find suggestions on this site somewhere. The paste you have will be good at bringing any shave ready razor you have back to life possibly (might want to keep medium for razor separate from knife. Not sure if paste set up for knife might have something in it that ruins the razor edge)
Picked up a Gold Dollar 208 "shave ready" from razor emporium. The comparison between the two razors, and 3 shaves, I've tried with SR's is night and day! It is indeed shave ready. This won't be my last razor, as I prefer German steel, and will save for something I really want. But for now, todays shave was near perfect, barring the 2 small areas of razor burn and one nick. But, this is a procedural issue, not the razor. I now know what a shave ready SR feels like. I am quite amazed, btw, as it was very low cost. Now...technique. I have the 2 areas the left and right of the windpipe that the grain goes in a different direction. No matter what I try to tighten the skin, etc, I cannot get those areas right going wtg. So, they ended up being across the grain/against the grain. (feel free to educate me on the correct acronyms!). One nick, but I was pleasantly surprised, in fact. Neither of the previous 2 razors I tried I don't think could nick me, as careful as I am. It was just like the youtube videos, where you just let the weight of the blade cut the hair. No tugging, pulling, tearing, nor pain. Quite impressive. I will definitely pursue this hobby in more detail!

Viper
 
Picked up a Gold Dollar 208 "shave ready" from razor emporium. The comparison between the two razors, and 3 shaves, I've tried with SR's is night and day! It is indeed shave ready. This won't be my last razor, as I prefer German steel, and will save for something I really want. But for now, todays shave was near perfect, barring the 2 small areas of razor burn and one nick. But, this is a procedural issue, not the razor. I now know what a shave ready SR feels like. I am quite amazed, btw, as it was very low cost. Now...technique. I have the 2 areas the left and right of the windpipe that the grain goes in a different direction. No matter what I try to tighten the skin, etc, I cannot get those areas right going wtg. So, they ended up being across the grain/against the grain. (feel free to educate me on the correct acronyms!). One nick, but I was pleasantly surprised, in fact. Neither of the previous 2 razors I tried I don't think could nick me, as careful as I am. It was just like the youtube videos, where you just let the weight of the blade cut the hair. No tugging, pulling, tearing, nor pain. Quite impressive. I will definitely pursue this hobby in more detail!

Viper
Sorry, meant adam's apple!
 
Picked up a Gold Dollar 208 "shave ready" from razor emporium. The comparison between the two razors, and 3 shaves, I've tried with SR's is night and day! It is indeed shave ready. This won't be my last razor, as I prefer German steel, and will save for something I really want. But for now, todays shave was near perfect, barring the 2 small areas of razor burn and one nick. But, this is a procedural issue, not the razor. I now know what a shave ready SR feels like. I am quite amazed, btw, as it was very low cost. Now...technique. I have the 2 areas the left and right of the windpipe that the grain goes in a different direction. No matter what I try to tighten the skin, etc, I cannot get those areas right going wtg. So, they ended up being across the grain/against the grain. (feel free to educate me on the correct acronyms!). One nick, but I was pleasantly surprised, in fact. Neither of the previous 2 razors I tried I don't think could nick me, as careful as I am. It was just like the youtube videos, where you just let the weight of the blade cut the hair. No tugging, pulling, tearing, nor pain. Quite impressive. I will definitely pursue this hobby in more detail!

Viper
Awesome! glad you got a shave ready razor to try out. I would try out natural edges as well, I recommend Doc226 and a jnat edge. Also now is a great time to really master stropping which is a very important skill to have down pat. I believe a lot of times people try to master honing before they can strop and it leads to many issues and overcomplications
 

Slash McCoy

I freehand dog rockets
Now, before it gets dull from use, is a good time to take it to the next level, with the balsa strop progression.
Picked up a Gold Dollar 208 "shave ready" from razor emporium. The comparison between the two razors, and 3 shaves, I've tried with SR's is night and day! It is indeed shave ready. This won't be my last razor, as I prefer German steel, and will save for something I really want. But for now, todays shave was near perfect, barring the 2 small areas of razor burn and one nick. But, this is a procedural issue, not the razor. I now know what a shave ready SR feels like. I am quite amazed, btw, as it was very low cost. Now...technique. I have the 2 areas the left and right of the windpipe that the grain goes in a different direction. No matter what I try to tighten the skin, etc, I cannot get those areas right going wtg. So, they ended up being across the grain/against the grain. (feel free to educate me on the correct acronyms!). One nick, but I was pleasantly surprised, in fact. Neither of the previous 2 razors I tried I don't think could nick me, as careful as I am. It was just like the youtube videos, where you just let the weight of the blade cut the hair. No tugging, pulling, tearing, nor pain. Quite impressive. I will definitely pursue this hobby in more detail!

Viper
Now, before it gets dull from use, is a good time to take it to the next level, with the balsa strop progression.
 
I agree with Slash McCoy regarding the balsa. However, it might be enough to use one of the finest emulations, provided the edge is already shaving good.
If your stropping is convexing the edge to much, you may need to do more of a progression. Just do not let it get dull before you do a little refresh.
 
Hi all,

I have been reading up here on honing/maintaining. I have 4 different sites from which I am "eventually" gonna buy supplies for this purpose.

One thing I intented to buy first was a four sided paddle strop, and 4 different grits of diamond paste, as the maintainer.

I will post the links here, and you guys please educate me if I need anything else, or have too much, etc....

All opinions welcome.


Given the above choices that I have made, please educate me and let me know what I need/don't need.

Thanks,

Viper
 

Slash McCoy

I freehand dog rockets
You have total decision making responsibility for your purchase and you can make almost anything work to some degree. But my suggestion is follow the pasted balsa thread exactly in every detail. It is proven to get great results.
 
For me it would be (March 2022 prices):

SR Titan ACRM-2 T.H.60 = USD 20 (AliExpress)
Honing of SR = USD 30 (incl. shipping both ways)
Strop generic Chinese 60mm wide = USD 12 (AliExpress)
Brush generic Chinese synthetic = USD 3 (AliExpress)
Shaving cream or stick, your choice from about USD 3 (local)
Diamond pastes (0.5μm, 0.25μm & 0.1μm) USD 25 incl. shipping
3 x balsa strops USD 25 total

USD 118 total including shipping. With a Gold Dollar 208 or P81, you could save about USD 10 but I prefer timber scales on my SR. You could also do it about USD 10 cheaper by doing your own honing using lapping films (about USD 20 for the gear), but then you have a lot more reading, studying and learning to do.

So it is possible to get a reasonably good setup for under USD 100 with everything except soap lasting you 10 years or more of daily shaving.
Thank you for that.

I made the mistake of watching The Perfect Edge guy from Massachusetts video. He uses Shapton Glass stones. I priced out what I'd need including the Stone Pond, Stone Holder, the Stones, Lapping Plate... wow... scared the feces out of me. I'm afraid, I'll have to stay with AC SE razors to avoid the sticker shock.
 
Thank you for that.

I made the mistake of watching The Perfect Edge guy from Massachusetts video. He uses Shapton Glass stones. I priced out what I'd need including the Stone Pond, Stone Holder, the Stones, Lapping Plate... wow... scared the feces out of me. I'm afraid, I'll have to stay with AC SE razors to avoid the sticker shock.

Skip the overpriced Stone Pond. Skip the Stone Holder, too. It's nice, but only fits the SG stones. You want something more general purpose, many of which are cheaper. A cheap diamond plate will do for lapping, no need for an expensive Shapton one.
 
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