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What is your Straight Razor Story?

I came up with the idea yesterday and drew it off the "Hall of Fame" section in the general area. The idea is that we could share how we got started shaving, why we started, and some of the important milestones we've crossed. Sort of like a short story of your shaving journey. I'll go ahead and start.

While my actual straight shaving started when I was 18 (25 now), my fascination with sharp shiny objects started from before I can remember. I'd always been fascinated by armor and sharp shiny weapons. I learned how to hone knives from boyscouts and since then I've been pretty OCD about having really sharp knives. What does this have to do with straight shaving, well, I'm getting there.

So, like most everyone, I started shaving with the disposable razor (Mach 3). When I was on my own and had to buy my own stuff, I realized that a half year's supply of cartridges was $40!!! I did the math and I realized if I shaved with something that never had to be replaced, I would save a lot of money. So I went over to the knife store in the mall and bought a Dovo Best. Practiced by shaving the hairs on the back of my hand (still do :lol:) and when I felt comfortable enough with the razor, I went at it. I honestly don't remember very much about my very first experiences, I don't even remember how I knew how to hold the razor correctly. It might have been from the people at the knife store, but I doubt it as they also said to shave backwards (in a stropping motion :rolleyes:), which obviously does not work.

I really can't remember if I cut myself or not, I probably did a good job because I stuck with it. I have cut myself a lot throughout my history with the straight razor, but I think of it as a job hazard. Some of you may notice that I did not buy the brush or soap, I used the canned stuff for a very long time. I also bought a strop at some time, but I nicked it up so badly it was trashed pretty quick. I used a leather belt after that because I was poor and couldn't afford the stuff they sold at the knife place.

My next milestone was honing my own razors. As you can tell, all I had was the knife store. I didn't even think about finding a forum about straight razor shaving, but at that time in my life the internet was still relatively new, I think broadband was only available to the masses for a year or two. Anyway, the razor wasn't cutting as good so off to the knife store I went. Talked to the sales person and they sold me a hone. Went home, did what they said and attempted a shave. :behead: I thought I had destroyed my razor.

Turns out the hone they sold me was a 600/800 grit combo stone suitable only for knives. Went back to the knife store to see *** they sold me. Turns out the guy who "hones" razors was working that day. (He charged something like $20 and used a black Arkansas and generally did not fill me with confidence since he didn't shave with one himself). Looking back upon it, he sort of knew what he was doing. He brought out is black Arkansas and told me I needed a stone that fine to hone a razor. He then told me about laying the spine on the hone and confirmed an x-stroke was needed because the hone was too narrow to push hone. I ended up buying an 8k Spyderco ceramic. After getting back home and spending hours on end, my razor was shave-ready once more. (Which was great because I had no other razor and was getting kind of stubbly looking)

So I spent the next 5-6 years honing my Dovo Best and experimenting with free-handing and other stones. I ended up buying a Spyderco M & UF to complement the Fine. I actually bought them because I figured they would be good for both straight razors and knives. Turns out I was right, which is good because now that I look back upon it I was flying pretty damn blind. :cool:

To be honest, somewhere along the 3rd year or so, I stopped stropping and just honed the razor whenever it got dull. (I think I was honing every three weeks). Then, I got tired of honing my razor so often and started wondering if the older razors were better. So I got a German one off ebay and got it shaving sharp. And then, early last year or late the year before, I found this website and its been downhill since then. :cool: I became fascinated with the whole brush thing (even though I knew it existed and almost bought a brush twice in my past), did research and got the whole kit. Then, I bought a junker off ebay to see if I could polish it up and get a shave ready razor for cheap. I got some MAAS and went at it with a rag. I spent hours polishing it, but it turned out great. And then I decided razor honing & restoration was going to be my new hobby.

And thats my story. I hone & restore razors and go to law school full time.
My story is fairly boring, but you asked!

Mid 1960s: Started shaving with a Gillette DE. I have long forgotten which model or what ever happened to it. Quickly went from Williams soap and brush to canned stuff.

1964: Off to college with some sort of cartridge, again forget which. Experimented with all the new razors and creams that started to come out -- cartridges, injectors, "dial" razors and probably others. After graduation continue with various cartridge shaving.

1973: My job takes me to California (in 1973) where dress and grooming codes were a little "progressive" (i.e. lax). Grew full beard and no more shaving!

1977: Job takes me back East with stricter (i.e. existing) dress and grooming codes. Off came beard except for moustache as I felt I needed *something* for continuity. So again shaving with cartridges.
Many years (31!) go by. I follow Gillette's lead as more and more blades are added.
Dec 2008: One day I bought a Fusion, some Fusion cartridges and Fusion Gel. Something went *snap*. I never even opened the razor, blades or gel. Still under my sink.

After a Google search, I ordered a Merkur Barber Pole, shave soap, and Vulfix from Classic Shaving, and was happy for a couple of months. Turns out shaving with a brush and DE was a bit like riding a bicycle. After about two shaves I was doing quite well.

Jan 2009: Found and joined B&B and SRP. Learned all about vintage Gillette razors and all the brushes and soaps available. The idea of straight razors kept staring me in the face and saying "I dare you!". The price of new straight razors seemed pretty high, especially when you factor in a strop so I tried three different shavette-style disposable blade "straights" and found that they were nothing more than clumsy and inconvenient ways of using a DE blade. Responses to posts on B&B and/or SRP kept telling me that somehow real straights were different. I only half believed that and still thought about the cost.

Feb 2009: A breakthrough! I tried a GEM 1912 SE and realized that there WAS something better than a DE! It even made me remember some of the responses to my questions about straights that mentioned blade stiffness and it seemed that might even be the thing that made the SE a better shaver than the DE. Somewhere in 2009 the moustache goes -- needed more places to shave!

Late Feb, Early Mar 2009: Armed with higher expectations I got me a Dovo from SRD and a Double Arrow from RupRazor. I soon realized there was going to be a significant learning curve! Well I am way up on that curve to the point where it is starting to flatten out.

July 2009: I feel "good enough" with a straight to know an investment in honing material *might* not be a complete waste. Spent way to much on a Coticule, Swatty, two paddle strops, another hanging strop, etc. Four Naniwa hones, DMT 325 for lapping, Naniwa lapping plate, etc..

So here we are today. Next challenge -- honing. I am now at the foot of another learning curve that will probably be steeper and longer than that of shaving.
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My story is similar. My dad used a DE and I recall the days when he put in a new blade, he's appear at the breakfast table with bits of TP on his face. There was always a styptic pencil on the sink.
I had absolutely no shaving lessons, I simply took a little disposable razor and a can of Edge and learned by trial and error. I tried Gilette Foamy and a couple other aerosol creams but always stayed with Edge. It always seemed a cut above the billowy, foamy stuff.
I switched to the two-blade Sensor when it came out, then progressed to a Mach III. I've always shaved daily, and though I've had a moustache for close to 30yrs, I never considered growing a beard. On rare days when I didn't shave, the stubble itched and drove me nuts. Shaving was simply a necessary daily task, along the lines of wiping one's behind. Never was it something I looked forward to.
I came to wet-shaving via my hobby of sharpening knives. I got interested in Japanese cutlery and waterstones and began experimenting with different techniques and educating myself online. That's how I came to know Murray Carter.
After acquiring a set of waterstones, I decided to buy some DVD training videos from Dave Martell (japaneseknifesharpening.com) and Murray. These led to purchases and phone conversations, and somewhere along the line I saw the video of Murray shaving with his neck knife. I had bought my own, so naturally I tried shaving with it. Consequently, I started investigating shaving and discovered B&B and SRP.
For weeks I lurked the forums, then placed orders with Classic and VintageBlades. I started with a Merkur 38C and TOBS, Musgo, and Proraso creams, relying heavily on Mantic's videos for guidance. The inevitable problems arose, so I too the plunge and joined the forums. AD settled in with a vengeance and I accumulated enough stuff to last for a year or two.
My goal was to learn to use a straight razor, but I found that I needed time to master the DE (not to mention lathering and better skin care). I bought two new Dovo razors and several off B/S/T and eBay. Somewhere along the line, I bought a slant-bar thinking I'd use it when I mastered the HD. The talk of "aggressive razor" scared me a bit, but I tried it once and found it to be as easy to use as the HD, but more effective.
I'm certain that others simply switched to a straight, but I'm learning piecemeal. I found that, although I can take a dry razor and scrape my dry face at the proper angle, when I'm lathered up it didn't seem so easy. I know the moves form watching videos, but actually pulling them off isn't so easy. So, I'll take a straight and practice shaving my cheeks. I have yet to do a complete shave with a straight razor, but I'm working on it. One problem is that I shave in the morning, when I'm not at my best.
This weekend, I've been reading some of the voluminous writings of Charles Roberts. It reads like a technical manuscript and is as detailed and complex as I can ever imagine one getting regarding shaving. For myself, I try to keep things simpler. Now, believe it or not, I look forward to my shave. Six months ago, if someone suggested that I'd have a shelf filled with shaving products, I'd have considered them nuts. You just never know what can happen.
Somehow I stumbled across Corey's Shaveblog.
Thought it looked like fun. I went out antiquing, came across a 48-50 SS.
Stuck with it for nearly a year, acquiring lots of DE's, and one little full hollow spike. Polished it up to a mirror, and set it aside.
A month or so later, I got a shavette, gave it one shave, then immediately went out and bought lapping film for the little spike.

After that, it was all downhill.
Then, Seraphim started posting pictures of his chopped and dropped DA's, tumbnotched Sheffields, ect ect ect.
Then I started buying beat up, chipped, rusty blades, and went to town.
Still having more fun than should be legal when I shave.
My straight story is pretty boring...I had been using Penhaligons' shaving creams and soaps since the late 80s (and a Mach X :frown:). As far as I was concerned, Blenheim Bouquet was the only cologne worth wearing. One night in late 2006, I stumbled across Scotto's review of it. Needless to say, although I lurked for quite some time, I was hooked on B&B. Once here, the countdown to using straights started ticking and Joel's "The Interactive Guide to Straight Razor Shaving" did the trick.

Thanks Joel!
My story is pretty typical I guess. I'm 30 now, had never learned to shave properly when I was younger. For the first few months I shaved I didn't even use shave cream since all my family had was the ultra super cheap no name canned goo that was maybe 99 cents for a pretty big can. I had tried just about every cartridge and canned goo that came along for years and was getting more and more frustrated by the irritation, pain, and bumps caused by shaving. Even more irritating was that I would look like I hadn't even shaved when I got done half the time, the shaves were so bad. Finally I stumbled across an AoS sampler or starter kit at Costco a couple of years ago and figured I'd give it a shot. Still no improvement but at least I finally realized there might be a better way. Some searching and stumbling eventually led me to get my first DE in March '08. After lurking for a while I joined B&B and kept reading about straights and how they are supposed to provide the ultimate shave.
I bought my first straight, a Dovo Best Quality from Vintage Blades in April this year and was immediately underwhelmed. With my huge ego I immediately assumed the blade I had been sold was not honed correctly (couldn't possibly be my undeveloped technique right?), so I purchased a couple of spyderco hones and began honing. Of course there really wasn't anything wrong with the edge on the razor I bought, in fact I did manage to give myself one of those cuts where you feel like you got an electric shock. That tells me now the edge I received was plenty sharp. I haven't shocked myself with any of my edges yet which tells me my honing probably still needs work. Being the impatient person I am I am skipping steps in trying to shorten my learning curve and thus lengthening the curve at the same time. I still have yet to get a good full face shave that is not in need of touchup, yet I am in the process of doing my first customization, on a 5/8 Genco I bought from Leighton a couple of months ago. I just ordered some wood for the scales, and have sanded the blade and am working on getting a mirror shine. Right now the blade is what I think Bill Ellis would refer to as "shiny", meaning there are still some fine sanding scratches that need to be removed. Otherwise just a few minor rust pits too deep to go to the trouble of removing would be all keeping the blade from a true mirror finish.
Started in '81 briefly. Lived with the Hondoran military in Central America. We trained them and provided support. No way to get blades, so I went "local". Started shaving with a straight, stropped on truck tires. Its the way they did things back then in the jungle. I would bring disposables with me, but you'd need a boat load to get through a deployment, and the locals loved disposables, so I would give them away. They were so poor that they would ask for my disposables after I had used them. That bugged me so I just started giving my razors away.

Anyway, used a straight in the field for months on end. I always laugh when someone that shaves with a straight asks about "travel". I strop on my wallet when I travel now. Gave it up of course when I got back stateside and shaved with a DE off and on, but for some reason I couldn't get it to work well. I used canned cream.

Anyway I was shaving with an electric and about 5 years ago, maybe 6, I came across the Yahoo site, joined, and started learning to hone, etc. It took a long time before I got really good with a straight and still find I don't always have time for it. I like DEs 1-2 times a week. For some reason they were much easier second time around. No challenge at all with Internet support. I still like to use an electric one day a week too. I suppose I just like learing about shaving in general.

So I've been shaving with a straight for about 5 years, but only got really great shaves when I stopped listening to all the differing views on the internet and just studied books on the subject. I learned there is a lot of misunderstanding still, but find it difficult to break through a lot of dogma about honing and stropping in general. Had a few great break throughs about 2 years ago and have been getting great shaves since then.
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You know you're hooked on straight razors when.....

You own 12-15 straights, some new, some vintage...a custom razor box, a set of waterstones, two strops (one being a Tony Miller horsehide + linen), AND a Lynn Abrams DVD.....and have yet to do an actual complete straight razor shave!
My "journey" started, appropriately enough, in the Truefitt and Hill store on St. James's in London. About four years ago I was in London on a vacation and, walking by, took note of the cool window displays. I stopped in, looked around, and noticed some beautiful Dovo straights. I thought they looked like some kind of scary medieval apparatus and asked whether people actually bought these things. The salesman answered that really everyone uses Mach 3, but they keep the straights around because of tradition or such. I did buy a brush, cream, and Mach 3 handle (which was a big improvement over the much less ergonomic Gillette handle). I was impressed with the cream, so kept buying it in the US, but didn't really use the brush much. I didn't think much more about the straights, but came across an inexpensive Col Conk set on the Knife Center of the internet, was intrigued enough to buy it, but, since it wasn't shave ready, of course I was turned off after one or two attempts. I was happy with the Mach 3 (which always gave me great results), but on a vacation to London again last year took another look at the straights at a store on Jermyn Street. I was impressed enough to buy one and try to learn more about them. Somehow I came across B and B and this is where it really took off. I had the straight (a Dovo) honed and tried a few more times and realized it could actually shave OK. For some reason I was interested in seeing whether I could make it work for me and got to a point where it works very well. I was hooked and now use nothing but straights (even splurged on a Zowada, which is great). I have transitioned from creams more to soaps and enjoy exploring this new world of fine soaps and have used the straights almost every day for the past year.


Well let's see....

I started shaving when I was 15 (around 4 years ago). I went to the drugstore and bought the coolest looking cartridge razor and canned goo. At first I thought shaving was the coolest thing since being able to see a PG-13 movie :biggrin:

By the time I was 16 it had become a daily chore. I continued to fall victim of Gillette's marketing buying every new Mach 3 or Fusion that was out. Shaving was always very uncomfortable and while there wasn't much blood, there was plenty of ingrowns and razorburn. The problem was that if I didn't shave I looked terrible. My stubble was patchy and dirty looking.

Around the time I turned 17 I met my girlfriend. She hated it when I didn't shave. If I wasn't clean shaven, she wasn't very happy. So one day I decided to google "how to get a better shave" and boy was that a mistake. It led me to Coreys MSNBC article and Today show spot on wetshaving. At first I was skeptical about shaving with violet scented shaving cream which (gasp) didn't come from a can and a brush made out of animal hair. My first step towards traditional shaving was a VDH brush and a cake of Williams. The lather I was getting was pitiful, but if it was supposed to help my shave, I wasn't going to knock it.

I eventually found the shaving forums. I was then persuaded to get a double edge razor. So for Christmas that year, I received a Merkur DE, some Trumpers and Truefitt and Hill shaving cream, a C&E brush, and some Nivea balm. My first true wetshave was on Christmas morning. It was terrific. I was expecting it to be a bloodbath. I completed a 2 pass shave with hardly a nick.

After that it was all about the AD's. I bought a bunch of vintage Gillettes, experienced my first Simpsons shaving brush, and discovered the shaving soap.

After about 2 years of DE shaving, I decided I'd try a straight razor. I read up on what I needed in a beginner razor, went ahead and bought a Tony Miller strop and a razor from Leighton. I've only been at the whole straight razor thing for about a month and a half. I've accumulated 4 or 5 shave ready straights and bought up a few nasty junkers that need some work.

My shaves with a straight have been terrific. I'm getting very little to no irritation. The whole experience is great. I love stropping my razor while I let the hot lather soften my beard.

For my 19th birthday this year, I'm planning on getting a set of hones so I can journey down that path. Now that I'm shaving with a straight, I don't miss my DE's at all. While I'm still very young, I feel fairly confident that this is how I'll shave for the majority of my life.
Well I stumbled across Mark's videos on youtube inadvertently. You see I hated shaving. My wife saw that and got me the Burt's Bees gift basket. Still use the mug and aftershave and have the brush handle for a re knot. Purchased an HD and some other products. Got a little bored and have always appreciated nostalgia and the old usually better ways of doing things. Read Joel's guide over and over and over. Watched as many videos as possible. Have some stuff, 1 vintage strop, 1 TM strop. 1 vintage straight and one new straight. Now DE is truly boring and this is really fun. I like how you have total control in every aspect of the razor.
Started in the early 80s with two razors and no one to turn to. The only barber I knew who had shaved customers told me it was stupid to use a straight as factory made blades are much sharper.
Bought a surgical black but never realized that the spine had to be on the hone. Managed to get reasonable shaves but no lasting edge. I used a loom strop with chromium oxide on both sides. Stropping with spine off the leather did not do much for the edge.

On and off I shaved with straight and cartridge till I joined SRP and later B&B. From then on I bought a coticule, Thuringians, Eschers and a Nakayama and got a Tony Miller genuine linen latigo strop. Uphill since then.


"To Wiki or Not To Wiki, That's The Question".
Staff member
Mmm, I will leave the DE bit out of the story.

It started when I decided one morning, mmm, shaving with a straight, that would be nice. I did 10 mins of reasearch. I need a straight and a strop...

I went to the store, saw they had 2 different straights at +$200... I decided to pick a shavette up as it was $20 and didn't know if I would like it. I used it on Sundays exclusively with canned goo for 2 years. I kinda lost interest as my Mach3 gave me closer shaves.

We fast-forward in the future 6 years. I bought a new shavette. I tried 1 blade and decided, nah, I should get a straight to try. I found someone here(B&B) who was nice to send me one for free so I can try a shave ready straight. I got hooked on shave #1. (that was 2 months ago). I now have 7 straights... 1 strop, in the process of getting another one...

I am still a rookie at straight shaving but love it. I hope it will replace my DE one day!
I started shaving with a Norelco electric because that's what my father used. He used an electric because Orthodox Jews believe that God doesn't want them to use razors that scrape the face, but only those that cut with a scissor motion (talk about micro-management). I started shaving with cartridges and Noxzema foam as soon as I left home. One day, when I was 32, I saw a straight razor in the window of Chicago Cutlery and went in. The clerk sold me a Dovo #41 inox and an Illinois strop with a few instructions. The blade wasn't shave ready and ripped up my face. I went back to the store a couple times thinking that the razor wasn't sharp enough and asking for help. The clerk insisted that the razor came sharp but the second time there was a customer in the store who told me I needed a hone (so much for the Internet). I bought a three-line Swaty over the clerk's objections and that solved my problem.

Flash forward to April of 2008, when I discovered the Internet forums. Since then I've tried a lot of pastes and hones before settling on a natural BBW/Coticule combination. Then in May I took delivery of a custom 7-day set of LeGrelots, which was a life-long dream, and now my RAD is totally satisfied. I will buy a camera soon and start selling off the razors, hones and strops that I no longer need.
Shaving - before straight razors
My shaving started in the late '80s with disposables and canned foam. For many years I could get away with shaving every other day - never been a fast face-hair grower! Over the years I settled down to the twin blade disposables with lubricating strip and cheapest brand name foam / gel.

Face furniture (to quote G.M Frazer in Flashman)
Into the nineties and noughties - had moustaches / chin-beards on and off.
(Currently sporting small chin beard - but the straight is calling me to shave it...I have chin to shave but it wants more!!!)

Then the descent (should I say ascent) into straight shaving...

'The slippery slope into 'wet shaving'

Maybe a year ago, I found myself without any shave foam - so I just splashed my face, rubbed some hand soap on my face, rubbed it around with my fingers - and shaved (still disposable).

This got me thinking... already I was looking at cheaper ways to shave - I was using cheap disposables (until well after they'd gone dull) - soap had to be cheaper than foam.

Picked up a $2 shave stick and for some months used that with a disposable - rubbed in with fingers.

This was ok - but then I got thinking - I wondered if there was a better way to lather up:

Lathering with brush!
Around June (?) 2009 did Google on shaving soap and stumbled across sites like: Art of Manliness - shave like your grandpa. Found some other links on 'wet shaving' (didn't think there was any other kind).

I picked up a $2 shaving brush from supermarket (still using) - and did the face lather - this was an improvement!

The Safety Razor aka DE
On these sites I 'discovered' the DE -I remembered my dad used to have one and a brush (but he'd got rid of some time ago). I dropped by the Shaver shop - and picked up a Comoy / Weishi DE. I used this for a couple of weeks (and really enjoyed it - best shave I'd ever had - and easily dealt with my shaving trouble spots!)

But wait - there's more... the challenge of the straight!
However - this didn't last long - as I looked at the shaving sites, the straight razor started to beckon. Yes it looked like more work, more challenging to learn, more maintenance, more risky, more expensive to start in...

But, I like learning and liked the challenge. I remembered there were a couple of straight razors in a drawer in my dad's garage (been there over 30 years). I thought they were my grandfather's - turned out they were my great grandfather's.

Well - it all went from there.

Made my own strop, attempted to sharpen and shave with regular garage sharpening stone (= hot face for the day). Since got properly sharpened.

...and the journey continues!
Enjoying the straight razor experience since early July 2009!
Keeps getting better (except when I let my attention slip and I get a nick/cut to remind me!):smile:

Thanks for the thread!

All the best,
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Shaving in the '60s:
Started with a DE and canned goo around '63. By '67 was still using goo and an injecter while in college.
Entered the Army in '68 and was back to a DE for three years.
Shaving in the '70s:
Trak II and goo. In the latter part of the decade began to experiment with Old Spice soap and an Everyready boar brush. Also experimented with a shavette a hair dresser friend found for me. By this time I had also inherited my Great Grandfathers straight and Swaty. I didn't know what the Swaty was for!!
Shaving in the '80s:
Reverted to goo and the Trak II.
Shaving in the '90s:
The first half I continued with goo and Trak II.
Around '95-'96 I again picked up a DE and learned to make better lather with soap. Started using a badger brush.
Shaving in the new Millennium:
Ran accross an article somewhere regarding wet shaving around '05. Hit the internet and found, to my surprise, "shaving forums". Who knew?
Now I own 22 straight razors, a handful of DEs, several brushes, more creams and soaps than anyone needs, enough AS to last 5 years, a nice collection of hones, including that Swaty that I now know how to use, and two TM strops in addition to my Greatgrandfather's strop.
Lets see, I started shaving back in 92-3, I basicly went down the same direction my dad had, The el-cheapo goop in a can and the cheapie disposables. They were okay, for the most part, but I often felt like it wasn't realy 'worth' the effort of using them. Being a lazy sod (still am) I used to try to not have to shave on a regular basis, Twice a week at the absolute maximum, Then I went into the realm of the electric shaver, Sure, it was easier, but I had to either use the trimmer on a regular basis, or shave every day, At the time, I felt that I didn't have enough time in the morning to do the shaving every day, (final years of high school plus sleeping in doesn't exactly leave much in the way of time for shaving in the morning)

aaanyway, go through a few years from there, I gave up on the electric razor, and just went for the hair trimmers, and a quick going over every now and then with a vibratory mach 3 in the shower, I felt that the mach threes weren't all that great for the price that they offered, that, and I also felt that I was spending too much on refills. So I basicly just started looking on the internet for an answer to this question, I stumbled across the information on a website about straight razors that were still available for sale new back in 07, so I started looking for a shop that'd sell 'em, I eventually found my 'first' straight razor in a small bargan store place, it was a slightly lightweight 'shavette' type razor bundled with other haircare products, and yeah, I guess the blade wasn't too sharp, but I managed to get a decent amount of hair of my face without destroying my face overly much with cutting. The next step, was to purchase one of those mockups which use the DE blades in a straight razor body (the wahl jobbies) managed to get used to using the thing whilst I saved up for my first 'proper' straight, a white plastic handled Dovo and a 'black beauty' strop.

So yeah, That sorta slipped me into the slippery slope of aquisition, Since then, I've ruined the first strop due to over-enthusiastic stropping, and I've gotten a new ebony handled dovo, and another, much nicer badgerbristle brush (as opposed to the el-cheapo boarbristle that I got in the supermarket when I went the whole hog with the wet-shaving soap)

So yeah, That's how I started, and that's probably how I'll stay from now on
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I shaved once with my father's DE when I was thirteen and figured my peach fuzz had finally gotten long enough to justify shaving. I got it all off without cutting myself and was pretty proud. I rinsed the razor, then took a hand towel and wiped straight across the blade, cutting all four fingers. The old man just roared when he found out.

When I started actually needing to shave in high school it was the mid 60s and I think I started with a Schick injector, and bought whatever was the latest Gillette or Schick (anyone else remember band razors?) for the next 40 years.

I really liked the two-blade cartridge razors. Especially the Gillette Sensor Excel. But when they got up to three and four blades, costing two or three dollars a cartridge, I bought a Braun electric. It was convenient, but there isn't an electric made that shaves like a blade IMO. Then the economy nose-dived and I was trying to cut every possible expense. I stumbled onto the B&B and became aware that there were still some old DE razors to be found. Then I found some and tried one. A 40s style Super Speed I was later to learn.

My first shave was a tentative affair and I didn't get much of a shave, but I didn't cut my face or my fingers. After a week I was an old hand at DE shaving. I got a better brush (EJ synthetic) and a better grade of shaving soap and a better mug....

I also continued searching for DE razors which I cleaned up and sold here and on eBay. This made it possible for me to keep taking my violin lessons. In the course of this, I came across straight razors too, and bought some. I cleaned them up and sold a couple, then a member here told me some straights I posted pics of would sell a lot better if they were shave-ready. So I bought a Norton starter set and tried to learn how to hone. I swear I never meant to actually put one of these things to my face.

But they were so fascinating... and I needed to know if I was getting anything even close to a shaving edge, so I finally tried shaving just a bit of my cheek with one. Big mistake. It was pretty cool. Next day I did the whole cheek. A couple days later my whole face. Then my neck, chin...

My honing wasn't up to snuff so I had two B&B honemeisters hone a blade for me. I'm trying to learn to shave. I'm driven to it. It's kind of nuts.

I'm not getting good shaves yet, but I'm not throwing in the towel on shaving or honing. I do have to admit that I'm not sure why this has such an attraction for me. I still love my Super Speeds.
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