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When You Are Interested In Trying Straight Razor Shaving…

I will still use my AC razor sometimes
Yeah I still have my Feather SS and I have no plan to get rid of it. Comes in handy as a travel razor, but also every once in a while I replace the blade and shave with it for a week just to keep my hand in.

Every time I do that, I realise two things:
1) Some claim to get Feather blade sharpness with diamond paste. I am not one of them. The Feather cuts like there is nothing in it's way, you just wipe away the lather. None of my straights can replicate that.
2) Every time I learn the hard way that a Straight is a lot more forgiving.

It's been a long time since I tried a half DE shavette, I shudder at the thought, they are even less forgiving than a Feather SS.
 

rbscebu

Girls call me Makaluod
.... Some claim to get Feather blade sharpness with diamond paste.. I am not one of them. The Feather cuts like there is nothing in it's way, you just wipe away the lather. None of my straights can replicate that.
....
I am one who claims I can get Feather blade (DE) sharpness on a traditional SR with diamond pasted balsa strops. It is a very rare (fluke) occurrence but it can be done. I have found this be comparing the traditional SR shave against a shave with a new Feather DE half-blade in a shavette.

I now regularly get close (but not quite) to a Feather DE blade edge on many of my SR's with diamond pasted balsa strops.
 

steveclarkus

Goose Poop Connoisseur
Here is my perspective on what is in the mind of somebody who is interested to try straight razor shaving, the (unhelpful?) advice they will often get, and why any talk of balsa strops will likely make them go straight back to DE razors….

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Balsa strops are not merely a bridge too far, they are a bridge-you-have-to-build-yourself too far.

I find that a Feather Artist Club razor with Feather Proguard blades is an excellent way to try out straight razor shaving without being offputting, over-complicated, or filling your house with masses of stuff. Guarded blades are the key, and are a really nice bit of technology.

Just my opinion based on my journey so far. I think people can get into all the other stuff after they find out what they want from straight razor shaving, and what they are interested in to develop the experience further (if anything).
If one really wants to get into straight razors, he will do whatever is necessary to do so. Yes it is complicated in the beginning and yes it will take a while to actually get a good shave. That’s the commitment one must be willing to make. All of us who have made the leap to accomplish the necessary skills to pay the piper are happy we did. If one isn’t willing to do the time and make the commitment, he will be disappointed in the end. Shavettes have some similarities to traditional straight razors but they aren’t the same.
 
Good thread. I can't disagree with anything the OP's said.

The fact of needing to acquire 4+ distinct skill-sets when starting out with SRs is problematic:

- Making good lather for SR shaving (selection of soap / cream, optimal water content, etc.)
- Shaving effectively with optimal angle and pressure (these interact both positively and negatively)
- Stropping without rolling or otherwise damaging the edge
- Honing (selecting appropriate honing media, using it effectively)

And this is hugely compounded by the fact that many 'shave-ready' razors are anything but. A newbie using a traditional SR will probably have a series of awful shaves, and no way of easily determining which of these issues is responsible - and it's usually more than one factor anyway. The above factors play into each other to an extent, and this can easily result in a vicious circle. So I've tended to advise anyone looking to get into SR shaving to get an AC-type shavette. Using one of these (at least periodically) with a fresh but corked blade allows you to develop the minutiae of actual shaving technique, as the edge *cannot* be at fault.

SR shaving is a joy, whether you choose to go deep into the rabbit hole or not. Many people *think* they want to use a traditional SR, but when it comes to actually spending time honing, stropping and caring for ones razors, realise it's not for them. Of a given number of people interested in starting SR shaving, only a percentage is going to be willing and able to pursue these multiple skill sets, and even then they will likely go through the process described above.

That said there's a further joy in acquiring, owning and honing traditional SRs - some are things of beauty. An AC razor is functional. Nothing wrong with either, but I can definitely see the appeal of collecting and using SRs. It's also fair to say that a well-honed straight (used well) is like nothing else. While I still can't get mine sharp enough to easily tackle scalp hair despite using a recommended lapping film progression, they're developed to a level that is very comfortable on my face. It's like using a butter knife, it feels like it's doing nothing - yet the stubble comes away cleanly. An AC edge doesn't provide this sensation.
 
I too enjoyed the OP.

I started with AC blades in a Feather SS, then DX thinking it would be a good way to get a sense of SRs. It was so freaking good that I thought for a while I would never even try regular SRs because frankly, why bother? With a DX and Kai guarded blades, perfection had been achieved.

The DX/AC helped me learn a light touch and gave me time to work out a shaving sequence or routine and set of strokes that work for me (at least to my satisfaction). These skills and building of muscle memory helped a lot in the transition to SR when I eventually decided, what the heck, give 'em a whirl.

When I did start with regular SRs I went through a series of seriously sub-par shaves while I sorted out all sorts of new small but significant issues, each of which nearly stopped me in my tracks. *Why* is my blade grinding to a halt immediately? Is it my lather? Is it the alum I put on my fingers to assist stretching? Is it wedge vs hollow? Is something wrong with this edge? Why can I not go AGT on my chin or lip? There were some new things to learn, such as when and how to push confidently through resistance — something never really a factor with an AC shavette.

Eventually I did reach a point where I can now (not recommending this) shave through *terrible* lather and *terrible* edges none the worse for wear — although with terrible edges the shave is as bad as a bad cart day, shudder.

Conversely, good shaves are now just as good as the AC and but more relaxing and forgiving. I adore straights — in particular the amazing variety they offer — even as I muddle through the next phase, honing them. But now I'm committed to the long haul and don't mind a few detours and cul de sacs as I enjoy the journey.

But I have to say that if my goal were simplicity, efficiency, repeatability, and surety, than I might go back in time to advise myself to stick with AC (and a stypic). Fortunately a little joyful chaos is not unwelcome and SRs have provided a ton of enjoyment.
 
I chose an artist club as I had gotten the DE shave down pat and did want to try a straight. I am one who does not want the price of the razor, the upkeep / daily maintenance involved, nor the cost of the supplies needed to keep it good, though. I settled on the artist club to try a straight style out without investing too much.

I find it affords a remarkable shave but the professional blades are unforgiving. I have read the shavettes are actually trickier to use than an actual, true straight. not sure on that. I have been at wet shaving since february. I just dove into the artist club with professional blades earlier this month. I still have a lot to learn and my shaves prove it every time (at least with the straight) in bright red writing. So far I enjoy the straight, but the convenience of the DE is a big allure.
 

rbscebu

Girls call me Makaluod
@Lowcountry_Glocker, I agree that a disposable blade SR is an easier (as in time and expense) way to get into SR shaving. I still enjoy shaving with my shavettes.

I have also enjoyed developing the new skills required to successfully shave with a traditional SR and being able to develop and maintain my own edges. Developing and maintaining a razor's edge is not for everyone. For those, there are disposable blade SR's.
 
Agree with the OP that beginning can be very daunting, where the waving of an antique piece of insanely sharp steel over your face with your non dominant hand can sometimes be the least of your worries going in.
When I began, my plan for keeping a razor sharp was to strop and use CrOx pasted on the back of my strop if needed. This got me started and I soon picked up a pack of lapping films and learned to get a decent edge on those, later graduated to using stone edges which I love.
About a year or so ago I built the diamond pasted strops as an experiment and to be honest was pretty blown away by the results.
But that said, I very rarely use them as I get beautiful edges from my small selection of stones and find them easy to use and I enjoy really working to get the best possible edge from them.
Just lately I’ve been able to get some of my stone edges to almost rival the pasted balsa edges and it feels good when this happens.
 
Agree with the OP that beginning can be very daunting, where the waving of an antique piece of insanely sharp steel over your face with your non dominant hand can sometimes be the least of your worries going in.
When I began, my plan for keeping a razor sharp was to strop and use CrOx pasted on the back of my strop if needed. This got me started and I soon picked up a pack of lapping films and learned to get a decent edge on those, later graduated to using stone edges which I love.
About a year or so ago I built the diamond pasted strops as an experiment and to be honest was pretty blown away by the results.
But that said, I very rarely use them as I get beautiful edges from my small selection of stones and find them easy to use and I enjoy really working to get the best possible edge from them.
Just lately I’ve been able to get some of my stone edges to almost rival the pasted balsa edges and it feels good when this happens.

My experience with the pasted balsa strops are the same. I've used JNATs for a decade and only recently built a small set of balsa strops to play around with the results. My JNAT edges are far superior to what I experienced with when I played around with using the balsa strops. I see the benefit for new shaver or people who don't know how to hone but eventually, those edges will need to be sent off for a proper honing. Pasted balsa isn't honing, it's stropping just as using CROX on linen is stropping for a touch up and nothing more.
 
OK..... I have an ignorant question. I'm using a Claymore Evolution SE AC razor. When I look at the Feather AC shavettes (folding and non-folding)... it looks like the blades are much longer than the AC blades I'm using in my Claymore Evo.... is that the case?

I doubt I'm communicating my question adequately. If I buy an AC shavette, will the blades I have on hand work? Were they designed for these straight razor "handles"? When I look them up on Amazon.... the recommended blades are the ones I already own.... but they look so much shorter in length than what would fit one of the DX's, for instance. So is it the photographs that make the razor look longer but the 50mm length blades actually fit?

I looked at Feather's site... and it sure looks like the AC blades only come in one length.... the ones I already own. Am I seeing things correctly?

I looked at the various styles (SR, DX, SS)... they all look like the AC blades I'm using are designed to fit. First of all, is that the case? Secondly, which one would you recommend and why?
 
I've been DE shaving since a good two years now. I just found a Feather DX Kamisori for US$183.75, which – compared to some of the prices I see online – was too much of a treat to pass on...
I'm not sure yet what I'm getting myself into ;-)
 
OK..... I have an ignorant question. I'm using a Claymore Evolution SE AC razor. When I look at the Feather AC shavettes (folding and non-folding)... it looks like the blades are much longer than the AC blades I'm using in my Claymore Evo.... is that the case?

I doubt I'm communicating my question adequately. If I buy an AC shavette, will the blades I have on hand work? Were they designed for these straight razor "handles"? When I look them up on Amazon.... the recommended blades are the ones I already own.... but they look so much shorter in length than what would fit one of the DX's, for instance. So is it the photographs that make the razor look longer but the 50mm length blades actually fit?

I looked at Feather's site... and it sure looks like the AC blades only come in one length.... the ones I already own. Am I seeing things correctly?

I looked at the various styles (SR, DX, SS)... they all look like the AC blades I'm using are designed to fit. First of all, is that the case? Secondly, which one would you recommend and why?
Male Kim, the Artist Club blade format was designed for use in Artist Club style barber razors. On an AC barber razor the blades need to be more exposed, otherwise you would have to shave at a very steep angle and you would be scraping the hairs off rather than cleanly slicing them. Yes, it is scary, but think about the lip of the razor holder and the angle you would have to use for the blade edge to contact your skin. Ideally you want to be shaving with as shallow an angle as possible.

Nearly all AC blades are 8mm long. The Feather Pro-Super is 8.2mm, which allows for a shallower angle. The Feather Pro-Light is 7.4mm but probably not as suitable and they don’t fit all barber razors.

The bottom line here is that AC barber razors are a bit intimidating at first. The AC blades are sharper and more aggressive than the average traditional straight razor edge. They don’t give quite as gentle a shave as a traditional straight. If you are not yet accustomed to holding and shaving with this type of razor then you will almost certainly cut yourself. So I strongly advise that you use guarded blades like the Feather Proguard until you are more confident. And, even then, experienced users make mistakes and I think guarded blades are much less stressful.

Go slowly. Just do a partial shave the first few times - start with just your cheeks and only go with the grain - and finish off with your safety razor. Stretch your skin and use no pressure. Take your time to get the hang of it. Spend some time practicing with the razor with no blade in it (it’s still different, though, when you have lather on your face, but it still helps build muscle memory). And you will want a wet, slick lather so that the razor glides - a think, creamy lather will cause the blade holder to stick to your face, and then you have to push it, which is how you have accidents. Concentrate, and try not to accidentally stab yourself with the blade when you put it on your face - put it on your face flat and then lift the spine.

Just give it some respect and you will be ok. Mostly ok, anyway. You will get used to it and you will probably find it a bit addictive to shave in this manner. It is more fun and rewarding than shaving with a safety razor.
 
Male Kim, the Artist Club blade format was designed for use in Artist Club style barber razors. On an AC barber razor the blades need to be more exposed, otherwise you would have to shave at a very steep angle and you would be scraping the hairs off rather than cleanly slicing them. Yes, it is scary, but think about the lip of the razor holder and the angle you would have to use for the blade edge to contact your skin. Ideally you want to be shaving with as shallow an angle as possible.

Nearly all AC blades are 8mm long. The Feather Pro-Super is 8.2mm, which allows for a shallower angle. The Feather Pro-Light is 7.4mm but probably not as suitable and they don’t fit all barber razors.

The bottom line here is that AC barber razors are a bit intimidating at first. The AC blades are sharper and more aggressive than the average traditional straight razor edge. They don’t give quite as gentle a shave as a traditional straight. If you are not yet accustomed to holding and shaving with this type of razor then you will almost certainly cut yourself. So I strongly advise that you use guarded blades like the Feather Proguard until you are more confident. And, even then, experienced users make mistakes and I think guarded blades are much less stressful.

Go slowly. Just do a partial shave the first few times - start with just your cheeks and only go with the grain - and finish off with your safety razor. Stretch your skin and use no pressure. Take your time to get the hang of it. Spend some time practicing with the razor with no blade in it (it’s still different, though, when you have lather on your face, but it still helps build muscle memory). And you will want a wet, slick lather so that the razor glides - a think, creamy lather will cause the blade holder to stick to your face, and then you have to push it, which is how you have accidents. Concentrate, and try not to accidentally stab yourself with the blade when you put it on your face - put it on your face flat and then lift the spine.

Just give it some respect and you will be ok. Mostly ok, anyway. You will get used to it and you will probably find it a bit addictive to shave in this manner. It is more fun and rewarding than shaving with a safety razor.
I have quite a few Feather ProGuards on hand... and the Kai Captain guarded blades as well. So when I venture in that direction, I'll use them... makes sense.

Thx for the suggestions.

Btw, I'm loving your new moniker. ;)
 
I have quite a few Feather ProGuards on hand... and the Kai Captain guarded blades as well. So when I venture in that direction, I'll use them... makes sense.

Thx for the suggestions.

Btw, I'm loving your new moniker. ;)
It occurs to me I may have misunderstood your question. All AC blades are 50mm (I would call it ‘width’). If the barber razor pictures look like the blade holder is longer then that’s just an optical illusion. Your Feather Proguards, Kai MGs, etc. will fit. Actually, to me straight razors are always bigger in my mind than they actually are in my hand. If you haven’t had one before they are smaller than you probably imagine.
 
It occurs to me I may have misunderstood your question. All AC blades are 50mm (I would call it ‘width’). If the barber razor pictures look like the blade holder is longer then that’s just an optical illusion. Your Feather Proguards, Kai MGs, etc. will fit. Actually, to me straight razors are always bigger in my mind than they actually are in my hand. If you haven’t had one before they are smaller than you probably imagine.
Yeah.... my initial confusion was due to the photographs, probably with a wide angle lens... it made the barber razor blades look very long. After a bit more reading, I did figure out that the AC blades I'm already using were designed for these razors and the shavettes. So... an ignorant question. You don't know what you don't know until you know.

My Kai woody will be here soon. Nothing more to buy since I have all the accessories already. I'll tiptoe into it, I'm sure.
 
As someone who uses shavettes recently, I think cost is a factor too.

Right now I am using an Ac Kai clone + Kai Pro Touch blade. It is an excellent combo without nicks or cuts. Try to belive it. I would need I guess 15 up to 45 blades per year as I am still testing this blade. Initial investment about 30 usd (a shavette + 4 blades) for a month or two.

However if I was going to buy a Feather Sr (for a Dx razor add 100 usd more) + a pack of 150 Kai Protouch blades from the bay that would put a front investment of 250 usd for five years minimum . That amount is not a joke and could make getting a Straight razor tempting.
 
I was interested in straight razor shaving and did buy myself a Feather DX kamisori. I tried a first shave just this morning. The razor has a Feather ProGuard blade in it.
The shave was not successful. Finding the right position to shave the cheeks (with the grain) is not too difficult but other places were a challenge to me on my first attempt. To prevent bad things from happening, I gave up after half a face and finished off the shave with my trusted Fatip DE. I was frankly not too sure I wanted to continue with the Feather, ever.

Then I sit at my desk and feel a few places where there's still a minute amount of stubble left after my Fatip shave. The Feather is sitting in it's plastic case just in front of my screen, while I'm alternating between work and contemplation (about the fate of the Feather). So I take the Feather and attempt to get rid of whatever stubble is left. Dry shave!

And what I found out is that it is way easier to find the right position with the Feather when there's no mirror to look in! The Feather in the left hand (indexfinger on top of the razor head squeezed between thumb and middle finger) and the fingers of the right hand just in front of the razor stretching the skin. All stubble gone (right under the chin, always a problem area for me!), no blood, just a little burn because of the dry shave.
 
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OK..... I have an ignorant question. I'm using a Claymore Evolution SE AC razor. When I look at the Feather AC shavettes (folding and non-folding)... it looks like the blades are much longer than the AC blades I'm using in my Claymore Evo.... is that the case?

I doubt I'm communicating my question adequately. If I buy an AC shavette, will the blades I have on hand work? Were they designed for these straight razor "handles"? When I look them up on Amazon.... the recommended blades are the ones I already own.... but they look so much shorter in length than what would fit one of the DX's, for instance. So is it the photographs that make the razor look longer but the 50mm length blades actually fit?

I looked at Feather's site... and it sure looks like the AC blades only come in one length.... the ones I already own. Am I seeing things correctly?

I looked at the various styles (SR, DX, SS)... they all look like the AC blades I'm using are designed to fit. First of all, is that the case? Secondly, which one would you recommend and why?
I have a Razorock Hawk Single Edge. It also uses AC blades. I believe single edge razors $ straight razors (for beards) come in three flavours: half DE blade, AC format, injector.
I actually bought two boxes of AC blades to go in my first razor purchase, the Supply Single Edge v2. I was wrong. Injector blades are smaller than AC blades. Your Claymore indeed takes the same AC blades as the Feather shavettes!
Please correct me if I'm wrong.
 
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