Friday, August 7, 2015

Straight up

Been shaving with a straight razor for a while now.  Usually at least once a weekend.  So, time for a review.

The stubble from a cutthroat razor feels different.  Like each individual hair is slices off at a different pokier angle than with other types of razors. 

Using a stone may be better than strop.  I'm not so good at the strop, skillwise, maybe.  And Ultra Fine ceramic wasn't around before safety razors got popular.  I wonder if old timer 125 years ago would eschew the strop if they had access to always flat ultra fine ceramics? 

It's slower shaving this way than with the safety razor, and that is slower than a 3+ bladed disposable cartridge.  And to tell you the truth the closeness of shave matches the speed.  I shave my head with a Mach 3, and might never have done this experiment with my face if I shaved my upper lip still and had access to decent Trac II cartridges 10 years ago.  So why stick with something slower and less effective?  Good question.  It's fun, to tell you the truth.  To train myself to use old tech like a razor.  And if the balloon goes up I will be able to shave longer than folks that need blades from Peoples Drugstore.

Oh, and the worst razor burn I've ever gotten has been from electric shavers.  Second worse from cartridge razors I had to use for 2 weeks.  Then straight razor.  But a splash of Old Spice aftershave fixes it right up. 


Mr. Engineering Johnson said...

Personally I've found it takes three good passes to get a good shave with a straight razor, and every pass needs to be in a different direction. Forget about the upper lip. Getting a good blade angle there seems near impossible to me.

What works really well for me is to make a pass with a run of the mill cartridge then re-lather and make a cross-grain pass with a razor.
Leave my cheeks feeling smooth all day.

Old NFO said...

And do that BEFORE you get into the coffee... Twitches you don't need with one of those in hand!

Mr. Engineering Johnson said...

If I drink enough coffee to twitch I'll be moving too fast for you to see my face!

Kristophr said...

Honing a straight razor with a stone is a once a year or two thing. And best done by someone who does it for a living

A good strop has two parts to it, a cloth strop and a leather strop. Get a green abrasive crayon, and rub the cloth down good with it.

Stropping on that cloth about 30 times on each edge will bring your edge back.

For normal shaving, strop five times on each blade side with the coated cloth, then strop on the leather about 20 times or so.

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

What Kristopher said. The strop is just for cleaning up the edge before each use. A good 20 or 30 strokes on the strop (or more - I usually do 50 or so) before each shave will do.

Honing on a stone is for sharpening the edge, and takes patience and time, but is only a once a year thing (depending on how much you use the razor). Additional stropping after honing is needed, because the honing leaves the edge extremely sharp, but still a little rough.

One thing to keep in mind: Many razors are sold as "shave ready". Don't believe it. Factory honing just doesn't cut it, and 99.9% of straight razors will require additional honing out of the box. Some online sources will offer to send it to a professional honer, who will finish it and then send it on to you. This service is well worth the additional charge, if you've never done it yourself.

I can get a shave equal to my safety razor with a single pass, and better with a second pass. Even if I only do a single pass, it seems to last longer than any other razor.

Proper preparation is the biggest part. Shave either after a hot shower, or use hot, damp towels to soften your beard. Pre-shave oil can help, as well.

The Straight Razor Place forums are a good source of information and resources.