My first straight razor (photos) Is it adequate?

Discussion in 'Straight Razors (SR)' started by Aspzan, Oct 11, 2018.

  1. Aspzan

    Aspzan Senior Member

    Hello, new to the forum and recently got a straight razor. Due to a mixture of dissatisfaction with the razor itself and my lack of technique I have only used it once. It shaves but I didn't find it as "usable" as my DE safety razor. I sort of wanted a straight razor for life but the one I got isn't the best really.

    I'm looking to more experienced shavers here and have some questions... Should I stick with it (for now) and eventually get a better one or look to replace it asap? BTW I have a strop. The grind, I think, is half hollow but I'm not 100% sure.

    I'm probably being harsh on the razor, it is ok. It was just my lack of reading the item description and some miscommunication with the seller that I ended up with what I've got.



    Sorry for bad photography and quality
  2. Aspzan

    Aspzan Senior Member

    Images don't work so I uploaded to Imgur
  3. JamieM

    JamieM Forum GOD!

    Where did you buy the razor from, and do you understand what a shave ready razor is, plus what level of experience do you have using a straight razor?
    R181 and Mrchick like this.
  4. Mrchick

    Mrchick Handsome Avatar

    Middleton, ID, USA
    I have the same questions as Jamie. Razors are rarely shave ready, even if advertised that way.
    Welcome to the forum.
    JamieM likes this.
  5. Aspzan

    Aspzan Senior Member

    a seller on reddit who buys and sells them. I probably think I understand but don't actually understand. My experience is very little, literally one shave with the razor pictured

    edit: one shave meaning I shaved from my sideburn to jawline on both sides, that's all
    JamieM likes this.
  6. JamieM

    JamieM Forum GOD!

    I have no idea regarding Reddit or the seller or the authenticity regarding the shave readiness of the razor, these are my two pennies worth, It will never be an easy task even with a top quality shave ready razor, going from a DE to a straight razor is a long-term commitment with more than a few setbacks, just read and watch as many videos on the subject as you can, I can't begin to tell you how important it is to learn how to strop correctly, mastering your technique the angle you hold your razor is so very important, this will be an interesting and rewarding journey, I hope you succeed.:)
    Mrchick and R181 like this.
  7. Aspzan

    Aspzan Senior Member

    Thank you. I think I rushed into buying the razor without doing enough research beforehand. I will start researching.

    Are there any websites, videos etc you can recommend?
    R181 likes this.
  8. Eddyb

    Eddyb Well-Known Member

    Kent, England
    As Jamie said, keep up with it and it will be worth it in the end as the satisfaction of mastering the straight is unparalleled, but it will take a few months to get there!.
  9. JamieM

    JamieM Forum GOD!

    I wouldn't even attempt to shave against the grain would be my advice to you, with the grain and maybe a light across the grain. Also be aware that most straight razors are made from carbon steel, they do not like long-term exposure to cold and moisture so storage is extremely important and razor maintenance.

    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018
    Eddyb likes this.
  10. Aspzan

    Aspzan Senior Member

    Yeah, I can't shave against the grain without bad irritation anyway. I'll do as you said. Also I have been reading books about woodworking tools which isn't the same but they need proper storage etc too. I've actually just done a very slow strop attempt and a few attempts at "shaving" with it. Cut myself. Not badly but it was enough to tell me I wasn't taking my time.
    R181 and JamieM like this.
  11. R181

    R181 Grumpy old man

    Welcome to the wonderful and frustrating world of straight razor shaving. Before I say anything else I am going to assume that your razor is shave ready and you have not damaged it via poor stropping technique. There is no way at this point for you or me to determine if it is or isn't shave ready.

    Once you have produced a good lather on your face, two things are most important. They are the angle of the blade and using literally no pressure on the blade. Try beginning with a gap of 1 spine width between your face and the spine of the razor and using no pressure begin your stroke. A shave ready razor should glide through your whiskers with you basically guiding the blade without pressure. If the blade tugs and you feel the need to pressure it along then chances are the blade is not really shave ready.

    I would give yourself about 3 months/100 shaves before it all starts coming together. You can speed things along if you can find a mentor near you for some one on one instruction. Good luck.

    Aspzan, Rowlers and JamieM like this.
  12. Britva

    Britva Eats steel for lunch

    Planet Earth
    For what it's worth, the razor looks very nice. Can't say whether it shaves as it should, but if you are in doubt, perhaps someone is near and willing to take a look at it, so just ask. Good luck on your journey!

    Sent from my CLT-L29 using Tapatalk
    Rowlers likes this.
  13. Jamie has made the relevant points about making sure the razor is up to the job and your lack of experience of using a straight. I’m astounded that you could even consider buying one and using it without doing a bit of research - and then blaming the razor when things turn out badly. You didn’t mention what you used before, but assuming it was a cartridge razor, you will be used to an ultra thin blade that is set at an optimal angle, and then moving to a bare blade where you have to discover the correct angle whilst trying not to let the shakes in your hand dig channels in your cheeks.

    What soap and brush are you using - or is it canned lather? What is your preparation routine? The reason I ask is that straight shaving is best undertaken (initially) when you have plenty of time and no interruptions - and have a well developed preparation that will ensure a good quality lather.

    My own experience was that I did not get a half decent shave initially so always had my other razor for the second pass. As time went on - maybe 30 shaves or so - I was confident enough to go without my cartridge.
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  14. Aspzan

    Aspzan Senior Member

    I've been using a DE safety razor for about 5 months. I use stirling or OSP soap. Brush is synthetic. I did do some research but not enough. I was told that I would not need to strop the razor until the 3rd shave and then it was an "easy" job. IMO this was to make a sale or something similar. My prep is only cold water, I find this gives me a better shave. I even shower with just cold.

    Sorry for confusion, I did feel your message was a bit presumptuous though. My plan was to learn as I go and I had a short while before I would need to strop which would give me the time to learn a basic strop technique to attempt. I found out it was more difficult that I thought.

    My last attempt was similar to yours... I did what I could with the straight and then finished with my safety razor.

    edit: my critcism of the razor was mainly about looks more than shave readiness. I specifically asked for non plastic scales and I thought there would be a makers mark on the shank, there isn't.
  15. R181

    R181 Grumpy old man

    When you receive a razor from a person known to supply a "shave ready" edge it is good practice not to strop it before first use. This will allow you to feel what a shave ready edge actually feels like and if the edge feels worse after you do strop it then you know your stropping technique is off.

    If you are using a hanging strop you could lay it on a hard flat surface and strop that way which may be easier at the beginning. You could also practice stropping using a dull dinner knife to improve your technique.

    Proper stropping like shaving with a straight razor and honing a straight razor appear deceptively easy to do. They are relatively easy to do once you have served your apprenticeship and learned how to do them. That takes times and a certain amount of frustration.

    SeanC and JamieM like this.
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