My first straight razor (photos) Is it adequate?

JayGee

Forum GOD!
It looks like a good razor, wouldn't get too fixated on the lack of tang stamp. I have an early 20th C French razor that is unbranded & its a great shaver.
The main thing; is it shave ready?
If you skim it above your arm and it pings off hair easily (do it over a white sheet of paper, proper shave ready & you won't detect any resistance at all, you think its doing nothing & then see the hairs on the paper).
There are other tests (shaving with it), but, as its early days, cutting arm hair without too much effort will be sharp enough to get a shave.
Stropping is key & as you've found out, has to be learnt, everyone messes it up to start with. A paddle strop is a lot easier to learn with, it is always flat. Get a paddle first, as you progress a hanging strop is most peoples preference & the paddle will be great for travel or to use with a paste.
Good stropping technique will keep an edge in great shape for a surprisingly long time (months), bad stropping will wreck the edge in no time. Newspaper held with a bulldog clip is a great stropping medium, when you nick it no bother and you'll learn the correct tension, not slack, but, not tight as a drum.

Other than that its practice, practice, practice. Well worth it though.
Lather is important, a (much) wetter slick lather is what you need, a yogurty type lather will cause far too much blade stiction which you'll get away with using a DE & think its fine, it isn't.

A steep hill at first & a shave ready razor can feel blunt/tuggy until you get a consistent, correct angle. The chicken/egg situation can be really frustrating at times as the only way to learn is to get things wrong, pay attention & don't do it wrong a 2nd time. That will either appeal to you or it won't. 3 months & you'll be reasonably proficient.

When your edge needs a refresh, there are members who can (expertly) sort that out for you for not much at all.
 

Aspzan

Senior Member
It looks like a good razor, wouldn't get too fixated on the lack of tang stamp. I have an early 20th C French razor that is unbranded & its a great shaver.
The main thing; is it shave ready?
If you skim it above your arm and it pings off hair easily (do it over a white sheet of paper, proper shave ready & you won't detect any resistance at all, you think its doing nothing & then see the hairs on the paper).
There are other tests (shaving with it), but, as its early days, cutting arm hair without too much effort will be sharp enough to get a shave.
Stropping is key & as you've found out, has to be learnt, everyone messes it up to start with. A paddle strop is a lot easier to learn with, it is always flat. Get a paddle first, as you progress a hanging strop is most peoples preference & the paddle will be great for travel or to use with a paste.
Good stropping technique will keep an edge in great shape for a surprisingly long time (months), bad stropping will wreck the edge in no time. Newspaper held with a bulldog clip is a great stropping medium, when you nick it no bother and you'll learn the correct tension, not slack, but, not tight as a drum.

Other than that its practice, practice, practice. Well worth it though.
Lather is important, a (much) wetter slick lather is what you need, a yogurty type lather will cause far too much blade stiction which you'll get away with using a DE & think its fine, it isn't.

A steep hill at first & a shave ready razor can feel blunt/tuggy until you get a consistent, correct angle. The chicken/egg situation can be really frustrating at times as the only way to learn is to get things wrong, pay attention & don't do it wrong a 2nd time. That will either appeal to you or it won't. 3 months & you'll be reasonably proficient.

When your edge needs a refresh, there are members who can (expertly) sort that out for you for not much at all.
Thanks, I have seen the arm hair test on nick shaves I think it's called on YouTube. That was the first thing I did when I got the razor and it didn't cut the hairs. I have shaved but I need too much pressure.

I will get a paddle strop. I know I'm a novice when it comes to straight razors and didn't mean to come off as whinging about the razor when it's my fault. I'm just hesitant to invest the time and practice into a razor that I'm a bit unhappy with. Will my technique carry over to a new razor when I can get a better one? (in good time)
 

UKRob

Forum GOD!
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.
Whatever the razor looks like and regardless of scales, the most important point to remember with a straight razor is that it requires a significant learning curve to achieve the technique necessary for a comfortable shave. There is a well known axiom along the lines of - the more I use my straight, the sharper it gets. That just about sums it up - technique is everything.

Everyone’s experience is different - the previous post said a thin lather is required. I completely disagree because a straight razor sweeps everything before it, unlike a DE or SE razor that can become clogged. I’m not trying to be contentious, just emphasising the fact that everyone experiences things their own way and my preference is for a thick lather with any razor I use. One point I would make about straights is to have more than one - most of the people who use straights on the forum will be able to point you to a recognised honemeister, therefore if you get a shave ready razor from them it will be a good bench mark in terms of your current razor and also tell you if your technique is up to scratch.
 

JayGee

Forum GOD!
Thanks, I have seen the arm hair test on nick shaves I think it's called on YouTube. That was the first thing I did when I got the razor and it didn't cut the hairs. I have shaved but I need too much pressure.

I will get a paddle strop. I know I'm a novice when it comes to straight razors and didn't mean to come off as whinging about the razor when it's my fault. I'm just hesitant to invest the time and practice into a razor that I'm a bit unhappy with. Will my technique carry over to a new razor when I can get a better one? (in good time)
Possibly the best way forward is to have the razor you have appraised & honed ~£15 depending on what post you choose. TBH with a good edge all decent quality razors will shave well, later on you will develop a preference for a lighter/heavier grind etc. & that becomes "better".
Best analogy I can think of is learning to drive; hopping from car-car expecting to notice a (positive) difference before a basic proficiency is obtained, unlikely.
 
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