#1
Began my straight razor journey this evening. Bought a new-ish Ralf Aust straight razor from another DFS member last week, but that is going to be a birthday present for me and is currently in my wife's custody and control for a few more weeks. So, I took the opportunity to travel to the other side of the DFW Metroplex today to meet up with WhippedDog (aka Larry Andreassen), who is pretty well known in straight razor circles for his reasonably priced vintage razors and also brushes. He is a really, really nice guy who spent quite a bit of time today giving me an invaluable education on straight razor shaving. I picked up a sight unseen blemished vintage razor from him with some cool bamboo type scales while there (I got to pick the one I wanted since I was standing right there). Had a day and a half beard, so I was good to go after my work day ended.

Thanks to Larry educating me up, I wasn't as nervous as I thought I'd be. First observation that hit me is that a straight razor moves way better when lather is really, really slick and really thin--as in way more so than with DE shaving. Once I figured that out, blade finally got to moving down my cheeks. I got a real education from Larry on pressure and angles for different parts of the face and I tried to apply what he said. Got thru both cheeks & over jawline, chin, and a little bit of neck. Only did a north to south pass. Getting old now, so my neck is a little loose & I decided to quit while I was ahead rather than go too far with the neck. No cuts or nicks, but have tenderness on one side of chin. Noticeable beard reduction with just one pass and plenty of hairs in foam on the blade. Not smooth cutting like a DE for me yet, but it cut the beard. Blade is extra hollow and so it was noticeably noisy cutting. Serious auditory and tactile feedback that surprised me. Finished up with DE pass and let out a big sigh of relief.

You're never too old to put another notch in your belt, fellas. Already looking forward to tomorrow's shave Smile

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#2
Congrats on your first "tango". Welcome to the club : )

The auditory feedback you mentioned can be a little alarming the first few times.
If you have a heavier/thicker beard, it can quite loud with a full hollow or extra hollow.


- Ethan
#3
Thanks, Ethan. Now that I know to expect the auditory feedback, I think that I'll be ready for it next time. But, it was definitely startling to me today.
Unless you are the lead dog, the view never changes...
#4

Super Moderator
San Diego, Cal., USA
When I tried straights a few years ago I decided they weren't for me for a number of reasons, especially maintenance.  However, there were two things I loved about them.  One is their (to me) sheer beauty and the other was the auditory feedback, or singing, as I liked to call it.  Enjoy those shaves, LegalEagle1.  Straight shaving in today's whirlwind world can be a special treat. Happy2

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#5
Great job! It sounds like you'll get used to it soon enough. I would have taken it slow too the first time.
#6

That Bald Guy with the Big Beard
Bishop, CA
Nicely done! Larry is a gokd guy, and clearly in business to promite the hobby. Good prices, good edges, and always willing to share information. I got my W.P. Plato "Janice" from him...

Youll learn to love the singing. Its a nice auditory reaponse. Full and extra hollow blades are more vocal than the lesser hollows and wedges, but they all provide good auditory feedback. Some people even have an ASMR response to the sound...

If you didnt pick one up while you were there, Larry seels the poor mans strop kit, which I find to be useful for blade touchups, and very reasonably priced. I glued the leather strop to a piece of wood to make a paddle strop, which I think makes learning to strop properly a little easier as it removes the need to worry about tension and preasure as much...

Congrats on your first successful shave! It only gets better from here!

Sent from my LGL34C using Tapatalk
-Chris~Head Shaver~
#7
Thanks, guys.

BadDad-yes I picked up the poor mans strop from Larry to supplement the 3" strop I got in the Aust razor deal. I want to try to keep my stropping mistakes on the poor man strop if I can.

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#8

Member
Surrey, UK
Congratulations on getting that first shave completed, and without any cuts by the sounds of it. Well done.

Yes, your observation about lather is correct. Straight razors definitely prefer a thinner, slicker lather. Too thick, and the blade will jump without cutting effectively. This is a mistake commonly made when coming over from a DE.

It's the general consensus that around 100 shaves(3 months) is required, on average, to use a straight, confidently. Concentrate on the N/S pass first, then add the other directions as you become familiar with its handling.

One other piece of advice, I highly recommend (although it's not absolutely necessary) learning to use both hands. You'll find it makes manoeuvrability a lot easier, and you'll be surprised just how easy it is to learn.

Good luck.

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David
#9

Member
Surrey, UK
(06-15-2016, 10:07 PM)iamsms Wrote:
(06-15-2016, 09:30 PM)Optometrist Wrote: Yes, your observation about lather is correct. Straight razors definitely prefer a thinner, slicker lather. Too thick, and the blade will jump without cutting effectively. This is a mistake commonly made when coming over from a DE.

That's something I didn't know (I am new to SR shaving as well). I am wondering how to get a thin and slick lather. I usually go for a thick lather -> coming from DE thing is true for me.

(06-15-2016, 09:30 PM)Optometrist Wrote: One other piece of advice, I highly recommend (although it's not absolutely necessary) learning to use both hands. You'll find it makes manoeuvrability a lot easier, and you'll be surprised just how easy it is to learn.

It is really easy to use the non-dominant hand for shaving. I was really worried about using my non-dominant hand, but it's really easy and somewhat a confidence booster!

Sourav, you can obtain a thinner, slicker lather by simply adding more water to the mix. Make sure you have enough product, though, or you'll go too far in the opposite direction, losing the protection. Although I never used to lather this way, Nathan's (Merkur Man) shiny lather method video works a treat, by getting enough water in to the mix before applying it to the face. You can then fine tune the lather more easily.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcJA9ZMaphA

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David
#10
Another good dance with the straight today. Pretty much a carbon copy of yesterday. This time, tho, I really took my time and completed the neck. I also did a second pass (still N to S) on my cheeks and was rewarded with some good areas of smoothness. Finished off with a single ATG DE pass and was happy. Two small weepers appeared a few mins after the shave ended and I had already rinsed, applied AS. I just wiped them with my wet finger and they were gone. I am very pleased so far.

On a side note, I decided to google the name stamped on the tang of the Whipped Dog vintage flawed straight, as I have never had any vintage shave hardware of any kind before now. The name on the tang reads "Alexander Coppel Solingen, Germany." I found a B&B forum thread on this and therein was a history of this gentleman and his firm. It is interesting and quite tragic - here is an excerpt, as relevant, from that forum thread:

"In addition to the above, there is quite a bit of other history on Alexander Coppel, the company and the person.
In a nutshell, the company started as steel manufacturers by the original Alexander Coppel in 1821. They were very successful and opened a second manufacturing facility sometime in the 1850s. They manufactured pipes, rolled steel, wire, tableware, daggers, swords, knives and razors. They started manufacturing razors in the 1850s.
The company is most famous for their swords. Most of the police in Germany had a Coppel sword.
They exported sabres, bayonets and swords to England and the US for use by the military. This caused quite a scandal when it was found out that American and British military were using German manufactured weapons.
The Coppel family that Alexander (third generation, son of Gustav) headed were regarded just as highly as human beings as they were succesful entrepreneurs. They donated millions of marks to charity. Out of their own pockets built an orphanage, a school for the disadvantaged, and a recreation center. Their plants had recreational facilities for their workers. Some members of the family, including Alexander, became elected officials to fight for social issues. They headed various social rights groups. They were leading citizens of Solingen. In 2005 a street in Solingen was named after Alexander Coppel.
The family was Jewish and the company was Aryanized in 1936. Some of the family had already escaped to Switzerland in 1934.
Alexander Coppel and his family were sent to a concentration camp in 1941 along with the remaining Solingen Jews. He died there of starvation in 1942 at the age of 77."

That the name stamped on the tang of this straight is that of a gentleman and his family who literally lost everything and was starved to death in a Nazi concentration camp gives me something serious and sobering to reflect upon whenever I pick this razor up. Whatever troubles I may expect to face in my day will be in proper perspective.

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