hello there, so i've used shavettes, cut throat razors or whatever you call them where they take se blade,
but ive never owned a straight razor, i love the look of what i think you call the damascus steel straight razors, i mean the pattern just looks amazing ?

im a head shaver, ive used cartridge razors, de razors, shavettes for a fair few years but i do have a few questions in regards to straight razors Smile

for a start might sound like a silly question but i dont care how stupid i sound if i want to understand something ill ask the questions ,
but bare in mind im a head shaver and not a face shaver at all

first one is regards to hygiene how do you stay on top of sanitizing them? how often do you have to clean them?
like for example with a shavette it uses se blades so just chuck them away and the rest is really easy to clean

is it better to get a new one already sharpened? or is it better to get something you can restore yourself?
i mean from what ive seen on places like ebay even the vintage straight razors seem to hold their value too

how does the sharpness on a straight razor compare to a se blade? or is it essentially the same?

how often do you have to sharpen them? (think the right term is hone, but i could be wrong)

what equipment do you need to sharpen them?

do you have to sharpen them by hand or can you use machinery to do it (can you tell im lazy lol ?)?

many thanks saj

HighSpeed likes this post

Santa Barbara, CA, USA
Hey Saj! I’ll give ya my two cents...if it’s even worth that  Tongue

SRs are the pinnacle of traditional shaving skills IMO...better to get off on the right foot with a few questions than end up a bloody mess and discouraged.

Sanitizing: Really...never. Unless you’re sharing razors with someone else or just getting in a new razor to the den, there’s no need. Otherwise, literally a nice, very careful wash with warm water and some Dawn soap, then maybe some 91% isopropyl. If you get the razor wet near the pins, be sure to dry there thoroughly with a microfiber cloth or some other soft material to help prevent rusting. Leave out in low moisture area to air dry. Pretty much the same as your DEs and shavettes.

Cleaning: Probably a daily, post shave clean is a good idea. Particularly if you are noticing soap film starting to build. Your regular pre and post shave stropping on leather/linen will do a lot of it for you. Otherwise just a very soft cloth usually does the trick.

Getting an SR: start with a beater, or at least one that doesn’t set you back much, then get it honed by someone who is known for their masterful edges. That way you start off knowing what a proper edge feels like. I started with one of Larry’s Whipped Dog Sight Unseen deals. Getting at least two might be a good idea, to have a rotation for when you need to send one out to be honed. Start with a cheaper leather strop too. It takes a long time to get stropping technique down properly in a way that you won’t cut up your strop. Once you’ve built your skills with shaving and stropping, then you can get the pretty looking stuff.

SR edge compared to SE edge - generally a properly honed SR edge will be almost as sharp (some honemeisters pride themselves on edges that could be considered sharper - sharper isn’t always better though) but also a lot more forgiving than a disposable blade (DE or SE or AC). SR edges can be “customized” to an extent and have hypothetically an infinite number of cutting angles depending on your preference. How you take care of your edges (ie - proper stropping and touch ups) will also dictate your experience.

Honing: (yes that’s the right term) It’s all preference. Some folks touch up their SRs after each shave, others wait until after a few, some after a dozen, some (if they have their stropping technique perfected) can keep an edge going for a long time. Stropping realigns the edge (which waffles and bends slightly on a microscopic level during a shave) to a fine, straightened point. Honing straightens and essentially creates a new point. Honing is usually done by hand on either natural or synthetic stones specifically hewn or made to sharpen edges. It is a rabbit hole and learning curve unto itself! One I never got into (yet!).

Hope that gives you some basic idea!

ALI, Matsilainen, HighSpeed and 1 others like this post
GearNoir thanks for the thorough explanation

tbh although i like learning new things after creating this thread on a few shaving forums i think the SR is not for me,
the whole honing side of seems to put me off, thats not knocking SR's its just more because of my inexperience

on a side note do these honing sharpening rules also apply to kamasoris?

Santa Barbara, CA, USA
(This post was last modified: 12-14-2020, 05:52 PM by GearNoir.)
You’re welcome saj1985 !

I hope a few others can chime in here too on their positive experiences!

While I ultimately chose the folding Feather AC SS as my open blade razor of choice (I also was leery of the honing rabbit hole) I don’t regret learning the traditional SR at all. It was a great shave experience and a fun skill to build!

Keep in mind that you don’t necessarily have to hone, you could easily connect with a honemeister to do that for you as needed. Stropping the razor will keep your edge going quite a while and is really the only necessary thing between shaves. I think most SR shavers like the option of learning to hone themselves though, to find that “custom” edge!

Kamis are honed a bit differently because of the grinds required but overall similar.

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