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#1
I've been wet shaving for several years, I love it.  Lately, I find myself DEBATING on whether I should enter the straight razor game.  Yes, there are several you tube videos that make it look easy.  Here's why I haven't made the jump.  Those of you that straight razor shave comments would be appreciated. 

1.  Cost.  A good straight razor is going to be 125.00 minimum. 
2.  Learning curve, I have no idea what the hell I'm doing.  Strops etc. Many people have watched tutorials on you tube and then attempted....not good end results. 
3.  Honing the blade.  A process many seem to have to ship to others to do. 
4.  ER concerns.  You error with a safety razor a septic is usually the solution, you error in this realm it's the ER. 
5.  History..... If straight razor shaving was so wonderful what led to the DE?
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#2

ShavemanJon
Ft. Lauderdale, Fl
I also am new to the straight razor. I stated with a shavette and a few replaceable blades. This will give you the start you need and it won't break the bank.[Image: b0868fc2dfe20c3d1cc9110f6f7aa398.jpg]


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Shave on my peep's, Jonathan
Quote:Sexy is the man who shaves with a straight razor. Sexier is a women who can do it for him...

#3
I have been DE shaving for some time and actually been straight shaving roughly a few months Smile
Here is my take on your points:

1. Cost. A good straight razor is going to be 125.00 minimum.

Actually my first razor was a vintage Emeraude from eBay for 29 bucks and about 15 bucks to have it honed professionally. It still works perfectly.
Then I have a Donovan which was about 100, it is cool because it is new, but it shaves the same.
Now I got a Gold Dollar from a good honing member and it cost me 30 bucks, brand new shave ready honed. Shaves perfectly.
So there are options.

2. Learning curve, I have no idea what the hell I'm doing. Strops etc. Many people have watched tutorials on you tube and then attempted....not good end results.

Jump in it. The first 10 shaves will be hell and the first 10 strops will kill an edge and have you pay 15 bucks for re-honing, but then you get it down and it will be nice to do it.

3. Honing the blade. A process many seem to have to ship to others to do.

I have no idea how to hone, well watched some videos... I send in the razor and it comes back to me perfectly honed for 15 bucks.

4. ER concerns. You error with a safety razor a septic is usually the solution, you error in this realm it's the ER.

I have not been to the ER. I had a few minor nicks and cuts, but the simple Proraso repair gel did the job nicely. Not worse than learning to get the hang out of an aggressive DE.
However watch videos and stretching your skin is of the utmost importance in every step. Also never make a cutting movement and never apply pressure on the edge.

5. History..... If straight razor shaving was so wonderful what led to the DE?

That is rather philosophical I guess. My take is convenience. DE is much more convenient to shave with. But of course also it was something new. I think both have their place and I actually still shave with both DE and straight. It is not like a religion to me. Also of course provided you use good blades in your DE, you always have a perfectly good edge and even back in the day DE blades were very cheap. Today I am lucky enough to say 15 bucks for a re-hone I do not care, but there are countries where 15 bucks is 1/4th of your monthly income... so they probably DE shave.
Also there are hygienic concerns, this is why many barbers use shavettes or DE as straight razors have to be thoroughly disinfected after each use, best with aggressive chemicals and UV baking. This equipment is expensive and funny in Austria I know only a handful of barbers that invested in it to actually use straights. All others go with shavettes up to high end shavettes like Feather Artist Clubs.

On the other hand I can tell you what lead to cartridge razors: Getting more profit out of people stupid enough to buy them.
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http://shavetank.com
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#4
(07-03-2015, 04:57 AM)steeleshaves Wrote: I've been wet shaving for several years, I love it.  Lately, I find myself DEBATING on whether I should enter the straight razor game.  Yes, there are several you tube videos that make it look easy.  Here's why I haven't made the jump.  Those of you that straight razor shave comments would be appreciated. 

1.  Cost.  A good straight razor is going to be 125.00 minimum. 
2.  Learning curve, I have no idea what the hell I'm doing.  Strops etc. Many people have watched tutorials on you tube and then attempted....not good end results. 
3.  Honing the blade.  A process many seem to have to ship to others to do. 
4.  ER concerns.  You error with a safety razor a septic is usually the solution, you error in this realm it's the ER. 
5.  History..... If straight razor shaving was so wonderful what led to the DE?

I've been using a straight for two months. I agree with the other posts. 

If you are intrigued, you can get a good straight razor, honed and shave-ready, from whippeddog.com. I got mine from Anthony Esposito. He's a great guy and a masterful straight user. His videos are excellent, as are Lynn Abrams's and Peter Charkalis's. 

Where it gets pricey is if you take to it. Then you'll want to try more expensive razors, and straights tend to be far more expensive than DEs. 

As far as learning, watch the videos, and don't try to shave your entire face on the first day. As Lynn Abrams and Anthony advise, start small. Do one cheek from sideburn to jaw. Finish with your DE. But commit to using a straight every day for a month, doing only as much as you feel comfortable doing.

As far as major accidents, unlikely UNLESS YOU MOVE THE BLADE LATERALLY, as if you were slicing bread. Also, WHEN YOU APPLY THE BLADE TO YOUR FACE, PUT IT FLUSH AGAINST YOUR FACE, then gently find your angle, rather than putting the cutting edge to your skin. IF YOU'RE WORRIED, WATCH PETER CHARKALIS'S VIDEO WHERE HIS ELEVEN YEAR OLD DAUGHTER SHAVES HIM WITH A STRAIGHT. HER FIRST TIME EVER HOLDING THE RAZOR! NO BLOOD SPILLED!!!!!!!!!! 


I have had only a few weepers with the straight. With my Feather AC, the first shave was a bloodbath. Nothing requiring the ER, but a shavette is almost always much sharper and much harder to use than a straight because the blades are so thin and sharp. After using the Feather for a few weeks, the straight was easy. Learning with a shavette is like learning to drive with a stick shift. I recommend it, because then you can drive anything. But be warned, shavettes require far more good technique than a straight.

As far as what led to the DE, I have a few thoughts. First, and this might be controversial, but I never get as close a shave with the straight as I get with the Feather AC, or my DE razors or SE razors. Even ATG. But the straight is often more comfortable a shave than DE or SE razors. So one factor might be closeness.

Another thing that led to the adoption of the DE/SE--time. You can't rush a straight shave. There are those who can do it in five minutes, but how close a shave are they getting? America was in the wake of the Industrial Revolution and people were looking to spend more time chasing a dollar. Cutting down (no pun intended) on bathroom rituals gave a feeling of efficiency. No stropping. No honing. You put in a blade and shaved and you could get a closer shave in less time. 

I think the resurgence of straights has a lot to do with nostalgia but also with learning a skill that just looks and feels so cool! Also, some guys love the stropping, the honing, the collecting. Straights are beautiful. They were made to last. They're  from an era when people cared about their craftsmanship and things weren't built to be disposable. You bought a straight or two and you were set. When I see myself wielding the straight, I feel a flush of pride. 

As far as honing, I'm not interested in buying stones and spending the time. And I have fallen in love with Feather AC so I'm sticking with the Gold Dollar, don't feel the need for more straights. Will send it to Anthony with $20 when it needs honing. Stropping, for me, is a chore. So on balance, I'm thrilled that I learned to use a straight, delighted with my straight, but the $40 investment showed me that I'm not sufficiently in love with the whole process to start using a straight exclusively; I just prefer the shave and the ease of the Feather, and I still love my DE and SE razors. 

I hope this helps.
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#5
I think so long as one realizes that versus DE-SE and especially at the beginning, straight use will feel disappointing and inefficient its nice to begin.

One razor is what you need. Preferably a 6/8 size because its in the middle between a 5/8 and larger razors. Choose a razor you like that you will value and look forward to using and want to keep. The razor has to be made " shave ready" by a true hone meister.

One strop. Its essential to have a strop preferably a 3 inch wide model , that's easiest to begin with. A crayon or bottle of Chromium oxide put on the opposite side of the linen component of your strop will allow you to sharpen, " touch up" the razor when it becomes dull during the period of initial use.

Don't think about honing. Honing is really a whole other part of straight shaving and more complicated step forward , if you want a greater challenge later you can do it.

This is a great video on using a straight.

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#6

Merchant
Central Maine
(This post was last modified: 07-04-2015, 10:41 PM by ShadowsDad.)
I want to state right up front that I DO NOT use a straight razor. But I do use a Rolls Razor that is a segment of a straight on a popsicle stick. I'm content in not going beyond that further. I learned what I needed to know with it.

To use a straight (or a Rolls) there is maintenance both before and after the shave. It must be done, there's no dodging it. Cost over time is probably less with a str8, but the old timers didn't shave every day, but once a week before Sunday church service. Many of those had their lather mugs stored at their barbers and the barber performed the maintenance on the straight and groomed the gents once a week (or so).

The shave is fantastic, or at least it was for me and I picked up on it immediately, but I've been using a SE safety razor for awhile and the Rolls is much like a SE safety razor, just without the safety part. A straight is an entirely different animal.

You may be ready for that, or you may not. But you know what it will be before entering into it at any rate. Only you can decide. It's not like there is a progression from DE to SE to straight razor. You can stop anywhere along the nonexistent "progression" and call it good. Don't feel that you need to go there because you don't. A lifetime supply of blades will probably cost the same as the gear required to maintain a straight, but without the maintenance. One just pays the $ for blades and it's done. But there is no feeling of "I did this" either. IMO, that is a huge part of what is good with knowing that you produced a shave worthy edge.

Myself, I have many more blades than I have lifetimes and the Rolls gives me even more generations of shaves than I have lives. But I maintain the Rolls with the Scary Sharp method and I don't have any $ invested stones and such. And no required maintenance of stones.

It's up to you. There is no right or wrong here, just a choice.
Brian. Lover of SE razors. Maker of Krampert's Finest Products.
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#7

Wet Shaving Beginner
Philadelphia
Have you watched this? It was quite informative.





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#8

Merchant
Central Maine
I have not. For my Rolls I use the Scary Sharp method taken to extremes. It's much less expensive to get into and works just fine. Plus there is no maintenance of the stones. My base plate of 3/8" float glass never wears. My final grit is .3 micron lapping film. Then I finish on diamond and CrOx.
Brian. Lover of SE razors. Maker of Krampert's Finest Products.
#9

Member
Arabian peninsula
Well personally speaking, I would always suggest 
1. Start with DE.. Get really good at it, with all what comes with wet shaving etiquette ..( lather etc) 

2. Some use a shavette as an in between transition to straights 

3. Get yourself a vintage straight honed ... I totally suggest you go and check whipped dog... Excellent start with great brushes !!

4. Watch YouTube vids... Lots ( Lynn, geofatboy, stallion, loads of em)... But remember, do what feels right for you... They have great techniques ... Especially important issues such as stretching, angle, preparation... The more you watch the more you learn 

5. Take your time! take your time!, no seriously... Take your time . Start just the cheek.. then another .. Finish up with DE... Practice.. Practice ..


6. Taking care of your straight is another whole story.. Proper strop..( check stallion- Anthony Esposito simple and proper approach to basic stropping) and how to clean and take care of razor.. Also Lynn and geo fatboy ... Again, loads of great info.. Choose what works for you 

7. Honing: now that is going to another level... A meticulous process... Requires focus and commitment.. You will know when your ready.. Loads of techniques.. Some may be conflicting.. 

Do I recommend jumping into straights ... Hell yeah ... But be patient... Take your time.. Always remember .. It's the journey that counts ..

Hope the above has helped

Over n out 
Hani 
Aka
Shnutz
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#10
Absolutely give the straights a try.  If nothing else, your shaving technique will get better and your perspective on aggressive will change.  

As per why straights went out of fashion and are now making a comeback, time.  Getting a DE or SE up to speed takes all of 10 seconds if I have to open a new pack of blades.  Care and cleaning are minimal and shave time is less than a straight.  If I get a mild razor, I can shave with my eyes closed.  

On the other hand maintaining and using a straight  is nearly a religion.  There are very few if any shortcuts and little margin for error in either the maintenance or use of a straight.

I started with DE, went to straights and came back to DE, time and energy were the big factors (and straights can get expensive).

Just my two cents.


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