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DwarvenChef
06-11-2011, 04:53 PM
Just currious how many here have taken the plung into shaving with a straight razor?

So many aspects of my love of kitchen knives and straight razors over lap that I have a hard time thinking about one and not the other lol.

I'm hooked on vintage razors and only have one new razor. My row of "users" (about 12) are all from the late 1700's to mid 1800's. Not to say that new razors are bad, they are quite good in most ways, just not what I like in a razor :p

And of course... they where all carbon steel back than :p :EDance2:

Not to mention the box of worms that is the ritual (ART) of honing, I never tire of trying new (to me) honing methods and supplies for straights. Only now my limits are set due to finances :p

On honing I have converted my razor honing to Japanese Naturals (J-Nats) rather than my synthetics, which I use on my kitchen knives as I see a VERY distinct difference in for their use and feel, for me personally.

Ok before I get carried away again :p I'll save the rest for later on in the thread :)

tk59
06-11-2011, 05:23 PM
Hey! Nice to see you around again! I've been playing with straight razor shaving on and off for a while with mixed results until a breakthrough I had a couple of weeks ago. It didn't help that I have a tough beard and sensitive skin. Anyway, I micro-convexed my edge on a leather strop and voila, best shave on a straight yet. I think my Fujiwara Terayasu 210 suji is still better but it's close. lol.

DwarvenChef
06-11-2011, 05:53 PM
From that discription it sounds like you need a hair more time on the sharpening side, the bevel is almost there but not quite. Razor honing is a whole nother ball of wax from kitchen knives and convexing is less desirable in my oppinion, but if it works :)

I think of the edges I can do now vs the ones I first did and I am supprised I stayed with it lol, 5 years of honing hundreds of razors and I still find SOOO much I just don't know. And stainless blades still don't like me...

Not sure if the link works yet or not http://www.youtube.com/user/Dwarvenchef?feature=mhee but there is a vid of me and my Takeda Ajikiri at the bottom of the list. Been a while sence I went through these videos to see what has been done and what ones I haven't. I'm also trying to get some better ones thought out, I tend to just grab and go with little thought as to what I'm filming lol, ya they look it as well :p

Eamon Burke
06-11-2011, 05:57 PM
I noticed one day that my Benchmade was shaving my arm like crazy, so I shaved my face with it. That was my first wet shave.

Then I borrowed some straights from my father to clean up and mail back so he can use them after 30 years--he's got 2 heljestrands(MK 6 & 31), 2 Robert Klaas kissing cranes, a doubl duck dwarf, a Dovo Fritz Bracht and a Puma High Class. I'm pretty happy about the shaving tests :P.

I have fine hair, so shaving isn't supernaturally demanding task for my edges! Lucky me!

tk59
06-11-2011, 06:12 PM
From that discription it sounds like you need a hair more time on the sharpening side, the bevel is almost there but not quite. Razor honing is a whole nother ball of wax from kitchen knives and convexing is less desirable in my oppinion, but if it works :)

I think of the edges I can do now vs the ones I first did and I am supprised I stayed with it lol, 5 years of honing hundreds of razors and I still find SOOO much I just don't know. And stainless blades still don't like me...

Not sure if the link works yet or not http://www.youtube.com/user/Dwarvenchef?feature=mhee but there is a vid of me and my Takeda Ajikiri at the bottom of the list. Been a while sence I went through these videos to see what has been done and what ones I haven't. I'm also trying to get some better ones thought out, I tend to just grab and go with little thought as to what I'm filming lol, ya they look it as well :p

Well, I'm not sure exactly what the problem was. I use magnification on my knife edges but I never did on my razor, go figure. I would fly through about a third of the way through the shave and it would start pulling. I spent a lot of time on stones. This was not a passing fancy. I'm an obsessive sharpener. I finally decided to strop at a slightly higher angle and the edge lasted the whole shave without much pulling even at the end. I'm sure I can get better but I'd say I'm at a useable point.

As for tha Takeda shave, I was around at KF when you first posted it. I think it was in response to a CKTG challege, right? Anyway, I wish I knew a straight razor person nearby that can show me the light.

DwarvenChef
06-11-2011, 06:17 PM
Nice assortment of blades he has there, I bet it was fun to test those babies :)

My first blades where DD Dwarf's (go figure), I didn't notice anything at that time, till I got my hands on some full sized and larger razors, just how small those DD Dwarf's really are lol. Tried shaving with one not to long ago and it was like using a petty right after swinging a 3lb cleaver for an hour... put it down and got a wedge :p

mainaman
06-11-2011, 06:17 PM
Well DC you know me, shave, hone, restore etc.

DwarvenChef
06-11-2011, 06:23 PM
Well, I'm not sure exactly what the problem was. I use magnification on my knife edges but I never did on my razor, go figure. I would fly through about a third of the way through the shave and it would start pulling. I spent a lot of time on stones. This was not a passing fancy. I'm an obsessive sharpener. I finally decided to strop at a slightly higher angle and the edge lasted the whole shave without much pulling even at the end. I'm sure I can get better but I'd say I'm at a useable point.

As for tha Takeda shave, I was around at KF when you first posted it. I think it was in response to a CKTG challege, right? Anyway, I wish I knew a straight razor person nearby that can show me the light.

Having a friend near by make a HUGE difference as you can bounce ideas back and forth while doing it, hope you bump into someone just for the fun of it :) I think your right, I'd forgotten the details of why I made the video lol. Once you find the technique that works for you (yup it's an art) you will be amazed that you didn't see it before as well as the step up in the shave goes.

heirkb
06-11-2011, 06:25 PM
I got into knives after getting into razors. It was thanks to DC that a lot of my less informed questions didn't end up on any forums. They went straight to his inbox. Good to see you here, DC.

By the way, any reason that we don't go convex on razors? I've always honed them without convexing and it's worked so well (when I get it right), that I've seen no reason to change. That doesn't mean I actually know the theory behind why we don't want to convex our edges. Is it just not possible to get as sharp/smooth an edge that way?

DwarvenChef
06-11-2011, 06:30 PM
Well DC you know me, shave, hone, restore etc.

lol Ya you have been putting out some nice blades, haven't seen anyones worrk in the past few months but looking forward to seeing some great stuff :)

I haven't bought much and only restored a few of my own pieces. I have finished the scales I made from the wood at the ranch. Haven't mounted them yet, think they will be on my great grandfathers Shumate :)

DwarvenChef
06-11-2011, 06:39 PM
I got into knives after getting into razors. It was thanks to DC that a lot of my less informed questions didn't end up on any forums. They went straight to his inbox. Good to see you here, DC.

By the way, any reason that we don't go convex on razors? I've always honed them without convexing and it's worked so well (when I get it right), that I've seen no reason to change. That doesn't mean I actually know the theory behind why we don't want to convex our edges. Is it just not possible to get as sharp/smooth an edge that way?

Yes we are talking about "hair splitting" here :p with straighter bevels (flat grind?) the wedging of the whisker is minimal. Once the edge starts convexing, and it does naturally with stropping, the edge has to push harder to cut into the hair to cut it. The sharper and more polished the edge the better the bevel glides through the whisker so a well polished convex edge will feel smoother than a less polished flat bevel. And the ammont and quality of that polish makes a HUGE difference, as much so as the quality of the sharpening.

Yes I see sharpening and honing as two very different things with razors. Sharpening is all about getting that bevel set and shaving properly. Honing it all about maintaining that edge (for years), so you would sharpen your razor when you get it, than hone to maintain.

Dave Martell
06-11-2011, 07:45 PM
I stepped into straight razor shaving only a year or so ago (even though I collected them for a decade before) and I've never looked back since. I have more recently been introduced to some fine shaves by way of an old "New Gillette" DE and this has opened up my eyes to what these razors can do too. It's all a lot of fun.

SpikeC
06-11-2011, 07:59 PM
Where is the vid of you shaving with the 300 yanagi?

Dave Martell
06-11-2011, 08:08 PM
Where is the vid of you shaving with the 300 yanagi?


Me? :happy2:

Dave Martell
06-11-2011, 08:10 PM
Oh DC, I've got an older W&B wedge in pressed horn scales to refurbish, just sitting on the shelf .....just have to find some time here and there to get to it.

DwarvenChef
06-11-2011, 11:34 PM
First I would need a 300 yanagi :p The largest knife I shave with was my 180 Carter Nakiri, I was less adventurous on that one and only did the burns and cheeks... talk about hard to see what your doing lol...

SpikeC
06-11-2011, 11:58 PM
Then there's that tuna sword................

tk59
06-12-2011, 03:31 AM
Longest I've used was a 270 KonHD. It wasn't great but my understanding of what kind of edge I need for a good shave then isn't what it is now.

BertMor
06-12-2011, 10:15 AM
Its all your fault DC. You were the one that got me exploring and starting to use a str8. I am saving up for an Iwasaki.

l r harner
06-12-2011, 11:00 AM
jsut shaved a bit ago but no not with the tuna sword :) and to DCs disgust it was a cpm154 blade :) SS blades tend to need a bit more angle on them as the carbide upll out can be a problem (cant wait to test a few other PM SS s )
the cpm154 needs a bit of stropping to get it smooth (its sharp and aggressive when jsut off even the 16K hones ) once smooth tho its good to go for a long while withi out touch ups and i dont even have to dry it off after i use it

DwarvenChef
06-12-2011, 04:07 PM
Its all your fault DC. You were the one that got me exploring and starting to use a str8. I am saving up for an Iwasaki.

Nice :) That is on my list as well, way down it at the moment but still there :)

DwarvenChef
06-12-2011, 04:13 PM
jsut shaved a bit ago but no not with the tuna sword :) and to DCs disgust it was a cpm154 blade :) SS blades tend to need a bit more angle on them as the carbide upll out can be a problem (cant wait to test a few other PM SS s )
the cpm154 needs a bit of stropping to get it smooth (its sharp and aggressive when jsut off even the 16K hones ) once smooth tho its good to go for a long while withi out touch ups and i dont even have to dry it off after i use it

May want to go up a step on the hone (evil chuckle) or have you considered naturals? I was not crazy about shaving off the 16k GS I had, funny as I was shaving for a year off a norton 4/8k :p After I got the asagi I bought from Mark a while back I find I can shave off the stone well enough, I forgot to strop it lol, but after stropping WOW what a difference that stone made for me :)

l r harner
06-12-2011, 05:23 PM
most the time i stop at the C12k but JON has a 20k that i got to play with at the ECG that seems to be calloing my name

SpikeC
06-12-2011, 07:46 PM
OK, I have been curious about using straights for a good while, and you guys are pushing me down that slope........
So what should someone look for as an introductory implement in this endeavor? I took a look at ebay and thought about how badly I could screw up buying something that I knew little about. I saw a Simmonds Hardware one that was very obviously ground to hell and thought maybe I should seek guidance from experts!

l r harner
06-12-2011, 08:00 PM
jsut go down to the store nad find one thats not ground to hell or has the edge all chipped up (i see them with crap scales for 12-20 bucks often )
they can be many different grinds from wedge to full hollow but all that matters is that they are not honed badly (unevenly) and that they are the older ones (cheap new straights are well CHEAP)

if you want to go new hartsteel razors are made here in the US and are best bet form the entry level but are in te 275 range is i remember rigght (tho they hold there value well if you find its not for you ) there are also others in the over 150$ range that are ok too but any cheaper and you may have problems

mainaman
06-12-2011, 08:06 PM
OK, I have been curious about using straights for a good while, and you guys are pushing me down that slope........
So what should someone look for as an introductory implement in this endeavor? I took a look at ebay and thought about how badly I could screw up buying something that I knew little about. I saw a Simmonds Hardware one that was very obviously ground to hell and thought maybe I should seek guidance from experts!
NO e-bay if you are newibie with the razors. I suggest go for new basic razor, or vintage from Striaght Razor place classifieds.
The basic gear you need is
Strop, razor, brush soap/cream, after shave.
Stones to hone the razor when needed.

On SRP there are plenty of tutorials how to make a strop, how to hone a razor how to strop etc.
If you do not want to deal with making strop you can buy one online, but stay away from cheapo e-bay and amazon crap, go to Straight Razor Designs and choose one.

If you want new razor you can start with Dovo Best Quality. Vintage razors options are many many many, just make sure you are getting it from reputable place.
Be careful there is Ad associated with razors, and they can get as expensive as custom knives easy.

Brush I recommend badger hair one, there are different grades and knot lengths and what you will end up using is personal taste. Be careful there is AD associated with brushes.

Honing well here the base pool of stones is pretty similar to what you would use for knives.
The line up that gives most consistent results is
1k chosera,5k SS, 8kSS, 12kSS
then strop on CrO or .5 micron Diamond spray on felt then leather strop and that is it.
If you want to get fancy with the edges then you need a good natural finishing stone, such as Escher/Thuringian, J-nat, Charnley forrest.
Be careful there is AD associated with finishing hones for razors.

Cream/Soap there is many many kinds , I personally like Taylor of Old Bond street it is pretty cheap and easy to use the scents are great.
Be careful there is AD assciated with creams/soaps.

I hope I did not miss anything.

SpikeC
06-12-2011, 08:12 PM
I would like to go with something old, if possible. Is there any difference between German and English made? and is it better to start with a wedge or some degree of hollow ground? Maybe I need to find a faq??

SpikeC
06-12-2011, 08:15 PM
AD is my middle name!

mainaman
06-12-2011, 08:28 PM
I would like to go with something old, if possible. Is there any difference between German and English made? and is it better to start with a wedge or some degree of hollow ground? Maybe I need to find a faq??
Vintage is good, I like the solingen and Japanese made western straights, they have harder steel than Sheffield made razors.

Grind is very subjective, I like hollows, some like wedges.
Wedges are very stiff , hollow grinds allow for flex but you can nick your self easier if you are not careful. If you know what you are doing nicks will be very rare though.
A ton of info here:
http://straightrazorplace.com/srpwiki/index.php/Straight_Razor_Place_Wiki

you can join if you like it is the biggest site for Straight Razor shaving:
http://straightrazorplace.com/forum.php

SpikeC
06-12-2011, 08:37 PM
Thanks! I have the straightrazorplace open in another browser window now and will be making use of it.

DwarvenChef
06-12-2011, 09:29 PM
SRP has one draw back (ducks) Info OVERLOAD lol. It is easy to get side tracked by the "Old Hands" that are working the frontiers of wet shaving. Newbees can get caught up in this and get over focused on areas that they have not build up a knowledge base on yet. Hang out in the newbe section until you feel you can answer the "New" newbees FAQ's, than you can feel safer about wading into the deeper aspects of the lifestyle.

As LR Harner and Mainman pointed out above and you correctly deduced, Ebite specials are a minefield if you don't know what your looking at. I feel confedent to shop ebite as I can usually pick out the problems (and there always is problems) with a price I'm ok with. And there is always that one diamond in the rough that 90% of the time is a turd. That said Antique shops and malls are an excellent source of vintage razors that you can fondle prior to buying, I picked up a couple 8/8 wade and butchers for under $20 locally (that was enough drain on my "Luck Account" to keep me from finding a good buy for almost a year :p )

Stones = Box of Worms... I kid you not... But that is after you learn the basics, that can be learned on most of the stone you may already have. My first year on straights was with the exact same stones I used for my kitchen knives. King 1200, King 6k, Norton 4/8k. Learn the art of the bevel, once you can gets a shaving edge off a norton 8k you can venture out to the finer hones, this will save you tons of money and heartache.

"Learn the Basics" fight the urge to go fast, fast=cuts burn and unhappiness. Slow and steady to build technique and confidence (watch out for over confidence, see "going to fast" :p)

Jay
06-12-2011, 09:33 PM
One or two of you may recognize me from a shaving forum. :rolleyes2:

SpikeC
06-12-2011, 10:05 PM
:D Thanks, DC, input greatly appreciated. I developed a lot of patients in my years of custom jewelry making.

SpikeC
06-12-2011, 10:30 PM
That's "patience".

DwarvenChef
06-12-2011, 11:08 PM
One or two of you may recognize me from a shaving forum. :rolleyes2:

How ya doing :)

Jim
06-12-2011, 11:20 PM
One or two of you may recognize me from a shaving forum. :rolleyes2:

Have we met?

l r harner
06-12-2011, 11:32 PM
i try and tell guys to find a 1/4 ground 6/8 to start or something close as you can then see if you want a bigger or smaller razor or lighter or stiffre grind but middle of the road is a good start

ThEoRy
06-12-2011, 11:55 PM
Got started about 6 months ago. It was rough going in at first. Lots of scraping and cutting going on. Now after getting a little better at honing the razor and re-learning to shave my face I'm in a much better position than I was. Still lots of room for improvement in both areas but I've got plenty of time to learn more.

Started out with a dovo best just to see if I was gonna stick with it before I dropped some serious coin. Since at this point I definitely will, it looks like I'll be treating myself to a nice Butch or Devin later on in the year. That;'s gonna be nice.

DwarvenChef
06-13-2011, 03:09 AM
Just in case anyone has not figured out the */8's yet, it is 8th's of an inch so a 4/8 would be a 1/2" deep blade and parts there of. Grinds are similar, wedge being a triangle from spine to edge back up the other sid and across the back. and a full hollow grind would have most of the metal removed from the spine to almost the edge. And again all parts in between.

While wedges are heavy and full hollows are light, you can think of them as the 1 ton truck and the sports car. They will both get you there it's just about what you like in the ride. Very personal fit kind of stuff. Starting in the middle gives you the ability to figure out what works best for you. Don't really worry about how and what each grind is for, that will come when you are more intouch with shaving with a straight.

One thing that needs to be understood, every step of the way is an art, there is no one way that works for everyone. That is why there are soooo many different razor styles out there. Personal preference plays a huge roll in the shapes and grinds. Round, square, Spike, French, Barber, Smiling, these are all moot points to the beginner (though I would shy away from a spike early on). Get the razor style that you like the looks of, you'll stick to it more than one your just ok with. I started on squares and spikes against better judgment only because I got them cheap lol. It took a while before I was ok with round tips, now I don't notice a difference. If you go with a modern made razor like Dovo's Best you can't go wrong, same with a rebuilt vintage piece that has been fixed up by one of many re-builders listed on SRP, or other forums.

I'm a sucker for vintage razors, heavier the better. Modern ones just feel light and flippy to me, but that has nothing to do with the shave as they all shave very well... I'm (as usual) out in left field focusing on a very small group of razors that are out there. Custom razors are the cream of the crop, as much as I would LOVE to have one from each of them I just can't go there lol Although I have shaved with a couple of Butches early ones :) I don't know of a custom maker that would make a beast of a razor I would probably come up with and be able to afford lol.

As you may have guessed I am a bit obsessive over all aspects of straight razors I could go on for days and really shouldn't lol

So far the only AD's I have not fallen into are strops and brushes, I like the ones I have and haven't ventured out to try others. We will not talk about soaps hones and razors AD's... I'll never run out....

l r harner
06-13-2011, 09:23 AM
DC i ll have to get youa tester from my newer body of work
also jsut to be clear wedge razors are not true wedges they are ever so slightly hollow so that the honing is easer

DwarvenChef
06-13-2011, 06:22 PM
Very true on that wedge thing, not many "true" wedges out there. Most have enough ground out to allow for a bevel and spine contact points. I've seen a few worn down enough to be as much a true wedge as you may ever see... and I'm glad I never had to hone it lol

I would love to test run another of your razors... see if I can get the hang of a good stainless blade lol.

mainaman
06-13-2011, 06:35 PM
Very true on that wedge thing, not many "true" wedges out there. Most have enough ground out to allow for a bevel and spine contact points. I've seen a few worn down enough to be as much a true wedge as you may ever see... and I'm glad I never had to hone it lol

I would love to test run another of your razors... see if I can get the hang of a good stainless blade lol.DC I do not even sure how you hone a true wedge, that thing will make full contact with the stone.
I tried to fix one that was almost flat and it wouls get stuck to the stone from sucktion and not move at all. Impossible to hone.

heirkb
06-13-2011, 07:15 PM
DC I do not even sure how you hone a true wedge, that thing will make full contact with the stone.
I tried to fix one that was almost flat and it wouls get stuck to the stone from sucktion and not move at all. Impossible to hone.

Lots of tape on the spine?

I purposely flattened a really worn blade on a DMT once. I don't really know why I did that. I guess I was curious...It's kind of like the guys who thin a whole knife from spine to edge on a stone...

mainaman
06-13-2011, 07:23 PM
Lots of tape on the spine?

I purposely flattened a really worn blade on a DMT once. I don't really know why I did that. I guess I was curious...It's kind of like the guys who thin a whole knife from spine to edge on a stone...

no tape will wear faster than the edge and you can't set the bevel.
That is the reason why you can't set a bevel on a damaged razor you have to fix the spine first then tape an hone if you like.

SpikeC
06-13-2011, 07:31 PM
So I took Butch's advice and went down to my local store, Junque store, that is, and perused a few straights that they had. I found one that looked to be in pretty good shape, very little corrosion and little hone wear, straight scales. The name in the tang was BO-RAS-IC, some letters with periods and New York. It seemed in good enough shape to at least start playing around with, so I picked it up for 20 bucks, talked down from 25.
Looking around on the web it appears that this is a pretty good piece, made in Germany. I now have something to start learning on, I think!

mainaman
06-13-2011, 07:37 PM
yep sounds like good blade to start with.
Now my advice is to use tape on the spine while learning .
Also there isa big series of honing vids by Glen from SRP if you have not seen them here :
http://www.youtube.com/user/gssixgun

SpikeC
06-13-2011, 07:44 PM
Thanks, Main, I'm looking at the tutorials on SRP as we speak! I just read a posting he did on restoring one of these Bo-Ras-Ics.

Dave Martell
06-13-2011, 09:17 PM
I have a Frederick Reynolds wedge that has some decent hone wear, it's a true ***** to hone.

SpikeC
06-13-2011, 09:50 PM
So is this tape on the spine a universal technique? I see that gssixgun seems to use it a lot. Is this to prevent wear to the spine, as opposed to increasing the angle of the bevel?

mainaman
06-13-2011, 10:01 PM
I have a Frederick Reynolds wedge that has some decent hone wear, it's a true ***** to hone.

Dave you have a grinder you can regrind a new hollow on it :)

mainaman
06-13-2011, 10:02 PM
So is this tape on the spine a universal technique? I see that gssixgun seems to use it a lot. Is this to prevent wear to the spine, as opposed to increasing the angle of the bevel?

if you want to preserve spine, some have figuring and etch, it is great technique.
It does not change the angle much at all to affect the shave. The use of tape is really a personal preference.

DwarvenChef
06-14-2011, 06:49 AM
Tape is tricky, at best. I tape at 1k when setting bevels on damaged blades. Once they are set I remove the tape and set the bevel again without tape. While the angle change is not much, it can cause trouble if you have tricky blades. Many honers swear by the tape and other swear at the tape, it's a personal choice.

For me tape only has a place when aggresive grinding is called for, once you have the bevel set the ammount of wear you gets is minimal and no real reason to keep using it. This is my opinion and many others will disagree, try it for your selves and see what works best for you.

mainaman
06-14-2011, 07:39 AM
Tape is tricky, at best. I tape at 1k when setting bevels on damaged blades. Once they are set I remove the tape and set the bevel again without tape. While the angle change is not much, it can cause trouble if you have tricky blades. Many honers swear by the tape and other swear at the tape, it's a personal choice.

For me tape only has a place when aggresive grinding is called for, once you have the bevel set the ammount of wear you gets is minimal and no real reason to keep using it. This is my opinion and many others will disagree, try it for your selves and see what works best for you.

DC what do you mean by tricky blade?
I fix anything that has problems before even attempting setting bevels. Using tape after the problems are fixed is nothing special.

l r harner
06-14-2011, 09:16 AM
yep i tape from start to finish but on the other side of that as i am grinding a razor out i lay it flat on a DMT600 and look at where the hone ware is so that as i finish grind i can make sure that the grind is just right

i tap cause most ppl dont want a brand new custom razor with spine ware (i use jsut one layer also not the multi layers like some)

Craig
06-14-2011, 11:48 AM
I've been slowly learning the straight shave thing for a while now, and I gotta admit it's been slow going. Slower than kitchen knives were for me. Part of the problem is I'm really thick through the goatee section. I'm pretty comfortable with the easier neck, cheeks and sideburns. My problems can I think be summed up pretty well in the word: "pull."

I've been working with a Fox Cutlery that I was told is about 100 years old, I've forgotten the exact date. It's a spike, which has made me bleed a few times, but I think I've got that under control now. It's also got a bit of the smile shape to the blade, which I think I'm actually starting to like. I'm not great at eyeballing how hollow a razor is, but I would guess it's something like quarter or half.

To sharpen, I've just been using my knife kit. Beston 500 (never use this one any more), Bester 1200 then Takenoko 8k. Follow that up with a leather strop loaded with .25 micron diamond spray. I don't tape, but I do more or less hold the razor flat against the stone and just live with the wear.

I'm wondering if my problems lie more in the honing/stropping or if it's just my shaving technique that's not up to par? I only opt for the straight maybe once a week, mostly because I'm rushed most mornings on weekdays.

mainaman
06-14-2011, 11:54 AM
I've been slowly learning the straight shave thing for a while now, and I gotta admit it's been slow going. Slower than kitchen knives were for me. Part of the problem is I'm really thick through the goatee section. I'm pretty comfortable with the easier neck, cheeks and sideburns. My problems can I think be summed up pretty well in the word: "pull."

I've been working with a Fox Cutlery that I was told is about 100 years old, I've forgotten the exact date. It's a spike, which has made me bleed a few times, but I think I've got that under control now. It's also got a bit of the smile shape to the blade, which I think I'm actually starting to like. I'm not great at eyeballing how hollow a razor is, but I would guess it's something like quarter or half.

To sharpen, I've just been using my knife kit. Beston 500 (never use this one any more), Bester 1200 then Takenoko 8k. Follow that up with a leather strop loaded with .25 micron diamond spray. I don't tape, but I do more or less hold the razor flat against the stone and just live with the wear.

I'm wondering if my problems lie more in the honing/stropping or if it's just my shaving technique that's not up to par? I only opt for the straight maybe once a week, mostly because I'm rushed most mornings on weekdays.
since you have a bunch of experience with shaving and you do not have the pull when you shave the cheeks , I would say the razor is not sharp enough to feel comfortable on the chin.
If you want I will hone it for free if you are willing to pay the shipping fees.
PM if interested

Craig
06-14-2011, 03:54 PM
I'm more interested in getting to the point where I can hone it myself. Generous offer though, thanks.

Maybe one of these days I'll convince DT to make me a razor already and I'll know for sure. I'm assuming anything he makes comes with an outstanding factory edge.

DwarvenChef
06-14-2011, 04:26 PM
Since I deal primarily with pre 1900 razors I get some pretty funky grinds. Looks like the hollows where done just after the lunch break when these guys are known to have quite allot of beer with lunch :p Than you have the end users that didn't always know what they where doing and honed with strange rituals, not to mention the occasional warp, twist and such. I don't pound out anything I leave them as they lay and do my best to get them shaving. As most know I'm not after "pretty" on my work pieces, I'd rather them show their age, just clean enough to keep them from deteriorating any farther.

Spine ware is all part of that life process with a razor so I don't worry about normal wear and tear. Granted if I was dealing with custom steel works I'd probably use tape more often, but I don't. And that is a choise each end user must decide on. Both sides of the tape issue, because each has it's place and nether side is right or wrong.

heirkb
06-14-2011, 06:21 PM
It might be your blade and might also be your technique. It made a big difference for me when I started using scything and guillotining strokes while shaving. My goal is to not feel like I'm shaving at all (not feel the hair being cut) and I could get that without these strokes, but it's easier if you learn with these two strokes. Try these two methods and use short passes and see if that works for you. Some guys use long passes and finish their whole face in three strokes, but I get a ton of irritation when doing that.
Here is an explanation of a few shaving strokes including the two I mentioned: http://straightrazorplace.com/srpwiki/index.php/Shaving_passes#The_scything_motion

Edit: Just to add...the reason I say it might be the technique is that I never could learn how to shave my chin properly. I tried with DE's and once with straights and just gave up. In my case, I really don't think it was the blade.

Craig
06-15-2011, 10:55 AM
It might be your blade and might also be your technique. It made a big difference for me when I started using scything and guillotining strokes while shaving. My goal is to not feel like I'm shaving at all (not feel the hair being cut) and I could get that without these strokes, but it's easier if you learn with these two strokes. Try these two methods and use short passes and see if that works for you. Some guys use long passes and finish their whole face in three strokes, but I get a ton of irritation when doing that.
Here is an explanation of a few shaving strokes including the two I mentioned: http://straightrazorplace.com/srpwiki/index.php/Shaving_passes#The_scything_motion

Edit: Just to add...the reason I say it might be the technique is that I never could learn how to shave my chin properly. I tried with DE's and once with straights and just gave up. In my case, I really don't think it was the blade.

This is helpful, thanks. I've been doing Guillotine a little, but I learned to avoid scything (I had no idea these were the terms) early on because every time I did it my face ended up bleeding. I really shouldn't have started with a spike, but whatever. Chicks dig scars, right?

Actually, looking at the pictures early on that page, I notice that on both the WTG pass and the ATG pass they're going left to right across the chin, which I find interesting. Even if you're not going up/down, shouldn't one pass go left to right and the other right to left? Regardless, I've been trying to hack it up/down, maybe I'll try that next time.

Craig
06-15-2011, 10:59 AM
This thread got me motivated so I thought about the process I was using and gave it another shot this morning. I realized I was making a fairly stupid mistake. When I hone, I don't tape so I've been trying to hold the spine of the razor as little as possible off the stone to avoid scratching. When I strop, I've just been laying it flat and going at it. As a result, I'm pretty sure I've been stropping slightly behind the edge, which is pointless. I raised the angle a bit when stropping this morning and noticed a difference. I still ended up with some tugging on the tougher parts around the chin and definitely some irritation/burn, but it was manageable. Hopefully improving technique can get me the rest of the way.

DwarvenChef
06-15-2011, 05:02 PM
When attacking my chin the first few months I noticed that patches of whiskers went in different directions. A down WTG only cleared the field a bit I found in some areas I have to come back at a 45deg XtG to AtG, than a full AtG after an inch and a half. Everyones whiskers grow in different directions and you need to experiment with varying strokes to see what works for you. Watch all the videos you can because you will se differences that you may want to try your self.

heirkb
06-15-2011, 05:08 PM
This thread got me motivated so I thought about the process I was using and gave it another shot this morning. I realized I was making a fairly stupid mistake. When I hone, I don't tape so I've been trying to hold the spine of the razor as little as possible off the stone to avoid scratching. When I strop, I've just been laying it flat and going at it. As a result, I'm pretty sure I've been stropping slightly behind the edge, which is pointless. I raised the angle a bit when stropping this morning and noticed a difference. I still ended up with some tugging on the tougher parts around the chin and definitely some irritation/burn, but it was manageable. Hopefully improving technique can get me the rest of the way.

You should be laying your razor flat on the stone at all times. Razors have a built in guide (the hollow makes the spine a guide for the angle of the edge) and I doubt that anyone can achieve that level of precision on a razor while holding an angle freehand. It's such a tiny bevel and such a tiny blade to hold on to that you're bound to get a ton of wobble, which can easily change that tiny bevel.

Craig
06-16-2011, 11:32 AM
You should be laying your razor flat on the stone at all times. Razors have a built in guide (the hollow makes the spine a guide for the angle of the edge) and I doubt that anyone can achieve that level of precision on a razor while holding an angle freehand. It's such a tiny bevel and such a tiny blade to hold on to that you're bound to get a ton of wobble, which can easily change that tiny bevel.

Wouldn't the process of doing that for 100 years or so naturally wear down the spine a bit, changing the angle?

mainaman
06-16-2011, 11:40 AM
Wouldn't the process of doing that for 100 years or so naturally wear down the spine a bit, changing the angle?

yes but the edge also wears during honing so it is all symmetric wear.
If you want to protect the spine use tape. One other thing to consider, you set bevel and go up the grits once when you initially hone the razor, after that is only touch ups on the finishing stone or some pasts. You will technically never have to go to low grit stones unless the blade is chipped or nicked and needs repair.

DwarvenChef
06-16-2011, 03:56 PM
http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a190/DwarvenChef/DSC00194.jpg

Just thought I'd share a pic, one of the two late 1700's razors. One is shave ready the other would require to much grinding to get shave ready (the one pictured) that it would be altered to much for such a nice looking piece.

DwarvenChef
06-19-2011, 05:19 PM
Ugh, this thread has had me itching for another shop run to see what has accumulated of the past few months :) When hunting for vintage blades you just never know what your going to find and at what price. Once I found 2 fountain pens for $2.50 ea, got home expecting them to be toast. Turns hout these where both in fully working order and are trading at $60 and $150, I have yet to put them up for sale as I kind of like them :)

I've been lucky at times with the razors and come across many good deals. You just have to be willing to put in the time to clean them up and get them shaving :) Sometimes the best looking one in the bunch requires the most work and the "lost Cause" just needed a touch up lol ya just never know sometimes lol.

SpikeC
06-19-2011, 07:16 PM
I found one at a shop that has a bend in the spine. Is it possible to straighten something like this without breaking it? It is an old borasic.

mainaman
06-19-2011, 09:11 PM
I found one at a shop that has a bend in the spine. Is it possible to straighten something like this without breaking it? It is an old borasic.
can you describe the bent? Is the spine not flat when you lay it on a flat surface?

SpikeC
06-19-2011, 09:48 PM
When you look down the spine it has a gentle bend through the length of the spine and edge. There is what looks like a temper line the length of the blade about half way between the edge and the spine. It looks like either a sort of hamon or the line you would see where two different types of steel come together.
What I'm wondering is whether or not the spine is hardened.

mainaman
06-19-2011, 09:52 PM
usually the spine is not as hard as the blade.
The bend will not be a problem to hone the blade but will require experience to get it right.
If you can post pics it will be best .

SpikeC
06-19-2011, 09:57 PM
I'll work on it. I have gotten the edge to the point that it will shave a bit, so that is progress. In the meantime I have a "shave ready" razor coming from the classified on the SRP.