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bprescot
02-13-2012, 12:07 PM
Not sure about the idea of going whole hog with a straight razor, so I thought i'd try a Double Edge Safety Razor first. While not at all the same, I figure I can at least figure out if the ritualistic aspect of this appeals to me. Can anybody here recommend a set, either from personal experience or from knowing just a ton about this stuff? Amazon carries a set which includes a stand, a Merkur 34c, Badger Brush, Plate and Col. Conk soap, but I'm sure there's others out there, and I don't mind supporting someone else besides Amazon, you know?

So, any suggestions? I've found also some sets over at Vintage Blades, but I can't seem to find anything about their own blade lines.

Thanks in advance!
Ben

GlassEye
02-13-2012, 12:30 PM
This is timely as I have been looking for the same thing. Seems like it is good way to get started, and I am only cleaning up the edges around my beard and moustache. I have seen a few sets at some of the straight razor sites, not too sure what I shoul be looking for in a brush, bowl, etc.

Mint427
02-13-2012, 01:32 PM
Similar ideas....I just purchased a Feather SS safety razor for a go at it. First word of caution is that the blades are super sharp -- after the first shave it looked like I just returned from a firefight. Visit the shaving websites and read the forums -- it's just like picking the member's minds on this forum re: japanese knives, sharpening, stones, etc. Let the razor do the work - light pressure! Once I figured that out, the shave is very good. I don't plan on going to a straight razor although many do. There are great websites dedicated to just this subject. Enjoy!

WildBoar
02-13-2012, 02:04 PM
This is what I pulled together at West Coast Shaving last year. The stand is a bit flimsy, and tips over easily if the razor is in place when you pull out the brush. But that's the only issue I've had with any of the items:




http://www.westcoastshaving.com/assets/images/SS-PRS-003_thumbnail.jpg
SS-PRS-003 Provence Sante Green Tea Shaving Soap Refill

$10.00 x 1


$10.00









http://www.westcoastshaving.com/assets/images/SS-PRS-001_thumbnail.jpg
SS-PRS-001 Provence Sante Shaving Dish w/ Soap

$25.00 x 1


$25.00









http://www.westcoastshaving.com/assets/images/AS-PRO-002_thumbnail.jpg
AS-PRO-002 Proraso Pre/Post Shaving Cream

$12.00 x 1


$12.00









http://www.westcoastshaving.com/assets/images/SB-SHA-177-62-23-2_thumbnail.jpg
SB-SHA-177-62-23-2 Shavemac #177 23mm Finest Badger Shaving Brush, Faux Ivory

$89.00 x 1


$89.00









http://www.westcoastshaving.com/assets/images/RB-SAM-004_thumbnail.jpg
RB-SAM-004 DE Blade Sampler Pack, Choice

$10.00 x 1


$10.00









http://www.westcoastshaving.com/assets/images/RZ-MER-38M_thumbnail.jpg
RZ-MER-38M Merkur 38M HD Long Handle Barber Pole Safety Razor, Matte Chrome

$46.50 x 1


$46.50









http://www.westcoastshaving.com/assets/images/OP-CYR-0109_thumbnail.jpg
OP-CYR-0109 Cyril R Salter Nickel Shaving Stand

$35.00 x 1


$35.00

bprescot
02-13-2012, 02:13 PM
Yipes! That's quite a set, but a bit more than I'm willing to spend before i know if this is for me. I was thinking of this off of Amazon:



4487 Van Der Hagen Men's Luxury, Shave Set: $30

And a razor, either a parker or the Merkur HD.

mainaman
02-13-2012, 02:16 PM
Merkurs are nice, I got the long handle slant.
Make sure to get a variety pack of blades to see which ones you will like best.
Be careful of brush acquisition disorder as well as cream/soap one.

stevenStefano
02-13-2012, 02:35 PM
Are there differences in the blades? I got a Merkur for Christmas and it seems pretty good though I don't know much about razors

bprescot
02-13-2012, 02:39 PM
Apparently so, as every place I've gone too in reading about newb buying advice has advocated getting a sampler pack. Maybe not so much a functional difference as personal preference is what I'm inferring, though.

PierreRodrigue
02-13-2012, 02:44 PM
here is a site with some seemingly helpful info...
http://www.fendrihan.com/shaving-advice-ip-73.html

mainaman
02-13-2012, 02:49 PM
Apparently so, as every place I've gone too in reading about newb buying advice has advocated getting a sampler pack. Maybe not so much a functional difference as personal preference is what I'm inferring, though.
Exactly, the blades feel different so one has to try a few makers to find out what they like best.

stevenStefano
02-13-2012, 02:54 PM
I just have a shaving stick and some Merkur Super blades I got for Christmas but |I might try some others and maybe spend a bit more. My face basically gets wrecked every time I go to ju-jitsu and I end up with little cuts most times I shave so I might invest in some better shaving cream and see if it helps

bprescot
02-13-2012, 11:21 PM
Ended going with the brush set I posted previously and a Parker 99R. Let me know if I screwed the pooch on either of those purchases!

The Edge
02-13-2012, 11:28 PM
I have a modified Parker by Edwin Jagger. Don't have anything to compare it to, but from what I read when I bought it, it is less aggressive than the merkur. Though both score really high marks. Pretty soon, you'll be wanting a custom straight by Butch! Good luck

mano
02-14-2012, 09:11 AM
I didn't read many of the posts here so pardon me if I missed the bus somehow.

Make it simple. Google Crabtree and Evelyn coupon and the go to their website. Get a basic badger brush for $35 and a shave soap refill for $9 and use a bowl you already have that fits the soap. For $6 get a plastic stand.

Get a Merkur razor (my go-to is the HD) somewhere else for around $35 and buy some blades. If you are brand new to wet shaving and pm me I'll send you a five pack of Feather blades.

So, now you have a brush and razor that'll last a lifetime and soap that'll last 3-6 months.

Alternately, sign up at Badger and Blade, which has a lot of safety razor people and post a request for a newbie pack. The only down side is bargain price you get will soon be offset by the shaving acquisition disorder you'll eventually develop.

bprescot
02-14-2012, 10:05 AM
Oh no you don't. I already have one acquisition disorder! My bank account and wife are in no mood for another! Joining B&B would guarantee big problems coming my way. I think I'm just going to play around with the parker a bit, maybe go for a blade sampler pack, try a cream or two, maybe upgrade the brush at some point .... Oh god... it's starting already isn't it?!?!?!

Jim
02-14-2012, 10:20 AM
Wet shaving can be a rabbit hole if you let it. To get started you need a brush, soap, a razor and some blades.

A stand is unnecessary from a functional standpoint. Westcoastshaving.com is a very reliable vendor.

Here is my recommended starter kit-


http://www.westcoastshaving.com/Simpsons-Case-1-Best-Badger-Shaving-Brush-C1_p_545.html

http://www.westcoastshaving.com/Merkur-23C-Long-Handle-Safety-Razor_p_52.html

http://www.westcoastshaving.com/Red-Personna-Israeli-Double-Edge-Razor-Blades_p_273.html

http://www.westcoastshaving.com/La-Toja-Shaving-Soap-Stick_p_1146.html

If you have very hard water get this rather than the soap-
http://www.westcoastshaving.com/Musgo-Real-Shave-Cream-100ml_p_50.html

http://www.westcoastshaving.com/Thayers-Alcohol-Free-Original-Witch-Hazel-w-Aloe-Vera-Toner_p_220.html


Here is a link to tutorials and tips on the Badger and Blade > http://badgerandblade.com/vb/showthread.php/71700-WET-SHAVING-INSTRUCTIONS-AND-TUTORIALS-New-READ-THIS-THREAD!


Wetshaving can have a learning curve but it is a vast improvement over the canned goo and multi blade razors that cost an arm and a leg. The items I selected above are not starter grade,they are economical choices, but can serve you well for literally decades.
Happy shaving!

heirkb
02-14-2012, 11:39 AM
Yipes! That's quite a set, but a bit more than I'm willing to spend before i know if this is for me.

In my experience, all you need are:

-brush: maybe try one of the "finest" grade by Penworks (http://www.penworks.us//index.php?main_page=index&cPath=25_73). They're the best bang for the buck in the brush world, IMO. I've tried brushes that cost from $15 to $450, and I'd be more than happy with one of those finest grade brushes as an everyday brush. You could also get one of the Edwin Jagger "best" grade brushes. The Simpson that Jim recommended is going to be a good brush (I've tried a lot of Simpsons), but I think most guys will find a 19mm knot a bit small. You'll end up buying another brush then. Might as well start with a 22-25mm knot that costs basically the same. Only difference, to me, is that one doesn't have a fancy English brand name.

-soap/cream: tons of good cheap ones like Speick, Tabac, Cella, etc.

-aftershave splash and/or balm: I like the Art of Shaving balm a lot. Expensive, but goes a very very tiny amount goes a long way

-razor: Merkur HD or a vintage Gillette from B&B (the cheaper and better, in my opinion, option)

-blades: I like sharks, feathers, the personnas in the red package. Everyone's different, so try a bunch. They're cheap.

Lefty
02-15-2012, 12:09 AM
I've found that I REALLY like my Gillette Aristocrat JR from the 30s, I believe, paired with Iridium blades, Proraso soap and my boar brush. However, my knot seems to be breaking in more and more and I've lost a lot of backbone. I have messed around with a "pure" badger knot and I like it in its brand new condition. We'll have to see how it breaks in.
I'm also very impressed with Arko shave sticks, and less than impressed with most creams and a couple soaps I've tried.
The A/S system that has worked like magic for me is Proraso Pre/Post shave cream, followed by some BioTherm A/S balm.
In total for my starter line-up, I'd guess the cost would be $75 or so. Well worth it, in my opinion!

bprescot
02-16-2012, 11:33 AM
Well. That was ... interesting. Just had my first safety razor shave. Definitely something I'm going to need to get the hang of. Didn't lose much blood, which I suppose is a good thing, but also didn't feel like I got a great shave. Will need to practice some more... once my face stops burning lol!

WildBoar
02-16-2012, 12:18 PM
One thing I learned pretty quick was not to keep going back over an area that still felt rough unless I at least applied a bit of water, if not more shaving soap.

bprescot
02-16-2012, 12:28 PM
Yeah, I figured that one out by the time I got to the right side of my face. Also, apparently the blades I'm using tend to pull. I noticed this and so, thought to myself at the time "Well, surely you must put SOME pressure on the blade, right?" I also fixed this by the time I got to the right side. I think I'll order one of those blade sampler packs this afternoon.

Jim
02-16-2012, 01:55 PM
Yeah, I figured that one out by the time I got to the right side of my face. Also, apparently the blades I'm using tend to pull. I noticed this and so, thought to myself at the time "Well, surely you must put SOME pressure on the blade, right?" I also fixed this by the time I got to the right side. I think I'll order one of those blade sampler packs this afternoon.

The blade should not pull at all,if the blade came with the razor ditch it. Only use the weight of the razor. Most wet shavers do about 3 passes and relather between passes. Go for beard reduction rather than elimination. Mapping your beard and doing the first pass with the grain, then across the grain in opposite directions for the next two passes should get you pretty close to a good shave. After you perfect this you can go against the grain for a true BBS or Baby butt smooth shave. As a example of no pressure hold the razor with 2 fingers to build awareness. It takes some time but is worth it.

Dave Martell
02-16-2012, 02:36 PM
Yeah what Jim said and I'll add that in my case making better lather helped too. Lots of practice but a great reward in the end.

heirkb
02-16-2012, 02:46 PM
If it's really tough to figure out, I would even try just doing one with the grain (WTG) pass and leaving it at that. One thing I picked up from straight razor shaving is to try to stretch my skin in some areas. I can get a close enough shave--not baby butt smooth but clean in appearance--with just a WTG pass if I stretch my skin.

Craig
02-21-2012, 01:52 PM
Safety razors can be pretty simple to use. I think most people overthink it and get in trouble because of it. They're really not terribly different from disposables, though there are a few things you can do if you're just starting out to make it easier. First, realize that not all razors are the same. Open comb ones, which will look something like this, are more likely to cut you:

4787

You can also get adjustable ones that let you set how close the shave is and thus how dangerous it is. That's what I went for and I've been slowly opening it up to get a closer shave as my technique and face allow it. I got one of these:

4788

Notice the big lump of steel below the blade, that's the safety bar. It helps prevent the edge from hitting your skin first or at a dangerous angle. I'm sure the guys who have been doing this for years don't want one, but it makes everything easier for a newbie.

I recently ordered a brush and mug, along with a few soaps and whatnot from here: http://www.olivia-seife.de/shop/hwherren/pinselundmugs.html

I've been told getting authentic and high-quality badger hair brushes make a world of difference, and 29 Euros is the best price I've seen for one by far.

bprescot
02-21-2012, 02:07 PM
I forgot about this thread. So I've got a few shaves under my belt now. I've still got some learning to do, but overall I think this will be something I continue with. Changing blades made a BIG difference. Have only tried one other one from the sample pack, but that one was a big step up. The only real down-side is time. Those disposables are a LOT faster, especially since I didn't really need to bother with lather and the rest. I could just do razor to face straight from the shower and get a decent enough shave in 2 minutes flat. Building lather isn't really all that time consuming, 2 minutes or so, but I do need to do a few passes right now to get a good enough shave. I imagine that will get better with time, though. We'll see how we like it after a month. One thing I do feel like I need to add, though, is some after shave something. My face can still come out of this feeling slightly abused, though way better than before. I'll check out B&B to see what the recommendations are.

sachem allison
02-21-2012, 03:02 PM
I forgot about this thread. So I've got a few shaves under my belt now. I've still got some learning to do, but overall I think this will be something I continue with. Changing blades made a BIG difference. Have only tried one other one from the sample pack, but that one was a big step up. The only real down-side is time. Those disposables are a LOT faster, especially since I didn't really need to bother with lather and the rest. I could just do razor to face straight from the shower and get a decent enough shave in 2 minutes flat. Building lather isn't really all that time consuming, 2 minutes or so, but I do need to do a few passes right now to get a good enough shave. I imagine that will get better with time, though. We'll see how we like it after a month. One thing I do feel like I need to add, though, is some after shave something. My face can still come out of this feeling slightly abused, though way better than before. I'll check out B&B to see what the recommendations are.

http://www.ogallalabayrum.mybigcommerce.com/ love their stuff and their shaving sticks are the best. just wet your face, rub on the stick, lather and shave. quick 20 seconds to lather. Their soaps and aftershaves are great too.

AFKitchenknivesguy
02-21-2012, 03:16 PM
I have some nice safety razor stuff I rarely use/use at all if you are interested. PT me...Jason