Quantcast

Shaving with straight razor?? Newbie Help

Kitchen Knife Forums

Help Support Kitchen Knife Forums:

oivind_dahle

Banned
Joined
Mar 1, 2011
Messages
1,474
Reaction score
0
Hi

I think I want to try how to shave with a straight razor, but need some help.

First off: what kind of equipment do I need?
Im on a budget here. Where do I buy it? Ebay?

Does anyone have links to videos how to get started?
 

JBroida

Founding Member
KKF Vendor
Joined
Feb 28, 2011
Messages
6,640
Reaction score
783
Location
Beverly Hills, CA
i'm kind of in the same boat... want to get a good basic setup... would love to hear from some of you guys.

(thanks oivind for starting this thread)
 

kalaeb

Banned
Joined
Feb 28, 2011
Messages
2,323
Reaction score
1
Hi

I think I want to try how to shave with a straight razor, but need some help.

First off: what kind of equipment do I need?
Im on a budget here. Where do I buy it? Ebay?

Does anyone have links to videos how to get started?
You must be one hairy lesbain!:poke1:
 

jm2hill

Founding Member
Joined
Jun 24, 2011
Messages
541
Reaction score
0
I absolutely love it. Just started a few weeks ago.

I have two razors. One from "Straight Razor Design". A nice starter set but pricier, nice razors.

The other razor I have is from Larry at whippeddog. com: pick up a "sight unseen razor and strop" for 48 bucks and add 10 for another strop because you'll probably nick the first one.

The razor from Larry will be shave ready and it'll be decent quality.

Next step is to go to local pharmacy and get a boar brush (omega) and (proraso) soap for about 20 dollars. (there are plenty other soaps and brushes but these are good learners).

Only other thing to do is order the art of straight razor shaving by Lynn Abrams. (it can be ordered from "Straight Razor Design").

Total Cost:

Sight Unseen: 48
Extra Strop: 10
Brush and Soap: 20
DVD: 20

About 100 dollars for a decent start up kit!

Edit: Another thing that is recommended is to have at least a two razor rotation when you're learning. I'm sure most of you will learn to hone your own razor -- but until you can actually get a razor shave ready, you'll want another one to shave with... there will be less blood that way :).
 

WillC

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 9, 2011
Messages
2,106
Reaction score
1
I've been shaving with nothing else but a Straight for a year or so now. Your off to a good start as you've got lots of hones, (certainly Jon) strops etc. My advice would be to get a good old well known good shaving razor which has been made shave ready, or at the very least has been in recent service, with as even hone wear as possible. I bought several old razors and a brand new Stolligen, The New one is virtually impossible to get a smooth shave with, despite being more than appropriately sharp. Start with something either 5/8 or 6/8, rounded end, flat and easy to hone and go from there. I have since developed a taste for smiling wedge shaped razors, but there is more of a learning curve to getting a smooth shave and honing them.
Ebay is ok if your on a budget, but look in the classifieds of SRP and getting something tried and tested would be good.
My best shaving Razors are my 2 Spikusons, not popular for some reason, but mine are just so reliably good and hold the best edge.
My Kropp, although the bevel will never be too even, its a great shave,
Gong , (stolligen) Good reliable razor
My favoirates are my pair of smiling Wedge James Johnsons in cast sheffield steel, they hold the best edge of any Sheffield Raror i've tried and are a pleasure to use, if a bit of a learning curve with a heavy Razor.
I've made one too, and it shaves pretty good, but its still a working progress Atm.
Have Fun, its a great way to give yourself some male pampering and still feel manly.:D
 

Eamon Burke

Banned
Joined
Mar 5, 2011
Messages
4,855
Reaction score
9
I think most addicts here will have plenty of stuff needed to shave their face. If you can sharpen a knife to to that absurd, hair popping sharp, and it'll keep that edge, it'll shave. The amazing thing is just how destructive on an edge shaving a face is. I used to shave with my pocket knife(154cm) and it would get noticeably duller by the time I got to my upper lip.

I am lucky that my father has a nice set of straights he never uses, and I am currently refurbing them. Just me an a pile of C.V. Heljestrands, a Double Duck, and 2 Fritz Bracht Dovos. StraightRazorPlace is a great forum(period) but is a wealth of well-organized information put together by obsessives just like us.
 

mainaman

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2011
Messages
1,271
Reaction score
0
I would not go to e-bay for a first timer with razors.
just grab a basic Dovo set up from SRD and then go from there.

WARNING
razors are extremely addictive, people develop huge acquisition disorders for razors, strops, stones, brushes, creams/soaps, aftershaves.

Gear resource for the information is
http://straightrazorplace.com/forum.php
 

l r harner

Banned
Joined
Mar 6, 2011
Messages
548
Reaction score
0
as bad as it sounds i would not get one on the cheap from ebay
at the least get one that was rehabed

and yes while you have the hones there is a bit diffreent way about making a razor truley ready to shave

one more thing on at least one razor i have seen "lather well shave well " these are good words to heed as prep can make all the differeence in how smooth the shave goes

as far as soap i like mamabear and at around 10$ a tub that would take you over a year of daily use to use up
 

Pensacola Tiger

Founding Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2011
Messages
5,834
Reaction score
118
Hi

I think I want to try how to shave with a straight razor, but need some help.

First off: what kind of equipment do I need?
Im on a budget here. Where do I buy it? Ebay?

Does anyone have links to videos how to get started?
i'm kind of in the same boat... want to get a good basic setup... would love to hear from some of you guys.

(thanks oivind for starting this thread)
I've been shaving with a straight since July, so I'm not the most experienced guy here. If I make a misstatement, I invite any of the forum members with more experience to jump in (DwarvenChef, mainaman and Jim, just to name three).

First, you need what is termed a "shave ready" razor, one that has been honed by someone with excellent skills. Most razors don't come from the factory with a "shave ready" edge. This removes one variable from your learning experience. It also gives you a reference for when your razor starts needing honing several weeks down the line. If you are counting pennies, then a "vintage" razor from Larry of Whipped Dog is a good idea. If you'd rather a new razor, then an entry level Dovo from The Superior Shave, Classic Shaving or Straight Razor Designs is what you're looking for. I'd recommend a round point to start with, as it is more "newbie friendly". A sharp spike point can be hard to keep track of while you are learning and may lead to a nick or cut. Please do not buy your first razor from eBay. I can guarantee you that it will not be "shave ready".

http://whippeddog.com/
http://thesuperiorshave.com/
http://www.classicshaving.com/Home.html
http://www.straightrazordesigns.com/

Second, you need a brush and shaving cream or soap. Brushes are made from badger hair, boar bristle or synthetic bristles. Pick any one you like. Badger and synthetic brushes don't require any break in period, while a boar brush will soften over a period of weeks. No need to spend more than $20 - 25 on a brush to start out. Soaps and creams will be according to your preference in fragrance. Proraso is a good cream to start with if you like menthol. Cella is good if you like an almond fragrance. I like Speick, a German brand that has a lavender scent. Not much of the fragrance will stay on your face after you rinse, it just adds to the sensory experience of shaving.

Third, you need a strop. Most of the strops made for razors are hanging strops, but paddle strops are also available. A 2" or 2.5" wide hanging strop is considered "standard", but a 3" strop is nice because the entire edge of the razor fits on the strop surface and you need not be concerned with moving the razor during the stropping stroke to hit the entire edge. If you have an unloaded leather strop from Dave, it can be pressed into service for razors. Stefan (mainaman) has a great thread on SRP about making paddle strops:

http://straightrazorplace.com/workshop/75382-making-paddle-strop-tutorial.html

Razor, brush, soap/cream and strop. That's all you need to get started.

Øivind, since you are not in the US, I'd suggest that you take a look at The Superior Shave for your equipment. Jarrod is a shaving enthusiast and reminds me a lot of Jon and JKI. His international shipping charges are clearly marked. I've bought a bunch of stuff from him and never had a problem.

http://thesuperiorshave.com/

Jon, since you're in California, you have the opportunity to visit a "brick and mortar" store like Classic Shaving in Palm Springs (http://www.classicshaving.com/themensroom.html).

I'd suggest that you "lurk" at Badger & Blade and Straight Razor Place to get much more information.

http://www.badgerandblade.com/
http://straightrazorplace.com/content/
 

DwarvenChef

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 10, 2011
Messages
814
Reaction score
1
When starting out it is best to get razors that are shave ready, it just saves you time and frustration at getting started. However some of you may be like me and don't listen or follow advice as closely as one should... or just impatient to get into it lol. My first razors where ebite specials and I worked on them for a long time only to find I was comming up short. Sure my knife sharpening skills helped me greatly at learning to hone a razor but that was only the begining of the whole learning curve for honing. Once I got a truely shave ready razor I was able to see the difference between my work and where it needed to be. I quickly was able to get my blades where I wanted them. That is why we always suggest getting shave ready razors first, so you know where a blade needs to be and how it feels when shaving.

Once you have gotten used to shaveing with a straight and you start working on your own edges, as I'm sure most of you will, you will basicly start all over again... Straight Razor shaving is not only a life style but an art in the sense that there is no one way to do it all. Everyone is different and how they shave, hone and choose equipment is all different. You will start noticing that your attracted to different aspects of shaving and you'll notice the slight variations in all the equipment. These things are not important when starting but will later when you have it figured out.

One such example is in finishing stones or the use a pastes and such on leather. You will notice a distinct difference between a shave off Cr02 vs diamond paste, natural stones and synthetic stones. None of these are right or wrong, it's personal preference... Remember that "Art" thing I mentioned :p

I'm hoplesly addicted to vintage blades, I only own 1 "new" razor, all the rest are vintage blades and most came off ebite or antique shops. Buying these kinds of razors is problematic at best as you never really know what your getting till you get it home and work with it. Antique shops are the best places to get your hands on a blade before you buy and this cuts down the risk. However you still have to know allot about what you buying to or your going to buy allot of paint scrapers... And there is just to much info needed to know for me to list here.

Lynn's DVD is really the best "insurance" you can get for starting out. Lynn goes over just about everything you need to know when starting out... but watch out for the part about his collection... most people who suffer from RAD caught it at this point in the dvd :p

There is much good info already posted above, and with Rick's links you should be able to get an idea of what you need to start.

Aslo if you would like to PM me with questions, feel free :) I've been shaving and maintaining my own razors for about 7 years now and have more than I can count, but not more than many lol. My collection is 99% user only razors.
 

JMJones

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2011
Messages
417
Reaction score
0
I shave with a straight razor but started out with a shavette from ebay for like ten dollars including shipping. It is a straight razor with replacable blades. I used it for a month or so and decided I was interested enough to take the plunge and get a straight.
 

Lefty

Canada's Sharpest Lefty
Founding Member
Joined
Mar 31, 2011
Messages
5,504
Reaction score
2
This is freaky timing. I've been badgering Rick about straights ever since about August, and now, with me needing a smooth as possible face for my SCBA, I'm about to take the plunge. Rick and I were talking just last night about my first steps to a smoother face and a sharp addict's dream.
 

The hekler

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2011
Messages
434
Reaction score
0
I can't recommend SRP enough it is a great source of info and a great bunch of guys. Actually the guys over there recommended this fine forum when I started to get into kitchen knives. I would buy from straight razor designs or the classifieds on SRP for an initial set up then you can start gambling with flea markets and eBay. It certainly takes time to become proficient but it is well worth the effort.
 

jm2hill

Founding Member
Joined
Jun 24, 2011
Messages
541
Reaction score
0
Lynn's DVD is really the best "insurance" you can get for starting out. Lynn goes over just about everything you need to know when starting out... but watch out for the part about his collection... most people who suffer from RAD caught it at this point in the dvd :p
1) I skipped "Lynn's Collection" on the DVD so I wouldn't get too addicted. I do find myself looking at stuff on ebay every couple days.

2) I think this is a must for everyone. Get Lynn's DVD. He goes through just about everything.
The first time I used my "Emil Voos" (from whippeddog) I dropped it and had a nice small chip in the bottom. I would have been lost without the DVD. Lynn talked about chip repair, then sharpening and finishing. It still took me about 4 hours to fix, but its now "shave ready" and close to my "Dovo" from Lynn.

Had my best ever shave today - not BBS - but its well on its way to getting there!
 

Lefty

Canada's Sharpest Lefty
Founding Member
Joined
Mar 31, 2011
Messages
5,504
Reaction score
2
Alright, I'm hooked! I have a razor coming, got the soap, figuring out which brush is good for me and I'm already thinking about how to put new scales on a straight razor. Oh yeah, I'm looking at strops too.
Thanks Rick :D
 

jm2hill

Founding Member
Joined
Jun 24, 2011
Messages
541
Reaction score
0
Alright, I'm hooked! I have a razor coming, got the soap, figuring out which brush is good for me and I'm already thinking about how to put new scales on a straight razor. Oh yeah, I'm looking at strops too.
Thanks Rick :D
That slab of Cocobolo is gonna make some killer scales!

What razor did you get?
 

Lefty

Canada's Sharpest Lefty
Founding Member
Joined
Mar 31, 2011
Messages
5,504
Reaction score
2
I have a Böker King Cutter coming my way. :D It was recommended and I've read nothing but great reviews on it. Now I need to talk my boy Pierre into making straights!
 

jm2hill

Founding Member
Joined
Jun 24, 2011
Messages
541
Reaction score
0
I have a Böker King Cutter coming my way. :D It was recommended and I've read nothing but great reviews on it. Now I need to talk my boy Pierre into making straights!
When Pierre gets done with my knife you can start that conversation! No need to make a busy man even busier :). Although with Pierre's handle work I think a straight from him would be killer.

Congrats on the straight. Most Boker's get great reviews. Now starts the learning process / bleeding / feeling great.
 

oivind_dahle

Banned
Joined
Mar 1, 2011
Messages
1,474
Reaction score
0
Some links to lynne dvd and not at least what you guys buy would be nice.
Im starting up after xmas, cause now its to much pressure on work :)

Need to know where you buy and what you buy :)
 

jm2hill

Founding Member
Joined
Jun 24, 2011
Messages
541
Reaction score
0
IMHO for a good starter kit:


DVD (must buy): http://www.straightrazordesigns.com...he-world-of-straight-razor-shaving-dvd-p-1245
shipping may show up as expensive on their website..shoot them an email and I'm sure they can bring the price down

Razor and Strop Kit + Extra strop: http://whippeddog.com/straightrazors/view/sight-unseen-deal
If you do want this one - shoot Larry an email that you want it and he'll tell you where to paypal the money

Brush and Soap from local pharmacy.

Second razor from classifieds at: straightrazorplace.com (make sure the seller is selling it shave ready and is trusted)

This is the cheapest safest possible option I can think of.

More expensive (easy solution):

Buy a shaving kit from: http://www.straightrazordesigns.com/straight-razor-wet-shaving-sets

All shave ready - all of them come with everything you need.
 

JMJones

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2011
Messages
417
Reaction score
0
Straight razor shaving became way easier and much less bloody when I realized that you need to use very very light pressure with the blade on your face. A couple of the first mornings my face was on fire driving to work, now I get a smooth, irritation free shave in a few minutes.

I also started to get better shaves when I added some glycerin to the shave mug and made sure I was getting enough water into the lather.

Good luck.
 

Lefty

Canada's Sharpest Lefty
Founding Member
Joined
Mar 31, 2011
Messages
5,504
Reaction score
2
That might be a helpful tip. Thanks Jonesy! I have to be honest, I currently don't use after shave, just a glycerin based hand cream. If I go with anything else, my face turns to sandpaper.
 

The hekler

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2011
Messages
434
Reaction score
0
Fitjar makes some excellent soaps and being in Norway it shipping should be cheap, they also have some shave products mostly rebranded their-issard which is also great. I bought from them before they started dealing with distributers on thus side of the pond and was supremely satisfied by their customer service:
http://www.fitjarsoapinternational.com/
this is their international site I believe they have a Norway specific site too.
 

Dave Martell

Forum Founder
Professional Craftsman
Joined
Feb 27, 2011
Messages
14,037
Reaction score
858
Location
Airville, PA
If you're on the fence you have to give straight shaving a try - it's ubermanliness. :cool2:

I've never turned back since I started a few years ago. I use DE's as well to mix it up but I'm a straight razor junkie for the most part. I've scored most of mine at flea markets and antique stores. Ebay is a real gamble even for someone who knows what to look for, I'd advise against hunting that ground. Once you get used to the way the profiles look and learn some of the common problems you can really find some great deals if you go looking locally. I happen to like wasting an afternoon in antique shops so for me hunting for straights while I'm there is easy. My favorites are 1860's(ish) razors from Sheffield with Wade & Butcher being my ultimate finds. I like them big and extra hollow ground. :drool:

Yeah straight shaving is the sh*t. Screw that 10 bladed plastic cartridge and goop-in-a-can crap. Take the time to learn it and you'll be much better off forever.
 

l r harner

Banned
Joined
Mar 6, 2011
Messages
548
Reaction score
0
i think im going to be making a few 8/8s in xhp might be half wedge and half full hollow but they are not for the beginner
 

jm2hill

Founding Member
Joined
Jun 24, 2011
Messages
541
Reaction score
0
That would be a great starter set. Getting a shave ready razor from Lynn will tell you what an edge needs to feel like.

Then you can pick up a second one and try as hard as you might to get the same edge on that.

I got a similar set and I love it. (+ ordering for the holidays will grant you free honing for life -- which shouldn't be too much of a perk for you, but its always nice.)

Only upgrades I would make to that set is get a 3in strop rather than 2in. Makes learning a bit easier.

Make sure to get the DVD too - I can't stress that enough -- Some of it will be more simple for knuts like us (he talks about what type of stones you can buy and powders/sprays you can use) but in terms of shaving and honing information its great.
 

Pensacola Tiger

Founding Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2011
Messages
5,834
Reaction score
118
Yes, it would, but I think you have a tough beard, right? If that's the case, I would recommend getting a half-hollow grind. A half-hollow grind should "mow" through those whiskers a bit easier than a full-hollow would.

In either case, an upgrade to a 3" strop will make stropping easier - you won't have to use an "x" stroke to hit all of the edge as you need to with a narrower strop.

If you want to try a number of different creams, aftershaves and colognes without buying the full size, here are some links to sampler packs:

Truefitt & Hill

https://www.truefittandhill.com/detail_10106__37.html

Geo F Trumper

http://www.trumpers.com/product_detail.cfm?ProductID=111547656
 
Top