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Wet Shaving, ala straight razors

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DwarvenChef

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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
 

DwarvenChef

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Where is the vid of you shaving with the 300 yanagi?
 

Dave Martell

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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

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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

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Then there's that tuna sword................
 

tk59

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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??
 

mainaman

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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

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Thanks! I have the straightrazorplace open in another browser window now and will be making use of it.
 
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