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Thread: Sharpness of Straight vs DE & SE

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    Senior Member badboris's Avatar
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    Default Sharpness of Straight vs DE & SE

    From what i read, honing straights will not get them as sharp as DE or SE blades.

    Personnaly i use a feather AC and it's sharper and smoother than any straight i have.

    Some members have honed with different angles from 14 to 20 degrees.
    They report that smaller angles are sharper,
    yet Zowada says that feathers are about 22 degrees

    I'm puzzle. Anyone has theories or comments on that.

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    Member Lordkappa's Avatar
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    I have no real evidence to back this up other than personal observation on feather's agressiveness, but I think that feathers might be sharper because the steel is stiffer. I think straight razor edges are thinner and have more elasticity. I find real straights much more forgiving, and give me a more comfortable shave than a feather. I'd take comfort over closeness any day.

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    At this point in time... gssixgun's Avatar
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    You know I have heard this for some time now, that DE and SE blades are sharper than straights...
    I have also told people numerous time to use either one, to get a feel for how the edge tests (TNT, TPT, HHT) should look and feel when learning to hone....

    I have always taken this to be a true statement, until I actually bought a DE and actually used it ONCE to shave with before selling it.... (not for me)
    At that time I took one of the DE blades and did what I had told people to do many times, and tried the blade tests myself... Needless to say I was not all that impressed with what I found, it passed all the tests and I still think it is a good way to learn how the tests should feel, but I would put any of my edges against those Personna edges any day of the week...
    I have never even held a Feather so I could not say on that one...
    That's my new 2 cents...
    So from now on I will not automatically assume that machine made edges are better than hand honed straight edges, I wanna see it, and have it proved to me....
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    Senior Member 2Sharp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gssixgun View Post
    So from now on I will not automatically assume that machine made edges are better than hand honed straight edges, I wanna see it, and have it proved to me....
    I'm with you Glen. I used a DE for 6 months and tried maybe 20 different blades and after my experience with my straights some have proven to be as sharp or sharper but smoother than any DE blade including the Feather.

    bj
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    I shave customers at my barbers shop fpr health and saftey reason and i have to say they are ultra sharp.But in some ways to sharp you have to have an ukltra light touch with these kind of blades as to much pressiure and you will easily get blood spots which is'nt aproblem but still is'nt good. I have used straight razors and they are more forgiving by far it sounds daft but you can realy get stuck in with astraight and they are ten times more forgiving provided the blade is honed up nice you will get as closer shave but a lot more smoother silky feeling with no irritation at all . The problem is many peaple go from feather artist or dovo shavette to a full on cut throat and it will be differant especialy if it is not quite shave ready and they think what this aint a patch on my feather. When have hoined your own straight up to parr and you do get a great shave with a straight razor you will never use that feather again i don't and never will i have 21 razors now and i try to use them all and i find they all sound differant and shave differant. Best thing you could do is buy a shave ready blade then you will see the differance.

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    Senior Member blabbermouth JimR's Avatar
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    I don't know, guys...I honestly think there is no physical way for a straight to be that much better than a DE. I mean, I have never gotten a good straight shave, but after a good DE shave I am BBS for an entire work day, and I am smooth enough for work for a solid 20 hours...I have a fairly coarse, fast growing beard, too. Before, when I was using an electric, my beard grew back in about 6 hours. Unless a straight will keep me hairless for days, it's just not conceivable for the shave to be greatly superior.

    I'm not arguing that straights are inferior to DE, not at all, I just don't think that Straights are as superior to DEs as is often argued. Taking the reduced learning curve and reduced maintenance into account, you shouldn't discount DE shaving. I will never give up my Futur...no matter how good my straight shaves get.

    Don't hate on them...they're an excellent option.

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    Steel crazy after all these years RayG's Avatar
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    I agree with Glen about the sharpness, although among the DE blades, the Feathers are very sharp.

    It's not all about sharpness though. With a straight, you can constantly vary the angle, like a constantly adjusting Futur. Especially helpful when the surface is not flat, like in the chin and jaw areas. With toe/heel-leading, it is like a Slant. Especially with hollow grounds, the edge flexes for an extra close shave, something the thin DE razor can't do well because it is clamped down to the safety bar. If you do better with thicker wedges, that is not really an option with DE's unless you go for a thicker Gem SE.

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    I don't know... straight razors seem sharper to me than feathers... are you guys honing them right?

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    I started shaving with DEs in the early 1960s with the Gillette blue blades and they were terrible. When the Platinum Plus were introduced they were worlds better and more $$ too. I went to the Gillette Good News when they made the scene in the early '70s and other then a brief unsuccessful fling with straights in the mid '80s I stayed with the "Good News" up until late '06. Then I returned to the DEs and found that Feathers and Gillette Swedes were great blades.

    I didn't necessarily get better shaves because of the blades and the DE, rather the techniques I learned with preparation, lathering and most of all multiple passes. Instead of trying to get it all with one pass the two pass shave was the ticket for me. I had the DE RAD as anyone who knows me would expect so I have pretty much tried all of the options and settled on the Merkur slant as my go to DE.

    When I returned to the straights it was reluctantly. I had tried them twenty + years before and never had a truly shave ready razor. I had some Belgian stones but was given poor info regarding honing and had no success. I was convinced that the straights were inferior to the alternatives.

    Now I know that a truly shave ready straight razor is better then any alternative I have used in past years. Not only in sharpness but as has been previously mentioned in smoothness. Weepers and irritation are a thing of the past and using the prep and multiple pass techniques learned with the DE I have never gotten better shaves. YMMV.
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    One comparrison, by yours truly.

    Post #26, and post #33 show the Feather edge and my honed edge.


    What a DE blade has over a straight egde is a PFTE friction reducing coating that really helps give it "glide" over your skin. It is not any sharper IMHO.

    I am always astounded by how smooth a Feather DE blades shaves.

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