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Thread: Basic Questions for the new guy

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    Senior Member S0LITARYS0LDIER's Avatar
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    Default Basic Questions for the new guy

    Hello, my name is Scott and I am brand new to the world of straight razor shaving. I have purchased a starter kit for wet shaving which includes a strop, only leather side no linen side. It also includes a straight razor, brush, soap and scuttle. I have been doing a lot of research and purchased a Styptic pencil as well in preparation for a cut which I will no doubt receive unless I am extremely lucky. I have also purchased a Belgian coticule. 8/4k Yellow and Blue combo for honing when the blade I purchased which I'm guessing isn't the greatest quality gets dull. But I'll cross that bridge when I get to it. I have not received my items yet since I have only just ordered them online. I am very excited and from watching countless videos and doing a lot of research I think I have the basic idea about stropping the razor and the basic downstroke. I was just wondering for starters should I hone the razor prior to shaving with it? Maybe just a few basic x stokes with the 8k yellow coticule? It says it comes "shave ready" but I'm sure they haven't put a bunch of time into perfecting the bevel making it a beautiful cutting tool. Is the linen side of the strop absolutely necessary? I've heard some say yes and others say no? How long should a razor stay sharp for if I strop pre and post shave? Where can I get a quality razor that won't cost me an arm and a leg? If I need further advice how should I go about obtaining it? Sorry guys for the multitude of questions but I'm only a mere 20 years old therefor not having the opportunity like my father to watch his father shave with a Gillette safety razor and watch his grandfather shave with a straight razor. Also my father doesn't support my decision to Straight razor shave... oh well. Thanks


    Scott

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    Senior Member blabbermouth Leatherstockiings's Avatar
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    Hello Scott. Welcome to SRP!
    It might help those who would answer you if they knew what razor you have on the way and what from what vendor you bought your set.

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    Senior Member blabbermouth RezDog's Avatar
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    There are a few places for quality straights at a reasonable price. A lot of guys have used Larry at whipped Dog. He doesn't have many beauty queens but has truly shave ready generic blades with a little wear and tarnish. The big deals are usually on the classifieds here. The biggest thing you want besides a predictable blade is truly shave ready. Go slow in your learning to shave with a straight. The linen side has been long debated as to if it is needed or not. Some are purely leather stroppers, others do 20 linen before leather. The length of time you get out of a honing will depend on many variables. As a new shaver and stropper you may get a single shave or you may get a month or two. There are quite a few members in Ontario, if you are a little more specific in your location you might be able to find a mentor. have fun
    It's not what you know, it's who you take fishing!

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    Senior Member criswilson10's Avatar
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    Welcome to SRP!
    Make you sure you go to the Library and look over the beginners info and feel free to get lost in all of the other material for hours on end if you like.

    Where did you get your razor from? And what brand of razor is it?
    From that we can tell you whether it needs to be honed or not before your shave with it.
    If it needs to be honed, I suggest sending it out to be professionally honed (see the member's services in the classified area). Honing a razor isn't for the inexperienced.

    The linen side of the strop isn't necessary, but most people prefer it to clean the blade and warm it up before stropping on leather and getting it dirty.
    Stropping isn't as easy as it looks. Start practicing now with a butter knife on your pants leg. The quickest way to mess up your blade is with a bad stropping.

    How long will the razor stay sharp? Well that depends on your beard, your shaving technique, your stropping technique, and the razor. To give you a rough idea though, when I started I had to use a pasted strop twice the first week and a 12k finisher at the end of the week. It got better, and after 2 months I was able to only have to hit the 12k once a month. I'm around 4 months in, I haven't had to use the finisher or pasted strop for about a month. For the experienced, they can go all year without honing, some longer.

    You can get a quality razor from the Classifieds here. Usually there are a couple under $50. Or a lot of people start with whippeddog.com. I'm sure some other people will have more recommendations.

    Lastly, if you have questions that you can't find the answers to using the Advanced Search in the upper right hand corner, then feel free to ask. This forum is full of some of the nicest, most helpful gentlemen and ladies that I've ever come across.
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    Senior Member blabbermouth edhewitt's Avatar
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    As has been said, we need to know what you've bought to give you much advice. For a cheaper but decent razor, the SRP classifieds can be a good bet.
    Bread and water can so easily become tea and toast

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    Senior Member Siguy's Avatar
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    I would absolutely say don't even think about honing now.

    I would recommend learning all things pre-shave(soap, brushes and lathermaking) and stropping(videos, etc). I would make soap, brush and strop, my first purchases to practice before the blade arrives.

    I would recommend also getting a pro-honed, shave-ready razor.

    These small tips can take a lot of the guess work out of troubleshooting your beginning.

    Welcome to SRP!

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    Senior Member feltspanky's Avatar
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    Welcome to SRP Scott: I hope your razor is truly shave ready when it arrives. Give it the thumb and fingernail test for starters. You should be able to maintain the edge with a good stropping after each shave. No honing required. If you see it's not shave ready there are plenty of folks on the forum who can help you. Keep watching those youtube videos.

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    Senior Member blabbermouth 10Pups's Avatar
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    Welcome to SRP SOLDIER. Just go slow and pay attention. It will all come to you faster if you do. Sounds like it doesn't make sense but it will. Your Father wouldn't do it for any reason so he doesn't understand why you would at all. Once you start talking endlessly about how you enjoy shaving he might get curious. He will at least smile about it. Forget honing for now and get 1 or 2 that are ready to go. 2 because you may loose your edge on 1 learning to strop or by making the average mistake of smacking the faucet with it or dropping it in the sink. I caught myself using the same old habits to clean the blade off that I used with a cartridge. Shake it, run water over it, handle it recklessly. Once you see one split a hair hanging in mid air you realize how delicate the edge really is. Just be careful with it and enjoy. Learning is a lot of the fun in it so don't rush it.


    Nice guy trying to help but, if you run it across your fingernail your going to need a hone job and
    if your honing and do that you have to back up a few steps. The thumbnail test is for bevel setting :<0)
    Last edited by 10Pups; 08-10-2014 at 05:17 AM.
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    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    Quote Originally Posted by feltspanky View Post
    Welcome to SRP Scott: I hope your razor is truly shave ready when it arrives. Give it the thumb and fingernail test for starters.
    Fingernail test on a shave ready blade makes it not shave ready. A new guy would not know what a thumb test *should* feel like.

    Solitary - I don't see your location on your profile, but you might be able to post - asking if there are any experienced guy within striking distance that could spend a couple hours giving some help. It would rocket you ahead in your learning.

    If your travels bring you near Portland, OR - give me a hollar. Watch technique, have your technique observed. You'll find it eliminates alot of confusion.

    However you proceed - I hope it goes well & that you have some fun at it. If the edge is not up to par (and new guys are *HARD* on edges), give a holler. Postage and bubble envelope would be the only cost. You may find you have more fun than when you first took razor to face.
    edhewitt likes this.

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    Senior Member S0LITARYS0LDIER's Avatar
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    Thank you all for the great advice. I got a Star Customs from straightrazors.com. I can honestly tell you that I'm not expecting much from this blade. It was fairly cheap and I've noticed from browsing other websites that the good ones are a lot more expensive. I am not going to hone it because I need to work on other things such as stropping, lather making, brushing and shaving first. Hopefully by the time it gets very unsharp I will have a new one so I can practice honing on the cheaper one. Let me know you're thoughts on the brand. Anyone used one before? How would an inexperienced one conduct a sharpness test? Will stropping alone keep my edge sharp if it is a poorly made blade? Its full hollow carbon steel if that helps any

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