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Thread: Beginners' Tips: January 2016

  1. #1
    'with that said' cudarunner's Avatar
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    Default Beginners' Tips: January 2016

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    This month’s Beginners’ Tips are an observation, conclusion and an example of what I've read so many times over these last five years or so.

    Many Beginner’s first few posts on this forum go along these lines:

    1. “I just bought a shave ready razor online. Wish me luck!”

    2. “I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. My shaves are terrible, my face feels raw, and there is bleeding.”

    3. “I figured it must need honing, so I’ve bought some hones. Wish me luck!”

    4. “It’s not working, I’m selling my stuff and going back to disposables.”


    The replies to these posts are usually the same: SRP members advise the Beginner to read the Wiki, get the razor honed by a professional, watch out for cheap goods, take it slow and have patience. Don’t jump into honing right away, learn to use and maintain a properly honed straight razor first.

    One of the main things to remember is that “shave-ready” is a subjective term: one man’s shave-ready razor can be another’s blunt butter knife.

    To make this point I recently bought a 'Shave Ready' razor from eBay just to see what the purported 'Shave Ready' shaved like. The seller had stated that it was honed on a series of Naniwa hones up to the 12K. Great! That should be a smooth shaving razor! It had a BIN price that I consider a Beginner's Level Razor (less than $50-Shipping included).

    It arrived in a timely manner and I decided that I'd proceed as I would if I was brand new to straight razors. I therefore 'Trusted' that it was indeed 'Shave Ready’. I didn't do any pre-shave prep and I didn't strop the razor, I just lathered up and gave it a go on my sideburn area.

    Well it easily cut whiskers, but it felt really harsh. So I decided to strop the razor. 50 laps on cloth and 100 on leather and gave it another go. No difference in the 'harshness': it was still cutting whiskers very easily but not very pleasantly!

    Well I didn't want to experience any more of that kind of shave so I just stopped and cleaned the blade up and then took a look at the edge. I could see that the bevel was set but that there were still 1K scratches on the edge along with what I believe were some 4k or so scratches. I could also see that there were a few more 'polished' areas which I believe were from only a couple of strokes from the higher grit stones.

    So the seller’s claim of 'up to the Naniwa 12k' probably wasn't an actual 'lie' but nor did I feel it was completely true. I then honed it myself and finished on a Naniwa 12K for comparison. I got a wonderful CCC shave (Clean Close and Comfortable)! In fact, I'm thinking that this is a razor that I'd like to keep!

    So my conclusion is exactly as I stated before:

    One person's 'Shave Ready Edge' isn't always another’s shave ready edge. So if in doubt have your razor honed by a trusted honer: either a Pro or a member who has a lot of experience.

    Listen to the more experienced members, it will save you heartache, frustration and money.

    Take your time, go slow and be patient; with practice the dream shaves that you read about will come, it just takes time.

    Learn the basics well and then think about learning to hone.

    I do hope that this example of my buying a 'Shave Ready Razor' will be of some help to those that are new and wanting to get started in this age old art.

    Enjoy the Ride! It's a long strange trip, but well worth the journey.

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    Our house is as Neil left it- an Aladdin’s cave of ‘stuff’
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  3. #2
    Senior Member criswilson10's Avatar
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    Your picture is a good example of ebay shave ready.
    Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead - Charles Bukowski

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    'with that said' cudarunner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by criswilson10 View Post
    Your picture is a good example of ebay shave ready.
    Sorry I didn't mean to suggest that the razor pictured was the 'Shave Ready' eBay Razor! I just thought that I'd post something that most folks wouldn't! The eBay razor was actually a nice looking razor. I won't post a picture as I wouldn't want to offend anyone (the seller could be a member) . Here's the link to the story about that particular razor:
    Henry Sears and Son/cleanup
    Our house is as Neil left it- an Aladdin’s cave of ‘stuff’
    Kim x

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    illegitimum non carborundum Utopian's Avatar
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    An economy strop seller used to sell a lot of razors. I have no idea if they still do sell razors, nor will I state the name of the seller, but they used to sell "Shave Ready" razors. I had three of them sent to me after the buyers could not shave with them. Looking under the microscope revealed an obvious problem--the bevels had been HIGHLY polished with (I would assume Chromium Oxide) but there was no edge. There was no edge at all. These guys had absolutely no idea how to set a bevel to actually create an edge, but they really had the Cro-Ox stropping down pat. Their "Shave Ready" razors did not shave at all.

    I being the thoughtful and tactful guy that I am told them that they had not figured out how to set a bevel and offered to help them do a better job. They politely told me to F*%k Off. Oh well. Buyer Beware.
    cudarunner likes this.

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    Senior Member Phil129's Avatar
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    Thank you for you post. As a new SR shaver and someone who likes instant gratification I have found wet shaving as a whole a big challenge for me. To slow things down and be patient is not in my nature and takes some work for me to do so. I recently got a very nice shave ready razor from Lynn. This has changed my game if so to speak. My shaves are getting better by the day. I still finish up with a DE but they are progressing and that's what it's all about. Slow and steady wins the race. Thanks to all the senior members here who take the time to show guys like me the ins and outs of this great past time.
    cudarunner likes this.

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    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    I would be a fair example of the foolishness Cuda describes. I was skeptical about all the counsel to have a razor professionally honed. I wondered if this was just the party line to keep those who honed in business. [note to those who wonder about this - there's NO money in honing. There IS alot of heartburn.] Shaves were to be accomplished or endured. In my supreme wisdom, I decided I could spend the cost of honing - on hones so I could roll my own. Lets say that didn't go well. I destroyed 5 strops for lack of a single detail well shown by many here.

    My first pro-honed blade was a complete game-changer. It was SMOOOOTH. I loved the shaves & had to learn how to hone an edge like this. Next was a steady outflow of money, chasing the silver bullet stone.

    The light went on when I considered how a prior sport unfolded. There's no perfect pimp's secret toy, no Barbie accessory that will do more for the skill you're chasing than another few hundred quality practice sessions (blades honed). "No barrel, sights or accessories will do more for you scores than another day/mo. at the range' - Derrick Martin, Accuracy Speaks. In photography: "The first 10,000 shots are the worst" - Henri Cartier Bresson. I hope this is starting to paint a picture. It turns out that what I was told on this site - was true, and if followed would lead most to a level of skill that would have them loving their shaves. I very much still do.

    The only thing I could add would be to encourage new shavers to get together w/ other, experienced guys. Either one on one, or the regional meet-ups. One member said they learned more in a weekend than they had in 6 months of determined reading, practice, & Q&A on the forums. I used to think it was an exaggeration. I don't anymore.
    Last edited by pinklather; 01-13-2016 at 02:27 PM.

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    NZ's okayest dad 1997 Grazor's Avatar
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    A great read Cuda, and so true. "It's a long strange trip, but well worth the journey."
    cudarunner likes this.
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