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Thread: Too tentative?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Fido's Avatar
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    Default Too tentative?

    When I returned to DE shaving I quickly learned the importance of a light touch with the razor to ensure a smooth shave and the avoidance of burn and nicks. I now have my routine off to a fine art from preparation to finish and achieve consistently delightful results. A soft,comfortable, exceptionally smooth skin.

    Two issues have struck me about straight shaving. One is emphasis on the care needed when stropping to avoid damaging either blade or strop and to achieve a fine edge. The other, the obvious one, the need to go carefully with the razor while shaving.

    All this emphasis has in fact been taken on board by me, but I fear that it may seriously hold back my pogress and enjoyment of this new venture.

    I really have not enjoyed my first, perhaps too tentative, forays into this new world.

    As I approached my first below the sideburns shave with my new razor, I treated it as though it was going to electrocute me or slice me up! Even though I had practiced with a cheap razor and strop, the real thing with my new weapons was a very tentative affair.

    My first attempt at a full shave was little better. I was so cautious! I stumbled through it, no nicks or disasters, just a slow arkward very light pressure shave of most of the flat areas finished off with a DE razor.

    A few light passes on the strop. And put things away.

    Why on earth am I doing this, I say? Do I really want to spend the next few weeks perfecting this business?

    I then sit down in front of the TV. Within a few minutes I grabbed my laptop and was looking at a shaving video. The guy was pulling the razor over his face without a care in the world. It didn't look much like light pressure to me. He seemed to be pushing the blade quite hard across his face.

    So I said to myself. Stop being so tentative. Your like a sportsman playing a cautious defensive game. Frightened to make mistakes. That's no way to win.

    Now I'm not going back in to my bathroom today ready to break stropping records or grab the razor and start treating my face like a solid leather. I'm not going to throw caution to the wind. But I think I have to show whose boss or I shall be soon giving up this diversion and return to the comfortable DE routine.

    Anyone else felt like this?

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  3. #2
    all your razor are belong to us red96ta's Avatar
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    It's like almost every aspect of life. The more you do it, the better you become. This is true of shaving. With time, you'll increase your speed, angle correctness...everything.

    When I started it took me an hour to get a shave done. These days I can nail it down in under twenty minutes. Repetition and practice makes perfect. Hang in there and you'll wake up one day and it will just 'click' in your head.

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    The Electrochemist PhatMan's Avatar
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    Fido,

    Please stick with it; before long (ca two (2) weeks) you will have got the hang of it

    Like a lot of things in life, there is a time when you couldn't do something, then there is the time when you can do it, but the bit in the middle, the learning phase is always very fuzzy !!

    There always seem to be some apparent contradictions in straight razor shaving; e.g. use no pressure but enough pressure (shaving, stropping & honing!) etc !! This always leads to confusion when you are new to the game

    Looking back at my own experiences, I agree you may be a bit too tentative; I certainly was, particularly when I started ATG passes. I used to end up with red weals on my neck where I was dithering with the blade !

    I can say however, that when you do achieve the Nirvana of The Straight, your shaves will be the most satisfying you have ever had

    I wish you the best of luck

    Best regards

    Russ

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  7. #4
    Senior Member Fido's Avatar
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    Thanks Russ

    I guess the trouble is that I have achieved a Nirvana of a DE shave. Soft skin and delightfully smooth. I find it hard to imagine that it is possible to improve on what feels like perfection.

    I have embarked on straight shaving so that I can understand its appeal and to see if my enjoyment of it matches that of other enthusiasts.

    Obviously before I get to the promised land I must master shaving technique and learn how to maintain my razor properly. My first impressions are not encouraging. Even those strokes of the razor that went well certainly don't match the ease and comfort of a DE razor gliding smoothly over my skin. The whole operation seems more fiddly and messy.

    I had another session just now. I struggled through a downward pass and shaved up my neck. Not feeling comfortable I stopped. I finished with my DE - bliss.

    I'm going to take a break until I have taken a good look at Lynn's video which is on its way.

    I am determined to persevere. If I decide to abandon, it will only be after I have given myself a reasonable time to assess the comparison with DE shaving.

    At the end of the day it is about enjoyment of my daily ritual. Right now I have replaced pleasure with a trial period of uncertainty and discomfort. Time and effort alone will tell me if it's worth it. But I'm too old to spend more than a few weeks at it.

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    Bon Viveur dannywonderful's Avatar
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    I think I'm glad that I went from using cartridge razors to using straight razors without using a DE first as I knew right away I was going to get a superior shave with a straight razor even though my technique was poor initially. I've never shaved with a DE, even though I have a couple of vintage Super Speeds, but I've never heard anyone complain about the quality of the shave they get from them so moving to straights from a DE is often about the shaving experience more than the feel of your skin afterwards, at least at first. If you're not enjoying the process of learning to use a straight razor then I can well imagine it would be all too tempting to just stick to your DE, but if you do persevere then I suspect you'll come to love all aspects of straight razor shaving as much as we do. Caring for your blade, knowing that you are responsible for the edge you put on it, means so much when you put that blade to your skin that the shave experience is completely enriched beyond all measure.

    I think before I comment on threads like this again I should at least try a few DE shaves, so I'm going to order a small blade sampler and give those Super Speeds a whirl.

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    Senior Member Fido's Avatar
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    Thanks Danny

    With DE shaving, it takes a while to get the right razor/blade combination. For me, it is an Edwin Jagger razor with Red personna or Gillette Super Thins.

    I wholly understand that many will love the satisfaction of choosing a straight razor they are comfortable with and the craft of honing and stropping. But that is not the attraction for me. I really don't want to be bothered with it. I'll strop, but don't get any satisfaction from it rather than being pleased I don't mess it up. I want to feel comfortable with a razor in hand and to get sensual delight from gliding the razor easily over my face. If I am to feel that I must concentrate 100% to get angles and pressure just right to avoid nicks and cuts, that is going to be a chore not a pleasure. If the feeling of the blade across my skin doesn't match the smoothness of the glide of a DE razor, what's the point for me?
    The only point will be the end result. If somehow this magical softness, closeness and comfort of my DE shave is to be surpassed by some unimaginable shaving nirvana, I'm in business. I just have my doubts.

    But I am not going to give up. I intend to find out what is possible. Then at least I have the basis for a comparison.

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    They call me Mr Bear. Stubear's Avatar
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    When I first started I did the same thing.

    Weirdly, its the tentative cautious approach that results in more nicks I find..! When you're trying to work out how to put the blade on your face and touch it to your cheek, or when you lay the razor down but keep it still... I did them both and both resulted in cuts!

    Once you get more confident you can move the blade around much more easily and get all the angles and passes you want.

    Keep at it and I 100% guarantee you will get there and really grow to love it!

  11. #8
    The Electrochemist PhatMan's Avatar
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    Fido,

    You are quite right. BBS is BBS smooth, and you can't improve on that

    For myself, shaving with a straight is just more satisfying than with a DE.

    For the time of the shave, I can forget all about all the problems & hassles of the day; because of this I feel so much more relaxed after the shave.

    It is a little bit of an escape

    Best regards

    Russ

  12. #9
    Senior Member Fido's Avatar
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    I seem to have enough hassles and problems with my straight shaving at the moment than to think about any other cares and woes! So I agree.

    Nice one Russ

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    The only straight man in Thailand ndw76's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fido View Post
    I wholly understand that many will love the satisfaction of choosing a straight razor they are comfortable with and the craft of honing and stropping. But that is not the attraction for me. I really don't want to be bothered with it. I'll strop, but don't get any satisfaction from it rather than being pleased I don't mess it up.
    This is how I felt when I first picked up a straight. I thought people who restored razors were old fudidudies who had nothing better to do with their days while waiting to meet god face to face. That changed when I bought a cheap Bengall and decided it needed a bit of a polish. Now I'm happy when I'm ready to reassemble a razor which I have hand polished all the parts. Now I'm one of the old fudidudies.

    I used to think that people who collected razors were incurable horders who would be just as likely to have a collection of old news papers, just because they might come in handy one day. Now I have a healthy collection and a wide rotation of razors, strops, brushes and hones.

    I used to be just the person you described. Just here for the shave. Be careful, it creeps up on you. Before you now it you will have a collection of strops, a box full of hones, five or six brushes, a draw full of restoration projects that you will get to eventually and about twenty different razors to choose from for your daily shave.

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