Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 23
  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    9
    Thanks
    16
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default New SR: doesn't seem sharp enough?

    I just got my first straight razor from Vintage Blades - a nice Dovo "Best", honed by the Honorable Lynn Abrams. So, I realize I'm treading on uncertain grounds, being a novice used to a Merkur DE.

    I felt a *lot* of pulling on my first shave. Much, much more than with my DE, for example. I reviewed 'The World of Straight Razor Shaving', and the 'hanging hair' test doesn't work.

    Advice? Is it plausible I got a less-than-ready blade? Any ways I should test this, beyond the 'hanging hair' test?

    I'm a bit reluctant to hone the blade, because at this point I'd assume technique is the issue. But the 'hanging hair' test makes me wonder. I don't want to get discouraged because I'm combining a dull blade and poor technique!

  2. #2
    Senior Member LawsonStone's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Central Kentucky, USA
    Posts
    680
    Thanks
    63
    Thanked 273 Times in 148 Posts

    Default

    While there is a microscopic chance the razor is not sharp enough, the overwhelming likelihood is that your technique has a lot to improve. Pulling often is the result of too steep an angle of the razor to your face. The spine of the razor should be lifted a little less than half-way to being perpendicular. About 30 degrees or so. Steeper than that and it will just scrape along your face and pull.

    You could also be putting too much pressure on your face. Just guide the edge along your face with as little pressure as possible.

    You might also have stropped poorly and dulled the blade some. We all did that when we started out.

    Hope that helps. You'll definitely get lots of better advice from others.

  3. The Following User Says Thank You to LawsonStone For This Useful Post:

    jeff47 (11-11-2010)

  4. #3
    Senior Member TrilliumLT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Everett, Ontario
    Posts
    1,226
    Thanks
    96
    Thanked 238 Times in 215 Posts

    Default hanging hair test

    This never seems to work for me as well. I dont know if its because the hair is to fine or we use to much conditioner in my house. Did you strop your blade? Does it shave hair off your arm? What was your pre-shave?

  5. The Following User Says Thank You to TrilliumLT For This Useful Post:

    jeff47 (11-11-2010)

  6. #4
    Still learning markevens's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    1,043
    Thanks
    237
    Thanked 238 Times in 175 Posts

    Default

    Its a common tendancy for a beginner to blame failing on the blade instead of their techinque. If it was honed by lynn, you can bet its as good as its going to get. The HHT is pretty unreliable. Some blades can pass it, but will still give a bad shave. Other blades won't pass it, and give great shaves.

    Getting a good shave with a straight razor is very dependant on your technique, not just the razor. Being the first few shaves, you should expect it to not be as good as you were used to with the easy convenient disposables.

    If you are getting a lot of pulling, I'd suggest a few things.

    1) Lower the blade angle, often beginners go for 30 degrees, but end up with 45. Flatten that puppy down to your face, and then raise the spine up by 2-3 spine widths.

    2) Don't move the blade totally perpendicular to the edge, angle it a bit. Look at my profile pic for details.

    3) Understand that learning with a straight is a skill that takes time. Be alright with that. Make sure you do a good beard prep, then focus on keeping your angles right, your skin tight, and your touch light.

  7. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to markevens For This Useful Post:

    jeff47 (11-11-2010),OccamsBlade (11-13-2010)

  8. #5
    Senior Member Utopian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Rochester, MN
    Posts
    5,662
    Thanks
    401
    Thanked 1,970 Times in 1,338 Posts

    Default

    I strongly suggest that you read this thread. Lynn is human. It is possible that he did not get the razor up to snuff. I'd put the odds of that at about 1/1000 and the odds of the the bad shave being your fault at 999/1000. The hanging hair test is useless if you did not remove the oil from the blade. It also varies depending on the blade and the hair and the tester. The shave test is all that matters.

    I'd suggest that you keep practicing and read as much of the beginner's advice sections as possible. It takes a while to learn how to use a straight.
    Last edited by Utopian; 11-11-2010 at 05:17 AM.

  9. The Following User Says Thank You to Utopian For This Useful Post:

    jeff47 (11-11-2010)

  10. #6
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    9
    Thanks
    16
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Thanks to the four who have replied so far (in seconds, seriously!)

    That's just the advice I needed. My only way of testing the blade was what I've read, so knowing that those tests are not 100% is useful. I hope my post conveyed my feeling that my technique was probably to blame!

    Notes:
    I didn't strop the blade, because the notes included specifically said not to because someone with way more experience than me had already honed it.

    I'll just give it some time - I'd rather work on technique than risk messing up the blade by honing it in an unprofessional way. I have some experience honing chisels, but have never tried to shave with them!

    (BTW, to get four replies in such a short time is amazing - you guys are amazing.)
    Last edited by jeff47; 11-11-2010 at 01:17 AM.

  11. #7
    Senior Member Str8nDE4RAD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Hickory, NC
    Posts
    233
    Thanks
    24
    Thanked 30 Times in 28 Posts

    Default

    +1 on everything above.

    Technique is about everything in the beginning and it is easy to think you have the right angle but are actually higher. I have found that shaving with a DE requires different technique than a straight.

    Yes the angling of the blade is basically the same but the way you have to angle it is totally different. I would say if you are having trouble with the angle try starting with the blade closer to your face and see how that works, you can always work your way to a steeper angle later.

  12. The Following User Says Thank You to Str8nDE4RAD For This Useful Post:

    jeff47 (11-11-2010)

  13. #8
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    65
    Thanks
    30
    Thanked 10 Times in 10 Posts

    Default

    All great advice. I have four blades, all sharpened by Lynn. None have passed the HHT. But they are all wicked sharp and shave great. I am convinced it is my fine hair!

  14. The Following User Says Thank You to Elendil For This Useful Post:

    jeff47 (11-11-2010)

  15. #9
    . Bill S's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Richfield, Ohio
    Posts
    2,520
    Thanks
    224
    Thanked 597 Times in 424 Posts

    Default

    Given what you have told us I would say that you should absolutely not try honing the razor. Barring some kind of damage in shipment or stropping you can probably assume that your razor is sharp enough. If you try to hone it without the correct equipment and, more importantly, expertise you will almost certainly make things worse. I would also ignore the HHT for now, as well.

    Assuming your prep is OK you probably just need to work on your technique. Blade angle is probably the culprit, although you might be going too fast as well. Until you are getting better results I would suggest that you stick with shaving the sides of your face (sideburn to jawline) with your straight. Try a little flatter blade angle, say, about two spine widths or so.

    Cruise through the Beginner section, you're not the only one to encounter this problem.

  16. The Following User Says Thank You to Bill S For This Useful Post:

    jeff47 (11-11-2010)

  17. #10
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    9
    Thanks
    16
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Elendil View Post
    All great advice. I have four blades, all sharpened by Lynn. None have passed the HHT. But they are all wicked sharp and shave great. I am convinced it is my fine hair!
    Ah, good point! My hair is pretty fine, so maybe that's the issue.

    Anyway, as I said - no offense to Lynn intended at all. As my Japanese teacher used to tell us: 'Even monkeys fall from trees', ie, even experts take a tumble from time to time. So I thought I'd ask.

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •