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Thread: The Noob Chronicle - My Straight Razor Experience

  1. #11
    Do it Steveorocks's Avatar
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    so when is your next shave?

  2. #12
    I'm on The Straight Road jdto's Avatar
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    I'm at the cottage for Thanksgiving, so probably not until tomorrow, provided we get back at a reasonable hour. I didn't want to bring the whole kit just for an overnight trip. And yes, our Thanksgiving is in October

  3. #13
    Member JXLT's Avatar
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    I had some similar problems with razor burn on my neck and under my chin but a little more experience fixed that and now I shave most every day. I rarely have razor burn and have only nicked my self once. It sounds like you're off to a good start. Be patient and with practice and experience you'll be just fine.

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  5. #14
    Baby Butt Smooth... justalex's Avatar
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    the hardest thing I found was getting a light touch and a good firm grip at the same time -which only comes with experience - once you have that down, most razorburn is cut to a minimum

    regards alex

    Note: MWF is sometimes annoying to lather right

  6. #15
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    Great read!

    I am a new DE shaver, but am reading up on straights and oddly enough, the biggest inhibitors to my DE shaving success have be to do with the quality of the lather and being conscientious of whether I'm applying pressure to the razor when I shouldn't be at all. I have my 5th and best DE shave last night and the two biggest contributors to my improvement were these two points. Lather and pressure seem to carry the same weight (no pun intended) when wielding a straight.

    I have done several practice lathers to figure out the right water/cream ratio and brush technique WITHOUT getting the razor out. Just palm lather or face lather, experiment with a drier brush, wetter brush, etc. Eventually you get a feel for it and you'll make the razor's life so much easier.

  7. #16
    I'm on The Straight Road jdto's Avatar
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    The Straight Road – Part 4: Return of the Lather
    After a 72 hour break, my face was ready. The question is, was my technique?


    Anticipation
    It was a long weekend up here in Canada for our Thanksgiving, so I had to postpone what would have been my Sunday shave to Monday, when I returned from the cottage, full of turkey and tired from the long drive.

    Prep
    A long, hot shower was in order after the road trip, relaxing me and getting me ready for my shave. I applied some eShave orange sandalwood shaving oil and soaked my Vulfix 2234 Super Badger in a bowl of nice hot water. I have been working on hand-rubbing my strop lately, which I did before hopping in the shower, so hopefully I can get it worked in through the next few weeks. My technique on the strop is getting better, though I still managed to put a new slice in it when I let my mind wander a bit. I went for 40 strokes this time, the H&H blade gliding relatively smoothly over the leather, trying to avoid the nicked areas as best as I could. Satisfied with my stropping, I laid the razor out on its towel by the sink and moved to face my nemesis: the lather.

    A Victory in the Lather Wars
    The war isn’t over, but I think I finally won a battle. Taking my sample tube of Truefitt & Hilll Trafalgar shaving cream, I squeezed out a liberal amount (probably too much) into the bottom of the newly appropriated bowl. I had decided to try a larger bowl today, replacing my pillaged sugar bowl with a larger cereal bowl from the kitchen, which naturally elicited some rolling of eyes from the boss-lady.

    Getting down to business, I decided to get more water into my lather this time, opting to only shake out the brush a few times and adding small amounts of water regularly as I lathered. The result was a huge explosion of lather in the bowl, so much that my smallish brush was soon overwhelmed with the copious amounts of creamy goodness being created. Pleased by this, I proceeded to put brush to face. In hindsight, I may have added one teaspoon of water too many, but I can easily adjust that next time.

    The Shave
    The blade glided much more smoothly with the nice, hydrated and cushiony lather I had managed to whip up. Starting my WTG pass at the now-habitual right sideburn, I concentrated on a light touch and blade angle. Noting the sensations as I went along, I managed to get a nice first pass with almost no discomfort. The only danger area was when I felt the edge begin to sink into the right side of my lower lip while on the moustache area. I quickly stopped and removed the blade from my face, saving myself from a cut lip, though I did go through the very top layers of skin.

    The neck and cheek/sideburn areas were much easier this time, though the moustache and chin areas still presented quite a challenge. The WTG pass did manage to reduce the three days of growth nicely, so I moved to a second WTG in order to go for even further reduction. I found the cheeks and the flatter neck areas less of a challenge this time through, though I still managed to aggravate a couple of the ingrown bumps lingering on my neck from the previous shave. Luckily, it was nothing serious and no bleeding ensued. The final full pass was across the grain, getting a good smooth shave on my cheeks and neck, while still leaving some work to do on the chin and the upper lip. I went for a touch-up pass on the upper lip, which resulted in a slight cut that eventually required the styptic and left me with some burn.

    Post
    Rinsing with warm water, I switched things up and applied the alum block first, rather than the witch hazel. I then cleaned up a bit and rinsed my towel, removing the lather and stubble. After that, I rinsed with cold water and applied the WH as a splash, then moved on to stropping thirty passes. I dried my blade with some TP and made sure to get into the scales and dry everything thoroughly, then added a couple of drops of baby oil to the blade, folded it and laid it aside. I splashed my face with cold water for a good thirty seconds, especially on the burning area on my upper lip, and then applied my Truefitt & Hill Trafalgar aftershave balm, which is wonderful stuff. I think that applying the witch hazel after the alum may have helped my skin to not feel so dry, but it might be the balm. I’ll have to experiment.

    The Verdict
    The shave was very nice, very relaxing and was most certainly not perfect! I had the usual patchiness in the chin area and a bit along the jawline, but less than before. I am still awkward at handling the razor and changing blade angle to get the best shave on my face. I need a lot more practice at handling the tool, though I was pleased with my progress. The small amount of burn on my upper lip faded quickly and the little cut in the same area did require a stypic application after the ASB. The lather was much better and I think that, too, helped the shave. Overall, I feel like I am making progress, slowly and steadily.

    My second and third straight razors just arrived via mail this morning. I’ll try to post some pics later.

    The Straight Road is a long one, but there’s no turning back now!

    Cheers,

    Jack
    Last edited by jdto; 10-11-2011 at 05:38 PM.
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  8. #17
    I'm on The Straight Road jdto's Avatar
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    As promised, here are the two new additions to my shaving collection. I almost have as many razors as times shaved now!

    I definitely think my AD will be RAD, because I just love the steel combined with the different scales. I think wood scales will be it, as I already ordered a Dovo with Ironwood scales from Superior Shave and I am eyeing a Hart Steel with lacewood or bocote. I admit to having a fascination with exotic wood and that's how I ended up with the ebony scales you see here. Anyway, the TI is new and I got it because of the Le Canadien design, which may sadly disappear when Rasage Poulin closes for good I'm not sure if the TI is "shave-ready", but I know it's pretty darn sharp, as I cut my right index finger nicely while I was trying to show my wife my new toys

    I didn't get a lot of sympathy...

    Anyway, here are my new acquisitions:

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  9. #18
    I'm on The Straight Road jdto's Avatar
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    The Straight Road - Part Five: On The Road

    After the arrival of my new acquisitions, I managed to hold off shaving so as to follow my usual pattern of every two days. The twist? I had to leave for a conference. Packing my kit, I hit the road...


    Anticipation
    My first road shave! This was going to be a new experience and it took me quite a while to settle on what gear to take. I finally decided to bring my new ERN 5/8 Full Hollow Barber's Notch with the ebony scales, as I was quite excited to try it out. I packed my samples of T&H 1805 cream, ASB and cologne, my Vulfix 2234 and my alum block, as well as my poor man's strop and RS shaving oil. On the drive up, I managed to engage my colleague in a conversation about traditional shaving which, at the very least, I think he found interesting. Either that, or he is just really polite! We threaded our way through the nasty Toronto traffic and finally made it onto the highway heading north toward our destination: a resort in the beautiful Muskoka area of Ontario.

    Prep
    Arriving in the early evening, we had about an hour until meeting up for dinner in the resort lounge, so I decided it would be a great chance to get my evening shave in. I had the luxury of being put up in a suite for this trip, so I grabbed a bowl from the kitchenette and headed for the nice, double-sink bathroom counter to lay out my gear. Using one of the facecloths provided by the hotel, I applied a steaming hot towel treatment for a good 3 minutes, enjoying the heat as it relaxed my face after the long drive and the long day. Though I brought my shaving oil, I decided to forego it for this shave, which might not have been the best idea. Grabbing my brush and my sample of T&H 1805, I squared myself up, clutching the little bowl in my left hand, and proceeded to face my continuing nemesis...

    The Lather
    An absolute disaster. Normally, I would think that the lathering description would just be a part of the prep section, but with my struggles, it's been getting its own spotlight, though usually for the wrong reasons. What a terrible lather I made this time! I'm not sure if I used too little product or too little water, but even adding some more of both after the fact barely produced and acceptable lather for two passes with touch-ups. If I had taken a step forward in my last lathering endeavour, then I surely took three steps back this time. I definitely need to practice.

    The Shave
    The shave, despite the horrible lather, was alright. Nothing to write home about, but maybe enough to write on SRP about. The new razor was different and felt a bit more awkward than usual, but I think it's sharper than my other one. It's much smaller and more delicate-feeling, so I was able to get a very light touch with my passes, but I also managed to give myself a pretty decent slice on the cheek, which I had managed to avoid up until now. Thankfully, it didn't bleed much and is very superficial - it wouldn't do to show up for the meeting in the morning with a huge gouge on my face!

    All in all, the shave wasn't the best I've done so far, but it was satisfactory after two passes. I still had my usual issues with the three trouble spots of chin, moustache and under the jawline, but the touch-ups were easy and the razor burn was almost non-existent. The T&H cream sure smells nice and still did alright at getting some glide going, so I think if I can get the lather sorted, this razor is going to shave very nicely.

    The Post
    Boy does alum ever sting on a cut! I actually cleaned up and rinsed up reasonably well apart from that, as my razor burn was minimal and the 1805 ASB was very soothing. I rinsed with warm water, then applied the alum, then the cold water. After that, I did my stropping, which felt weird due to my strop hanging on the hotel towel rack, much higher than the one at home. I still managed to get through forty reasonable passes on the strop before setting the razor aside and applying the lovely-smelling ASB, as well as a bit of cologne before dinner.

    The Verdict
    Frustration. That was the verdict this time. I guess that the new razor, new cream and new environment may have all contributed to making things challenging, but I felt a bit discouraged after shave number five. Not enough to give up, but enough to think that I was a bit crazy for trying something new with almost every shave. I am seriously considering shelving the samples for a while and using the Proraso products, which have given me very good lathering results. This would remove some variables from the shave and allow me to concentrate on technique. On the other hand, sampling is fun. I am also beginning to think I understand what the reviewers mean by a floppy brush, as this 2234 seems to really flop around when it's wet and has a bit of lather in it. I have a large 28mm Frank Shaving brush en route, so I'm looking forward to comparing that one to this. I am also thinking about giving more time to my Omega 10005 boar when I get home. Either way I go, I'm sure I will continue to learn and gain experience, hopefully helping me decide what works best for me.

    That's what this journey on The Straight Road is all about, right?

    I am contemplating shaving again this evening or first thing in the morning, as we have more meetings tomorrow and it would be nice to be cleanly shaved. |I guess we'll see how the face feels.

    Thanks for reading!

    Cheers,

    Jack
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  10. #19
    Administrator Lynn's Avatar
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    Please keep this going. Great reading!

    Thank you.
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  12. #20
    Who's that guy think he is... JoeSomebody's Avatar
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    I too have been enjoying your posts and experiences. I think we all get a chuckle at some of the things you are doing as we are laughing at our own past experiences. I wish you well on your journey and welcome to the straight razor club!
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    Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity. ~Lucius Annaeus Seneca

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