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Thread: Beginners Tips: November 2011

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    At this point in time... gssixgun's Avatar
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    Post Beginners Tips: November 2011

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    For those of you that are brand new joining the forum, I have to explain this series of threads called the "Beginners Tips".
    Being a Mod on SRP means that we read a ton of threads as they appear, having a truly boring real job that pays me to sit in my office, and do nothing for a 9 hour shift, 5 days a week... I might, repeat might, actually work at 4 hours each week, means I read most all the posts that come onto the forum.. Each month I look for trends in the questions and try and address them with these threads...

    This past month brought in another month of the Razor questions and the Sharpness questions add in a few Lather questions and I have my topics for this thread

    Let's talk about the easiest of the 3 first

    Lather:

    Lathering is really pretty simple, yes I know you can read a ton about this cream, that soap, and god forbid the Überlathers... Really it comes down to water, soap, and a way to apply them...

    Honestly if you really want to learn how to make a great lather, start with a puck of Williams and a Burma shave, or a VanDerHaugen brush.. (about $6) Work your way through that entire puck of Williams, and everything else you ever try will be easy You can do this before you ever even touch a straight razor too...

    You have to learn how to swirl the brush, and load and mix the product, and then how to pump the brush and produce the actual lather.. Lathering is a combination of those two actions and the more you practice the better you get...

    A .99¢ puck of Williams can really teach this to you, and you don't have to wait until you have to shave to practice... When you wash yer face in the morning or at night use the Williams and your brush, the more you try the more you learn...

    There is really only one trick or hint that I can impart that is something I do every time, and I personally think it makes a big difference in my shaving...

    Wet your face, I mean really wet it, two hands full of water before you apply the lather, I really feel that the layer of water under the lather does help with letting the razor glide across the skin... Try it and see it doesn't help, it doesn't cost anything but a few seconds of your time...

    Keep in mind that much of the fun in this, is the products, so experiment, try a soap, try a cream, read the reviews and the opinions that people have, and choose a direction that sounds like it fits you...

    Razors:

    Two ways this has been hitting the forum, not only this past month, but since I have been here..

    1. I bought this **** razor is it any good????

    2. What razor should I buy?????

    So for the first question, you have to understand that this is a Gentleman's Club (and some ladies) we try and always be polite and helpful, in fact that is one of the things that defines SRP...
    We for the most part don't really want to tell you that you just wasted hard earned coin, on a piece of junk razor so we sugar coat it and tell you all the good things we can see, and encourage you to start looking for your second razor
    Now since I have been on SRP there have been junk brands for sale on the auction sites and sale sites.. When I first started it was mostly the Zeepk's and the Chinese made Krieger's, Frost's and Tomahawks add in a few Pakistani "Golden Camels" and that pretty much defined the "List of Brands to Avoid"
    Now there are literally 100's of them, each distributer can pick a name and have it etched on to junk metal blades, even Damascus etched ones, with some pretty nice looking Horn scales.. These are very deceiving to the new shaver and they are selling by the thousands...

    Many of us try and get our hands on these and prove them bad, and we add the names to the lists... But those lists will never be complete, so basically it is buyer beware...


    The second question is a bit harder for us to answer because we only have our own face to judge a razor by, hence the expression YMMV ..

    We try and point you toward the best chance of success, some people will point toward the cheapest path to a sharp razor, some will point toward the best... The path you choose is usually determined by your budget at the time...

    One thing that we repeat over and over and over again that mostly falls on deaf ears, is stay away from buying antique razors either on E-bay or any other site, until you know what to look for... The "Diamonds in the Rough" that beginners get by shear accident, for dirt cheap, are far outnumbered by the "Overhoned, Rusted, Pitted Junk" with a great name aqqusitions...

    Sharpness:

    This is a question, most every new guy asks, either on the forum, or of themselves "Is this razor sharp enough"

    Our standard polite answer is "Was it honed by a reputable honemiester" then depending on you response we either say to get it honed, or that you need to learn to shave...

    Keep in mind that for a Newb there is really no sure fire test to "Know" that your razor is truly shave ready...
    There are so many variables that come into play to end up with the shaves we all brag about and strive for that we find it hard to nail down where your specific problem lays... So we try and eliminate those variables one by painful one until you figure it out...
    The easiest variable to eliminate is the "Get a truly shave ready razor from a reputable honemiester" that is why you see it so often on here...



    I hope these tips help you just a bit, and as always I encourage the more Senior Members to please add to this thread with your opinions too... Many times we see things from different angles and the more info out there for the new guys the better...

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    Senior Member Johnus's Avatar
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    Thank you. Very straight forward and informative.

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    Predictably Unpredictiable Mvcrash's Avatar
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    Good stuff Glen, even reminds the Novice!!
    “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.”
    Albert Einstein

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    Very helpful information, and what a pretty razor!
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    I'm on The Straight Road jdto's Avatar
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    Thanks for doing this. Very useful information.

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    Yes, another very well thought out (and gracious) sharing of your knowledge. Thanks, Glen.
    de gustibus non est disputandum



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    Great article as always, Glen. I especially appreciate the candidness of this particular post.

    (Concerning your professional life, if you ever decide to leave your position and they ask for you to find your own replacement, please put in a good word for me. I’m uniquely qualified to surf SRP 36+ hours per week. Plus, most of my relatives are in Idaho and a move back would set a lot of things right. )
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    Quote Originally Posted by gssixgun View Post
    Lather:
    You have to learn how to swirl the brush, and load and mix the product, and then how to pump the brush and produce the actual lather.. Lathering is a combination of those two actions and the more you practice the better you get...
    Hi,


    Could you explain or detail what you meant by "pump the brush"?


    Thank you
    Christophe.

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    Senior Member deighaingeal's Avatar
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    Not to put words into Glen's mouth, but I believe that he is saying to raise the handle of the brush up and lower into the bowl in a repeated manner.
    One thing that many will find is that after wearing through a puck of William's with a VdH "porcupine" bristle brush, something like proraso and a nice two-band badger make a huge difference.
    I would like to mention that your local cutler/scissor sharpening service is not a reputable honer, despite what they say.

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    Senior Member Servant4Christ's Avatar
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    Some great advice, G! It's great to have so many knowledgable men on here such as yourself!

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