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Thread: Is my razor sharp enough?

  1. #21
    At this point in time... gssixgun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by meperry64 View Post
    Can someone please answer this specific question? How do we test to confirm the blade is properly sharp and ready to shave.
    .

    For a newb

    What is the "Shave Test" Vid
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    Senior Member ultrasoundguy2003's Avatar
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    How did you know when your old disposable razor needed to be replaced??
    Use the same criteria . The worse the pull and tug the more work needs to be done.
    The video that is recommended should give you a visual idea of how to proceed.
    Common sense, Aint so common anymore.

  4. #23
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    Thanks Guys.

    Yes, I actually started with gssixgun's newb vid right after I bought my Dovo - that was actually the reason I traveled a couple towns over to have the razor professionally honed, because since that first pass wasn't smooth I agree "there was no sense in going any further".

    Got it home from the honemeister, and couldn't cut a single whisker. Worried that I made a ridiculous mistake by first stropping (to develop the habit) before that first post-hone shave. This is where I am now.

    With the disposable, Yes - when it starts pulling I toss it in the trash and start fresh. But that's not the best example - besides that blade angle is set, there's no decision whether to strop or hone.

    Back to my questions: how do I know the blade is properly sharp? Is it possible to trash a professional hone with poor stropping - even if I'm not cutting the leather or banging the blade on metal?

    How do you those newer to SR shaving known you're sharp enough, when more or better stropping is required - linen (if at all, based on some responses) vs. leather, etc. - and at what point do you all decide stropping won't help and it's time for the stone?

    I'm not ashamed to say, JeffR's suggestion to familiarize myself with the feel on my dampened thump of a fresh double-edged disposable blade is an epiphany, and that's my next step.

    Any others?

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    Senior Member feltspanky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MCFLY49 View Post
    The HHT was a useful tool for me in the beginning, but I hear you can get banned for saying it could be of any use. So.......... don't use the HHT. It is very very bad.
    I agree the HHT is unreliable, but if I can cut a single hair (hht) after a hone, there's light at the end of the tunnel. I always do a three pass ATG shave. If my edge will pass the hht I experience less irritation after my shaves. If your edge will cut (pop) off arm or leg hair at the tree top level, your well on your way to a nice shaving experience.
    Last edited by feltspanky; 12-08-2014 at 04:06 AM.

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    I am new to SR shaving. My rescent experience included completely rolling the edge of my freshly honed SRD razor. For me I really focesed on stropping. My first attempt with the razor it wouldn't cut squat without painful tugging first. I don't believe it's a requirement to nick your strop or do anything super crazy to it to lose its edge. One slight misstep of pressure on the blade side on one stroke seems to do it for me. I used chromium oxide on my nylon strop after practicing my technique quit a bit. Seems like daily I'm getting better with my stropping and along with that it seems my edge is better with each shave. On another note I have a vintage razor that I couldn't seem to get any kind of cutting out of it on my first shave. I got it in shave ready condition and did not strop it before use. I have since had a very senior shaver try it out only to find out he loved the shave and verified it was shave ready. Guess my technique on the act of putting blade to face might need to be refined for this other razor. I would suggest giving it some time work on all your technique. If no better results send it out for another home and start from scratch.
    Last edited by Xtrmln; 12-08-2014 at 03:43 AM.

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    The Great & Powerful Oz onimaru55's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by meperry64 View Post
    Can someone please answer this specific question? How do we test to confirm the blade is properly sharp and ready to shave.
    Someone already gave the answer. You shave with it. I will add, without prior stropping. If your shaving skills are up to snuff then the proof is in the results. If your skills are lacking you will still be doubtful so you need to research technique well. Tugging with a sharp blade will occur at the angle where the cut becomes a scrape eg a high angle. The blade should be flat on the face to start & if the razor is sharp it will cut hair comfortably. If you doubt it try stropping in reverse & see if the razor cuts the leather. Only rise the spine 1 or 2 widths at most if necessarry for awkward areas. I haven't touched on the importance of prep & good lather but will leave that to others.


    I understand all this takes patience and practice to develop technique, which is what makes straight razor shaving so compelling. The part that worries me is trying to develop that technique with an ill-prep'd blade where I can never get off the ground.

    I'm concerned at the very least I may not be stropping correctly (width of strop, linen vs. leather, # of strokes, etc), but at worst that my inexperience may be killing the professional shave-ready hone and so I need to start thinking of going back to the beginning and learn to use the stone. I'm not afraid of the stone, I just want to know when it's necessary.
    If you are doing damage with a strop you will increase it tenfold with stones. It's not about fearing the stone, it's about knowing your limitations at any point & early days is a point where stones are best left in their boxes..

    I realize there are many here who are sufficiently experienced that you "just know" your blades are well-prep'd and ready after honing and stropping.
    I never know till I actually shave my face but I'm saving for a crystal ball.

    My specific question: what test(s) of the blade for adequate prep did you use as you developed that experience - how do you know when the blade needs add'l or adjusted stropping vs. how do you know when it's time to hone - where you were able to proceed with confidence that your blades were ready and so allowed you to focus on face prep, lathering, blade angles, etc.

    Apart from shaving as a test , I have no other means of knowing tho I use visual cues when honing to tell me the 'state of an edge.
    if the usual stropping does not give me the edge I know as optimal, I go to 'a' stone. Which stone is beyond the scope of this answer but let's say that 5-7 strokes on a barber hone was always the recommended way to touch up a failing edge.


    Thanks for any more guidance.
    There's a bunch of repetitive guidance in the below thread:
    If all else fails,read the instructions AKA Shaving basics
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    Senior Member ultrasoundguy2003's Avatar
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    Ok this is to quote Lynn "Do you know when your pocketknife is sharp? How? You put your thumb ACROSS the edge and feel it.
    Do the exact same thing.
    Use just enough downward pressure to feel the edge and access if it grabs/ holds/ sticks/cuts a skin cell." dont cut your self literally.
    Does it? then it is plenty sharp. If you wet/lick your thumb ,ie get it wet and do the drill/test, you should feel tingly/sprinkles/increased feedback from skin contact with metal.
    If it passes this test then we can move to the next step. This will give us a baseline of what your working with.
    Common sense, Aint so common anymore.

  11. #28
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    While honing, and at the end of the session, I try the HHT, arm shave and tree top tests.
    When the razor finally gets to my face with lather, I'm often surprised.
    Some that I had little hope for give a killer shave, and others...not so much.
    Very hard to predict results with most tests.

  12. #29
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    Use a wet thumb pad to check if the razor is sharp enough to shave. Check lather hydration, proper skin stretching , blade angle and hair growth direction for comfort of shave issues to include pulling

  13. #30
    Senior Member ultrasoundguy2003's Avatar
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    When I think I am there.
    I lift my shirt and shave my belly hair. Lotsa area there LOL.
    My wife calls me patches.
    No hair left on my left hand and arm and its easier then bending over to shave my leg
    Rt hand dominant .Lt side of my body is a hair-less wonder.
    If you can shave you belly and not eviscerate your self you done good.
    Common sense, Aint so common anymore.

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