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Thread: Is my razor sharp enough?

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    Junior Member TonyM's Avatar
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    Default Is my razor sharp enough?

    Hi all,

    I'm brand new to the site even though I've been stalker status on here for the last couple months reading up on straights. For Christmas I received a 5/8 Thiers Issard straight razor and a Dovo strop. I was having extreme difficulty at first as all newbies do, and then I read the piece on here about how razors are really not "shave ready" until professionally honed. I sent it down to SRD's and got it back a few weeks ago. I noticed immediately better shaves and was much happier with my gift.

    Recently though, I've been having slight issues with the sharpness of my blade. I've never been able to get it to pass the hanging hair test, even right after I got it back from SRD's. Should a razor be able to pass this test to be considered sharp enough to shave with? I've also watched numerous videos of gents using straights and their blades always seem to pass so effortlessly on their faces. Mine is never that smooth, there's always a little pull. I'm fairly sure my stropping is not what it should be, but I would like to know what is the standard I'm trying to achieve?

    Any advice would be appreciated. I'm looking forward to enjoying this for years to come, I just need to get better!

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    Senior Member tekbow's Avatar
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    Ah more HHT neurosis

    Don't worry about the HHT, it's a party trick at worst and highly subjective at best. All it means is it doesn't HHT with your hair. If it was honed at SRD then it was probably lynn that honed it (founder of this forum). I can absolutely assure you it is sharp enough.

    Your pull issue is more likely your own technique, straight shaving is a skill, you won't get an awesome shave the first time you do it. Where you able to ride a bike the first time you got on one? lol

    Don't worry, you'll get there, just takes practice. Be careful with the stropping, thats a quick newb way to turn an edge

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  4. #3
    old enough to know better
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    Forget the hanging hair test. The only test that matters is the "shave test". If the razor is as sharp as when you had it honed, then shave with it and enjoy. The hanging hair test is a parlor trick at best IMHO.

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    Plausibly implausible carlmaloschneider's Avatar
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    Yeah, what tekbow said, I never use the HHT, after all, I don't want to use a razor to cut hanging hairs, I want to use it to cut hairs on my face :-)

    Issue may be, as you stated, stropping technique. Unless you want to 'rely' on someone else honing your razor, you really will need to buy a hone (Norton 4/8 and a Shapton 16k is what I use). It's really not THAT hard to learn to hone. You may also need another 'reference' razor, so you can compare your razor pre andpost honing. You may be able to borrow a mate's razor to use as a reference.

    Also, check your prep and lather. Is it a good lather? Is your beard well prepped? Do you need to use a pre-shave cream, if you don't already sue one (I always use Proraso). People's beards do differ, you aleardy know that just by LOOKING at other people. Now I'm 'in to' SR shavign when I see some guys on TV etc I almost shudder to think how hard it must be for them to shave!

    You WILL get better, aim for about three months.
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    Junior Member TonyM's Avatar
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    Yeah, every shave I seem to notice less irritation and better results. I must be doing something right. I'm going to eventually purchase some hones so I can sharpen my blade myself. I'm just scared of ruining such a beautiful razor. I think I 'll pick up a used one that I'll use to practice on when i get to that point.

    I've been rather careful with my stropping technique. It's quite the learning curve, but I think I'm getting it.

    My mom bought me the set so I wouldn't have to spend so much on cartridges. HA! If she only knew the truth...

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    Senior Member tekbow's Avatar
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    Buy one hone to start, a 12k nani or something similar, will be al you need for touch ups and you will be able to get the honing strokes down without putting too much wear on your blade
    MickR and Splashone like this.

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    Member bhorsoft's Avatar
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    If don't want to "ruin" the Thiers Issard, look for a cheap razor you can practice honing on - something in the $25 or less range that's in good shape. Having a "reference" razor is also a good idea. I have one Lynn honed for me that I only use every 6 months or so as a reference. When the ones I hone start to shave better that that one, I'll send it back to Lynn for a fresh reference.
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    I'm only a month into this so I don't know much, but I noticed a big improvement in the performance of my TI after I lapped 40 on linen, and then 40 on leather. Yesterday I didn't to the linen and it was a rougher shave. I think linen is now a daily thing for me.

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    The Knight who says NI! mcgyver74's Avatar
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    What issues are you having? Forget the HHT, it's IMHO very unreliable, the shave test is what matters.

    Is the razor pulling when shaving when it doesn't normally? This could indicate it's time for a "touch up" on the blade, I do my touch ups with a pasted piece of balsa (5 - 10 laps each green and red then strop 75 times polyweb and 100 - 150 leather)

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    Enthusiast Gammaray's Avatar
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    The HHT is seductively unreliable. Only the shave test is definitive. 60-80 strops on leather is my routine on a shave ready edge. This should be all you need on a freshly honed razor from SRD or any other reputable honemeister. The linen has never improved my edge. It just does nothing until I use the leather so I skip the linen.

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