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Thread: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

  1. #21
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    So in my latest shave I've now reached a point where I think I'm working up a good lather. I like my system and it's treating my face well. I tried using the lather as an aftershave this time, but I didn't really notice very much of a diffference in my skin tone or condition. It was nice smelling the lather while I was cleaning up but I'm still divided on it's efficacy. I'll have to try it again next time. I can't wait till July when the student loan money comes in and I can buy a strop and a shave ready blade (I'll also be able to send out my amazon "damascus" blade for some proper honing). I find it very interesting to be this intersted in shaving!

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by sunsnow View Post
    Every journey has a beginning and my journey begins from the land of Gillette. I was generally unhappy with the quality of my regualr shaving routine which consisted of a shower, gel shaving cream, and the gillette mach 3 'turbo' followed generally by patches of stubble, and occasional razor burn. You can see why I was unhappy with it. Being naturally drawn to projects, hobbies, and professions that involve sharp objects, I figured, "I'm gonna take up old school straight razor shaving."

    Next in my journey came the internet, as I imagine it did for most of you. Somehow I managed not to find SRP till later in my searching but we'll come back to that. At the beginning I figured I'd need a straight razor, a brush, some soap/cream, a cup, and a leather strap (strop). Upon poking around the various online retailers I found them all selling sharpening stones (hones) so I figured I'd need one or two of those as well.

    With costs adding up I started looking for what should be good compromises. I figured that any blade should sharpen about as good as the next so I found a cool "damascus" straight razor on amazon with 'mammoth bone' scales for $60. NOW, at this point I didn't have the guidance of SRP about the blade, but I figured even if the scales weren't real mammoth bone, who'd know, and at least that's the story I'd stick to. So I went ahead and made the purchase.
    Attachment 95699 - I think I'll call it Manny...

    Also on Amazon I found a brush/mug/soap kit for $30 which I thought looked decent and probably was of reasonable quality for a starter so I made that purchase as well. Amazon.com: Van Der Hagen Men's Luxury, Shave Set: Health & Personal Care

    This is the point in my journey where I began looking for strops and hones. Searching around amazon, ebay and various other online retailers for a decent strop or hone, I finally managed to stumble upon SRP. I had a bead on a strop, and had placed a bid on a 4000/8000 combo hone from ebay. Peaking around SRP it was like the heavens parted and the shaving gods smiled upon my poor visage. Luckily I got outbid on the hone and I have since adjusted my search parameters for a strop. What a wonderfully vibrant and detailed and supportive place SRP is! The beginners forum and SRP wiki is jam packed with information that I eagerly drank up and continue to reference on a daily basis. Some of the information was bittersweet (I would have bought a different razor) but it gave me confidence in the future of my journey.

    Finally my brush kit arrived! I was palpably excited, and having read the lather information for beginners the day before I felt confident that I could whip up a sweet batch of foam and go to town with my trusty old 'turbo'. SO, I broke the kit out and soaked the brush in some hot water while I showered, eagerly awaiting the day's shave. Having read the back of the box which suggested to put the puck of soap in the cup and to whip up the lather in that cup, and balancing it against the beginners information on lather on SRP which suggests using the soap in it's cup and a separate bowl to whip up the lather. SO, I left the puck in the plastic packaging and used the cup to whip up the lather. P-A-T-H-E-T-I-C... I was able to conjure up something that resembled a cream, but I would in no way call it a lather, but it lubricated my face enough to shave with and oddly enough I do think that my face felt smoother after this shave than my previous ones. Maybe that's just the placebo effect, but maybe not. Anyway, today after re-reading the lather info from the wiki, I found that I totally forgot the proper 3 fingered holding technique when loading the brush with the soap. I think for my next shave I'll try using the soap in the packaging and the cup separate but I'll be sure to use the proper loading technique, and maybe a bit more water.

    Today my razor arrived! WOOHOO!!! It looks very cool, and came in a nice leather pouch. And that's about where the good news ends. After reading on SRP about the difference between the real quality Damascus blades (~$300) and the crappy can't be sharpened "Damascus" blades (~$70), I sighed and said to myself, "Well, live and learn... At least I'll have a pretty show blade, and maybe I can use it for practice stropping." After reading about what I most likely purchased, I took the blade out and tested it on my arm hairs. Unfortunately they all survived unscathed. Maybe I just purchased a sweet butter knife?!? WELL, obviously I'm going to have to send it out to be properly honed by someone who knows what they're doing and in the mean time I'll need to purchase a plain-jane-work-horse of a shave-ready straight razor that is guaranted to be a good shaver.

    I am now looking forward to my next shave - the "Return of the Lather" (episode VI), where I can do the proper technique and hopefully whip up a lather thick enough to make my ancestors proud. The next steps in my journey are to send out my new straight razor (possible P.O.S.) to be honed professionally and purchase both a strop and a quality workhorse straight razor(shave ready). I'll continue to post in this thread as I continue along my journey as I still have a VERY long way to go (the never ending shave). I hope that some beginners will be able to read this and learn from both my mistakes and my triumphs.
    Sunsnow,
    I am afraid no Professional Honer will hone that razor for a few reasons, one it is a waste of time, even if they get an edge it won't last. Two, that is not a real Straight Razor, could you hone a knife in your kitchen and shave with it? I'm not here to rub it in, I'm actually here to say this mistake happens to hundreds of people a week and it is a real shame that there are Vendors out there selling these Knives as Straight Razors. I just got off the phone with Lynn talking about this subject and how we can make things better for everyone. Not an easy task I am afraid, but I can do this, send me a PM and I will send you a free replacement Straight Razor, now don't expect a new Dovo or Boker! I can hone up a Vintage Razor and send it over. This journey only gets better my friend, just remember if the deal sounds too good to be true like a Lifetime of free honing it's time to ask questions!
    Phil and Jane
    The Classic Edge Shaving Store

  3. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to ClassicEdge For This Useful Post:

    Havachat45 (05-22-2012), sunsnow (05-26-2012)

  4. #23
    Junior Member igga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ClassicEdge View Post
    Sunsnow,
    send me a PM and I will send you a free replacement Straight Razor
    Free straight?WOW! I should have bought an Ebay razor! Hahahahaha just kidding

    It never ceases to amaze me how generous the members of this community are. You guys rock!


    Quote Originally Posted by sunsnow View Post
    student loan money comes --> buy a strop and a shave ready blade
    This made me smile...
    ClassicEdge likes this.

  5. #24
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    WOW!! I am truely humbled by this community's generosity! I have never found a specialty forum so vibrant and alive, so thriving and overflowing with information and active help. It is truely wonderful. As for stemming the tide of unfortunate purchases that's a tough cookie to crumble. The only thing that would have saved me is finding this forum about 5 days earlier than I did. The draw of thos pretty "damascus" blades are a siren call that not many newbies can resist.

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    As a general rule of thumb, if it is forge folded in any means and cheap it is best to avoid. There is a reason that forge folding from reputable places costs so much, the smiths experience. Virtually any joe schmoe can get two separate pieces of still to forge weld together and stay in one piece. It takes experience to do it right so the pieces are FULLY laminated and not have inclusions etc. This applies to not just razors either, avoid cheap forge folded knives and swords until you spend the cost savings in research time.

  7. #26
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    Well, after some PMs with ClassicEdge, I like his idea. I think I'll frame it as my first purchase and my last foolish purchase. A reminder of buyer beware. It'll look nice anyway. And I'll always be able to tell people that the scales are "real mammoth bone", whether they are or not.

  8. #27
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    Even though, sometimes we all just have to make the purchase to get the feet wet before jumping in. Research before a purchase pays off in the end.

  9. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by sunsnow View Post
    Well, after some PMs with ClassicEdge, I like his idea. I think I'll frame it as my first purchase and my last foolish purchase. A reminder of buyer beware. It'll look nice anyway. And I'll always be able to tell people that the scales are "real mammoth bone", whether they are or not.
    You can use for stropping practice, and as a letter opener.
    ClassicEdge likes this.

  10. #29
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    Yeah, I figured I'd go the stropping practice route, but I LOVE the letter opener idea. That's badass!

  11. #30
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    It's still strange to me to actually look forward to shaving! I was on vaaction and then doing some packing/moving of stuff so I didn't actually shave for about 2 weeks, but How sweet it is! I still haven't had a chance to get that shave ready blade yet but it should be coming soon. I've started to pay closer attention to the direction of the hairs on my face and WHAT A FRIGGIN MESS! Just on my right cheek alone I have about 5 different directions. How on earth am I supposed to do anything with or against the grain when it changes direction every inch and a half? I just don't get it...

    If I'm shaving just under my sideburns like a good little newbie, do I start at the top holding the blade horizontally and sahve downward? Or do I hold the blade vertically and shave horizontally moving towards my chin?
    Last edited by sunsnow; 06-10-2012 at 10:52 PM.

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