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Thread: Beginner needs advice!

  1. #1
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    Default Beginner needs advice!

    Hey guys!

    I'm Thomas, a 20 year old student in the Netherlands, and new to shaving with a straight!

    I've been thinking about starting to shave with a straight razor, and I decided to buy one.
    Since I'm a student, I do have limited resources to buy supplies. I'll be buying either the Dovo Ebony 5/8 or the Dovo - Prima Klang - Violetwood 5/8. "De Koordenwinkel" in Antwerpen offers a complete beginner set, but I was wondering wether I'll need everything included in this set. Could you guys give me some advice on what I need to start shaving. Also I'd like to know what the differences are between the Dovo Ebony 5/8 and the Dovo - Prima Klang - Violetwood 5/8, regarding the meaning of "extra hollow ground (singing).

    Looking forward to your replies!

    Thomas

  2. #2
    Senior Member tiddle's Avatar
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    If you can get a set deal take it, you usually save some cash that way. You need the razor (of course), strop, soap or cream, and brush to get going. The grind difference between full hollow and extra or extra full hollow, is very little. It just means a slight bit more steel was removed in beveling the blade surface. Honestly I don't like singing razors b/c the blade is just so thin near the edge it's just too easy to damage, and for me with a coarse beard they just don't seem to hold the edge as long for me, though the can get scary sharp if you know how to really hone them in well. I just prefer 1/4 and 1/2 hollow, though I have two that are fulls.
    Mastering implies there is nothing more for you to learn of something... I prefer proficient enough to not totally screw it up.

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    Seems like the Dovo Violetwood is less suited for beginners, and the Dovo Ebony 5/8 currently is out of stock... Any other suggestions for good Dovo razors? And is a stainless steel blade a good option? There is also a Dovo Ebony 5/8 version with a French cut, seems to have a straight tip, or whatever it's called. Yet that seems kinda scary...

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    If I were you, I would stick with dovo best quality.
    I love mine and the plastic material is very forgiving mantenance wise. You will save some money too.
    Razorthin likes this.

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    Thomasvv (05-23-2013)

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    Isn't there a higher risk that the plastic handle deforms or something? Compared to a wooden handle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomasvv View Post
    Isn't there a higher risk that the plastic handle deforms or something? Compared to a wooden handle.
    Plastic scales are fine and more stable than wood. Dovo 5/8 best is fine steel. Mine had a crooked spine when I got it but a little work on the hone and its good.

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    Cheers for the advice guys Will most likely order the Dovo 5/8 Best tomorrow, depending on if it is in stock or not... Can't wait to start shaving with a straight!

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    You will need to ensure that the razor you buy is shave ready, or you will need to get it honed, if its not too late there are usually some good vintage razors in the classifieds on this site that the vendor will usually supply honed and stropped, you will obviously still need the other basics too. Good luck and enjoy the journey.
    Bread and water can so easily become tea and toast

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    Thomas,

    DOVOs in general are fine blades. Which one You take is more or less a matter of taste. Wooden scales are just nice to look at, but do not change the shaving - at least not directly. I do have a DOVO with Micarta scales that are quite thick and heavy and additional weight of the scales makes handling a bit different.

    I do have stainless steel as well as carbon steel blades from DOVO. Both are nice. It is said that You can get carbon steel sharper but over the years the new production techniques have been developed. I really can't tell if one is truely better than the other. I personally tend to go for carbon steel, but I have no objective argument for that and they start to rust (immediately) if You don't take care of them.
    If You will get Carbon steel, be sure to also get proper treatment like "Balistol" or a mineral oil or something thelike.

    The last DOVO's I remember buying where not as sharp as they could be. You can probably shave quite OK with them, but if You start feeling that it tuggs and pulls, don't be disappointed. Find someone who can properly hone it and You'll see what is possible.

    It's not a DOVO-Problem. Nowadays razors from many producers are not shave ready ex-works. It is a time intensive process and they all compete against each other.
    I did not know that, when I started many many years ago and over years shaved with razors that have not been shave ready and kept thinking "that seems to be the way it is".
    Best is to get a honed razor, but many vendors do not know about that and the blade comes with a sticker telling You how terribly sharp the blade is. I'd prefer, they'd say "Congratulation, You're holding a piece of quality steel in Your hand. Now go and get a good edge Yourself".
    Just so You know.

    Even if the edge is not as sharp as it could be, when You get it. It still is very very sharp and very very sensitive. The sticker says something like: "don't cut anything but beard". I know it is highly tempting to cut a piece of paper or so. The sticker is right. If You do that, the edge will be damaged.

    One thing You will have to do as often as shaving is stropping. Stropping prepares the razor for the shave. It lifts up the fine burr, that actually is the cutting edge. Good stropping is highly important. Doing this wrong can dull the blade. It ist not rocket science, but it takes concentration and practice to do it right.
    You will probably get a strop that has a green side. This side has a fine abrasive, like very very fine sandpaper. It is needed to touch up the blade every now and then and prolong the time until it needs to be resharpened. If Your vendor sells You a sharp razor. Don't use that in the first place and even if You get just a "factory sharp" DOVO, I would recommend not to use it, until You're not good ad stropping on the leather side. You can dull a razor on the leather side due to a lack of experience. On the green side this can be achieved with just a few wrong strokes. - There are lots of videos and posts, something in the wiki as vell. There is a good video by Lynn Abrams - I think he is a really good teacher. Just check Youtube.

    The best advice we all can give is, never to do anything in a hurry or because You're keen to start. Start with simple parts like the sideburns and leave the rest for later. You can start shaving a balloon just to get any kind of feeling. And if You blow up ten of ten, You better do some more

    And be sure to have enough space for soaps and after shaves and razors etc. as this can become addicting once You get the catch of it.

    Go for it.
    BobH likes this.

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