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Thread: A Young Man With Some Big Plans From NJ/OH

  1. #1
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    Default A Young Man With Some Big Plans From NJ/OH

    I stumbled on to this forum a few years back and decided I would return when I was shaving on a more regular basis. Well my face still grows in patchy, but I shave almost daily, and I am ready to turn it into an art

    I am a computer engineering student who hails from the great state of NJ and studies in OH. I turned 21 two weeks ago which not only means that I may now legally partake in fine libations, but I have also acquired some funds to invest in a proper straight razor setup. I have a passion for working with my hands being both a hobbiest woodworker and machinist, I am hoping to add straight shaving to that list!

    Now...I have read just about every page in the Library section, but I think read myself in circles rather than striking the exact answers I was looking for, so I thought I would reach out to the experts directly.

    I was thinking of getting a 5/8 round/blunt point razor, but beyond that I'm stuck. I know I should expect that I am not going to be able to maintain my razor perfectly the first go around, but what does that mean in terms of the quality razor I should be purchasing? Should I expect to purchase something with patina rather than something shiny (as long as it is honed properly)? Should I trust myself to strop with something more abrasive than leather i.e. balsa with high grit? What else should I REALLY purchase that is not in the short list of items? (Somewhat Random) How are razor purchases and accessory kits from WhippedDog viewed? What else should I be asking?

    Thank you in advanced!

  2. #2
    Senior Member rodb's Avatar
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    Whipped Dog provides shave ready razors for beginners/shavers on a budget razors, they usually have some patina which doesn't effect the shave at all and is really just a cosmetic issue.
    A beginner should start with at least one shave ready razor, a 2 1/2" wide strop (a personal choice, but this is the most common width), a barber hone and a CrOx pasted paddle. The last two items are for razor maintenance.

    Stropping is the most critical skill outside of the shave itself and one should practice with a dull razor shaped object such as a butter knife to build muscle memory with out damaging the razor or strop
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  4. #3
    Senior Member Splashone's Avatar
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    There is no reason to choose an ugly razor unless that is speaking to you. With reasonable care a brand new shiny razor will still look that way years from now, even in the hands of a beginner. You should start with whatever razor you like and can afford. 5/8-6/8 little difference, round, notch, french or square (not spike) is probably fine. I would steer clear of gold leaf blades and thats just a longevity of the bling issue.

    Bowl, brush and soap/cream. If from a reputable source you should be fine.

    You will need a strop and accept that you will at least nick it, so don't go overboard on it. Get something serviceable.

    As to the rest, I wouldn't be in any hurry. With the stupid prices I see on barber hones now, I would be tempted to get a true finisher instead, at some point in the not too distant future and count it as money well spent. CrOx and diamonds are personal preference things. I bought CrOx and after a brief trial and it sits in a dark corner of a drawer. I find my finishers just as quick with a better outcome.
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    The easy road is rarely rewarding.

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  6. #4
    Senior Member blabbermouth eddy79's Avatar
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    Hi and welcome. You have said you now have the funds to start properly. Dont settle for a flawed razor with extra hone wear then. Buy a good vintage or lower end new razor. Something like the kits a SRD while costing more will also be far better quality. If you plan to stick with it there is no point buying cheap and then replacing it all later with better items. Many here have brought from whipped dog and they generally use his items as a stepping stone to test the waters and make a start and upgrade later.
    My wife calls me......... Can you just use Ed

  7. #5
    Senior Moderator JimmyHAD's Avatar
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    Welcome to SRP. For starters a strop and a razor are all you need. I would recommend a Ralf Aust, a Dovo, or a Thiers-Issard from one of our own vendor/sponsors as a starter razor. They have deals on entry level razors and strops. Some of the vendors send them shave ready for free, others may charge a nominal fee. Generally I haven't been disappointed with new gear. I can't always say the same for used kit.

    Maintaining a razor, as in touch up honing is something I would look at down the road. I worked as a pro tattooer in street shops for 20+ years. When I started I bought a tattoo machine from a pro builder and I never messed with it. I bought my own machine kits and built them using my pro built one as a benchmark to compare my own builds, and to have something I had confidence in to do tattoos on total strangers paying me hard earned dollars. A few years in I was a pro machine builder as well.

    I approached straight razors the same way. I bought shave ready razors from pro honers and I got my practice razors from ebay, antique stores and flea markets. I had something to shave with, to compare my edges, and I didn't mess up my pro honed razor. I have some that I bought 7 years ago that have never even needed a touch up. Anyway .......... get a good shave ready razor ..... or two, to put in rotation. A good strop, focus on learning preparation, lathering, stropping and most of all, shaving, before you worry about honing or maintenance. IMHO.
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  9. #6
    Senior Member PHANTZM's Avatar
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    As was said before, make sure you buy from a reputed seller that will ensure that the razor you purchase is indeed shave ready. I started with a DE , then progressed to a shavette before trying a true straight razor.

    I bought my first SR from a local shop here in Phoenix just to make sure I would stick to it. I found that I enjoyed the extra time and attention to detail (and handling) that it required. I did trash my first strop due to inattention, but I have yet to damage my second one. (knock on wood)

    I would honestly recommend SRD , or one of the other vendors that offer a free second honing. I have not used mine yet as I have several razors in my rotation now, but I am sure I will eventually send it back for a touch up. My Ralf Aust from SRD is a nice razor , but he has many others to choose from.

    The final choice is up to you. Find something that stands out to you and you feel would be a nice fit to you and your style. I bought a brush from one of the members her just because it stood out and I loved the mix of materials and the style/shape that it was made into. I use that brush almost every other day now.

    Enough banter ..... welcome to the forum , and I hope that you come to find the tools that you will enjoy using daily.

    So I drive a station wagon , what of it ? ( )

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  11. #7
    Senior Member blabbermouth engine46's Avatar
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    Hi & welcome to SRP. You will love it here & there is plenty to learn as there is a wealth of information on here! Here is the first bit of information for you to know:
    Straight Razor Place - Beginners Tips: December 2014
    Frequently Asked Questions - Straight Razor Place Library
    You will want to buy you a nice straight razor to begin with whether used or new. Beware of used ones not that they are bad but know what to look for like a lot of hone wear on the spine & edge or chips in the blade. Stay away from razors with rust on the cutting edge as that will only result in it chipping more metal off as it is honed. Here is also a list of straights to stay away from:
    Here is a list of good brands of razors you will want to own plus there are more than just these out there which you will find out from other members here:
    If buying a new razor, I suggest you buy one from Straight Razor Designs - Gifts for Men | Straight Razors or SRD. The owner & founder of this forum is Lynn & he is also part owner of SRD. When you buy a straight razor from him, he will personally hone that razor before you get it plus you will get a certificate for another free honing for when that razor needs it which should be a few months. There will be vendors who will sell you a straight razor that is supposed to be shave ready but really won't be. You will most importantly need to know how to strop & you can learn in the Library or here:
    You will need to strop your razor before & after you shave. If you buy one from Lynn, chances are you won’t have to strop it before you use it the first time.
    You will also need a shaving brush, a shaving mug & some shaving soap. Later it will also do you good to get a second straight razor so that when you send the first one out to be honed, you will have a backup to shave with.
    Here is a link to the Library where you will find stropping in there & everything else you will need to know including how to hone:
    Also here is Lynns bevel setting video & some of gssixguns honing video's:
    Bevel setting on a Chosera 1K taught by Lynn Abrams
    Here is another good link to know:
    Welcome to the Workshop: How do I / Where do I / What do I / answers are here
    Should you have any questions, there are a lot of knowledgable members on here that will be more than happy to help you out. If you want to find someone in your area, you can look here:
    And if you can't find anyone near you, just ask and someone that lives in your are & hopefully they will let you know how to meet up & you can get some one on one mentoring. There is a lot to do on here, just search everywhere on the forum & in the Library. You will spend hours on here & have fun doing it, so there you go, have at it!
    Good luck & have fun!
    Last edited by engine46; 01-03-2015 at 03:05 AM.
    An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest ~Benjamin Franklin

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