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Thread: Hello! NOOB here to the world of Straight Razors

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    Junior Member dtederick's Avatar
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    Post Hello! NOOB here to the world of Straight Razors

    I am 52 and just now getting into trying my hand at straight razor shaving.
    I have a world of questions.
    The first is I am getting; from my family, a Dubl duck special no.1. Pearlduck made in Solingen Germany. I have no clue to what type of point it has; it is being sent to me as I type this post. I have read that being a beginner I should look at a rounded point. I also have a and a Wade and Butcher Spanish Point or Barber's notch (could someone explain if they are the same thing just different names?) made in Sheffield England 5/8" I believe. Would this one be one that I would/should have to wait quite some time before I gather experience with shaving?
    Please bear with my questions as they might seem idiotic but as I stated I am a noob at this....
    Also looking for suggestions tips and any other advise.
    I am in the process of gathering other supplies; such as leather/canvas strop, strop paste (is this really needed???) and a Dual Whetstone Knife Sharpener Water Stone 3000/8000. What would you recommend to clean the metal of the knife blade?
    This is probably dumb but would automotive rubbing or polish compound be acceptable? Just to clean the metal for appearances...
    Should the razors be sent out and professionally sharpened for the first time before I use them and then use my materials to maintain them? If so are there recommendations for places to send them to?
    I already have a shaving mug and badger brush.
    I am still up in the air as far as an aftershave, and or alum block..... yeah I have many questions....
    Well I am looking forward to hearing/reading what you all recommend and what your thoughts are.

    Kind Regards,
    David
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    Senior Member criswilson10's Avatar
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    Welcome to SRP!
    We are here to help with your questions, so ask away.
    Your first step should be to read the Beginner's Guide in the Library here Beginner's guide to straight razor shaving - Shave Library
    It will answer a lot of your questions

    Dubl Duck pearlduck is a round tip I believe. All the ones I have seen were round tip. Someone will correct me if I'm wrong. It's a nice razor.
    Spanish point is curved inward from the spine to the bevel at the toe. Barber's notch has a small rounded notch at the toe.

    Which razor you start with is up to you, but be warned that most first razors get dinged up. It's amazingly easily to ding a razor on a faucet, sink edge, or floor while you are learning. We've all done it and most of us probably did it during the first 10 shaves. If both razors have sentimental value, then you may want to get a third one to learn with.

    Forget the honing equipment for now. Honing a razor is a completely different set of skills and it is not advised to learn honing and shaving at the same time.
    Definitely send your first razor out to be honed professionally.y I usually recommend Straight Razor Designs, but there are others listed in the buy/sell/trade area of the website that are also excellent honers.

    You will need a strop and you will probably cut it to pieces while learning. So don't buy a really expensive one to begin with. I prefer the Straight Razor Designs 3 inch wide strops, they have replaceable leather and fabric.
    Strop paste isn't a necessity, but it can be useful to lightly touch your blade up.

    For a gentle cleaning I use Mother's Mag Polish or Maas. Rubbing compound will work for a heavier cleaning.

    For aftershave, I start with Witch Hazel right after the shave and then put on something else that could range anywhere from Aqua Velva upto Castle Forbes. I don't use an alum block because I don't like it, but many people swear by them.

    Pick up a styptic pencil for when you cut yourself. Don't be surprised if your first cut is to a finger instead of your face.

    Good luck, and keep asking questions.
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    Junior Member dtederick's Avatar
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    Excellent!! Thank you. I will read that info later this morning and check into Strait Razor Designs.
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    Junior Member dtederick's Avatar
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    Quick Witch Hazel question. Maravilla or astringent, with or without aloe vera? Does it matter?

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    Senior Member criswilson10's Avatar
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    I use Thayer's alcohol free witch hazel because it doesn't burn and comes in several scents. Off the shelf, generic alcohol based witch hazel works just as well. Aloe vera if you like it. A lot of choices are personal preference as to what you like and don't like. So try stuff and keep what you like in the shave routine and the rest you can give away or use around the house.
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    Senior Member Porl's Avatar
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    Welcome to the forum.

    It sounds like you have a couple of great razors to start with.

    You have already received some great advice from criswilson, so I don't have too much to add. Get the razors professionally honed, but maybe stick with using just one until your technique improves. That way you will be able to see the difference between an edge that you may have dulled with beginner's stropping technique and shaving too.

    Also be very careful with the blade (not just talking about cutting yourself here) they are quite hard and very thing so can be subject to chipping. I chipped my first razor just by catching the edge on the chain that holds the plug in the sink.

    In terms of shaving the best advice I can give is to go easy on the pressure. By that I mean really light pressure. Almost as if you are holding the blade off your face. People here often say shave the lather not the face and it really makes all the difference, and keep your skin stretched tight.

    Just to muddy the waters for you, I always use Geo. F. Trumper's Skin Food after every shave. It is great and dissipates into the skin very quickly. It also leaves no lasting odour so it won't interfere with any cologne you decide to go with.

    Most importantly, take your time and enjoy!
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    Junior Member dtederick's Avatar
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    Thank you!

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    Senior Member YoWan's Avatar
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    Hi David, welcome on the forum.
    About cleaning a blade, I use WD40 with 0000 steelwool to remove heavy rust, white clay to remove light corrosion stains, if not available just toothpasta.
    But that's for restoration work. For daily cleanind after use, wet towel, dry towel and toilet paper, don't forget inside the scale, then the razor open in dry storage place for 1 hour at least, and finish with a microfiber cloth.
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    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    David

    Welcome to the forum. I was older than you when I learned how to shave with a straight razor so age is no barrier to learning.

    I have two DD No1 Specials and both are square/spike points. The No1 Specials are the basic models in the DD line. They shave every bit as well, that is very well, as the fancier DD razors that I have.

    For a lot of the questions you are likely to have the answers can be found in the forum's Library and in the Beginners forum. Be sure and ask for clarification on any points you are unsure of s the members here like to help beginners.

    When learning to shave with a straight razor slow and easy does the job. Everyone has some fear/trepidation of the blade in the beginning which is normal. The thing to guard against is getting over confident when things start to fall into place. Always maintain a healthy respect for the blade.

    Bob
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    Senior Member blabbermouth outback's Avatar
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    Welcome aboard, David.
    Some great info has already been bestowed upon you by the guys, so theres nothing I can add to it. But I will say this, once you've got it all down...you'll never look back on cartridge razors, and goo in a can, and your skin will thank you as well.
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    Mike

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