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  1. #1
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    Question Out to Sea: Salt Water and Straight Razors

    This is probably a topic someone in the navy would feel right at home with.

    I've never been in the navy, but I do love boats. Picturing my life years down the line, I know it's got to involve a blue water sailing boat of some kind--or I simply wouldn't be living life to the fullest. I plan on being out on the ocean for months at a time, and I would like to take my straight razor with me.

    Without getting into the particulars of being at sea, can anyone offer insight into the interaction of salt water and briny air with straight razors? What extra steps should be taken to prevent rust? Can you build a decent lather with salt water? I look forward to anything you have to say.

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Senior Member blabbermouth Kees's Avatar
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    Keep them dry, oil them after use or get 1 or more stainless steel razors.
    Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr.

  3. #3
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    +1 to what Kees says.

    As for salt-water lather, I'd bet against it. Cruisers have been trying to do salt-water washing for decades, and I believe that the only soap that lathers well in salt water is dishwashing detergent -- Joy, or something similar.

    If you want to test, find out the salinity of seawater, and mix an appropriate amount of salt into fresh water, and try building up a lather.

    I always shaved with fresh water on my boat. But I'm a coastal cruiser, not a bluewater cruiser.

    If you want to go cruising, shaving will be well down on your list of worries.

    Charles

  4. #4
    Senior Member MaritimeFanatic's Avatar
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    Yup, lots of oil and an airtight container helps a lot too. I work on boats for a living, and have never really had a problem with corrosion so long as I was fanatical about keeping everything dry and contained. I would not recommend using salt water for lather. tried it a few times, did not agree with me.

    What type of boat are you thinking of being on? I sailed on tall ships for a few years, and you really have to be careful with your stuff. Those guys like to keep water around. I, more often than not, just waited until we hit port again to shave. When you're hundreds of miles offshore, no one's looking at you. Port stops are good for resupply, fuel and sanity - don't deprive yourself of any of the above when you head out!

  5. #5
    Senior Member leadduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaritimeFanatic View Post
    Yup, lots of oil and an airtight container helps a lot too. I work on boats for a living, and have never really had a problem with corrosion so long as I was fanatical about keeping everything dry and contained.
    I'd recommend a good Pelican case and lots of silica gel.

  6. #6
    Senior Member BuddyRockefella's Avatar
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    you might also want to consider using a shavette. you wont have to worry about the blade being damaged because you can just slap a new blade in.

    if you want to use a normal straight i think it would be a good idea to bring some large bottles of fresh water to clean the blade and to use for lather and just wash you face with sea water, it will do good for any nick or cuts you get while shaving.

  7. #7
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    Oil is a must after every shave. I use an applicator like this one.

    Name:  applicator.jpg
Views: 299
Size:  83.2 KB

    It has a top. I use a mixture of Ballistol and Camellia oil making sure that I get the pin once in a while.

    Later,
    Richard

  8. #8
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    Depends on what type of sailing you plan on doing. I served four years onboard an aircraft carrier that had it's own potable water plant. We were able to shave and drink regular water.

    I'm not sure what type of ship you are planning on sailing with, but hopefully it can produce potable water - for your razor's sake and your hydration.

  9. #9
    Fear the fuzzy! Fear it! Snake's Avatar
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    Salt water is 1.056 or thereabouts density, or 2lbs of salt per gallon.

    I still, from the aquarium days, have some sea salt in a bucket. If anyone wants to experiment with lathering with salt water, just PM me and I'll send you up to, oh, say 10 or 12lbs, which is what I have left.

    I'm not asking why anyone would want to do this, just saying that I can help.

  10. #10
    Forum mogwai thebigspendur's Avatar
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    Just two thoughts.

    Unless you're talking a ship with stabilizers a straight and rolling decks don't mix. The other is, it ain't worth the hassle trying to keep carbon steel clean with salt in the air. Even stainless will corrode on you.

    Oh yea I was in the Navy on a 420 foot ship and I still wouldn't have wanted to use a straight most of the time.
    Every day without fail one should consider himself as dead-Tsunetomo

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