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Thread: Razor seems dull after 9 shaves

  1. #11
    Senior Member aalbina's Avatar
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    Apr 2015
    New Hampshire, USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by ARP View Post
    Appreciate the feedback and suggestions... I was a little discouraged. Would be awesome to actually shave with someone that knows how to do this. My surviving grandfather is 94 and hasn't used a straight in several decades. Seems like it is probably everything. I should mention that I am shaving my head, lining my beard and shaving my neck. I'll increase the stropping, see if I can get the razor sharper. I'll also keep close watch on the angle and give a little extra time to prep. I just got a badger hair brush, first use this morning - HUGE difference over the ever-ready boar's hair brush that belonged to my great-grandfather. See where this gets me...
    That's a lot of surface area. I use to shave my head but not with a straight - I used a DE. DE blades on my beard lasted 3-5 shaves. On my head they lasted 2-3 shaves. The fact that you're shaving your head makes a big difference on the life of your razor.


  2. #12
    Senior Member Paul76's Avatar
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    Festus missouri
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    One thing that did help me on my stropping was to set the strop down on a flat hard surface to help keep the angle right. And it helps technique and saves your stop from as many nicks. The balsa strop with chromium oxide on one side and iron oxide on the other help to revive a lightly dulled edge. For me at least. The shaving technique varies from beard to beard. Mine took about two and a half months to come around, so don't get discouraged and enjoy having all the parts come together for you.

  3. #13
    Senior Member bluesman7's Avatar
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    Good points, both Adam and Ray. My beard is fairly light and I wear a Van Dyke.
    See my razors at

  4. #14
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    Nov 2016
    Hinsdale, Massachusetts
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    I agree with everyone so far, I struggle still with proper beard prep, and my very thick coarse beard lets my edge know. I would watch like every stropping video you can find and really focus on developing proper technique. It take 100 strokes to learn proper technique and 10,000 to undo improper technique.

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobH View Post
    When people say they are using an angle on the blade of 30 degrees I always wonder if that was measured with a protractor.

    Haha, I got a good laugh out of this!
    BobH likes this.

  6. #16
    Senior Member rodb's Avatar
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    Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States
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    My first guess would be angle and stropping, with angle, try starting with it flat to your face and slowly raise it until you find the sweet spot, which will probably be flatter than you think it should be. With stropping, practice with a butter knife to build some muscle memory and don't use much pressure, maybe 1/2" drop in the center with a taut strop (not so taut as to pull hooks out of the wall!!), a barber hone or CoOx pasted paddle will really help with touchups.

    Try and find a mentor near you, that will REALLY help

  7. #17
    ARP is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodb View Post

    Try and find a mentor near you, that will REALLY help
    Anyone on here in the suburbs south of Pittsburgh?

  8. #18
    Senior Member blabbermouth niftyshaving's Avatar
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    Silicon Valley, CA, USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by ARP View Post
    Brand new to straight razor shaving. Came into a dubl duck, had it RE-honed, started shaving. It was amazing the first 7 shaves. Now seems like it takes hair, but not a very close shave. Is it possible that improper stropping technique, shave angle of more than 30°, other newbie mistakes have already dulled the blade?

    Or maybe not getting a good stropping? I've been running over linen 20 times, then leather 30 times (counting away and back as 1 pass). I'm holding the strop tight, the first few times I was pushing against the leather with the razor, but I've got a good feel of it now, just the weight of the blade on the strop. I've been making two passes, one with the grain and a second across, the past two shaves I've had to clean up with Gillette Fusion.

    Seven is good or not good depending...
    I can dull a razor in half a shave by holding the spine way too high (45 degrees).
    That can happen on my chin or mustache as I go over the hard angles of my face,
    chin, jaw and even Adam's Apple.

    Stropping half way into a shave can help...

    Use the canvas less, strop less, strop smoother.

    I lay my razor flat on my face and lift the spine a bit and shave
    no more than the width of a postage stamp. I back up half that
    and shave another stamp width.

    A strop will not sharpen an edge it can restore an edge. Once the edge
    is slightly rolled more shaving will roll it more... three or four strokes
    on the strop can recover a slight roll but less likely if you keep trying
    to push it through whiskers like mine.

    I often pause, apply lather, strop five perhaps ten smooth strop strokes, freshen
    the lather and continue. The lighter the touch razor to whisker the easier it is
    to feel what is happening.

    A balsa strop with CrOx is easier to find (or make) than a good barber hone.
    An 8K modern hone can be better than many barber hones. Use it
    the same... splash ... three or five hone strokes, strop and shave.
    Canvas after any hone... but not too much.

    This is one nice video on refreshing a razor... <---- worth a look!

    CrOx is green and easy to see even if it gets on the carpet.
    Diamond is cleaner.
    I use a 12K hone for my refresh...

    The pyramid method works with a minimum of hones and expense.

  9. #19
    Senior Member blabbermouth Kees's Avatar
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    In spite of many stropping experiments, good quality hones and razors I don't usually get more than 10 shaves out of an edge before touching up on the hones. I might be able to get more shaves out of an edge but that wouldn't be really comfortable shaves.
    niftyshaving likes this.
    Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr.

  10. #20
    Senior Member FWiedner's Avatar
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    May 2017
    North Texas
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    I also thought my razors were getting dull after a few shaves.

    I put some effort into improving my stropping technique and my razors mysteriously got 'sharper', without going back to the hones.

    I combined that with advice from this forum about not putting any more pressure on the blade than was necessary to keep the blade in contact with the skin. It's like my Dad used to say out in the shop, "Let the blade do the work".

    As it turns out, my razors were plenty sharp, but I was employing poor technique that needed improvement, and addressing these two items changed the character of my straight razor shaves.

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