This is a little overdue and this post won’t complete all I need to say, so stay tuned. Subscribe!
Sure it’s cold. I grew up with the freedom to take a leak behind a tree when I needed to. I can’t imagine people in cold places having this luxury.
Okay, straight razors. A lot of you reading this have had me sharpen your edges. If you haven’t we should change that.
A little backstory. In my 20’s working for the sheriffs office I always used an electric. Changing careers I didn’t need to shave every day. But I would use just whatever. However, for the most part, I always got some razor rash. The only time I didn’t get it was using a straight. Seems now if I try to use a DE I always get it. I think maybe if I tried and really learned to use whatever tool I choose it would lessen. Truth is, I enjoy straights.
When people transition to straights they expect the same results and feel. Well it’s a different instrument. Different sound. Different tool. You gotta learn to play it. For some it’s not worth it. I’ve learned to be okay with this. Just accept the fact that straight razors are not for everyone. I do suggest everyone try it.
If you try it stick with it. Give it a full 3-6 months before you truly decide you can’t do it or you don’t like it.
Pick it up and don’t put it down. Make a commitment. Use one cream. One brush. One razor. Don’t touch up with another. Don’t change anything major. By now you should know what works.
Find a mentor. Lots of folks are happy to give advice and encouragement. We all once began. It’s nice to have someone to listen to you and to give you hope.
Change your prep. Change your later. Look. Lather is cheap. Even using expensive stuff it is still pretty cheap. Here’s what I mean.
1. Don’t be afraid of a runny lather. Wetter is better. No thick mountains and peaks are needed. Why? Dries out too fast.
2. Don’t be afraid to wipe off your face and completely relather. I don’t understand why people treat their cream as if it is in limited supply. Check it out…you’re doing a ton of new things. Practicing angles and tilts and positions all while contorting your face into some sort of position. Time passes. Lather gets tacky and sticky. Try shaving a piece of tape…. Blade won’t move.
After my prep I will lather up and often time I will just either dip my brush in water or run in under the faucet and apply that water only to my face. Stretch out the existing lather.
Will it all run out?
Try this. Lather your face as normal. Shave one half of your face. Using only water and your hands splash/ wipe off the cream from both sides. Shave the other side. See? It’s more glide there than you thought. As much? No. But the point of that extreme example shows is that there is plenty more lubricity in there than we likely imagined.
Don’t buy crap.
But I will cut it.
Maybe. Maybe not. If you’re going to invest the money spend just a little more and get it from someone that actual makes strops and not cuts leather.
Thewellgroomedgentleman (tony miller)
And straightrazordesigns.com make some of the best I’ve seen and used.
I recently saw just a cut piece of Latigo on d rings being sold for $60. Spend $10 more and get a nice strop. I’ve sent a number of people to these guys. No one has yet called me an sob for suggesting these strops.
What if I roll my edge?
I’m not totally sure that is truly possible. I’ve never seen it.
But…and to start off… Strop with your strop flat on a table or flat surface and use as a bench strop/ hone.
You do not have to be fast. You do not have to be fast.
Yes, but I read —– okay so go back o where you read that and look at two things. 1) how much contradicting crap they also said 2) how long they’ve been shaving.
Also this reiterates the importance of having a mentor. When you’re working with your mentor I suggest stay off other websites and listen only to what they say. Once you have success you can carry on however you desire. You trusted your mentor for a reason.
My Blade isn’t shave ready but I bought it that way.
I used to think most of this was crap. Well, I started taking in these razors whenever I heard new guys saying this. And 98% of the time they were right. Very much NOT shave ready. So who do you trust? I can tell you I will hone for you and I will. But who am I for you to believe I’m any good? I can suggest a couple of others but they may be worse than I am for all you know. Unfortunately even some that are talked about are producing crap results. Problem is you have a new person giving advice and suggestions when they can’t tell one hole from the other. Granted some may be good. I said 98% of the new folks shave ready razors I got in were indeed not, however I have no clue what they did to them before I got them.
This is why these things I tell you become so important grasshopper.
– good strop
– strop on table
– lather/ prep
So what is the best way to be certain my edge is good?
That’s not one I can really answer. It takes a little trial and error. I’m picky about my edges. I’ve had close to 70 different people hone blades for me at one time or another. I would use two of them. Some sucked. Others just seem to settle for subpar. I like crazy smooth sharp edges. Others are okay with less than that. Cool.
So, get your blade. If it doesn’t seem right after a couple of weeks send it to another place. If the original person is willing to take a look at it and see if you might have done something to fail the edge take advantage of that am have them touch it up. When you get it back and it’s still the same, it’s time to find someone else. Although, when you try this other person’s work and get the same results again, fingers point back to you. Maybe they both were bad. You know this would be a superb time for my mentor! See how that works. 😉
Don’t rush it. Expect to dedicate the next 90 days to figuring it all out. Expect to shave with a straight consistently for about 6-7 months before you really start getting good shaves. About 1000 shaves is a good number. Whoa that’s a lot! What else do you have to do? Like any instrument it takes practice and commitment.
I’m reminded of some great advice I repeat often to myself and others. I believe it either came from Lynn or it was just used by him….
“I honed 100 blades and then I knew something. After honing 1000 I realized I didn’t know shit.”
So much truth there and it can be applied to your shaving as well. After about 3-4 weeks you’ll be flying high. A few months after that you’ll laugh at your old self. 😉
Hang in there. The journey may be long but you’re going to shave anyway. I’m not going to sugarcoat anything for you. Listen to these words and you will have success. The only person you cheat is yourself.
I tend to carry a lot of crap. I’ve tried often to travel light(er) but always seem to need something I’ve left when I do.
I don’t like a lot of things in my pockets. Too uncomfortable and not the easiest access. So, a belt pouch or sheath is the best option. Most are designed to hold only one or two things. Those designed to hold more are often enormous and not too functional. I’ve owned several. Most get used briefly then put or given away.
Enter skinth. Eric at skinth solutions really understands this dilemma of needing to carry items around in comfort. What struck me by surprise most about my skinth is how I can have all this weight ride so comfortably. I’ve had other sheaths with less items in them feel a lot heavier. This one I really don’t know it’s there half the time.
Sure you do. We all do. I quit making plans. But, I do like keeping track of things to do. I found the Passion Planner. http://www.passionplanner.com. At first I was put off by the large size. However, I tried it anyway and am really glad that I did. I know every year from now on I will be buying a Passion Planner. You can go to the passion planner website and download a PDF file for free to try the planner out. It is a very cool and well thought out design.
I’d been hearing about this cat over on SRP (www.straightrazorplace.com) called hidestoart. I’d heard his strops were just killer. I already had quite a collection so finding a new one was no where near my list, much less on it.
As fate would have it. (Don’t you love that cheesy cliche line?) We had a meet up. Yep. There’s more than one person out there that uses straight razors… Hides To Art, or Kevin, came to the meeting. He was going to bring a strop to donate but there was a mix up and he didn’t complete it. Truth of the matter is, he’s such a perfectionist and brilliant craftsman, he had made a mistake on it and even though it was to be given away free, he wasn’t going to give subpar work.
Fast forward a couple of months after the meeting. I ended up getting a strop. The quality is far more than I could have imagined. The performance. Now this is what got me. The performance of this thing is insane! You truly must try one. There’s a way he works and conditions this leather that just outdoes others out there. He won’t tell me what, but hey. It’s working.