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  #1  
Old 08-08-2011, 09:07 PM
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Picked up a few straight razors...now what?

My wife and I went to an estate sale yesterday. I bought a small collection of straight razors, most of them Henkel. 2 of them look like they are new, but are about 50 years old, still with their box. I didn't pay more than 4 bucks a piece, since it was the last day of the sale. Most of them have what appears to be plastic handles, one has a metal handle. I've been able to price each one, according to what I found on the 'net, but don't plan on selling any of them yet.

I've never shaved with one, and am more than a bit apprehensive...since it IS my face. I've heard that you can't beat a shave with one, but I've never done it before.

I'm looking to learn how to use one, how to care for it, as well as how to hone and strop one. What do I need?
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Old 08-08-2011, 09:12 PM
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There are a number of places on the web that have information about how to shave with them, strop them, and take care of them. I've been shaving with one for a couple of years now. It just takes some practice, but they do give you a great shave if you're willing to spend a little extra time on it.
If you can find an Art of Shaving store in your vicinity, they have a lot of nice shaving products to improve the experience. Good luck!
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Old 08-08-2011, 09:37 PM
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I know how. I learned on one and have several old Henkels. I don't shave with them most of the time but it's a sweet shave when you're done. The shaving part is time consuming and somebody on some forum I read compared it to having your whiskers licked off by a tiger. Can't say I disagree. My razor of choice is my father's old Gillette double edge razor ca. 1948. Great shave and a whole lot faster, although not as fast as modern single edge multi-blade razors.
Youtube has how to videos.
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Old 08-08-2011, 09:57 PM
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They're too much trouble for me to keep honed. Safety razors give me just as close a shave and I never have to worry about hones, coticules, barber stones, strops, strop paste, etc etc etc. But I have a dovo straight razor as well as my safety razor (Merkur Futur, which you can adjust its angle and aggressiveness. neat razor) that is pretty much as sharp as it gets and it shaves nice. Check out badger and blade, and straightrazorplace, both good forums. Some of these guys bust a nut over their shaving implements.

You'll want a decent brush, i found good badger brush on ebay from overseas for under 20 bucks. IMO the shaving cream out of the can works just as well, you just have to get your beard/stubble with hot water for a good couple of minutes to get em softened up (or like a lot of dudes shave after a shower). Honestly my face feels exactly the same after cheapo Barbarossa w/ aloe in the can as it does after the fancy puck soaps.. soft as a baby's butt.

But most of the time I have a 2-3 week old beard anyways that I keep trimmed so all I have to shave is the neckline anywho. Ironically keeping the beard up is much harder than just shaving completely every other day.
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Old 08-08-2011, 10:48 PM
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I hear ya on the upkeep of a beard versus a clean shave...I am currently sporting a 6" long fumanchu mustache that can be a bit of a hassle at times. I'm wondering just how much of a hassle it will be to shave around it with the straight edge, when it's already a bit cumbersome with my Fusion. I've had to buy small hair clips, similar to what my wife uses in her hair, only much smaller. I use them to hold the 'stache out of my way when I'm shaving close to the sides. If i were smart, I would stop shaving my head and use them to clip my 'stache to the sides of my head when I trim my neckline.
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Old 08-08-2011, 10:50 PM
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Sounds like an epic stache. It depends on how wide your straight razor is, the 5/8" are the standard size and can be cumbersome IMO.
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Old 08-08-2011, 10:54 PM
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I've been shaving since I was 14 and I still use a straight razor. Yeah, I'm amost 55 now so that's a long time a shaving with one. Remember if you shave with one of these, hold the blade to your face as flat as possible using very little pressure. Too much angle, too much pressure and you will need stiches. If your beard is tough like mine you will have to do a "twice over" after hot towels. I shave the first time down my face, the second time going up. Shaving was cool when I was a kid in school now it sucks. Get a good badger bristle brush, a cake of William's Shaving Soap, and an old coffee cup to put the bar of soap in, and your in business.
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  #8  
Old 08-08-2011, 11:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ara T. View Post
Sounds like an epic stache. It depends on how wide your straight razor is, the 5/8" are the standard size and can be cumbersome IMO.
Epic...perhaps, but the wife would like to see it grow longer. I started growing it when my daughters reached dating age. I started shaving my head then as well. I'd rather scare the boys they date with sheer looks, than to have to increase my blood pressure chasing them away. LOL
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Old 08-08-2011, 11:41 PM
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Make sure the blade is good and sharp, and TAKE YOUR TIME. I am afraid I'd cut my own head off, so I use a 1930s era Schick Injector with Williams soap and a badger brush.I have been tinkering with a pre-WW2 GEM Micromatic that uses single edge blades, can't seem to get the angle right with that one, keep missing spots.
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Old 08-08-2011, 11:47 PM
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Yeah you will cut yourself the first time you shave. But dont worry theres no way you can leave scars unless you do something dumb and drag the blade across your face sideways or something. Best way to go is with the grain, then across the grain. You can go against the grain at the end too but that shaves so close it gives me ingrown hairs.

It's quite an art form as you'll see.. you'll spend more time keeping the blade sharp than you will shaving
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Old 08-09-2011, 07:45 AM
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I have a short beard, no styling, use a trimmer twice a week.
Tried shaving in the past, after midday I looked unshaven and by the and of the day rather scary (according to my friends). They all say this looks better.

Rob
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Old 08-09-2011, 09:46 AM
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Well, you could always watch "Sweeny Todd, mad barber of Seville" for suggestions.

As for straight razors, I follow my father's advice. He told me, "Son, NEVER let a drunk near your throat with a sharp blade".
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Old 08-09-2011, 11:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jplinville View Post
I hear ya on the upkeep of a beard versus a clean shave...I am currently sporting a 6" long fumanchu mustache that can be a bit of a hassle at times. I'm wondering just how much of a hassle it will be to shave around it with the straight edge, when it's already a bit cumbersome with my Fusion. I've had to buy small hair clips, similar to what my wife uses in her hair, only much smaller. I use them to hold the 'stache out of my way when I'm shaving close to the sides. If i were smart, I would stop shaving my head and use them to clip my 'stache to the sides of my head when I trim my neckline.
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Old 08-11-2011, 12:26 PM
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I've also been shaving with a straight for about 10 years of so. There's lot of info available on many sites like straightrazorplace.com.

Send one out to get honed by a pro so you can see how a sharp one is supposed to feel like. Honing the blade is not as hard as it seems at first and only needs to be done infrequently ( 1 or 2 times a year for me).

The shave is stellar and you end up saving money. I spent about $150 ten years ago for 2 razors, strop, hone and brush. they are all still working great and haven't spent a dime on shaving since then other than shaving cream.
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Old 08-11-2011, 02:49 PM
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I've also been shaving with a straight for about 10 years of so. There's lot of info available on many sites like straightrazorplace.com.

Send one out to get honed by a pro so you can see how a sharp one is supposed to feel like. Honing the blade is not as hard as it seems at first and only needs to be done infrequently ( 1 or 2 times a year for me).

The shave is stellar and you end up saving money. I spent about $150 ten years ago for 2 razors, strop, hone and brush. they are all still working great and haven't spent a dime on shaving since then other than shaving cream.
Have you ever cut yourself or shaved a pimple off and bled to death?
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