First Straight Razor Advice

#1
Hi all,

New to TSR (Apologies if this has been discussed before)

I am looking to purchase my first straight razor, however i'm not too sure what to go for.

I've had a look online and have seen a few (Dovo, TI) around the £100-£150 mark, are there any cheaper options that anyone would recommend as a first razor?

From my research I am looking at a 5/8 or 6/8. I have quite a coarse beard and gather that I should avoid hollow grinds?

Any advice on razors/recommended sellers would be great.

Regards,
JMY
 
#2
Honestly don't waste your money on something that expensive for 2 reasons.

1. You won't know how greatbthe edge is when you get it, as you have nothing to compare it to. Being your first and all. It may actually still need honing - lots of people think by buying a new one they dont have to send it off to anyone, when it's (often) actually the other way around

2. You could get an excellent vintage straight razor, from someone who hones them (compulsory @Fergiebilly tag here), who usually sells them for around £50 but DEFINITELY HONED and therefore "shave ready". You'll save yourself £100 and learn what a great edge should feel like. Sometimes people sell good ones shave ready through the BST here, although you won't know its really shave ready - they probably won't tell you exactly how many uses it's had since it's last hone, or how well they've looked after that edge, so it can be a bit of a gamble. You could certainly buy one for £30-40 then send it to someone to hone.

Get a cheap paddle strop and some chromium oxide paste to help keep it sharp, and the whole lot will come in at less than £100, delivery included.

Some people dont listen to this advice as they want something "new and shiny". You could be smart and then get your new bling later ;)
 
#5
Honestly don't waste your money on something that expensive for 2 reasons.

1. You won't know how greatbthe edge is when you get it, as you have nothing to compare it to. Being your first and all. It may actually still need honing - lots of people think by buying a new one they dont have to send it off to anyone, when it's (often) actually the other way around

2. You could get an excellent vintage straight razor, from someone who hones them (compulsory @Fergiebilly tag here), who usually sells them for around £50 but DEFINITELY HONED and therefore "shave ready". You'll save yourself £100 and learn what a great edge should feel like. Sometimes people sell good ones shave ready through the BST here, although you won't know its really shave ready - they probably won't tell you exactly how many uses it's had since it's last hone, or how well they've looked after that edge, so it can be a bit of a gamble. You could certainly buy one for £30-40 then send it to someone to hone.

Get a cheap paddle strop and some chromium oxide paste to help keep it sharp, and the whole lot will come in at less than £100, delivery included.

Some people dont listen to this advice as they want something "new and shiny". You could be smart and then get your new bling later ;)
^This^
@Fergiebilly for your 1st (2nd, 3rd..) razor,
you won't get a better edge than one from Billy.
Paddle strop & then it's just practice.
Go for it!
 
#6
I would also agree with the advice above, regarding vintage, good honing source and paddle strop. I can't vouch for @Fergiebilly 's honing but his knowledge on the matter is is clearly some of the best in the forums - I have followed his recommendations on honing a lot, and it always works out perfectly.

As far as a source I have used myself, there is an eBay seller called Billyji1 - his edges are excellent and he also sells good paddle strops. (I don't think they are the same person because I've seen a post where @Fergiebilly commented possitivily on the guys honing.)

If you get a truly shave ready razor from one of these guys, you should use it the first time without stropping. That will give you a sense of what the edge should feel like after subsequent stropping.

Practise stropping before you get the razor in order to get the hang of the motion. You can practise sitting using a butter knife on your thigh.

Good luck and enjoy!
 
#7
Honestly don't waste your money on something that expensive for 2 reasons.

1. You won't know how greatbthe edge is when you get it, as you have nothing to compare it to. Being your first and all. It may actually still need honing - lots of people think by buying a new one they dont have to send it off to anyone, when it's (often) actually the other way around

2. You could get an excellent vintage straight razor, from someone who hones them (compulsory @Fergiebilly tag here), who usually sells them for around £50 but DEFINITELY HONED and therefore "shave ready". You'll save yourself £100 and learn what a great edge should feel like. Sometimes people sell good ones shave ready through the BST here, although you won't know its really shave ready - they probably won't tell you exactly how many uses it's had since it's last hone, or how well they've looked after that edge, so it can be a bit of a gamble. You could certainly buy one for £30-40 then send it to someone to hone.

Get a cheap paddle strop and some chromium oxide paste to help keep it sharp, and the whole lot will come in at less than £100, delivery included.

Some people dont listen to this advice as they want something "new and shiny". You could be smart and then get your new bling later ;)
This is all excellent advice. On the topic of Chromium Oxide look for sources that at least specify the micron (0.5). Chromium Oxide is very variable.

You might want to buy two double sided strops. One to use with paste and one to use without. When using paste, apply it very thinly with your finger at first. Wipe your razor well before moving to the next strop so as not to cross contaminate.
 
#9
Thanks for all the advice everyone , ended up getting a shave ready vintage German (Solingen) and a mid priced strop.

Had my first shave today, ended up DFS (half of my face) and a cut on my left side, but overall pretty pleased.

Is it common practice to use both left and right hands?
 
#10
Thanks for all the advice everyone , ended up getting a shave ready vintage German (Solingen) and a mid priced strop.

Had my first shave today, ended up DFS (half of my face) and a cut on my left side, but overall pretty pleased.

Is it common practice to use both left and right hands?
You really don't have to. I did as it felt intuitive to me, but a number of people shave with one hand only.
 
#11
Thanks for all the advice everyone , ended up getting a shave ready vintage German (Solingen) and a mid priced strop.

Had my first shave today, ended up DFS (half of my face) and a cut on my left side, but overall pretty pleased.

Is it common practice to use both left and right hands?
Shaved for 20 odd years one handed. That's how I was taught. Bad form to switch. One pass XTG. Use your sword hand. The fewer the strokes the more skill etc etc...

Then I gave up straight shaving for a few years. Got tempted back. Discovered EVERYONE is straight shaving these days and all the cool kids on you tube are ambidextrous and doing these little scratchy strokes.

So I tried that and it's a load of fun. A couple of things I noticed. You don't have to have such a sharp edge, and you don't have to control your strokes so carefully. Now I switch hands for most shaves. Unless I'm in a hurry or feeling nostalgic. It's a lot easier the older I get and consequently the tougher my beard gets.

I would say that switching hands is more efficient and easier.
 
#12
With the right hand I cannot reach and properly shave the area under my left ear so switching is a must for me. Started by air shaving with my left hand. The idea was to create muscle memory. Worked like a charm. Now I am ambidextrous but not strictly going left face - left hand and right - right but mixing depending both on area to shave and direction of shave.

sr_passes.jpg
 
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