Getting a little overwhelmed setting everything up here...

Discussion in 'Straight Razors' started by StormyWeather, Sep 15, 2019.

  1. StormyWeather

    StormyWeather Well-Known Member

    So, I'm prepping to get started with a straight razor -- I've used Shavettes, and I found them to give me good shaves if I go slow and take my time.

    What I'm working with:

    1 x Dovo 6/8 (brand new) straight edge.
    3 x vintage, varying types from a recent friending gift (needs to soak in Barbicide first before I start on them)
    1 x vintage straight razor I picked up for $15 as at antique shop (Some rust between the tang, and tail, and along the pivot, but the blade itself seems fine at the spine seems mostly clear. Rust needs removal with sandpaper, and a fine standing all over to give it some shine I guess? Maybe finish with paper towel loaded with Crox to get a near mirror on it. Seemed pretty even when I looked it over compared to the condition of the others. It probably wont' be perfect like a new razor, but as long as the angles are decent / it can give a decent shave, I'll be happy.)


    Norton 4000/8000 combo stone synthedic (Stone isn't new, but I barely used it with my Arkansas I have.)
    Sharpton 12000 grit ceramic (new)
    A big ole brick of green Crox (extra fine)
    DMT Dia-Flat plate (Been using it for some other stones I have)
    Just a basic leather strop, I think this one.

    I also have an existing strop loaded with the green Crox I use anyway sharpening other knives I have.

    So I few questions going into this:

    1. Should I be flattening any new stones I'm using (the Sharpton 12000 is new), or out of the box are they flat enough for razor sharpness? I've gotten knives sharp out of the box, but getting to the level I need for a straight razor might need next level care.
    2. For the new Dovo, where should I start? 8000 side of the stone? The sharpton? Maybe just Crox + strop and then a final pass on a non-crox strop?
    3. For the $15 salvage one I found, what extra precaution should I take restoring that, out side of the usual get the rust off + barbicide to kill off any nastiness?

    Some of what I'm asking might be redundant, and I may wind up just getting referenced to other material -- which is fine. There's just a lot of guides and material, and I'm trying to distill it down to what needs to be done to get started so I can maintain, and not ruin, the razors -- the advanced techniques and maintenance I can add as the basics become routine.

    I think I'm on the right track, and sorry for the noob thread. Any help is welcome and appreciated.
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  2. M14Shooter

    M14Shooter Well-Known Member

    The key is starting with a shave ready edge .I would wait a while before you try to hone .Just work on your shaving technique .
    RezDog, lightcs1776 and Edison Carter like this.
  3. StormyWeather

    StormyWeather Well-Known Member

    So just use the Dovo out of the box?
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  4. M14Shooter

    M14Shooter Well-Known Member

    That what I would do .Just make sure the edge is good on the Dovo .It should tree top arm air .The edge should feel a little gummy when you test it with light pressure on your thumb pad.I would just strop the Dovo and use it .Remember to properly prep /hydrate your beard .Just let the weight of the razor do the work . Keep your blade angle with in two spine widths.Just start on your cheeks first .Good luck with your journey into straights . .
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  5. Edison Carter

    Edison Carter Goo-bloomin' Stankster


    You said you have experience with shavettes, how much?

    I think Dovo maintains the position that they provide their products as 'shave ready'. You can find much debate as to whether that is true or not. I think it safe to say that you could find someone able to make an improvement with a little applied experience. If you are currently comfortable open edge I'd say give it a try.

    When I started, I bought a used piece honed by a gentleman with a fine reputation. I probably went 45 shaves before using any abrasives. My caution here is to not jump around too much. One 'known edge' is pretty important for a baseline reference.

    Another caution.... Do not get rubbing alcohol on the scales of your new Dovo. I spritzed a brand new one with isopropyl to clean off the oil, dried it off and headed to my strop. The scales crumbled in my hand before I could do 5 laps.

    Try to separate knife sharpening from razor honing. The total inclusive angle is half or less on a razor requiring you to maintain 2 contact points on the stone (spine and edge). Most knife edges do not be as refined as razors.

    A lighted magnification tool is nice to have available.

    You may be feeling overwhelmed if you are trying to get into finished position on all 5 of your straights at the same time.

    Good luck and have fun.
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  6. StormyWeather

    StormyWeather Well-Known Member

    Wait what? Rubbing alcohol destroys the scales?

    Not much shavette experience. Honestly using the shavette is much like using a safety in what angles agree with my face. In that regard if I attempt certain angles, with either a shavette or a safety, the result is unpleasant.

    That being said, I can maneuver a shavette in ways I couldn’t easily do with a safety, which has a cap that blocks my viewpoint of where the blade is. By being able to see the blade, I have more control over small angle changes than would be easy to see with the safety.

    Anyway that’s my experience so far. I guess my angle is good as I haven’t cut myself beyond nicks the alum could angle.

    However, I feel like a good soap is even more important with the shavette. Mediocre soaps just don’t cut it on my rotation anymore.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2019
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  7. Chuck Naill

    Chuck Naill Well-Known Member

    I think your stones should work later, but initially I still recommend using non adhesive 3m films on a marble floor tile. The progression is 30, 12, 9, 3, 1, .5, .3 micron. You set the bevel on the 30. The total cost is less than $40.

    If you have access to hobby lobby, they carry a thick balsa wood to apply diamond paste. This is used after the film progression and before stropping. I use chromium oxide on a suede paddle strop. Balsa $5, diamond paste $12.
    Edison Carter likes this.
  8. DaltonGang

    DaltonGang Ol' Itchy Whiskers

    Just because Dovo says the razor is Shave Ready, doesnt mean it is. Strop it on the Green CroX strop, about 15 times. Then strop on a linen strop(if you have one) 50 times., then leather strop 100 times. If it doesnt shave smooth as butter, after that, send the blade out, to be properly honed. You can use the Dovo as a measure of what your other razors should do, when you hone them.
    Now, on stones. You need a good bevel setter. A good 1k is necessary. Dont skimp on the 1k. Get a good one, because this level is where most of the necessary hard work is done.
    Also, you say you have a leather strop. You need a linen strop to go with jt. Most leather strops come with linen.
    In answer to the Alcohol on scales question: yes, alcohol can ruin some scales. I dont remember which material exactly, but I have seen it done on one of mine, when I first started. It is best you dont experiment with alcohol. Soapy water, and a toothbrush, cleans things fine.
    Chuck Naill likes this.
  9. Edison Carter

    Edison Carter Goo-bloomin' Stankster

    Apparently SOME celluloid plastics become brittle if they are hit with alcohol.

    I had the same thing happen to a pair of WileyX sunglasses. Sometimes I just have to learn the hard way.
  10. Chuck Naill

    Chuck Naill Well-Known Member

    I never use alcohol with any razor type. I’ve also seen the damage to pristine GEM vintage when isopropyl was used.

    Germs and metal don’t mix well.
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  11. Edison Carter

    Edison Carter Goo-bloomin' Stankster


    Given the additional info I like the original advice above by @M14Shooter on startup.

    If we were close personal friends, I'd recommend you to send your new Dovo an one of your other razors to @gssixgun Glen at Gemstar Customs. I've never heard of a poor edge coming from him, and a pleasure to work with. Since we don't know each other, my advice is exactly the same.

    You'd easily have a sound basis for your foundation on open edge skills without worrying over the quality of your edge.

    In the beginning, I did partial shaves on simple strokes and finished with another tool. 3 or 4 weeks in I was comfortable enough to commit to only open edge shaves. I allowed 1 hour of time, used more earlier and less later.
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  12. Edison Carter

    Edison Carter Goo-bloomin' Stankster

    For me, I use isopropyl as a water dispersant. I can usually handle my own shaving cooties.
  13. gssixgun

    gssixgun At this point in time...

    Supporting Vendor
    You are really in deep water here


    #1 The Dovo, I will hone it to true shave ready No Charge you pay shipping, the idea of a Factory Shave Ready DOVO is a Mythical Creature created by a few lucky souls that have seen these rare Unicorns...
    (This only makes sense if you are in the US)

    #2 You can decide what to do after that once you learn to shave with a SR

    #3 The Norton 4/8 is more than capable of doing everything you need, trust me I honed over 1500 razor professionally with that Hone and that alone, before I descended into the Rabbit Hole,,, with the Shapton 12k you really have a system

    #4 "Gssixgun" on YouTube there are a few vids on using ONLY the Norton 4/8 for much later when you start honing

    #5 Be very careful using Unknown CrOx blocks most are NOT good for razor edges you need to know EXACTLY what it is before using it

    PM me if you would like
  14. StormyWeather

    StormyWeather Well-Known Member

    Where do you recommend getting crox then?
  15. Edison Carter

    Edison Carter Goo-bloomin' Stankster

  16. gssixgun

    gssixgun At this point in time...

    Supporting Vendor

    This is the Dovo /Soligen series they will trick you It is reversed the Green is actually the Coarse Grit

    Green (5-8 micron) - Red (3-5 Micron) - Black (1-3) micron I think I remember those grits correctly I have it on here someplace too These are VERY soft cutters and REALLY shine on the old Sheffield steels

    I have the Finest / Softest most pure CrOx I have ever found, but it is useless for "Sharpening" I only use it for smoothing the edge after honing. I have some small amount I could sell

    Maggards has the .50 CrOx that most people use for refreshing
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2019
  17. M14Shooter

    M14Shooter Well-Known Member

    I would take Glenn up on his generous offer to hone your razor .He will send you back an outstanding edge that will be truly shave ready .That way you have a reference to understand what an edge should feel like .For the short term learn how to strop properly and focus of learning how to shave with your Dovo when you get it back from Glenn .Once your muscle memory and skills are improved in several Months than I would consider learning how to hone .Like Glenn said .Keep it simple .
  18. Edison Carter

    Edison Carter Goo-bloomin' Stankster

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  19. gssixgun

    gssixgun At this point in time...

    Supporting Vendor
    Actually one of the better Dovo's I have had under the scope from the factory

    Just a few tiny chips
    Edge passes the AHT except for down toward the heel is weak
    Going to do a quick shave test before and after stropping to see where it really is, I like to track what the Factories consider shave ready
  20. Chuck Naill

    Chuck Naill Well-Known Member

    I do quick shave tests at time myself when honing, even at various stages during the progression. Its the most useful feedback for me.
    Edison Carter likes this.

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