How Many Passes of your SR do you do?

Discussion in 'Straight Razors' started by Willk, Mar 15, 2018.

  1. Jim99

    Jim99 Gold Water Shaver

    I have never heard of straight razors made by Jackson, but there were 100’s of manufacturers of straight razors back in 1900. Some of the more ‘seasoned’ SR users here might have heard of it. Note that, even if it was a relatively small manufacturer, that does not take away from the quality of the blade.

    I do see that the scales were either replaced or repinned as someone used a small screw, instead of the usual brass pin and washer, to attach the scales to the blade.

    Here are a few pointers that I’ll pass along for an SR beginner...

    Use a low angle-keep the spine of the razor only about two or three spine widths off of your face. This should give you an optimal angle while you get familiar with the process.

    Shave the lather-focus on shaving the lather clear off your face. Think of it like you’re just looking to clear off the lather and not looking to go any further. This should minimize any skin irritation and nicks.

    Light pressure-keep the pressure light and that will also minimize nicks, cuts and irritation.

    Go with the grain-until you become comfortable with your SR, go with the grain/direction of hair growth.

    Skin stretching-key to a successful SR shave is stretching the skin. I understand you can’t get a hold of skin full of lather, so do your cheeks first. Then you can stretch the cheeks later when shaving your neck, chin and upper lip. Skin stretching was elusive for me at first, but now comes naturally.

    Stropping-do about 30 to 40 passes on the strop before each shave.

    Wet lather-use a wetter lather than what you would use for a DE shave.

    Properly honed razor-not everything is about technique. A razor that is not in shave ready condition will simply provide bad shaves. Many people on eBay will say their razors are shave ready, but they are not. If you’re a beginner, you should have someone with experience check it out and hone it as necessary. I cannot emphasize this point enough. If you like the hobby, then later you might consider investing in a set of hones.

    Time-an SR shave will take longer for a beginner. If I rush my SR shaves, I could do one in 10 minutes. I normally typically spend 15 minutes doing an SR shave. I only do SR shaves on the weekends and days that I work from home. Otherwise, I’m pulling out my DE, SE or injector razors as I have limited time to get ready and get out the door in the morning. I get up at 4:00am and I’m not getting up any earlier. My recommendation is to not rush your shaves until you’re proficient.

    SR shaving is a skill that has a steep learning curve. I almost stopped after my first dozen shaves, but I hung in there and learned the do’s and don’ts. I always wanted to learn to shave the way my grandfather did and I feel that learning it was an enjoyable and rewarding achievement.
  2. oscar11

    oscar11 Well-Known Member

    2 passes and some touch ups where my beard grows weird. Don't worry about how long it takes you to shave you'll get more proficient with time.
  3. EnglishChannel

    EnglishChannel Well-Known Member

    I usually take 2 passes lately with a SR. I used to regularly take 3 or 4, but it just takes more time than I am willing to devote anymore, especially with the time required to prep the blade.

    I admit that I don't enjoy the time I spend maintaining the edge on my straight razors. I do enjoy the shave though.

    I generally like to give myself about 20 minutes MAX to shave and clean up. I can usually get 3 passes + touch ups with a SR in that amount of time.

    Sometimes I just don't have that much time to spare.
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2018
  4. SevenEighth

    SevenEighth Well-Known Member

    2 passes with a straight razor or a Feather DX. One pass if I am on form with a Feather SS.
    Passes are generally:
    1. WTG
    2. XTG cheeks, ATG neck

    When I was younger I was taught that you should only shave with your sword hand, you should never shave against the grain, and you should be able to complete your shave with a single pass. The more passes you take the less skill you possess!!! I remember my grandfather demonstrating a full shave, single pass without lifting the razor from his face.

    Coming back to straight shaving I have changed my technique to an ambidextrous one as you see in all the modern videos, and due to skin irritation on my neck find I have to shave against the grain.

    A couple of times when I have been tired I’ve caught myself finishing a full pass one handed as I used to, but the results weren’t great and I think to myself, “Sorry Grandad”
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2018
    Arnout, Keithmax, Billyfergie and 2 others like this.
  5. goshawk

    goshawk Well-Known Member

    3 passes - wtg xtg, atg with a hot towel and re -lather before each and then a cold towel after that.
    Over-kill really but I do enjoy it!

    Best Regards

    Keithmax, Billyfergie and SevenEighth like this.
  6. Bama Samurai

    Bama Samurai with Laser-like Focus Staff Member

    Two passes
    8 minutes
    Far more efficient, comfy, and effective than ANY safety razor.
  7. Arnout

    Arnout Well-Known Member

    In general I go for 2 passes with a touch up.

    If I shave warm I get bbs, but there are still small dots, with cold water and some more attention i get visualy clean as well.

    The time depends on the soap and the honing of the razor.

    I strop in general 10x linen, 10 x leather, sometimss more.
    I synthetic brush and creme takes no time to lather, presoaking a brush, sometimes the soap, loading,... can take a few minutes.

    With a comfortably shaving knive a pass takes half a minute, with an agressive edge it takes several minutes,...
  8. Rugger007

    Rugger007 Active Member

    Two passes WTG/XTG and I’m BBS.
    Keithmax likes this.
  9. deepdiver

    deepdiver New Member

    I'm a head shaver and I go wtg and atg for bbs

    Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk
    Keithmax likes this.
  10. JohnDB

    JohnDB Well-Known Member

    My neck gets several passes.

    My cheeks get a lot of "clean up" passes.... mostly because I swap between a razor with a large smile vx a gradual smile.
    And my angle of attack needs to change because of it.

    Sharpness of my razors also affect how many passes I do.
    One of my razors got a little "too sharp" and I felt like I was going to remove my cheek or throat if I used any pressure whatsoever. (I had a great lather going too) So a super-light touch was needed...then a bunch of clean up. (I was going for the edge and got it a bit too Arkansas stones are good for this)

    My beard is kinda light to start with. (Greying blonde) so the sharpness and xtg is important to get right. And I flub all the time. But I get it done or the itching will drive me crazy.
    Karl G and Keithmax like this.
  11. Shojo510

    Shojo510 Well-Known Member

    Lots of great info and advice in thread!

    New to SR shaving myself, up to my tenth shave today...of course I get off a little easy in that I have some facial hair that stays so my main challenge is the neck. Maybe I should say 10 half shaves!

    I take three passes with some touch ups and I am using warm water and constantly refreshing a very wet lather around 30mins. I have yet to get completely smooth but I am getting the best shave I have every had, and I am taking my time and enjoying the blade.

    I don't have any advice to give that other greats haven't already -

    The top ones for me -

    Take your time, enjoy the shave and no distractions...if short on time in the morning shave before going to bed.

    Mind the angle of the blade and the form with which you hold your blade...

    Wet lather and light pressure no forced or unsmooth actions...

    Work on your strop skills to deliver a ready blade...I strop after shaving to lessen the time it takes to get ready to shave

    check with hair on back of your hand see what it takes to cut a few hairs but be warned body shaving can be a slippery slope:signs081:

    Have fun!

    On a side note I will be investigating the cold water approach!
    Good luck on your search for the best shave! Thanks All!

    Update*** Cold Water works great, keeps more water in the lather , two left thumbs up ,lol!
    Last edited: May 16, 2018
  12. Dansco

    Dansco Well-Known Member

    You flub?
  13. Bama Samurai

    Bama Samurai with Laser-like Focus Staff Member

    Keithmax likes this.
  14. gssixgun

    gssixgun At this point in time...

    Supporting Vendor
    One multi directional pass,, I know my face :)

    If it is date night I MIGHT do a XTG pass on my cheeks and Neck MIGHT :D

    I started using a SR in 1981~ish for comfort, my only goal is a CCS if it is BBS also that is a plus but not a goal :p

    Timing: I set up the shave before the shower so if I want I can step out of the shower and be done in about 8 minutes.. I rarely want to do that... I enjoy the Luxury shave so i take my time
  15. JohnDB

    JohnDB Well-Known Member

    Stroke my neck again and remove no hair.
  16. Dansco

    Dansco Well-Known Member

    Is this a thing? Haha.

    Ive never heard that expression before but i understand now. Thanks!
    JohnDB likes this.
  17. Brickman301

    Brickman301 Well-Known Member

    Me too
    Keithmax likes this.
  18. lindyhopper66

    lindyhopper66 Well-Known Member

    When I started with straights, I would do 4 passes and take 30 or more minutes to shave. Now I do one pass for all but the chin. the chin takes around 3 passes. I got better at prep, I think.
    Keithmax and Jim99 like this.
  19. PickledNorthern

    PickledNorthern Fabulous, the unicorn

    lindyhopper66 likes this.
  20. lindyhopper66

    lindyhopper66 Well-Known Member

    True, that.

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