New razor??

Discussion in 'Straight Razors' started by F1REMAN218, Mar 26, 2020.

  1. F1REMAN218

    F1REMAN218 New Member

    Does anybody recommend a good razor that doesn't feel like its tearing the hair out lol. I've used a stop have it super sharp but still is rough. my razor right now is a razor meister
    Karl G likes this.
  2. DaltonGang

    DaltonGang Ol' Itchy Whiskers

    Almost any vintage razor that is in good shape, and "Properly Honed", will shave without any pulling, and will shave smoothly. Properly honed is the key.
  3. Slash McCoy

    Slash McCoy Well-Known Member

    Supporting Vendor
    I think that is one that we call an RSO. Razor Shaped Object. These are characterized by having crappy steel and sometimes insanely acute or obtuse bevel angles, sometimes oversized pins, a flat spacer instead of a wedge, and sometimes scales that are too thick or look like they belong on a pocketknife. RSO's are not made by razorsmiths. They are made by ordinary third world factory slugs who do not even know how to shave with a straight razor and certainly do not know how to make one. They are not designed to shave. They are designed to look like a proper razor to the untrained eye, and to sell. Most new razors under $80 or so are RSO's, exceptions being Gold Dollars, Gold Monkeys, Titans, and ZYs, and these are in some respects marginal but the steel at least is up to the task. They can be honed and will take, and retain, an edge sharp and smooth enough to consider to be shave-ready.

    You say you have used a stop... do you mean a strop? A strop will not make your razor sharp. A strop does not remove steel and so it does not hone. It only aligns the edge and burnishes away any oxidation, and cleans the edge and bevel. To hone a razor it must be rubbed in a systematic manner on a progression of abrasive media.

    A shave ready razor will not torture your face. It will shave efficiently and smoothly. And that is what you need, a shave ready razor.

    If a razor is sharp, it should treetop arm hair at 1/4" above the skin. To perform this test, simply pass the razor over the forearm, not touching, but passing 1/4" above the skin. If the razor is nice and sharp it will sever one or two hair tips per pass, and you will see them lying on the razor. At the very minimum, it should treetop at 1/8" above the skin. Shaving your forearm, with the razor touching the skin, is a test for a pocketknife, not a razor.

    Here is the catch. You need a shave ready razor in order to learn to shave. You need to have experience shaving (with a straight razor) before you understand what a shave ready edge is, looks like, feels like, and performs like. Trying to hone a razor to shave ready condition might look like the way to get started, but in fact is is extremely difficult to teach yourself how to shave with a razor that you are at the same time trying to teach yourself to hone. Most guys who try this, fail. Much easier is to start with a shave ready razor, learn to shave with it, and then when it gets dull send it out for honing or learn to hone it yourself. Finding this shave ready razor is not as simple as it might seem. There is actual shave ready, and there is internet shave ready. Anybody can offer a razor for sale and declare it to be shave ready, and many do, who do not even know what that means, or dare I say it? Some probably do know, and simply lie about it to get sales.

    Most razors are NOT shave ready when they leave the factory. Sharp? Well, usually sharp enough to cut a steak or open packages but not sharp enough for a good shave. Not as sharp or even close to as sharp as a decent DE blade.

    The only way to be reasonably certain that a shave ready razor that you order is shave ready, is to only buy from a known and reputable seller. This means a seller that is recognized on one or more of the straight razor discussion forums. No forum member of long standing is going to risk his reputation by vouching for a maker that misrepresents his wares. Just because a random seller says he sells shave ready razors doesn't mean that he does. Verify before you buy.

    Alternately you could buy a razor and have it honed by a reputable honer. Same thing... verify on one or more forums. It's not about wasting the $20 or so honing fee. It is about wasting your time and skin. Many forum members here or elsewhere take in razors to hone for others.

    Once you have at least one shave ready razor, you can begin to learn how to use it. Those pictures you see on ebay or amazon listings of GQ guys pretending to shave for the camera? Do not use them as your guide or example. LOL! First of all you need good prep, which mostly means hydrating your whiskers and lathering with a good shave soap or shave cream and a proper shave brush. No, not stuff that squirts out of an aerosol can. Give yourself every advantage. Use a decent brush and decent cream or soap. Learn to make a good lather, wet and slippery. A Santa Claus beard of lather is not necessary. While the lather stands on your face, strop your razor on a proper strop. Not a belt, not a cheap piece of crap from China. Be very sure that you actually know how to strop. You can do considerable harm to your razor's edge with improper stropping.

    You should have already mapped your face and know the direction of your hair growth over every area of your face. Your first pass should definitely be WTG, or With The Grain. Stretch your skin tightly and use light pressure on the razor. The shave angle is important and most newbies use way too loose of a shave angle. To find the proper shave angle, lay the razor flat against your face. Now tilt the spine of the razor out away from the face just a bit. The gap between the spine and your face should be equal to the spine thickness. That is your standard shave angle. An EXTREMELY sharp razor shaves best with a tighter shave angle. A not so sharp razor, maybe a little looser angle. If you have the shave angle at anything more than about one and a half times the spine thickness, first of all you are scraping, not shaving. Second, very likely the razor is too dull which is why you are doing it. Scraping is hard on your face and hard on the edge of your razor, too.

    You won't always be able to shave exactly WTG. Just get as close as your facial topography allows. You can make a second pass, even a third. It takes a nice sharp razor and an experienced hand to get a great shave with a single pass. Usually the first pass reduces the beard, a second pass eliminates it and a third pass can clean up difficult areas. The second pass should be WTG, too. Some guys say XTG, or across the grain, for the second pass. I say don't bother. Just relather your face and repeat the first pass. On the third pass, go ATG. Against. This is optional. A two pass shave should be quite good enough. Some guys like to chase the perfect BBS (Baby Bottom Smooth) shave. I say it is unneccessary and it excessively exfoliates the skin. Two WTG passes should be good enough. An excellent newbie shave.

    You won't learn all this from reading one thread. All of your questions, including the ones that you don't yet know to ask, are answered already. So read, read, read, on this and on other forums. Soak up the knowledge. Watch the recommended youtube videos. Most of all, get yourself a shave ready razor, whether vintage or new doesn't matter, so long as it is a proper razor in decent shape, not an RSO, and shave ready. A Gold Dollar will work. A good vintage will likely work a bit better, so long as you got a good one. Be careful buying on ebay and other internet sites. There are a lot of dogs out there. My favorite new razor would definitely be the Dovo Bismarck. I own several of these. Probably the most recommended new razor for the beginner would be one from Ralf Aust. I have bought most of my new Bismarcks from, and the owner will hone your razor for you before shipping it. The Revisor site has a lot of great razors at decent prices. Any seller widely recommended on the forums will do, and for shave ready, verify on the forums as well.
  4. Steve56

    Steve56 Well-Known Member

    Last edited: Mar 27, 2020
  5. MrEE

    MrEE Half Naked Shave Stalker

    Yes, you need quality steel or it's not fun. At the price it's hard to beat any of the Dovo razors. I did purchase a cheap razor for learning to hone. It was great. I had to hone it before every shave and strop between passes. Switched to a Dovo and now I can make it quite a few shaves before it needs honing.

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