• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com pie forums private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Carla Burke
  • John F Dean
  • Nancy Reading
  • r ranson
  • Anne Miller
  • Jay Angler
stewards:
  • Pearl Sutton
  • paul wheaton
  • Leigh Tate
master gardeners:
  • Timothy Norton
  • Christopher Weeks
gardeners:
  • Tina Wolf
  • Matt McSpadden
  • Jeremy VanGelder

Does anyone shave with a real straight razor?

 
pollinator
Posts: 189
Location: Northeast Oklahoma, Formerly Zone 6b, Now Officially Zone 7
56
dog chicken earthworks food preservation writing composting
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've spent most of my 66 years trying very hard to never be beholden to anyone for anything; community relationship building notwithstanding. The recent Covid 'crisis' has caused me to think about some of the little things in life that I tend to take for granted.  I don't like a beard on me.  A couple of days of scrub doesn't bother me, but I have a tough, wiry beard, and once it gets to a certain length, it becomes unbearably scratchy.  It's also hot in the summer.  

I grew up using a double edge disposable blade razor.  Buy a really nice razor handle and then shave until the blade is too dull to give a good result, and then recycle the blades out to the shop for all the things you need an otherwise sharp and thin blade; scraping paint from window panes, peeling masking tape, etc.  I fell into the habit of using disposable plastic razors because I'm naturally lazy.  Didn't take me long before I started to think about the plastic waste [duh] and bought a cheap electric razor.  Got tired of the cheap electric razor and splurged on a very nice, albeit expensive model with an immediately recognizable German name.  It's nice, but it never gives the clean, tight shave as you would get from a blade.  That, and the heads last a few months, and then they need to be replaced (more waste), and they're $35 a pop.  On top of that, all of these are from a place far, far away, made by people that don't necessarily have my best interest at heart, and that, depending on the world's political situation at any given moment, are prone to supply interruption. They're also energy-rich. Even my 'German' engineering comes from there.  The goal is no waste (plastic or money,) no supply interruption, non-electric, good clean shave.  Throw in the desire for a sense of accomplishment, and there you have it.  Old School straight razor.  

I asked around, asked a LOT of guys, couldn't find anyone who actually uses one.  Plenty of "my old man used one, grandpa used one," but no current live users.  I did the usual YouTube thing and found some interesting information, including a number of 'experts' with very full beards attempting to inform me on the proper means and shaving methods.  Hmmm...

Did some research and found one online for about $100.  Solingen steel, Swiss-made, nice composite handle.  A rather pretty, elegant tool with classy engraving.  Should last my life, my son's life, and perhaps his son's life.  

I've been [very carefully] experimenting.  Bought a real badger bristle lather brush, several different types of soaps, including some local homemade soaps.  I bought a quality strop.  Took a nice long hot shower, soaked face [like I said, steel wool ain't got nuthin' on my beard.]  

Some observations:  Canned drugstore brand name shave cream doesn't cut it; it's made for safety razors.  I bought a tube of premium shave 'butter,' it's got coconut oil and lanolin' and some other goodies, you need this for comfort and..um...safety; the lubrication makes it a lot easier.  I have a close friend who makes all-natural soaps & creams working on it.  Angle: low.  Didn't put a protractor to it, but I would estimate about 15º.  Work in short, slow, smooth strokes; hesitancy leads to cuts.  Forget anything that you ever saw in a movie where the guy is wiping the blade across his manly face with enthusiasm.  I am terminally right-handed, the left side of my face presents the biggest challenge. Still working on the technique.  Blade: Never touch it; looking at it cross-eyed will not only dull it, but it will also deform it.  Strop: Before and after, every time.  Storage: Not in the bathroom where you would think, too humid and the blade will rust; keep it somewhere else after stropping and wiping it with a tissue and a little gun oil.  Safety: I don't have any young children around, but you can imagine what a boy would think if he saw it; very bad news.  I haven't gotten to honing yet.  

I'd be glad to hear any other perms chip in with their experiences.  I searched all the forums and strangely couldn't find a single post that's related to this.  Must be a lot of hirsute permies around.  
 
gardener
Posts: 374
Location: Zone 7a
258
6
kids rabbit chicken food preservation fiber arts
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I too have tried all the ways. Standard disposable, higher quality disposable, electric, & straight razors. Currently, I have gone to beard after accidentally not shaving for 3 weeks while working from home at the beginning of Covid stuff. My go-to has been the electric razor, only for the convenience. It allows me to shave in the car. When I want a good shave I would use my nicer disposable razor. After a few uses I sharpen it with one of these things. It works alright, certainly better than not.

There is also this thread on shaving
 
Eric Thomas
pollinator
Posts: 189
Location: Northeast Oklahoma, Formerly Zone 6b, Now Officially Zone 7
56
dog chicken earthworks food preservation writing composting
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I did see the shaving post after I posted this.  Oddly, it didn't come up on a search or I would have posted there.  
 
Posts: 98
29
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
So iam 20yrs old and been straight razor Shaving for 8 months. I've never used anything else. I hit puberty pretty late so I never needed to until a while back. What got me into it is iam an old soul. I find anything old fascinating. I use my right hand to shave both sides of my face, I just turn my palm away or to my face depending on which side iam shaving. Hope this helps!!
 
master steward
Posts: 6335
Location: southern Illinois, USA
2185
goat cat dog chicken composting toilet food preservation pig bee solar wood heat homestead
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Eric,

I have one handed down from my grandfather ...who was a barber.   I checked the prices at Lehman’s, they were pretty hefty.   I would check the junk stores.  Of course, don’t buy until you give it a close exam.  To be clear, I seldom use the thing.   I only shave if I have to be presentable for a job.
 
gardener
Posts: 1866
Location: Japan, zone 9a/b, annual rainfall 2550mm, avg temp 1.5-32 C
921
2
kids home care trees cooking bike woodworking ungarbage
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have considered taking that plunge, but haven't done it myself. Kudos on you for the adventure.

I got kind of scared watching videos of a guy getting a pro shave with a straight razor and he had obvious blood on his neck after... To be honest that turned me off of the idea for a while.

BUT I have often checked the sharpness of my chisels by shaving the hair off my arms... so I feel fairly comfortable getting a shaving edge on a piece of straight steel.
 
Posts: 45
1
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I shaved with straight razors for a few years. It was fun and interesting.

The most difficult part for me was learning to hone, sharpen and keep a good edge on the blades. Once you get that down it is fun and relaxing.

I went back to a safety razor because it is faster and easier.
 
Kevin Harbin
gardener
Posts: 374
Location: Zone 7a
258
6
kids rabbit chicken food preservation fiber arts
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Lew Johnson wrote:I got kind of scared watching videos of a guy getting a pro shave with a straight razor and he had obvious blood on his neck after... To be honest that turned me off of the idea for a while.


Thanks for that reminder. I have a 'feature' on my face that makes a straight razor a little tricky.
 
pollinator
Posts: 361
Location: zone 5-5
119
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
 This might be a little off topic but you mentioned you used a double-edged razor.
That's what I use and they make a hand crank blade stropper for them:
https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2380057.m570.l1311&_nkw=twinplex+razor+blade+sharpener&_sacat=0

Double edged razors are cheap.
The sharpeners work great.
Kind of cool how it works and flips the blade.
Same blade for over a year.
shaving once a week.
I think it would last longer but I had some used ones stashed in the back of the blade box and wanted to try them too.
...and it seems a bit safer.

Grandma told me gramps used to sharpen the double-edged blade by
setting them against the side of a glass and spinning it.
I tried it, didn't work too well.  Might work as a last polish.
That's why I bought the twinplex.
 
pollinator
Posts: 386
Location: Pacific Northwest
98
5
wheelbarrows and trailers foraging rocket stoves homestead ungarbage
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The biggest downside to a straight razor in my opinion is that you can't pack it in a carry on, it has to be in checked luggage.
 
gardener
Posts: 411
Location: Monticello Florida zone 8a
136
homeschooling hugelkultur monies foraging wofati building wood heat homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Using one here. I don’t shave much and only use coconut oil for “cream”
 
Eric Thomas
pollinator
Posts: 189
Location: Northeast Oklahoma, Formerly Zone 6b, Now Officially Zone 7
56
dog chicken earthworks food preservation writing composting
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

T Simpson wrote:The biggest downside to a straight razor in my opinion is that you can't pack it in a carry on, it has to be in checked luggage.



I honestly didn't think of that. Good point.  
 
Eric Thomas
pollinator
Posts: 189
Location: Northeast Oklahoma, Formerly Zone 6b, Now Officially Zone 7
56
dog chicken earthworks food preservation writing composting
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks for the replies.  Craig Howard, I think I will try your 2xedge razor stropper.  I've worked my way through two complete shaves with the straight razor, with only two or three minor cuts, and I'm beginning to understand why 'modified' beards like goatees, Van Dykes, and curtains were prevalent in the 19th century; they're covering the hardest geography on most guy's faces to work with a Southside Peacemaker (thanks friend from Chicago for that one.)  

I had an age and medication issue with my right (dominant) eye that's going to take a few months to heal, for now I'm effectively one-eyed. This makes working the left side of my face almost impossible.  

It's nice to know it's sleeping in a drawer, ready for duty if I ever need it.  Fun and educational exercise, valuable experience to file away, but I think I'll get a good quality safety razor and try Craig's stropper.  
 
pollinator
Posts: 289
Location: Calhoun County, West Virginia
35
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Can anyone recommend a brand of straight razor that they particularly like?  I have been meaning to switch for awhile now....
 
craig howard
pollinator
Posts: 361
Location: zone 5-5
119
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Glad to hear my post was useful to you, since it was kind of off topic.

If you buy one on ebay.
Make sure the leathers look good.
Maybe ask the seller to make sure they aren't dried or cracked.
Seems like most of the sellers on there think they are selling a novelty that is just for show.
Not like they think you are going to use it.
They just show the outside.
Eww look it's vintage, ha. and it has the original box.
Like this one:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/324611993285?_trkparms=ispr%3D1&hash=item4b9461eec5:g:Aa4AAOSw3RBglpCz&amdata=enc%3AAQAGAAACoPYe5NmHp%252B2JMhMi7yxGiTJkPrKr5t53CooMSQt2orsSvhAqMt0wg86xg8aAkgjQJC8EXir17k7160ByrLaUbuQQCCGoZOg3FECzqDc8gUDX%252FMkNe7muIpROrln3Zs%252BDQk9fRlfqP6LWFKtM6tl%252BIp43mme96qAvVS4ikk4inEvEc04MtBdFvd3%252FH9Bhy7Im7xO3Kdd%252B9DaOMGayTZv8NjjYHBp2mFDq4xPZN7KdCEonrk7zmC5LFGLK2PXJZrmpU1TBsUg9oxr5oCqyTwVwie4BxGUKXnC1PHMwd3%252FN9Muf9IRa4psg%252FDg%252FczQJXS0gIn2BidHBI20AxMsObD8Ig2GVprrCX2uPu5FHdQTHUWQ6gRtgeyHKL%252FRNyvfpWwT2iQuU6LxLj%252FXYfRzFibcy74W9vS%252BMyrX%252BzoP06DqTZ5t7XtkQ7MHU0O%252BNYc%252F0fCdPIdOUiMOIC0s149CjDL3tLKy0WqqzBxzjjnEfPHKm5ynzTiKTbdmIhwNqThya6x%252F%252F6GKnzFwqHG%252BXzwJjrcDcfUiOcpqd%252BvgYqUUUUNIjEK8%252BSTGMZ0LmORu1hr27TghI4NsyzfmlxUxwG7pkIPJQ3uIFguq9%252BPAXJmyEm%252FQ95Zvd4AGAZTfw4WemuApUJ6XgoJExnEvZMr1ayCi8pfBFhT4VvDf2pWcjAm1hCqw8y58uVmM%252F21iS2omVXc7nK6wlk0ztmcXRBvJMGexm4b9vM5%252BLHG2xki7yNc8YF8LKZXYFrap3gfguq6m6Xnkiw5GFQbyeITfYEkCEHDwrgwrET19BgwIyixoSbmqjWTEjwRFJZYmiKEc8XEKaiATS%252FZIdDYiRhuemrx6R%252FH9oK8CYl1RJOF3yv4lNSqYtbyeKfhoSpJU%252BipZKsKRyKhfAffq1ww%253D%253D%7Campid%3APL_CLK%7Cclp%3A2334524
Damn, I don't know how to shorten that link but the seller did a good job of showing the leathers and they look smooth.
Prices have come down about $10 since I bought mine.

I also bought some stropping paste like this:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/131373779736?hash=item1e967ccb18:g:0gsAAOSwvDNdnOD6

Just used some of it to lap a VW diesel injector together today too,
so it has other uses, ha.
But if you search strop paste you'll see there are many kinds
 
Eric Thomas
pollinator
Posts: 189
Location: Northeast Oklahoma, Formerly Zone 6b, Now Officially Zone 7
56
dog chicken earthworks food preservation writing composting
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Michael Littlejohn, see my original post.  The DOVO came highly recommended by several on line and personal references.  I'm thinking that you want to make an investment here.  Judging from the number of these that are being sold as "practical antiques," they last a long, long time with proper care.  My son's already eyeing mine up...
 
I suggest huckleberry pie. But the only thing on the gluten free menu is this tiny ad:
Building a Better World in your Backyard by Paul Wheaton and Shawn Klassen-Koop
https://permies.com/w/better-world
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic