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.