PDA

View Full Version : Is it worth exploring str8s?



smrex13
01-16-2010, 10:53 PM
Hey everyone!

I am enjoying this site more than any discussion group I've ever stumbled across. Currently, I am using an EJ 89L/Feather blades/Nancy Boy shave cream, and I am getting a shave that is otherworldly. I am wondering whether it is worth looking into straights. Basically, I want to know whether there is something that a str8 shave offers that cannot be enjoyed by a good DE shave. Any guidance will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Scott

sdimartino
01-16-2010, 11:28 PM
I second this question. I'm getting such a great shave with my safety razors, I'm quite curious as to what the straight might have to offer that's over and above a safety razor that might make it worth the extra cost/effort/risk. :001_smile

smrex13
01-17-2010, 01:55 AM
Thanks for the follow-up! Yes, I'm wondering if straight razor shaving is merely another road to shaving nirvana, or a significantly better way to wet shave. My ultimate goal is to find the best shave...any insights are appreciated...

Scott

Bushranger
01-17-2010, 02:05 AM
i'm 3rd str8 shave in. So far, it's a huge learning curve and requires much more caution, concentration and time.

Cheech
01-17-2010, 02:20 AM
Its hard to say. I guess it depends on why you use a DE, what do you enjoy about it?

If its the shave, a straight will shave even closer. I know we're now talking about minutia here, but it is closer.

If its the challenge, using a straight does take some time to master, and still offers a good deal of variability when you shave.

If its the practicality of using a DE, you might be better off with the DE. Yes, you have to buy blades. But, how expensive are they? Yes, there's nothing else to buy (yeah, right) with a straight if you hone your own. But the initial buy-in can be a bit much. In terms of time, its probably a wash. After shaving with a straight for a while, its probably going to take about as long as with a DE.

If its the expanse of interesting things to try, I'd say the straight world matches the DE world, if not passes it. Although the individual pieces are probably a bit more expensive.

If its the nostalgia, the straight has got to be the winner, hands down. Unless you have fond memories associated with a DE. Memories trump general nostalgia any day in my book.

If you like comparing different heads,blades, guards etc., then just wait until you are comparing the relative values of grinds, points, and scales.

If you like tinkering, straights are the way to go. There are endless tinkering possibilities. If you don't, then you don't have to do too much. But the edge does have to be kept up.

Then of course, there is the eye candy. But if you aren't drawn to straights, and are happy with your DE, why bother?

Why do I use a straight? Its the best shave with the least irritation. But that may vary from person to person. For me, I was a real problem shaver. I'm not going to go into it all, as I've done that so many times in other posts... But, at the end of the day, it comes down to why you shave, and what would a straight offer you?

davecmu
01-17-2010, 02:21 AM
I started with straight razors about a year ago after a couple of years of DE shaving, and I have to say that I get a closer, more comfortable shave with a straight than I do with any DE razor. The difference is hard to quantify, but I do not have to shave every day with a straight to remain stubble free. In that way, it's actually a little sad because I like shaving every day with a DE.

The learning curve for me only took a couple of good, focused shaves. Now it takes me just as long with a straight as it does with a DE. The cost can actually be fairly close to DE shaving start up if you purchase a good vintage shave-ready razor from the B/S/T here or elsewhere.

When it is at its best, I believe a straight razor shave is significantly better than any DE. The most important part for me is that on average, it is consistently better than DE shaving. Closer, more comfortable, and, admittedly, more awesome to see and talk about.

As with anything shaving-related, YMMV.

I think most people's barrier to beginning with straights is the idea that they will cut their throat and die from blood loss some Tuesday morning before work. Honestly, I have never nicked myself with the straight, and while I understand the perception that I am doing something dangerous, I believe it is only dangerous if you don't give the razor its due attention, just like people who text message while driving a 2-ton SUV. Give it a try, and if it doesn't work out, you can always resell the gear here at B&B.

cooltide
01-17-2010, 03:39 AM
shaving with a straight has a learning curve of about 3 months,
the shave is smoother closer cleaner with a straight,
give it a go but have patience
by the way i have a lovely mint slant 39c for trade (bay rum aftershave)
& i'll throw in some floid or la toja shave cream
what is the worst thing that can happen with a straight (0)
i got more nicks from a DE :thumbup1:

brianw
01-17-2010, 07:22 AM
+10 for all the above.

My reason for a str8 are the memories. I have 4 str8 razors.. all over 100 yearas old and from the "old Country". All 4 were my Grandfathers ( 2 from my maternal, 2 from my paternal) and I believe of those 1 was a handmedown from My great Grandfather. My maternal grandfather taught me to shave @ 15 with one of those str8's.

If you are afraid of bodily harm from a str8.... do not try it. A str8 deserves a healthy dose of respect but not fear. I am not a good one to comment on the learning curve, as I had the technique imprinted on me from years ago.. It all came back in a couple of tries.

SE's, DE's, STR8 all have thier own individual joys, angles, etc....I love them all.

The shave closeness for me is STR8 first, SE second, DE third.

Cuts : str8 (1), first time I picked it up after some 30 years
SE (3), couple of wrong angles
DE (4), Mind wandering

A_Jameson
01-17-2010, 07:48 AM
Good thread, this is something I've been thinking about myself. Thanks for the answers.

Does it make sense to start with a safety razor as an introduction to wet shaving? That's what I've been doing to get used to and understand wet shaving with the intention of switching to a str8 later.

Chimensch
01-17-2010, 08:04 AM
Does it make sense to start with a safety razor as an introduction to wet shaving? That's what I've been doing to get used to and understand wet shaving with the intention of switching to a str8 later.

I used to shave with a cartridge razor and canned goo. Then my wife bought me a mug, soap and brush for my birthday. Some time later, I saw a straight razor in the window of a cutlery store and said, "Hmm...". I went directly to a straight and have never used a safety razor.

WilliamIam
01-17-2010, 08:28 AM
I love the straight.
I got my Gold Dollar Straight as a gift the week after I bought myself a DE at a swap meet.

The DE was much better than the safety razors ever had been, and the straight is better than the DE was treating me.

It took me about 45 minutes at first, but I'm down to about 30 now, with 15 of that being prep.


I really like that I can see the blade angle on the straight directly, instead of estimating. It gives me no ingrown hairs, and once I learned the scything technique, almost no irritation.

I was still under 50 DE shaves when I switched, so I'm sure I could improve on the DE shaves I got.

In my opinion, it's worth a shot if you can borrow someone's straight for a week or so.

William

Scissors
01-17-2010, 08:30 AM
One thing folks have touched on is that shaving with a straight can be more comfortable than shaving with a safety razor, and it bears repeating. Because of the learning curve with straights, you shouldn't expect this immediately, but it should come not too far into your learning experience with themóbut also, since you're learning, you won't be able to consistently get into that comfort zone without more practice. Even so, you'll be able to do it reliably after a bit more practice.

Another point that I think no one has mentioned is that learning some straight technique will make you a better, faster DE shaver. The degree to which you have to know your whisker growth with a DE is much less than that which a straight requires, but then you'll be able to put that knowledge to use when you DE shave.

Finally, even though you may decide that straights aren't for you or that you prefer DE shaving after a while of straight shaving, it won't be time or energy wasted for the second reason above. From where I sit, there's a good deal of benefit and little downside to at least trying straights.

dpmtherrien
01-17-2010, 09:43 AM
I'm about 12 shaves into the str8, and I've got a ways to go in the learning curve. I get excellent shaves from my DE's, and I mean really good. My go to DE's are the Merkur 1904 in both safety bar and open comb, with #2 being the HD's again in both safety and open.

For my straight I use the Feather AC, and I do enjoy using it. I have no desire to get into having to do all the care with a regular str8, so the Feather is perfect for me. I also use the Parker SRW that uses half a DE blade. Both of these are used the same way as any str8, and they're a breeze to take care of.

One might ask if you get such good shaves with the DE, why start all over again with the str8? The only reason I can come up with is because its there and its different. I'm getting through the learning curve and doing better each shave. I guess I didn't want anyone saying "you can't do it". :thumbup1:

Regards,

Paul :yesnod:

TenorClef
01-17-2010, 09:52 AM
I couldn't keep a steady enough hand with a straight, a shavette is cheap enough to try out and see if its for you or not. Personally I'm going to stick with DE shaving as that's a steep enough learning curve for me.

skklog
01-17-2010, 10:02 AM
This is just my opinion!

A straight is the best shave possible, But is more of a hobby.

DE while it can still be a hobby, is more for the everyday shaver.

The Mick
01-17-2010, 10:56 AM
"Is it worth exploring str8s?"

yes.

_JP_
01-17-2010, 11:31 AM
Very simply, if you are interested in straights and willing to give them a try, then it is something worth exploring.

skklog
01-17-2010, 12:01 PM
Very simply, if you are interested in straights and willing to give them a try, then it is something worth exploring.

I'll go with that

richmondesi
01-17-2010, 12:04 PM
FWIW, I disagree with the notion that straights don't make a good everyday shaver. I can get a great shave with a straight razor in 10 minutes if pressed, but I can shave the night before work with great results too... With the right skill-set, they are great everyday shavers:001_smile

skklog
01-17-2010, 12:15 PM
FWIW, I disagree with the notion that straights don't make a good everyday shaver. I can get a great shave with a straight razor in 10 minutes if pressed, but I can shave the night before work with great results too... With the right skill-set, they are great everyday shavers:001_smile

I'm sure they are once you get the hang of it.

brianw
01-17-2010, 12:30 PM
I choose to shave with a str8 on Sundays for 2 reasons.

I enjoy the total relaxation and non rushed time.

I do not hone the razors myself..I have a Old, Old friend who is a barber and he hones them for me... so a once a week shave does not overtax my friendship with his generous offer to hone them for me.

With that being said a evening shave with one of my str8's on a day other then Sunday is certainly not out of the question , but happens quite often.

Even though I don't do it every day.. I do strop them often just for the joy involved.

Chimensch
01-17-2010, 04:53 PM
Even though I don't do it every day.. I do strop them often just for the joy involved.

Know what I mean? (nudge, nudge) Know what I mean?

brianw
01-17-2010, 05:01 PM
Know what I mean? (nudge, nudge) Know what I mean?

a winks :wink2: as good as a nod....

leighton
01-18-2010, 11:00 AM
Hey everyone!

I am enjoying this site more than any discussion group I've ever stumbled across. Currently, I am using an EJ 89L/Feather blades/Nancy Boy shave cream, and I am getting a shave that is otherworldly. I am wondering whether it is worth looking into straights. Basically, I want to know whether there is something that a str8 shave offers that cannot be enjoyed by a good DE shave. Any guidance will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Scott

I tried a DE and I hated it. I'll take my straight thank you. Much more control over the whole ritual.

So, yes! Damn right a straight is worth it.

Let me know if you want to borrow one.

tm3
01-18-2010, 11:46 AM
i had this question myself a while back as it seems quite interesting, and after researching it decided ... no. two main reasons:

1) most seemed to advise that if final shave quality was the main goal (and for me, it is) then the str8 does not offer any/enough over the DE to be worth the time investment. if one also was attracted to the "hobby" aspects (learning a new skill, blade stropping and care) then the situation is different.

2) after several years of DE shaving, one morning i somehow nailed my lip with the corner of the blade and got an impressive cut. i thought that i was going to need a couple of stitches but got by without it. i still don't know how i pulled that off, but had it been with a str8 i'm sure the results would have been more dramatic.

i'm not trying to make a blanket proclamation -- just relating my personal analysis/decision.

sdimartino
01-18-2010, 01:43 PM
One of the things keeping me from trying straights right now (aside from the cost) is the fact that I have a van gogh (sometimes incorrectly called a goatee) which is dear to me and I have no intention of getting rid of. Shaving around it with a DE is easy. I get the impression (please correct me if I'm wrong) that shaving around it with a straight would be considerably more difficult, considering the blade angles involved. For instance, in the videos I've seen, when shaving the areas at the corners of the mouth, most guys appear to approach the stroke with the handle by the chin, and the tip of the blade pointing toward the ear. In order to neatly edge my beard, I would need to approach it from the other angle, which the handle up by my ear and the tip of the blade pointing toward my chin. I don't think my hands/wrists can bend in the way they'd need to in order to effect that particular angle. Am I missing something?

RicTic
01-18-2010, 02:16 PM
One of the things keeping me from trying straights right now (aside from the cost) is the fact that I have a van gogh (sometimes incorrectly called a goatee) which is dear to me and I have no intention of getting rid of. Shaving around it with a DE is easy. I get the impression (please correct me if I'm wrong) that shaving around it with a straight would be considerably more difficult, considering the blade angles involved. For instance, in the videos I've seen, when shaving the areas at the corners of the mouth, most guys appear to approach the stroke with the handle by the chin, and the tip of the blade pointing toward the ear. In order to neatly edge my beard, I would need to approach it from the other angle, which the handle up by my ear and the tip of the blade pointing toward my chin. I don't think my hands/wrists can bend in the way they'd need to in order to effect that particular angle. Am I missing something?

I don't use a straight. Not that I haven't considered doing so... because I have.
But why miss out on giving one a try when you can do the tricky Van Gogh bit with your DE, until you get it nailed?

Van Gogh managed OK.
It's around the ears he had problems with. ;)

brianw
01-18-2010, 03:12 PM
Am I missing something?

Sure are. I have a well trimmed beard and I find a SE or a str8 do the best for edging.... I shave my neck at times with a DE, but ALWAYS finish up with a Str8 or SE for the shaping

sdimartino
01-18-2010, 03:16 PM
Sure are. I have a well trimmed beard and I find a SE or a str8 do the best for edging.... I shave my neck at times with a DE, but ALWAYS finish up with a Str8 or SE for the shaping
Could you possibly explain how you approach that area with your straight? I should also add at this point that, as much as I love shaving, and as much as I love the ritual of it, the idea of switching back and forth between different kinds of blades during a shave doesn't sound appealing to me. I enjoy my shave, but at the same time I want to keep it relatively simple and quick.

brianw
01-18-2010, 04:08 PM
The pinpoint accuracy of the str8 or SE allows this.. Check out Joels sticky under Str8's...he can explain it better. Needless to say patience, practice, and the correct stretching give you a chance to get a straight line. DE heads tend to be a bit thick for me to get this correct. Str8 or injector give me the best control. IMHO

bonusmarple
01-18-2010, 05:38 PM
In short, Hell Yes!!!

I got great shaves with a DE, but the straight takes it up a notch. The extra control over the edge, angle, and flex of the razor lets you do things you just can't with a DE.

To put it another way, I have about 80 DEs including some rare collector's items. I would sell them all before I sold my Filarmonica.