:Lol: famous last words before the ADs kick in. Once you start honing and you get shave ready edges you are a goner.
Woke up late this morning so I didn't get to shave at all. Luckily that is fine as far as work is concerned. Though my morning felt off because I missed it. I have ordered lapping film from Thorlabs, and am emailing Larry from Whipped Dog for a 2nd razor. The AD's have begun.... Oh my poor pitiful wallet...
I was able to find some glycerin, tried it as a pre-shave didn't notice any difference, but I also added a drop or two to my shaving cream, and noticed it held onto quite a bit more water, without getting as runny. I think I will continue with that, and go back to trying a pre-shave oil instead of the glycerin.
WTG using the DE for initial beard reduction. Smooth sailing.
Stropped 50 passes last night before bed, to try to get rid of the discoloration on the blade edge. It was darker now, and looking more like the patina on other parts of the blade.
cheeks: WTG (N-S) I don't think I fully understood the "confidence" part of making it better until this morning. I had a few hesitant passes and could feel the blade tug just a bit each time. I think I am getting closer to the correct pressure. No nicks/cuts.
neck: WTG/XTG Managed to do a partial WTG pass this time. The grip didn't feel quite so awkward, so I went with it. Had more trouble with my left (non-dominate side)
cheeks: right side, started another WTG pass, and thought I would try an XTG on the cheeks. Did the left side and felt it was considerable closer, so re-lathered the right cheek and did XTG on it as well.
neck: XTG (N-S) I felt the guillotine stroke come naturally just under the right jawline, but where that transitions to my actual neck... All I will say is thank God, that Larry hones these razors with a slightly blunted rounded tip, or I have all feeling the patch of decently irritating razor burn would have been a bit bloody.
Finished up with alum block, 2nd cold water rinse, Pre de Provence, and Neutrogena oil free moisturizer with SPF 30.
This is the first time, I have felt close enough to not feel the need to touch up at all with the DE after the straight. Progress was made. My lapping film should be in by the end of this week, and the 2nd razor from Larry should be on its way soon as well. Then I get to add honing to the list of learning.
Well done keep up the great work.
Thank you gentlemen. I am very pleased with the small successes I have had thus far, and your encouragement/advice has been an amazing resource.
Shave prep: Shower, pre-shave oil, 25 passes on the strop, Art of Shaving lemon with a drop or two of glycerin added (really seems to help the lather hold on to more moisture, without getting too runny)
1st pass: DE beard reduction. I am anxious to go ahead and start full straight shaving, but I don't want to get the proverbial cart in front of the horse.
cheeks: WTG (N-S) The pre-shave oil helps out with letting the blade more easily glide across the skin. I get a little nervous still around the sideburns. The head tilt helps, but it still feels like I need 3 mirrors to see what the heck I am doing.
neck: tried WTG, ended up more XTG. I still haven't found a comfortable grip for the neck. I can easily handle the area directly under my chin in a XTG (N-S) pass, but the side chin(s)/side neck area, still confuses me. I have tried the handle towards my chest and the blade standing up to try to WTG (Ear - Nose) pass, but the handle seems to get in the way, no matter how far I tilt my head up. Trying to switch to a handle skyward and toe towards the floor, and I can't find a comfortable grip at all. Any suggestions, for what I should try?
cheeks: XTG (Ear - Nose) The only problem I have here, is deciding whether to go Ear - Nose, or Nose - Ear. This is my easiest grip/pass so far. I just need to focus on blade angle here.
neck: Another attempted WTG that ends up XTG. Finished up fairly clean.
Close enough not to need any cleanup with the DE, and only 1 small nick under my left cheek on my neck. Post shave, witch hazel (close up any nicks/cuts and to clean the pre-shave oil off), Pre de Provence, Neutrogena Oil Free moisturizer, 20 passes with the leather strop. I have noticed dramatically less ingrown hairs since starting with the straight. I don't know if I chalk that up to the straight itself, or the fact that I haven't been doing any ATG passes at all in the past few shaves. My face feels better in general even compared to using the DE's. I did notice some slight tugging today, so I will try the balsa paste strop tonight and see if I can polish it out, or if it needs more than a touch up.
Last night when I got home from work/school I decided to use the pasted balsa strop, since there was a bit more tugging during shave #6. I started on the CrOx (green) side and did roughly 30 passes. Honestly I lost count after 13, because I was focusing on technique. I stopped on the CrOx when it felt like it was smoother if that makes sense. I took the blade and ran it under some running water and took a paper towel to clean off any of the CrOx that might be left on the blade, and then went to the FeOx (red) side. I did what felt like the same number of passes, but again I wasn't keeping an exact count. I then finished up with 40 passes on the leather strop after a 2nd cleaning of the blade.
Feeling cocky this morning (famous last words right) I decided to do the entire shave with the straight, no reduction passes with the DE, and no cleanup with the DE.
Pre-shave prep: Shower, pre-shave oil, Art of Shaving Lavender (w/ a drop or two of glycerine)
cheeks: WTG (N-S) Beard reduction is rough with a straight for me, I think this is where the guillotine or sweeping stroke would be helpful, but I am still working on that. It might be easier if I can figure out a way to do the warm towel thing just prior to shaving. Every time I have tried it, the towel seems to go cool after only 20-30 seconds.
neck: WTG/XTG Still working on grip and approach angle here. I saw a video yesterday with a guy that did N-S passes and held the toe of the spine in one hand, and the shank in the other. Wondering if I could do this for an Ear-Nose pass, still thinking on that one. Tried it in hand, but didn't feel comfortable enough with it, to actually try on my face. And if using both hands, it leaves neither free to stretch... This was interesting to see, but I don't know if it will be worthwhile for me.
cheeks: WTG cleaning up the majority of beard reduction here.
neck: WTG/XTG/ATG yeah, I said I was feeling cocky this morning... I was still trying to figure out a grip for my neck area that was comfortable and allowed the maneuverability I want. I ended up holding it like a steak or butter knife. With the scales in the palm of my hand and my thumb/fingers pinching the spine at the shank as close to the blade as possible. Doing this I was able to get a somewhat decent approach to the WTG , though when it gets down to the crease, where my under-chin meets the neck it didn't work out so well. So, I flipped the blade so the edge was facing upward and the spine down, and did an XTG/ATG pass. (I was very nervous about ATG with a straight. With the DE, I used to get the MAJORITY of any nicks/cuts/irritation on the ATG pass). This actually worked out really well though. Still need to practice it, but it is slowly getting more comfortable in my hand.
cheeks: XTG (Ear-Nose) still my smoothest, easiest pass to perform. Cheeks are BBS after 2 WTG, and 1 XTG passes!
neck: WTG/XTG/ATG 2nd pass went decently well, so I did the same thing again, only slightly adjusting where and how I was stretching. I catch myself not stretching occasionally. The areas I do stretch always come out closer, and with less irritation.
warm water rinse, pat dry w/ towel, witch hazel, Pre de Provence, Neutrogena oil free moisturizer, 5 passes on a hand towel, and 25 passes on leather strop to dry the blade.
So, I ended with BBS on my cheeks, and SAS on my neck. I did have quite a bit more razor burn than I normally get, mainly on my neck. I will chalk this up to the different grips and the ATG pass. Very impressed with the results I am getting this early on in the process. I just have to keep reminding myself that pride cometh before the fall, so I don't get too cocky and end up hurting myself. Being cocky and getting a bit of razor burn/nicks I can handle, getting cocky and doing a van Gogh impersonation, not so much.
Congrats w/shave #7 sounded like it went very well ...the neck sounds like it will be the most challenging (I have yet to start w/my Str8, its being re-honed ..soon though). Did you notice any difference in the blade after using the CrOx & FeOx? You are doing really well ...it's very encouraging!
Proud member of Old Spice Mondays. Go ahead, smell like your Grandpa!
I would definitely encourage anyone even remotely interested in trying a straight to go ahead. It is by far the most challenging and rewarding shaving I have done to date. I have full faith that you will enjoy it, just take your time and keep practicing.
Master say: man with hand in pocket feel cocky all day.
Glad the crox seemed to help. I am guessing your razor has dulled a bit more than you think. Try doubling the number of laps and see how it feels. A really sharp blade on the WTG shouldn't feel drastically different than a DE. Maybe speed up the stroke a little. I do a pass in the "one" of the "one one second" count, and in that time I cover at least half my cheek.
I am interest to read about how you fare with your lapping film .
One question I definitely need to find out, is why/how people are "dulling on a glass" prior to starting bevel setting. I think it has to do with making the edge uniformly even to set the bevel off of, but I am not sure. How is that even done? A stropping motion along a piece of straight glass? or like you are slicing carrots on glass? Like I said, I will read/re-read a few threads. :-)
PS the AD's have begun full swing, and apparently I am a masochist... I just BIN'ed 2 Gold Dollar razors to hone as well.
Dulling on glass is to be sure whatever edge you end up with is the one you honed.
It is possible to go through all the steps and still be shaving with the original edge.
Just lightly run the edge on a glass cup perpendicular to the glass, as if cutting it. Test on arm hairs to be sure it doesn't cut.
Proud member of Old Spice Mondays. Go ahead, smell like your Grandpa!
It's really a lot of fun. Practically speaking all you "need" are honing films. Impractically speaking I needed 4 nagura and a Jnat to satisfy my urges.
Could have instead been spending the time and money on cheap wine and loose women, so I feel this hobby is a good thing.
~~~I think you hit on why so many here don't bother with Kyle's Prep...lack of convienent access of hot water for the towel
Early last summer when my desire to use a barber towel each and every shave began in earnest, I just couldn't get hot enough water out of my master batheroom sink faucet. I started a thread asking what others were doing for hot water for their towel heating and I got a lot of great responses, yet none worked for me. Responses like "I'm using a dedicated towel steamer", or some others suggested using a vegetable steamer, putting your wet towel in it, and a few suggestons to use the microwave, none of which excited me, or I felt, 'too cumbersome' for my situation
What I ended up doing was to shave only in our 1/2 bath that is about 8' from our electric hot water tank. The setting has been high from day one and we see 138 degrees fahrenheit at that sink and in the kitchen too although it is too long of a run back to the master bath to get hot water I need for barber towel use, hence my reason for shaving nearer the hot water source
and the temp of the water in the 1/2 bath is plenty. I could scald my fingers and hands if not careful wringing water from the towel. I also prefer the rather large sink that's in this 1/2 bath. There's more room for my blade to dangle from the edge of the basin in the water, w/o being concerned with getting too near the faucet
If I could shower before shaving I'd probably skip doing Kyle's Prep but I can't so I dont
Anyways, I hope you find a workaround so you can get a hot towel to use. I really see the benefit of using hot towels. The heat and water along with the shave soap application before the towel goes on ensures dirt and oil from my pores rise to the surface. Getting one's skin cleansed properly before shaving is paramount IMNSHO...and also to mention, how the heat/water/soap aids in softening the whiskars for more efficient cutting
I do shave after a shower, but by the time I dry off a bit, and get partially dressed, soak the brush, form a decent lather, strop the blade, and lather my face, most of the moisture I had left on my face after the shower, has dried. I have contemplated purchasing an electric water kettle to keep near the bathroom, to have boiling water on hand for the hot towel. I have heard you can get a cheap one (if you aren't planning on using it for tea/coffee as well) that works pretty well. Just not sure where to put it (small apartment bathroom).
As I stated in an earlier post, I was out of town this last weekend, and didn't feel comfortable/know if I would have room to set up my straight setup, so I just packed my DE. Decent DE shaves Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Nothing special to write home about, but man was the water better. Pretty much insta-lather. Monday after work, I check the mail and find that I have received my sight half seen ACME full hollow square tip from Larry A. The blade is larger (I haven't broken out a ruler yet to measure, but I am thinking 6/8 or 7/8 because it looks quite a bit larger than the original sight unseen. I don't like the rounded scales as much as the more squared off ones on my original straight. I have also now, received the 9 micron film. Still need to get a scrap piece of marble/glass, but I shouldn't have much trouble doing my first hone job this weekend. Now, on to the shaves.
Shave # 8
Seeing as this was a few days ago (note to self.... start taking notes!) I don't remember specific details. I do remember having a significant case of razor burn, and not getting a close shave. I don't know if that was from the different water I was using with the DE spoiling me, or just me trying to use a straight slightly groggily after an eventful holiday weekend. Either way, I wasn't satisfied with the shave I got Monday.
First use of the ACME full hollow, square tip. I like the larger blade. The tang felt wider and easier to grip, and therefor I felt more in control of the razor. I was nervous about the square tip, that I would cut myself. I didn't have any problems with it, and when I actually got it in hand, the tip didn't seem that square, not as rounded as the first one I got, but not a sharp 90° angle I was expecting. Shave wise, better than Monday's shave, but not my best yet. I think this is more from me needing practice with the new blade size/shape.
Second shave with the ACME, stropped for roughly 40 passes, lathered up with AoS Lemon scent shaving cream w/ a couple of drops of glycerin, pre-shave oil.
cheeks: WTG (N-S) I don't know if it is subconscious, but beard reduction seems much easier when I use the pre-shave oil.
neck: XTG (N-S) decent beard reduction, still have issues with the transition from under chin to my actual neck areas.1
cheeks: WTG did the WTG pass again, to finish up on the majority of beard reduction. Cheeks are 80-85% smooth at this point.
neck: XTG/ATG The awkward diagonal (N-S)(Ear - Nose) strokes, that I have a hard time getting to. I wish I could find a way to hold it, to actually get a WTG pass on my neck. I blame these weird angles and too much pressure for my razor burn.
cheeks: XTG (Ear - Nose) This gets the cheek area very near or at BBS status. You can barely hear the blade actually cutting any hair.
neck: XTG (N-S) Attempt to clean up with the least complicated pass I can make, with as light a pressure as I can, since my skin was already irritated at this point.
After 2 shaves with the ACME, I wanted to go back to the original blade to see if I could tell any other differences, to kind of judge my leather/balsa stropping attempt.
Shave prep: leather strop 40 passes, lathered up AoS Lemon w/ glycerin
cheeks: WTG (N-S) Noticed a bit more pulling on the first beard reduction pass. Didn't realize until half way through, that I had forgot to use the pre-shave oil. So, now I don't know whether to blame the lack of oil, or my balsa/leather strop technique.
neck: XTG (S-N) decided to try something to different to see how it would go. Flipped the blade upside down, and went XTG in an upward motion. It actually went fairly smoothly, except around the bottom corners of my goatee. I attribute that to my newb-ness, the hair being tough in that area, and the multiple directions the hair grows in those spots.
cheeks: XTG (Ear - Nose) didn't feel the need to do another WTG pass today.
neck: XTG/ATG (N-S) went back to my usual, more beard reduction, but slower going after the other direction.
cheeks: XTG (Nose - Ear) Closest cheek shave yet. I have been faceturbating all morning...
neck: XTG (S-N) upward again to cleanup anything left behind. If I could get an actual WTG pass (so I could also get an ATG pass) I would be able to get BBS on my neck.
Overall, nice shave this morning. Glad for it too. I was a little worried when I had a not good shave Monday morning, and not a decent improvement Tuesday or Wednesday. Now I feel more like I am on track. I am hoping to have plenty of time to have a go at honing one of the 2 straights I have received now. I have 2 Gold Dollars on order, but I don't know how long it will take for those to arrive.