Author Topic: Shaving.... like a man  (Read 27310 times)

Offline B.D.F.

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Shaving.... like a man
« on: November 13, 2013, 08:53:33 pm »
So about a year ago I got into straight razor shaving. Pretty interesting skill set to acquire, especially so if you include the honing aspect of the razors. So I have been collecting them from 'here and there' and I usually go antiquing (antiquing is known to cause homosexuality but as long as you do something really manly w/in a day or so you will be OK- a straight razor shave qualifies) when on a bike trip, especially into the rurual areas. Caught some nice finds 'in the wild' but they are getting picked over these days; straights have enjoyed a bit of a resurgence for the last ten years or so and a lot of the vintage stuff has been aquired by a user and / or collector and so are out of circulation. Still, the occasional piece pops up:

Caught this custom fella' in a local antique store: named the Little Rhody, it was made by Dovo (German) for a barber supply shop in Providence, RI most likely back in the 50's. It is the larger razor with the 'cracked ice' scales.



Note the tang stamp:



A few here, a few there and the next thing you know, enough razors for the whole week:



'Course you need something to strop those fellas:



Russian leather (split cowhide) on the left, horsehide in the center and a  Japanese made Cordovan shell on the right.

Throw in a bit of 'software' (lotions, potions and shaving soaps and creams) and you have yourself a hobby!



All of which leads us to the question"Hey Andrea, was the water in the sink always pink?"   ;D

Brian
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Son of Pappy

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Re: Shaving.... like a man
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2013, 09:02:10 pm »
So, have ya been studying the "Art of the Edge"?  A good edge takes more than luck and a whole lot of patience.

Offline B.D.F.

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Re: Shaving.... like a man
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2013, 09:33:32 pm »
Not really an art but a science and yeah, I put an edge on all my razors. After all the conventional tests, I like the thumb pad test as well as the 'tree topping' test; if the razor will readily cut arm hair 1/2" away from the skin, it is sharp enough to shave well.

Modern syntheric abrasives are really wonderful. I finish on 0.5, 0.25 micron diamond and 0.1 micon CBN. Great stuff and better than anything anyone even 30, 40 years ago had.

Brian

So, have ya been studying the "Art of the Edge"?  A good edge takes more than luck and a whole lot of patience.
Homo Sapiens Sapiens and just a tad of Neanderthal but it usually does not show....  My Private mail is blocked; it is not you, it is me, just like that dating partner said all those years ago. Please send an e-mail if you want to contact me privately.

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Offline timsatx

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Re: Shaving.... like a man
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2013, 10:47:39 pm »
I bought a razor a few years ago but lost it when my backpack was stolen. Before it was lost I had bought a couple of nice waterstones which I still have but never used. It is interesting that you bring this up as the last couple of days I have been looking at another razor.

Offline Gsun

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Re: Shaving.... like a man
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2013, 10:54:46 pm »
Somewhere in this house is my grandfathers razor that he was issued on the boat to Europe in WWI. He used it once and almost cut his throat so he did not shave until he got to Europe and requisitioned a safety razor. It has never been used since. Will post a pic if I can find it. BTW, it was made in Germany!

Offline B.D.F.

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Re: Shaving.... like a man
« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2013, 05:23:12 am »
Most straights were, and still are, made in Germany. I have a handful of - non German razors, two made in the US (a Shmid from Providence, RI and a Case from PA) and a Berg made in Sweden. But Solingen, Germany, known as the city of blades, is where the majority of the world's straight razors come from even today.

Brian

Somewhere in this house is my grandfathers razor that he was issued on the boat to Europe in WWI. He used it once and almost cut his throat so he did not shave until he got to Europe and requisitioned a safety razor. It has never been used since. Will post a pic if I can find it. BTW, it was made in Germany!
Homo Sapiens Sapiens and just a tad of Neanderthal but it usually does not show....  My Private mail is blocked; it is not you, it is me, just like that dating partner said all those years ago. Please send an e-mail if you want to contact me privately.

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Offline B.D.F.

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Re: Shaving.... like a man
« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2013, 05:30:10 am »
There is something fascinating about sliding a piece of sharp down your face, removing the whiskers and doing absolutely no damage to the skin. There is also great satisfaction, at least for me, in learning how to finesse the blade around. And of course, if one learns to do it correctly, including proper prep, proper lathering and proper post shaving routine, it is absolutely painless with no razor rash, irritation or anything else. Somewhere along the way with first safety razors, and now cartridges and canned shaving cream, we totally lost the entire method, which is what makes it pleasant and yields such a close shave that I can shave at night and there is no scritch the next morning.

Then there is that guy who is an expert in making stone tools; he knapps a piece of flint until he gets an acceptable edge and shaves with it. Gives me the willies just watching.  :yikes:

Brian

I bought a razor a few years ago but lost it when my backpack was stolen. Before it was lost I had bought a couple of nice waterstones which I still have but never used. It is interesting that you bring this up as the last couple of days I have been looking at another razor.
Homo Sapiens Sapiens and just a tad of Neanderthal but it usually does not show....  My Private mail is blocked; it is not you, it is me, just like that dating partner said all those years ago. Please send an e-mail if you want to contact me privately.

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Offline Strawboss

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Re: Shaving.... like a man
« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2013, 07:07:38 am »
A lost art, kinda cool. My barber uses a straight razor to do my neck and sideburns after a haircut. Remember to use lotion afterwards! ;D
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Offline sherob

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Re: Shaving.... like a man
« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2013, 07:09:32 am »
The Katy Barber Shop, in Katy TX gives a great straight edge shave, and cut.  Man do I miss that place.  It's really hard to find a REAL barber shop these days... and the art of a straight edge shave is something I just don't have. 
Rob
Brighton, CO... missing Texas!

Offline B.D.F.

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Re: Shaving.... like a man
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2013, 08:45:26 am »
Yep, not even being taught in barber's schools anymore. The guy who cuts my hair uses and electric clipper to clean my neck and has never held a straight razor in his life.

The biggest thing in the way today is that most states prohibit the use of any 'cutting' instrument on two people, thereby making a straight razor a single- person tool What they do have instead are called 'shavettes'; they look like a straight razor but are merely the holder and require a disposable blade to provide the actual cutting. Still, the cost to give a customer goes up if the barber uses a disposable blade just for the neck (shavette blades are between $1 and $2 per).

Funny thing about all of this is that the really nasty stuff like HIV or hepatitis C are really hard to keep alive on objects and really easy to kill (a dip in Barbicide and they are gonners). But some spores can really go the distance: tuburculousis can live for over 100 years if left alone. Still, what are the odds of a tuburculosis victum stopping in for a straight shave and coughing on the razor?

By the way, if the hair is properly prepared, the razor has been honed correctly and the driver knows how to use it you would not need any lotion.

Brian

A lost art, kinda cool. My barber uses a straight razor to do my neck and sideburns after a haircut. Remember to use lotion afterwards! ;D
Homo Sapiens Sapiens and just a tad of Neanderthal but it usually does not show....  My Private mail is blocked; it is not you, it is me, just like that dating partner said all those years ago. Please send an e-mail if you want to contact me privately.

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Offline B.D.F.

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Re: Shaving.... like a man
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2013, 08:50:37 am »
But you or anyone could develop that skill. It is commonly said that it takes about 100 shaves to become proficient. I would say it was a bit more for me. I never suffered any cuts that produced even one drop of blood on my face although my left hand is another matter; three significant cuts on that had due to swapping hands without paying attention. After about 8 or 10 shaves, the wariness really slips away. It does take some commitment though and you really have to want to do it; let's face it, a can of goo and a 84 blade cartridge costing a mere $8 each really is easy to use. :-)

Brian

The Katy Barber Shop, in Katy TX gives a great straight edge shave, and cut.  Man do I miss that place.  It's really hard to find a REAL barber shop these days... and the art of a straight edge shave is something I just don't have.
Homo Sapiens Sapiens and just a tad of Neanderthal but it usually does not show....  My Private mail is blocked; it is not you, it is me, just like that dating partner said all those years ago. Please send an e-mail if you want to contact me privately.

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Offline timsatx

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Re: Shaving.... like a man
« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2013, 09:33:24 am »
Are any of the razors you have ones that you bought looking kinda ugly and then fixed up or were they all new/like new?

Offline sherob

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Re: Shaving.... like a man
« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2013, 09:34:14 am »
I have a sweet sweet girl named Braun now.  ;D
Rob
Brighton, CO... missing Texas!

Offline Strawboss

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Re: Shaving.... like a man
« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2013, 10:51:55 am »
I always thought that even a proper shave removed the top layer of skin, you are "shaving" aren't you? I would think it would called "cutting" if thats all you were doing. I could be wrong.
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Offline B.D.F.

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Re: Shaving.... like a man
« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2013, 11:07:39 am »
Both although I have not done any full restorations yet.  I also have not bought any razors new other than some Chinese tractor implements masquerading as straight razors :-( 

But just as examples: Both of these razors are modern and while I bought them used, they cannot be told from new. The Wanke is a small, delicate razor with beautiful balance that I bought locally through.... wait for it..... a shaving forum! The other is a Dovo Palisander, a current razor although the scales (what you would call the 'handle') is different in this one and no longer available. I think it one of the most beautiful razors I have ever see: it is a shoulderless, flowing razor with beautiful lines I think:



These next ones are typical. I cleaned them up, honed them and re-fit the scales but did not restore them. they have various amounts of patina. The top one is a Schmid, made in Prov., RI and the only razor I have that was passed down through my family. It is about a 1/4 grind, rather light, has a barber's point (note the notch at the toe of the razor) and is a wonderful shaver. The next one is a Case, made in Bradford, PA. It used to have a gold washed tang but that is long gone. I believe it was a barber's razor and it has a singing blade (an extremely thin grind that makes the blade 'sing' when shaving, stropping and honing). It was filthy when I got it but surprisingly there is no corrosion on the blade. The only real grunge left in under the scales around the pivot where I added oil to break up the crud; really the razor will need to be de- scaled and fully cleaned and will make a wonderful example of a mid- aged razor (1950's I think). Finally, the Boker at the bottom is again a small razor, another singing razor and was made in Germany around 1900. Nearly perfect blade but the scales have been dulled back some. That said, it really is a nice example of the classic modern type but vintage razor. $10 at an antique store in upstate NY.



This one is a Berg, made in Sweden somewhere in the early 1900's. It is an odd shape, wider at the toe than the heel, and is made of particularly hard steel which the Swedish razors are known for. One of my favorites and a fantastic shaver, it is pitted, has active rust in the form of black 'Devil's spit' here and there but takes an almost scary edge and is one of my prized razors. It was filthy and actively rusted when I bought it, $20 out of another upstate NY antique store and I would not have bothered had it not been a Berg. My only Swedish blade to date.



Finally, a very interesting find, again in an out of the way antique store. This is three razors of a seven- day set. The center one is near perfect, the top one a bit worn from honing and has some stains and patina but not much and the bottom one has active rust pits near the blade. I believe these are fairly modern German razors, also made from rather hard steel and take a wonderful edge. Seven day sets were originally made for the affluent who could afford them: seven razors, all identical, all packed into a seven- day chest, with the days of the week etched into their spines. As you can see, I am missing four and the odds of finding four K&B 67's, especially in the days I do not have, is about zero. Still, neat razors and I am glad I grabbed them. The set, in a cotton razor roll for.... $5 total.





Brian

Are any of the razors you have ones that you bought looking kinda ugly and then fixed up or were they all new/like new?
Homo Sapiens Sapiens and just a tad of Neanderthal but it usually does not show....  My Private mail is blocked; it is not you, it is me, just like that dating partner said all those years ago. Please send an e-mail if you want to contact me privately.

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