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Essential tips for beginners and experienced users

Tips and information about the straight razor

Which straight razor is suitable for the novice shaver?

I want to shave with a straight razor. Which straight razor is best to start with?

  • First, start with a shavette razor or an affordable straight razor. Razors are available from €80.
  • 5/8" (= inch) wide razor is a common size.
  • A razor with a rounded point at the end is less likely to cause cuts.
  • Carbon steel razors are easier to sharpen and polish. Carbon steel rusts faster than stainless steel.
  • The current straight razor is usually Full-hollow-ground (hollow ground). The advantage of this is easier sharpening and smooth handling while shaving.

Is a straight razor suitable for shaving heavy beard growth?

I want to shave with a straight razor. But I have heavy beard growth. Is a straight razor suitable for this?

  • The straight razor is also suitable for heavy beard growth.
  • 6/8" (= inch) wide razor is best suited for shaving heavy beard growth.

How long does a straight razor last?

How long does a straight razor last?

  • A straight razor will last a lifetime if it is properly maintained and stored.
  • A straight razor is vulnerable. Be careful, avoid breaking and store it properly.

What types of straight razors are available?

What types and sizes of straight razors are available? What should I pay attention to when purchasing a straight razor?

The head or tip of the shaving foil

  • Rounded tip, most razors have a rounded tip
  • Semi rounded tip
  • Unrounded or square point

Different widths of the shaving foil

  • 3/8" (= inches)
  • 4/8"
  • 5/8", is the most common size and very suitable to start with
  • 6/8", is a common size and suitable for heavy beard growth
  • 7/8"
  • 8/8"

The cut or concavity of the shaving foil (see image below)

  • Flat ground
  • Full-hollow-ground is the most common cut
  • 3/4 hollow ground

What steel the razor is made of

  • Carbon steel or carbon steel is widely used for razors. It is easy to sharpen. This makes it very suitable for the novice shearer. Carbon steel can rust. So maintain it well and store it dry.
  • Silver steel
  • Stainless steel (stainless steel) is also widely used for razors. Stainless steel is harder and therefore more difficult to sharpen. Stainless steel does not rust.
  • Damascus steel

How do I use a straight razor safely?

How do I use a straight razor safely? What should I pay attention to?

  • Only use the straight razor for shaving. Do not test the sharpness of the razor on paper.
  • Never touch the edge with your fingers to see if it is still sharp
  • Don't walk around with an open razor. Always close after use.
  • Close the razor slowly to prevent the blade from catching in the handle.
  • After use, blow the razor thoroughly dry and, if necessary, open it to let it dry.
  • If the razor accidentally falls from your hand, drop it and do not try to catch it.
  • Always wear clothes when shaving. Don't shave naked in the shower.
  • It is best not to store the razor in a damp room, such as the bathroom.
  • Store the razor safely out of the reach of children.

How should I shave with the straight razor?

What is the best way to shave with a straight razor? How should I handle the razor?

Clean the skin beforehand with soap or a pH-neutral cleansing gel .

  • Wet the face with lukewarm water.
  • Use one if necessary pre shave oil or gel for extra protection while shaving.
  • Soap the face well with a shaving soap or shaving cream .
  • Let the shaving foam work for a while. This makes the beard hairs soft and soft.
  • Use your favorite hand to shave both the right and left sides of your face. Pull the skin taut with the other hand.
  • Hold the razor lightly and smoothly with your fingertips.
  • Hold the razor between your thumb and 3 fingers - see instruction drawing
  • Hold the razor at an angle of 10 degrees to the skin. Use a slightly smaller angle on the cheek, chin and upper lip. Also use the correct angle (10 degrees) at the curves of the chin.
  • Press the razor very lightly on the skin. Do not slide the shaving foil straight down, but make a slight angle. This causes the shaving foil to make a more oblique cutting movement.
  • First shave with the beard hairs.
  • While shaving, stretch the skin with the other hand.
  • Shave with gentle, small and even strokes.
  • Start with the sideburns and cheeks, then the neck and finally the chin and mustache area.
  • Don't forget to rinse the razor while shaving.

Instructional drawing of holding a straight razor

The drawing below is the basic handle for holding the razor. When shaving the neck area and chin, the razor must be held differently.

Use the razor safely and carefully! Practice around the sideburns and cheeks at first. Place the foil flat on the skin and then carefully create the 10 degree angle. Do not shave (super) smoothly, especially in the beginning. After a few days you can carefully shave the chin and neck area.

  • After shaving with the beard growth, if necessary, the finishing touch: shave against the beard growth.
  • Soap the face again.
  • Now shave with short, small and gentle strokes.
  • Start with the neck area, then the sideburns and cheeks and finally the chin and mustache area.
  • After shaving, rinse the face with cold water.

Which maintenance steps can be distinguished?

How can I best maintain my straight razor? What are the maintenance steps?

The maintenance of the straight razor naturally depends on the type of razor and the extent of use.

The method of maintenance is personal. The maintenance steps below are a theoretical description.

There are 4 steps in straight razor maintenance. Straightening, polishing and grinding are the most important steps of maintenance.

Before every shave:

  • To target
  • Polishing

The finishing touches:

  • To turn on

If the razor is blunt after some time:

  • Sharpen

How should I maintain the straight razor?

How can I best maintain my straight razor and keep it sharp?

Below is a handy overview of the steps for maintenance and keeping the straight razor sharp.

Nr Stappen Wanneer Hulpmiddelen Hoeveel heen-en-weer-bewegingen Hoe
1 Richten Vooraf elke scheerbeurt Canvaszijde v/d scheerriem
Gebruik Witte strijkpasta voor het onderhoud v/d canvaszijde
Circa 15 Strijkriem strak spannen
Scheermes vasthouden bij de schouder (het scharniergedeelte) van het scheerblad
Hou het scheerblad plat (0 graden) ten opzichte van het strijkvlak
Druk het scheermes licht tegen de riem
Beweeg het scheermes met rustige bewegingen heen en weer over de riem
Kantel het scheermes over de rug van het scheerblad in de andere richting
2 Polijsten Vooraf elke scheerbeurt Lederzijde v/d scheerriem
Gebruik Gele strijkpasta voor het onderhoud v/d lederzijde
Circa 20 Strijkriem strak spannen
Scheermes vasthouden bij de schouder (het scharniergedeelte) van het scheerblad
Hou het scheerblad plat (0 graden) ten opzichte van het strijkvlak
Druk het scheermes licht tegen de riem
Beweeg het scheermes met rustige bewegingen heen en weer over de riem
Kantel het scheermes over de rug van het scheerblad in de andere richting
3 Aanzetten Afhankelijk van het gebruik één keer per maand Spanriem
Rode of Groene strijkpasta
Variabel Leg de spanriem plat op een tafel
Eventueel de spanriem aanspannen
Wrijf eventueel een beetje strijkpasta in het leer van de spanriem
Hou het scheerblad plat (0 graden) ten opzichte van het strijkvlak
Druk het scheermes licht tegen de riem
Haal het scheermes met een rustige trek beweging heen en weer over de spanriem
Kantel het scheermes over de rug van het scheerblad in de andere richting
Maak het scheerblad schoon met een zachte doek
4 Slijpen Als het scheermes bot is Slijpsteen Circa 20 Maak de slijpsteen nat met water
Leg de slijpsteen plat op een tafel
Scheermes vasthouden bij de schouder (het scharniergedeelte) van het scheerblad
Hou het scheerblad plat (0 graden) ten opzichte van het strijkvlak
Druk het scheermes licht tegen de steen
Strijk het scheerblad met een rustige draaiende beweging over de steen
Kantel het scheermes over de rug van het scheerblad in de andere richting om de andere kant te slijpen
Na het slijpen de braam verwijderen m.b.v. de canvaszijde van de strijkriem
En eventueel polijsten met het leer van de strijkriem

Instruction drawing for polishing open razor over leather ironing strap

How do I prevent rust formation on the straight razor?

How can I best maintain my straight razor to prevent rust formation?

  • Rinse the straight razor clean thoroughly after use.
  • Dry polish the razor with soft paper, such as tissue paper.
  • Dry it thoroughly after shaving. If necessary, use a hairdryer to dry the knife.
  • Always store the razor in a dry place. So not in the bathroom.
  • Knives that are not used for a long time are best first rubbed with oil.

When is the best time to maintain my straight razor?

When should I maintain my straight razor?

  • This of course depends on the use of the straight razor.
  • When the straight razor pulls instead of cuts.
  • If the razor is blunt.

When do you use the leather ironing strap and tension strap?

What are the leather ironing strap and tension strap for? And when should you use it for straight razor maintenance?

The leather ironing belt has a leather and a canvas side:

  • The leather side is for polishing the knife.
  • The canvas side is for cleaning or straightening the foil.

The ironing belt should be used before each shave to straighten and polish the razor.

The tension strap is for the finishing touch and can be used once a month - depending on the use of the razor.

The tension strap can also be used as an alternative to the leather ironing strap. In this case, the tension strap must be used before each shave.

Why do you need ironing paste for straight razor maintenance?

What do I need ironing paste for? And which ironing paste should I use?

There are 4 types of ironing paste:

  • Yellow ironing paste
  • Green ironing paste
  • Red ironing paste
  • White ironing paste

The Yellow ironing paste is a greasy paste that cares for and protects the leather of the ironing belt. This makes the ironing belt last longer.

The Green ironing paste has a strong polishing effect and is applied to the leather of the tension strap.

The Red ironing paste has a medium polishing effect and is applied to the leather of the tension strap.

The White ironing paste is for the maintenance of the canvas side of the ironing belt. This makes the canvas side clean again and makes it last longer.

Why do you need the sharpening stone for straight razor maintenance?

Which sharpening stone is best to use for sharpening my straight razor?

  • The Ardennes Coticule sharpening stone or Belgian Blue Whetstone from the Ardennes is the best whetstone for sharpening and maintaining the straight razor.
  • This sharpening stone has a yellow Coticule upper stone with a grit of 6000 - 8000 and a blue lower stone with a grit of 4000.
  • Only the yellow top stone is suitable for sharpening the razor.