Going straight

23 08 2010

About a month ago I made a life changing decision… I decided to go straight.

Some of you are probably questioning my sexuality or my criminal tendencies at this point but hold your horses I’m talking about something completely different.

I’m talking about wet shaving with a straight razor (can you see my wittiness now?)

As my avatar suggests I am usually a bearded gent, but it wasn’t always so. At various different times of my life I have sported a variety of facial hairstyles and indeed been clean shaven.A big part of the reason that I take a more piratical approach to shaving these days is that I have surprisingly sensitive skin.

I have always been surprised by this myself and frequently forget as my pain threshold is very high and most of my skin has an almost leather like quality to it but my delicate face lets me down.

This is in no way aided by having rather thick coarse stubble that these pesky safety razors just don’t seem to like cutting.

It is not uncommon for me to have to use two heads/blades and upwards of 5 complete passes of my face in order to achieve something approximating a smooth shave and by the time I have endured all of this I have so much razor burn that it looks like I washed myself with gravel.

I have tried all sorts of lotions potions and creams and they don’t help so until now it has been left well alone.

I fancied a change to my bear like visage and faced with the prospect of more razor burn decided to take the plunge.

Say hello to my little friend:

As stunning as it looks in the picture it really isn’t done any justice at all.

The lethally sharp steel in question is a13/16th rattler from P Ford of Sheffield and was made in 1924, the blade is of carbon steel and is in superb condition, the scales (handle) are the original horn ones and are exceptional. All of the credit for the work on this razor has to go to Neil Miller from Strop-shop.co.uk who has done a fantastic job of making sure that this razor is completely up to scratch.

Has it made a difference?   YES

The difference in the quality of the shave between this and the bastard prodigy of King Gillete is like night and day,  the straight literally glides across my face and the stubble practically melts from it’s path, what used to take 5 passes now takes 2 and the result is silky smooth.

There are one or two downsides to the straight though:

It is scary sharp, I literally own nothing that approaches the level of sharpness, not scalpels, not stanley knife blades, not the blades of my safety razors. We are talking sharp.

It isn’t cheap to buy a straight razor, but it is a one off cost. If I work out how much I would spend on throwaway heads for my safety razor I will make back the cost of the straight in 6 months.

You have to take care of a straight, it needs to be cleaned and stropped and occasionally honed, but hey its like any decent tool that you own. You take care of it, it takes care of you.

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