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cut-throat razors and beyond...

Killer Kamisoricut-throat razor noun [C] UK (US straight razor)

a type of old-fashioned razor with a long blade that folds out from the handle

(Definition of cut-throat razor noun from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary)

A rock and a hard place, or there is no perfect beginner razor

September 21, 2010 — R

20100128: Sellers

'Straight razor shaving is not rocket science', is a white lie. The tools and techniques involved are far more primitive than a rocket, but the science aspect is one that is often mis-represented by those claiming to be at the forefront of research. In fact, the mechanics of straight razors are woefully under-researched. This has led to a number of popular myths and misconceptions, one of which shall be addressed in this article. This article offers an alternative take on "a 6/8 half hollow round point is a good starter razor". More will follow.

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Review of the Crabtree & Evelyn "Sandalwood" shaving cream

September 2, 2010 — R

Crabtree & Evelyn "Sandalwood"

The cream underperforms for its price, I do not like its scent, and the glass jar is history. Sorry, but there is much better value to be had for less money.

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Review of the Gentlemens Refinery "Unscented" shaving cream

August 31, 2010 — R

The Gentlemen's Refinery "Unscented"

If you need an unscented cream, this one should be high on your list. If you do not, there are other creams around that have a higher price/performance ratio.

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Review of the St James "Cedarwood & Clarysage" shaving cream

August 28, 2010 — R

St James "Cedarwood & Clarysage"About two weeks ago, I received a surprise package full of shaving paraphernalia. Interestingly, only one of the 40 items contained therein was known to me previously. I shall review the products I like in good time. The first is a little known shaving cream by St James of London.

A seriously good cream at a killer price. If you want an alternative to Caraceni or Castle Forbes, here you go. Enjoy.

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2+2=5 or, Honesheister intelligent design meets A level geometry

August 22, 2010 — R

Creationism is broken as designed: No-one with an IQ > 75 would try to "prove" something with faith and beliefs. The same can be said of honing. Honemeisters - genuine and self proclaimed alike - keep claiming that honing is not science. Instead, they claim it is a form of art. And artists, as we all know, produce works of art. And they come at a price.

However, creating a geometric shape (in this case, a cutting edge)  using a  well-known and heavily researched material (in this case, steel) is as scientific and technological as it gets. Of course, to bring the scientific insights in to practice turns in into a craft, but that does not make the underlying principles any less scientific.

Back when I put the following piece of SRP's FAQ together, I was using Bart's research. And the result was logically sound. Much to my surprise, the following change was made two days ago:

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Grinding halt or, how to kill research

July 28, 2010 — R

As you may or may not know, I spent quite a bit of time helping to build SRP's Wiki. A friend of mine just notified me of an interesting trend there. Or, rather, a sad one. There have been no changes for weeks. While I was still an active contributor, there was a lot of discussion whether a Wiki was the right format for a knowledge database. Here are some of the arguments:

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Kill your idols or, don't believe the hype

July 21, 2010 — R

Pecunia non olet. Well, sometimes it does. However, In this article, I shall not discuss taxes. Instead, I will focus on some successful marketing tactics employed in on-line communities specialising in straight shaving in the hope that you will find this extra knowledge useful.

Marketing is the process by which companies create customer interest in products or services. It generates the strategy that underlies sales techniques, business communication, and business development. In the area of straight razors, things used to be quite simple. While there was limited interest in straight razors, and the market for them less than saturated accordingly, all one had to do was to provide superior quality at competitive prices. But things have changed over the past three years. Here are some recent trends: Read more »

Size matters or, not

July 21, 2010 — R

The general consensus seems to be that the ideal beginner razor is a 6/8 hollow ground round point. The reasons given are quite convincing: It offers a maximum of manoeuvrability while still being easy to strop (keeping a small razor flat can be challenging); it can take a decent amount of lather (which is an advantage, because the less you need to rinse, the lower the risk of damaging your razor by hitting the faucet); and, maybe most importantly, it makes it easy to watch the angle of the blade against the face.

This blade angle is one of the variables most overlooked by beginners. Let me try and explain taking an image by Bart:

Finer point of cutting angles

As you can see, the angle of the blade against the skin becomes shallower with each pass ("TG" meaning "the grain", "W", "X", and "A" meaning with, across, and against, respectively). A wider blade will allow you to watch that angle more closely.

Unfortunately, the blog software does not allow for the insertion of flash animations, but if you are new, you should follow this link: It is map of (your) face which you can use to track your beard growth, then assign certain shaving passes to certain areas of your face, then print it out and hang it on your bathroom mirror. Yes, it sounds silly, but it really is very useful. Here is the original thread for more background.

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Razor shopping, or how to hunt steel for fun, not profit

July 20, 2010 — R

Without razors, straight razor shaving would not be half the fun it can be. Maybe even less. However, there is a lot of confusion about buying razors. Especially amongst beginners. In this article, I will try and dispel some popular myths, give highly subjective advice on what to look for in a beginner razor, and highlight some common pitfalls. Read more »

Shaving tool progressions or, carrying kit to excess

July 20, 2010 — R

First there were hones. The pyramid honing scheme being a prime example of a useful, albeit debated, use of a progression. The idea being that gradual progression achieved through switching back and forth between hones of similar coarseness will minimise the risk of overhoning and the challenge of finding the right moment to switch from one hone to the next.

Then there were strops. Declared 'The Most Important Part of Straight Razor Shaving!' by some, they actually really are. However, some other people have now come up with the concept of strop progressions. The rationale being that there are whatever strops, and finishing strops. My initial reaction was, 'what a lot of bollocks.' After some careful consideration, and - I am not ashamed of admitting that I am always game for trying out strange ideas - thorough testing, I would like to slightly rephrase that to, 'what a complete lot of utter bollocks.' The strops tested were an SRD Premium I and IV (that extra long IV is really, really nice), an Illinois 827 (nice leather, but what an absolutely tacky and flimsy feel in comparison), and an Old Traditional. Well, what can I say. These strops range in price from USD 29 to USD 120. And they all work. I tried a few others (ao a Kanayama 50k). They also worked. Whether or not I will ever like the webbed fabric on the SRD strops, I cannot quite say. But it works well. Read more »