Cut throat razor / strop and Shaving brush tips.

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A basic introduction to cut throat razor and shaving brush care.

The Razor.

Stainless steel razors do not need a special treatment but all razors should be washed with clean water after use and then carefully dried. If you do not intend to use the razor for a long time, it is recommended to lightly oil it.

The Shave.

When using a razor for the first time, start with the easy and soft parts of the face. Hold the opened razor with thumb and three fingers so that the opened handle shows away from the face.

Prepare the skin with a good shaving soap. With an angle of approximately 30 degrees, first shave down with the razor then shave up. If you hold the razor too flat it will tear the stubble.

Always shave in the direction of the cutting edge, never laterally.

If the razor is damaged by falling on a hard surface, it should be professionally attended to before using again as the fine edge may need regrinding.

Shaving brushes.

Once you have finished shaving, rinse your shaving brush thoroughly and gently flick the brush to rid excess water to avoid rot and mildew. Placing your brush on a stand is the best way for water to drip away.

A good quality brush should have been sterilised in the manufacturing process. A common mistake is to sit a brush in boiling water which over time will cause the brush to fall apart.

I trust this is helpful, more information below.


Please note, I have no control over eBay's selection of listings associated with this page


A Cutthroat Business
By James Whittall

Practice Makes Perfect
Learning to shave with a straight razor. Create safe zones and expand your territory. Start by trimming your sideburns on the first day of practice. Just the sideburns. That's it. Shave the rest of your face with your favorite safety razor.

Each consecutive morning, expand your safe zones to include more of the face. In this way, you'll quickly develop a technique with the blade that's least likely to draw blood.

Lather is everything when shaving with a straight razor. The cardinal rule is to never let the lather dry or become too thin, or your razor won't work.

Dip a badger hair shave brush in warm, not hot, water and use it to apply emulsified shave cream and water as a thick lather to your beard. Allow the lather two or three full minutes before shaving to soften the hairs.

During that time, sharpen your razor with a leather strop. Stropping isn't exactly rocket surgery but does involve a marginal level of skill. To strop the blade, fix one end of the strop to some immovable object like a bedpost or mother-in-law, hold the other end of the strop in whichever hand you don't use for writing, and run the blade horizontally in rapid back-and-forth strokes along the leather surface.

The blade should always be turned away from you when pulling it toward your body. Flip the blade over to face you when stropping in the opposite direction. Strop-flip-strop-flip-strop. Get it?

Once stropping is complete, apply another layer of emulsified cream and you're ready to rock and roll.

The Straight Razor Shave
Hold the razor securely by placing the pads of your index and second fingers on the shank, your thumb under the shank and against the shoulder, the handle raised vertically between your middle and ring fingers, and your ring and pinky fingers resting inside the crescent-shaped tang.

Using the fingers of your free hand, stretch the skin until it is as taught as possible. Hold the razor at a 30 degree angle to the surface of your skin and shave your first even stroke in the direction of hair growth. Apply lather over the freshly shaven area and shave a second even stroke against the direction of hair growth. Only two strokes are necessary. You can skip the second stroke, if it seems too tricky to attempt.

The ''angle of the dangle'' is your key to error-free shaving. Fewer than 30 degrees and you'll rip the hair out by its root. More than 30 degrees and you'll very likely slice yourself to ribbons. The only areas for which this rule doesn't apply are the chin and upper lip. For these two trouble spots only, angle the back of the blade a little closer to your skin and proceed with caution.

Care and Maintenance
Most contemporary straight razors are made of stainless steel. Not so with the blade in our collection. Stainless steel is difficult to sharpen, so many of the better straight razors are still composed of high-carbon steel. High-carbon steel sharpens with relative ease. It also rusts and changes color over time.

Ergo, high-carbon straight razors require a lot of TLC. But the extra attention is worth it. A properly maintained blade will last the rest of your life and probably outlive your kids.

At the end of your shave, thoroughly clean the razor by running it under water. Dab it dry (never rub) with a cloth. Give the blade one final stropping and lightly grease it with mineral oil. Allow the blade to dry for 10 minutes, then dab away the excess oil and store your razor in a dry, dark, well-ventilated spot away from the reach of children. Use a cotton swab soaked in rubbing alcohol to remove the mineral oil before your next shave.

Should you (horror of horrors) discover rust on your blade, remove it at once with one of those white 3M scrub pads or a handful of ''0000 Grade'' (extremely fine) steel wool. Dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and clean the entire surface of the blade, then grease with mineral oil and store.

Never use metal or silver polishes to clean your razor. Never immerse or expose your razor to bleach, ammonia, or harsh detergents. Never leave your razor near an open flame or heat source. Never (and this one's a double-never) drop or otherwise damage your blade. A severely damaged blade should be discarded.

If your razor becomes nicked or so dull it actually rivals my last job, whip out your sharpening stone and give the blade a good hone. You'll only need to do this once a year, perhaps twice. Strop after honing and you're done.

Nothing, absolutely nothing, shaves as closely as a straight razor.

And when it comes to scoring points on the Macho Scale, one cutthroat beats a dozen 10-inch compound mitre saws any day of the week.


What brand do I recommend in a shave brush?

In my honest opinion, the best brushes and value for money are made by Vulfix (Progress Vulfix Ltd, Isle of Man, British Isles) which is why I offer them and have been using Vulfix for most of my adult life. There are obviously many other brands on the market and some are definitely more expensive but I will only offer what I am willing to use myself (excluding the Eterna bristle brushes. I offer them occassionally because they are popular). My personal preference is definitely a badger brush.

Vulfix's cream coloured handle provides excellent balance and a firm grip. Most handles are lathe turned and polished by hand to a brilliant lustre. The excellent water holding capacity assists with a better shave.

Pricing is guided by quality and quantity of the bristles (I call it hair).

A good badger brush will last a very long time if cared for. Vulfix claim you can pay up to 3 times more to buy the same quality in other brands.

Badger bristles might feel firm when dry but once wet they become soft and gently massage the lather onto your face.

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