The Straight Razor Shave

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The Art of the Straight Razor Shave A Basic Guide by Christopher Moss Copyright © 2005 Christopher Moss. All rights reserved. Table of Contents Chapter 1: Why Bother? Chapter 2: The Razor Chapter 3: Honing, Stropping and Care of your razor Chapter 4: The Preparation Chapter 5: The Badger Brush, Hard Soaps and Creams Chapter 6: The Shave Chapter 7: Aftermath Appendix: Useful web links Disclaimer Used sensibly and carefully, a straight razor is an excellent means of shaving. Without due care
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  The Art of the Straight Razor Shave A Basic GuidebyChristopher Moss Copyright © 2005 Christopher Moss. All rights reserved.  Table of Contents Chapter 1: Why Bother?Chapter 2: The RazorChapter 3: Honing, Stropping and Care of your razorChapter 4: The PreparationChapter 5: The Badger Brush, Hard Soaps and CreamsChapter 6: The ShaveChapter 7: AftermathAppendix: Useful web linksDisclaimerUsed sensibly and carefully, a straight razor is an excellentmeans of shaving. Without due care and attention, it is possibleto injure yourself, just as with any sharp edged object. If youtry out the shaving method described herein, be aware that Imake no guarantee, implied or otherwise, that you won’tmanage to cut yourself. You will. But you will learn and becomeproficient, and then you will only rarely nick yourself. Neverleave a straight razor where small children, or evenunsuspecting adults, might come across it and pick it up. Use  your common sense!   Chapter 1 Why Bother? Unless you want to sport a full set beard, some degree of shaving isnecessary for every man (let us avoid the niceties of female facialhair). Archeologists tell us of strange and cruel practices performedby our forebears involving carefully knapped flints, obsidian knivesand even sea shells. Plucking hairs out singly must have required adedication that I cannot imagine, even if I wished to do so. With thediscovery of metal ores and the gradually discovered ability tomine, smelt and fashion metals, we see the development of themodern razor, which continues today. For a period of over ahundred years, this meant a straight razor, also known as a ‘cutthroat’ or open razor. Seven Day boxed set of Thiers Issard Razors  This was fine-tuned into a tool that excelled at its job, and wasavailable in thousands of models. From the heavy and rather crudewedge blades to half-hollow and fully hollow ground blades itevolved into an ever more efficient tool for hair removal. At onetime it was the mark of a gentleman to be shaved by someone else,and even the poorest went to a barber for a shave once or twice aweek - certainly once for church on a Sunday. By the end of thisperiod though, most men had their own razor and were instructedby their fathers in its use. But times were about to change at the endof the nineteenth century.The invention of the safety razor by King Gillette in 1904 marked aturning point after which it was the declared objective to makeprofit first rather than serve the needs of the shaver first. Gillette’sbrilliant idea was to make something (I don’t think he would haveminded what, but landed on the idea of a shaving system) that wasuniversally required, and had a limited lifespan, so the consumerwould have to keep on buying. Large companies - really just twogiants today - work feverishly to sell us new and improved razorsand blades for them. Whilst Gillette’s srcinal double edged razorblade and the razor to hold it were good at their job, recent timeshave seen them all but replaced entirely by more expensivecartridge razors sporting one, two, three or even four blades. Theshaving soap and brush have been replaced for most men withfoams and gels in aerosol cans that contain various chemicals. Someeven use menthol to half-numb the face so that the user will not feelthe discomfort of these less than perfect systems. Shaving hasbecome a chore that it is said that most men hate, and avoid whenthey can. The electric shaver, first invented by Jacob Schick, hasbecome widespread, even though it does a relatively poor job of work. It is convenient, and somehow seems more modern. Why then,are you reading this?There has been a resurgence of respect for older methods of doingmany things in the last thirty years. To some extent we aredisillusioned with modern technologies, and are sometimes fearfulof them. There is a sense that uncontrolled development may leadus to unknown or unwanted ends. This certainly motivates somestraight razor shavers. Others are concerned with the wastage of throw-away cartridges for their razors, or indeed, with throw-away
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