Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Misadventures in shaving...

In need of some other strange and obscure fascination, I've decided to pick up straight razor shaving. I've always resented paying for a four pack of blades that cost $20! To me, it's absolutely ridiculous.

So I did my research and narrowed my choice of implements to a Dovo razor, russian leather strop, honing stone and badger brush. Everything that would be needed for a lifetime of shaving would amount to $250, which is actually an insanely great deal. Unfortunately, I don't have $250 I can spend on shaving at the moment.

But, the way my brain works, it just wouldn't let me rest. So I decided, against some better judgment, to try straight razor shaving on the cheap. I got a cheap plastic razor that takes replaceable blades (20 pack of blades for $2.50), a cheap boar hair brush from Rite-Aid, a styptic pencil and a cake of soap. Everything I needed to mutilate my face for about $20.

So far, I've shaved about four times with the set-up and truth be told I am getting better with it. I've figured out how to hold the darn thing for one, which makes a word of difference in navigating a naked razor blade around the contours of your face. However, the razor and the blades are really sub-par. There's so much flex that I'm putting some undue pressure on it and have gotten a few nicks that way. Also, something is wrong with my combination of soap and brush because it isn't whipping up a decent lather.

What's interesting, at least for me, is that this is a really amusing anecdote of how I learn things. A period of intense research. Trying out different tools of a trade to find out why crappy things are crappy and why high-end items are high-end--essentially feeling out the dimensions of the arena. Followed by months of action which gets me to a certain level of mastery in about 3 months. That's how I learned how to develop and print black and white photographs, inline skate, build bicycle wheels, create Flash animation, etc.,

Now, I can add re-constructive facial surgery to the list :)


Jason said...

Us retro-shaving-cyclists gotta stick together, man. I'm not as old-school as you (I'm using a safety razor rather than a straight razor), but I'm loving the vintage shave. I've written a little about it at http://jasoncrane.org.

RussRoca said...

Ha...yes, are we that far and few between?