I Want To Know How To Hold The Straight Razor While Shaving
Straight razors can be an intimidating hobby to start. It’s much different than what most of us are used to with a regular cartridge or disposable razor. But, if you’re willing to give it a shot straight razors are a fantastic way to get an extremely close shave. Let’s start our straight edge journey by learning how to hold the straight razor.
How to hold the straight razor best way for beginners
The first thing you’ll need is a high-quality straight razor. That one is a great starter razor.
Start by putting up your right hand, palm facing you. And consult the image below. Position one is called the tang. You put your pinky there and the handle, also known as the scales, rests on the top of your pinky. Place your ring, middle, and index fingers on position 3 which is called the shank. The spot between the scales and the blade. Your thumb holds the bottom, closest to the blade, at position 2.
There are four different passes you’ll be doing with a straight razor.
- With The Grain (WTG)
- Across The Grain (XTG)
- Against The Grain (ATG)
- Touch ups
This is the basic starting grip you’ll want to use to shave WTG and XTG. Please note, this is not set in stone. Many people use many different grips and prefer different ways to hold the razor. It’s just a great way to control the weight of the blade. When you’re just starting out, you might want to avoid shaving ATG until you’re more comfortable with the blade.
Once you start shaving ATG, you’ll want to use a different grip. Put out your right hand, palm facing down and put your thumb and index finger together. You’ll be holding the shank with your thumb and index finger with the blade facing up since you’ll be shaving south to north. Use the rest of your fingers to comfortably hold the scales. Some prefer to keep the scales between their ring finger and pinky, some prefer to keep all of their fingers behind the scales, and some prefer to just hold the scales with their middle, ring, and pinky fingers. Totally up to you. That’s it! See what works best for you.
Stropping is necessary
Make sure you strop every time you shave too. There are microscopic grooves in the blade and each time you shave they are slightly dulled to all different directions. Stropping will realign these grooves and keep your straight razor sharper for longer.
If your blade starts to get dull, you’ll need to sharpen it yourself or send it to be sharpened. How long it takes to become dull depends on how good you are at stropping the blade as well as if you decide to use any pastes for your strops. For a full guide on sharpening a straight razor, check here.