First post here but very excited to be part of the community!!

I have been wanting to make the switch to either straight blade or safety razor shaving for quite some time now and seeing how my first born child, a boy, is soon to be in this world, i wanted to teach him some manly art forms. I took the plunge and bought a vintage gillette travel razor from ebay and a sampler pack of razors from razor emporium. I decided to use the feather ultra (?) due to the fact that i read it is one of the sharper razors out there and after my first shave, i have some questions:

1. My shave isn't as close or smooth as i thought it should be. here's my process and tell me if i should change something

-Shower

-Place hot towel on my face just before exiting

- Shaving cream (no mug lather yet. That's next!)

-short, downward strokes for the first pass and then did some short upward strokes.

2. I have some difficulty working with the neck area. Is there any special techniques?

3. How to keep the razor/blade when it's not in use, how to clean, how often to change blade?

4. Tips to get perfect angle?

I appreciate everyone's input!!

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1.  You are NOT going to achieve mastery of anything the first go-round.  Blade shaving is a bit of an art, so it will take practice.  You will only find your optimal shave through trial and error.

2.  If you've been using cartridge or disposable razors, you DO need to learn a new technique to razor handling.  I've used two types of electric shavers, and a plethora of cartridge, disposable, and safety razors over the years.  Each one required a different handling technique to get the best possible shave.

3.  Be careful around your lips (voice of experience from several decades back).

Welcome to the wet shaving life! You'll love it if you take your time.
My neck is a tough spot, too because my beard has "cow licks" there - it grows curved, almost swirled. That said, I've had some luck by using Aveeno AS to calm the area and reduce redness until my technique improves, and my neck gets used to the razor.

Well done, Jerry; welcome to the club. I, too, have recently started wet shaving and will never go back. Here are a few tips/tricks I've picked up along the way:

- For your neck, short, downward strokes aren't always best. Figure out which way your hair grows and go with the grain. You may have to do a couple passes before going against the grain, but this should help with your neck. 

- You can soak your razor in vinegar to clean it. Also, when you're done with your shave, take your blade out and dry it; this will help keep it sharp.

Happy shaving.

Thanks for all the advice. The razor I bought is a "travel" razor and isn't very long and not much weight to it. I'm gonna try and get another one so that i can try some better form. Also picking up some lather and brush accessories this week as well. Fortunately, i ran out of shaving cream so i have no other option!! (at least that's what I'm saying. haha)

Practice will improve yoru shaves. Your products and methods look good. For the neck, as for all areas of the face, a light touch is necessary. Don't bear down with the razor at all. A tip for the right angle, hold the top of the razor against your skin. Slowly lower the handle until the blade is just touching your skin and maintain that angle. Also, there is a shaving group where we discuss all aspects of wetshaving. You can find the group here. http://community.artofmanliness.com/group/realshaving

Jerry, welcome sir to the awesome and addictive world of classic wet shaving. I have been in the club for about three years now and have learned a bit along the way. My suggestions are this: learn proper technique. Avoid shaving across the grain for a while until you know how to wield your razor. For me, even after three years of experience, I still do not shave against the grain. I have extremely coarse hair and slightly sensitive skin so it does little good for me to irritate it. Instead I shave using an open comb razor with feather blades (I.e. one sharp sucker). I make at most, three passes each shave as classic wet shaving is about beard reduction, not necessarily BBS. First pass is always with the grain, with each subsequent pass across the grain while pulling my skin taunt. Pay attention to your routine and figure out what works best for me. For me it's a hot shower, followed by a good glycerin based shaving soap applied with a badger brush, three passes, post hot water rinse to get rid of the remaining lather, a cold water rinse to close the pours, use of an alum block, application of witch hazel and then finally a splash of bay rum or balm (depending on the season). I use moisturizing noxzema in the shower (originally developed for barbers for use in straight razor shaving). This sounds like a lot but I assure you it is all very quick to accomplish. 15 minutes for the whole routine.

Check out "Geofatboy" on YouTube as well as the badgerandblade forums. Great info and good guys. Get yourself an Edwin Jagger closed comb to replace that travel razor and best of luck!!

Well, it's been a few weeks since i first started shaving and i think i'm getting my groove. Talked to my barber who suggest some techniques and also advised me to buy some pre shave oil (which has worked wonders for me). I took the dive and bought a nice, used Merkur safety razor but unfortunately it was missing the top piece when it shipped to me. Oh well. But, i am getting excited because I feel i have finally found things that work for me. However, i still have some things i need to get down but that's what time is for!!

1.  The prep sounds fine.  Short strokes are correct, but you're saying 'downward' and 'upward'.  Forget those terms.  Make the first pass with the grain (WTG) and the second against the grain (ATG).  Now, find in what direction your hair actually grows, you may well find it does not go int he direction you think it did in certain areas.

2.  Make sure you use your fingers to stretch the skin; you'll get a better shave that way.  Or else simply raise the head to stretch the skin.

3. I only use my blades twice.  After the shave I wipe it and place it back in the waxed paper wrapper and also int he outer paper wrapper with the outer paper wrapper turned inside out.  I then put it back in the little box with the other razors.  That way, when I shave with a safety razor (DE) again (normally i use a straight razor) I know I've already used that blade before and I'll throw it out after that next shave.

4.  Experiment with the angle, that's the only way you'll work it out with a safety razor.  Keep the angle low.

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