Q: How long will these last?
A: Looked after properly, they will last several lifetimes and in that lifetime, save a small fortune. Research has been conducted in to the price of shaving and the various options available, and the findings shown that shaving with a straight razor is, on average, 22 times less expensive than shaving with disposables.
Q: Are these really difficult to sharpen?
A: They are no easier or harder to sharpen than a traditional Western straight albeit the process is totally different
Q: You have to always use the Omote (flat side) to shave against your face, is that correct?
A: Contentious answer: No it is not correct. My experience is that you shave just as well with both sides though the traditional method is to always only ever use the Omote side i.e. stamp side facing out, flat side against the face.
Q: Is there a learning curve associated to the use of these, even if I am already a straight razor user?
A: Yes. They are very different to use and feel very different in the hand and on the face and even the angle at which you shave is different. However, change is good and once you have mastered them they feel truly wonderful as they glide through your beard. It can take a little longer to feel confident in their use but I would strongly recommend ‘you tubing’ ‘Kamisori shave’ to view shaving tutorials – views I myself found very useful when I first started using these. I have deliberately avoided explaining the process on this site as know it is far easier to ‘watch and learn’.
Q: You have to use a paddle strop don’t you?
A: No. I use two leather stops, a home made leather on balsa strop and for most of my pre and post stropping use a traditional leather strop. Admittedly, you have to be a little more careful as it is very easy to cut your strop if you lose concentration, even for a second.
Q: You have to strop more on the omote side than the Ura?
A: No. My experience has shown that you strop equal amounts on each side, different to sharpening on stones.
Q: How do you hone these, is it the same as a Western straight?
A: Absolutely not. It is a very different process than honing, for example, a hollow ground Solingen. There are numerous different approaches to the sharpening of these and what I have found works best for me is to do 10 strokes on the omote to two strokes on the Ura or something similar. For the ten strokes I perform push and pull i.e. up and down motion and for the 2 strokes just pull towards me. Some say that you push/pull on both sides but, like I say, the method I have outlined has always worked well for me.
Another point to note is that often with Western straights you can obtain shave ready with an 8k grit stone. With a Kamisori you have to go higher, at least to 16k grit.
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