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How things change..

BlacknTan

Well-Known Member
I was, for years an avid bird hunter, before age and arthritic knees took their toll... Well, more of a bird dog person, but the two go hand in hand. A birddog shows it's training and breeding by birds grassed by the gunner. I've read how hunters evolve as they age. How just being alive and afield with the dog in Autumn is much more important that the kill, and it's undeniably true. Today, I go out to enjoy the dog work and beauty of the woods more than anything else. Life, and the sanctity of it to all things, becomes much more important as we age and mature. I guess that's why old men send young men to fight their wars, but that's a discussion for another day.
I started honing razors to save money. So I didn't have the need to send a blade off to a "Honemeister" a few es a year. The learning process required intense concentration and tired me out at the beginning, but as I became more comfortable I found it quite enjoyable.
Soon, I found myself looking for razors to hone. I now find myself honing every morning, often the razor I plan to use that day, just to try something a bit different, or to see if I can improve the edge in some small way. So, the honing, instead of a means to an end, has become another end unto itself... I no longer hone just to sharpen, but to challenge myself... kind of a yardstick to measure any seemingly small improvements I may make..
So, just as I've evolved as a hunter and dogman, am I also evolving as a straight razor shaver?

Is this the natural progression of things?
 

Bart

Well-Known Member
That's a nice post. I like the introspective nature of your contemplations.

I'm not a hunter, my neck of woods is too tightly populated for much hunting tradition. Yet I value the stillness of a nice long walk, and I recognize how we sometimes are the witnesses of our own passage through this thing called life. Some time spend in harmony with a natural environment seems to me as the best medicine to keep us from running past ourselves in the modern world.

As for honing razors and shaving... What drew me to the straight razor was the artisan-ship of it all. And the sense of achievement that comes with acquiring a skill. Maintaining and sharpening the razor is an important part of that skill. And doing it with a piece of natural rock adds, for me, a sense of self-reliance to it. It often annoys me that we depend so much on technology nowadays. Just imagine what would happen if someone turned off electricity. We wouldn't be having this conversation, the meat would rot in the freezer, the central heating wouldn't work, my toothbrush would be dead, etc. If you compare the self-sustaining capacity of a modern man with that of a farmer 75 years ago, you'd see that the farmer sustained himself for the most part while the modern man depends on technology that he hardly understands. I can't escape from being that modern man, but there is this primal instinct that draws me away. I have a wood stove for that reason, a few apple trees and homegrown tomatoes, a couple of sheep for meat, old-fashioned razors to shave my face, and a piece of rock to sharpen them.

Bart.
 
G

Guest

It might be for some people. Incidentally, the type of people I find make for the most valuable contributions to the shaving scene.

In and by itself, almost all aspects of straight razor shaving have a Zen like quality. Stropping, lathering, shaving, honing. All of them have to potential to get you into a pleasant semi-trance if done correctly. It is the part of the hobby I actually like the most, those moments of losing the world, and becoming one with the tool.

And the tools are things of beauty, at least in their original form. You can almost feel the many decades of engineering and continuous improvement in a vintage razor. Unless, of course, it has been deprived of its original beauty
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.

So for me it is both the historic aspect, and the Zen moments, that have turned straight razors into more than just a hobby, and more of a lifestyle. There is a lot to be learnt for young people from straight razor shaving: Appreciation of patience, persistence, and the ability to admit defeat, only to try all over again.

Is this a normal progression of things? I think not, unfortunately. Or maybe the hoarders are just far more vocal. I would certainly hope that the latter is the case. Because I like the aesthetics of simple things.

Regards,
Robin
 

thelucia4

Member
It would seem to be the natural order as one progresses nearer to the vanishing point to relish meditative activities. I'm loping along, too, and am also looking forward to honing myself into universal consciousness:) Very nice post. Really, isn't that what straight-razor shaving is all about in this day and age--savoring the time spent, suspended from the hustle and bustle and focused on a craft, which tends to raise awareness of ourselves in time? I don't shoot rifles, but I do still shoot old film cameras--Leica Ms and Rolleiflexes, from the age when those machines were works of proud craftsmanship. And like Bart, I grow my own tomatoes and vegetables. I'd like to have some goats for fresh raw milk, but I'd have to acquire our neighboring eight acres for that--a distinct hope of mine for the future. Thanks for such a reflective post. Makes me want to lather up and then go milk a goat:)
 

DJKELLY

Well-Known Member
Nice post, Bill. My dad was a champion skeet shot, and some of my fondest memories are of following him through the south Florida palmettos behind Judy, our German pointer. (Still have all his Model 12s) Now I have trouble thinning out the squirrels that are terrorizing the neighborhood and getting in everyone's attics.

Self reliance and the primal instinct of man to provide are another big part of my sharpening experience, along with the hypnotic, time swallowing joy of it. I think each one of us takes the same pride in a great shave that is so simple yet unachievable with any other approach. And we each created the experience ourselves. Saving money went out the window quite a while ago.

Robin, I will be more careful the next time I open one of your hyperlinks. Pete Burns scared the shit out of me.

Thanks again, Bill. I think we could talk for quite a while. Your pal, Denny
 

tat2Ralfy

Well-Known Member
Super post

I dont know about anyone else, but I have always been "old fashioned" myself, I do embrace certain modern technology mind you.

I do agree about the fast pace of life nowadays, to me its unnatural, and I do like to spend time outs in the countryside, I used to grow all of my own vegetables, and brew my own beer, and all sorts of other self sufficient things too, I too am quite happy being a modern man, but I feel at times like I was born 100 yrs too late.

I have old cars, use a pocket watch, and open doors for ladies, however I have an Iphone and laptop, and do enjoy watching maybe 1 television program a day.

The thing that strikes me, and I believe this is very much a Biker thing (Not Motorcyclist!) is that as we slowly relax we understand that its the journey as much as the destination, that we enjoy, sometimes the journey is the destination,an old adage I know, but one that is very true in my opinion.

I also am a great believer in the fact that we are human beings, not human doings, and whilst I am not suggesting I would enjoy living in cave and only eating what I grow (well not for ever..lol) I do feel we put too much emphasis on things that are honestly not that important.

Regards
Ralfson (Dr)
 

Paul

Well-Known Member
Unlike some of you, I think I was born at precisely the right time for me. My parents did a lot to rear me well, but they did very little to provide me a broad perspective. Much of my family are embarasingly myopic (but extremely intelligent), and I fear that had I been born 100 years ago, I may have never left the farm. The educational opportunities, mostly thanks to my athleticism (University Scholarship) and the ability to connect to people all over the world has made me a better person in some regards. However, there are a lot of things that I would love about a more self-sustained existence.

I agree with a lot of the sentiment here. I know that progression was similar for me, and I constantly craved more experience with other hones, razors, brushes, etc... Now, I'm going in the other direction.

When I finally get my family over to Louisiana :cry: , we will have fresh herbs, fruit trees, and some berry bushes in our yard. We fish, and my in-laws hunt, enough to provide a fair amount of food. My dad being a cattle rancher gives me access to plenty of beef. I see much less complexity in my future.

For what it's worth, it's no accident that my signature at SRP/B&B for years is/was the Greg Anderson quote: "Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it"

The more I learn and mature, the more that rings true to me.

Cheers,

Paul
 
G

Guest

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Me too Blacktan many years Birdhunting,the last 15 yaars i go for hunting without rifl ,no kill,i understand that i like the hunding spirit and not the meat.I have my pointer ,i like to see my dog to stop front of partridge or a snipe but thats all.Yes things change.We have to know that we are not more accepted by our planet.I am now retired from Olympic Airways(state airline company of Greece) as aircraft engineer.I hate the aircrafts.( Sorry DJKelly if i well
remember you are a pilot).But i love my other specialities 1)Red neck ,I have 1985 olivetrees in Crete island for olive oil production.2)musician,playing lyra ,a trditional insrument played
with a bow and 3)instrunent maker ,makind violins,lyras and lutes.I am crazy with woodworking.
Dont think any one that i have helped to hone my razors due to goose chisels sharpening experence.But what helps for the razors honing is the the feeling that you get from bow stability.This is my little history of my life that indicates my Nature love.
 

DJKELLY

Well-Known Member
No need to apologize, Emmanuel, my friend, there are black heel marks from my house all the way to work, 90 miles away. After 42 years I hates ze aircraft industry if not the aircraft. Your friend, Denny
 

BlacknTan

Well-Known Member
That is indeed a fine looking Pointer you have, Emmanuel, and thank you for the photo and your thoughts.

We had a gentleman near here in N.Y. named Robert Wehle, since deceased. He wrote what has come to be known as the Bible for birdhunters. He penned a number of books on dogs and training, but "Wing & Shot" was his tour d' force. It probably exists on the bookshelf of every serious Pointing dog enthusiast. He bred English Pointers, and literally took the breed to a new level in this country... So much so that all quality Pointers carried the prefix "Elhew" (Wehle spelled backwards) in their pedigree, and usually on both sides. He literally set the standard for gundogs and his dogs were the ones to beat in wild bird trials.
In his later years, he was a great proponent of what he termed "dry hunting.." Or, as you say, hunting without a gun.. often with a camera. He derived his pleasure from watching the cream of the crop from his large kennel living up to their instincts and breeding. Pointing birds and being staunch to wing and shot.. hence the books name. Years ago, I confess that I did not understand his concept.. After all, the kill was the natural progression of the hunt, and all the hours of work that go into the dog. It's only now I understand.. He was a man far ahead of his time. Not perfect by any means... breeding animals, and he had a background in genetics, is not a pastime for the faint of heart. Unfortunately, many animals go into the ground when one is striving for perfection! Honestly, I have no taste for it, as I have less taste for killing anything that doesn't need killing as I get older. But, I still support those that love to hunt, as I once did when there are game populations to support it.
Unfortunately, we see fewer and fewer Ruffed Grouse and Woodcock on our outings, so my revelations have come upon me at the correct time in my life.

I've spent my life with Setters of various colors, but I enjoy all Pointing dogs.

I'm sure you love your Pointers as I love my Setters, Emmanuel, and thank you once again for posting.

And, I'm sorry to all for taking the forum a bit off course...
 

DJKELLY

Well-Known Member
You might get an argument about your last comment. The Zen side of any endeavor is the most of it in my opinion. Denny
 

life2short1971

Well-Known Member
When I was younger I spent a good bit of time with with Labrador Retrievers and training them to pick up birds on command. Its really something to be able to guide a dog to a fallen duck halfway across a lake and him bring it back without plucking a feather.
 

Tok

Well-Known Member
I have no idea, how long it takes me to shave. Could be ten, could be 20 Minutes. I have no idea. That´s because shaving became a way of meditation to me. I shave in the afternoon and it kinda calms me down. From time to time, I am thinking about measuring how long I actually need, but then, I think it could kinda destroy a part of the whole thing.

I´ve heard that in Japan, people have a different sense of time. They can take a break from the normal time flow. I think, while I shave, it´s a little like that.

My 0,02 € to the zen-thing.

Regards,
Tok
 

jfdupuis

Well-Known Member
I also find honing, shaving, stropping, very relaxing. Nothing better than a good quality shave in the middle of the winter when it's -25 outside. You follow that with a cold beer and a game of hockey and you're in business as they say.

My GF would certainly have a different opinion of the "relaxing" aspect of this hobby. She often says that a I look like a zombie when I'm honing !! lol! My reply to her is that "Well it's hard to keep track of passes if I have to respond to your..."could you please do the dishes..laundry.etc.. :p
 

Toff

Well-Known Member
As a 70yoa geezer, I am at the age that I've found getting to the inner enjoyment of an activity or learning experience is the only thing which makes life worth living. Learning the arts of the fabled blade has filled a goodly bit of my retired time and getting to know you all and others has broadened my existence. The daily rush of the world flying bye is not what I want.
Respectfully
~Richard
 

jfdupuis

Well-Known Member
I actually gave my 66 year old father a little "shaving lesson" this weekend! lol It was kinda funny to show him how to properly lather up and how to use a DE razor (gave him my EJ razor and 100 Astra Platinum blades)

He even said, "I never thought that my son would teach me how to shave!"

I think he really enjoyed my 28mm Thather brush lol! A little nicer than the 20mm pure badger he's using now.
 

chti_lolo

Well-Known Member
Some days ago, I realized I was wandering on the dark side of coticule spirit. I could manage to get a shaveable edge from my coticule but honing was becoming a kind of competition : always trying to have a better HHT, on a thiner hair at a further distance from the holding point. I was tackling the problem by the wrong end.
About twenty years ago, I began cycling with another spirit. I was not an atlete. I ride just for the pleasure it gives me : breathing the smell of nature, contemplating the countryside, hearing the sounds and feeling my muscles working. I have never tried to ride faster.
So one of my good resolution for this new year, will be to hone just for the pleasure. Ten minutes of honing exercise help to fall asleep quickly.

Regards

Laurent

BTW : Has anyone recorded the sound of coticule honing a razor? it could be a sweet lullaby for long winter nights.:D
 

DJKELLY

Well-Known Member
One of my special memories is of giving my father his last shave while on his death bed. He was 83 and asked the nurse for a shave and she refused because he was on blood thinners. How bad did she think she would cut him? I went right out and bought a three blade cartridge razor for the safety aspects and his shave was a very poignant moment for us both. He was a good old man.
 
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