The following instructions for straight razor sharpening should keep your blade nice and sharp, allowing you to have a nice clean and comfortable shave every time. There are two things involved in razor sharpening, and that is stropping and honing. Each one is a distinct process and is necessary to keep your razor sharp and in good condition. Honing only needs to be done approximately every six months, while stropping is done before every time you shave.
In order to do your straight razor sharpening you will need:
- straight edge razor
Stropping your razor:
- Buy yourself a nice strop as it most likely will last your entire lifetime. Strops are leather straps, some of which are two-sided. One side is canvas and the other is leather. Buying a double-sided strop will save you from having to buy a separate canvas strop later on. You will need both sides to do your razor sharpening.
- Attach your strop to a hook somewhere sturdy. It is important that the strop stay tight when stretched horizontally in order to do your razor sharpening. It also must not get water on it.
- Before shaving be sure to strop your razor. Stropping is done by dragging your razor diagonally on the canvas one direction and then the other, always leading with the back of the razor. Each back and forth strop is considered a lap. From 20 to 30 laps are usually done on the canvas side, and then 20 to 30 laps on the leather side to keep the edge of the razor sharp and smooth.
- Each side of the strop has a different purpose. The canvas side of the razor is kind of rough and gets rid of anything that might be on the razor from your last shave, and it also polishes the razor’s edge. The leather side gets the razor ready for shaving. Do not use a leather belt because it might damage your razor which might end up in replacement of the razor.
- Take your time stropping. Strop your razor at a speed that is comfortable to you. It takes time to learn how to do it correctly, so be patient. It’s part of the process you need to keep your razor sharp in order to get that wonderful close shave.
Honing your razor:
- About once or twice a year you need to hone your razor. This procedure is something you can learn to do, or for a very low fee you can send it out to a professional company that does razor sharpening and they will do it for you. You will know when it needs to be honed because it will start pulling at your beard when you shave because it is time for a razor sharpening. This is usually about every six months, depending on how much you shave.
- Buy a hone that is made specifically for straight razors. Hones are made out of different synthetic materials or actual stone. Make sure the instructions are with it when you buy it, because you will need them.
- How to hone your razor. Lay your razor on top of the hone. Next, push it in a diagonal direction down the hone. Make sure the edge is first. Be sure the entire edge touches the hone. Turn the razor over and repeat the same process from the bottom up. Be sure not to use too much weight on the blade as you push it on the hone. Have some water available to put on the hone. Repeat this about five times on each side of the blade. Check the blade and if it feels sharp enough/ If you have followed these instructions for straight razor sharpening, you should be good to go! If you;re not sure if it is sharp enough, try shaving with it to see if the razor is sharp enough. Just don’t forget to strop it after honing it before you shave.