How To Sharpen A Straight Razor

Old Shaving Razor and Razor Sharpener

When owning a straight razor, it is imperative for the owner to ensure that they are implementing the proper measures of maintenance to attain a long life in their blade. A straight razor has long been considered as being a traditional men’s accessory. Straight razors are usually made of stainless steel and are less in demand. Most other razors need to be rinsed with clear water and dried thoroughly after each utilizing session. When a straight razors isn’t used for long periods of time, it is recommended to keep it rubbed with light lubrication or oil. Likewise, the straight razor should not be placed in a closed area that is damp. There are no valid rules for whetting, or stropping, of razors.

There aren’t many common rules for sharpening straight razors. Sometimes it is sufficient enough to sharpen it towards the ball of the thumb, especially if it hasn’t been used for many days. People who use razors on a regular basis know that there is growth in the cutting edge. What that basically means is that there is a fine burr on the side of the cutting edge which changes when the razor is utilized.

Straight razors should be bought from manufacturers that properly whet them prior to distribution. If you’re an owner of a suitable strop, then it should be taken into account that the straight razor should “rest” after its utilization. After the straight razor is carefully washed and dried, it shouldn’t be utilized again for 1 to 2 days due to the cutting edge straightening up at a slow rate. If the straight razor undergoes stropping too soon after use, the “fin” for a close shave may break off. It is recommended to conduct between six and fifteen shaves without stropping between the next period of use.

Sharpening a straight razor vs honing a knife

It is important to know that sharpening a straight razor isn’t done in the same ways as honing a knife. The stones that are utilized for sharpening straight razors are much finer in grade, anywhere between 4,000 to 12,000 grit. The bigger the number is, the smoother and smaller the stone will be.

Straight razors are ground, forged, honed and sharpened at the factory during its production stages. Out of these particular processes, honing is the only practical course for the owner of the razor. If the honing process is botched for any reasons the razor will need to undergo special resharpening routines which could be quite costly.

Unlike a kitchen knife, a straight razor or hunting knife doesn’t necessarily have to have a strong blade, only a sharp one. The cutting angle is usually anywhere between 15 and 20 degrees, as opposed to more of a normal 30 degrees, in which case it could easily become damaged. A straight razor will usually have just one task to perform, to cut hair as close as possible to the skin. Therefore, it doesn’t dull as quick as an ordinary knife does when used under heavier conditions of work, in which situation it can be whetted back to working on a strop. It is important to note that the straight razor will eventually need to undergo honing. The frequency of it needing to be honed depends on how tough the growth of the beard is and how often one will need to shave with it. It is also important to note that honing is only needed when the blade can’t be restored to being ready on a strop.

FILED UNDER: HOW TO SHARPEN A STRAIGHT RAZOR