How to Sharpen a Straight Razor

How to Sharpen a Straight Razor

If you have a straight razor, you may be confused when it comes to taking care of it. The truth is that it isn’t hard to maintain, as long as you regularly wash it and keep it sharpened. However, the process of sharpening the blade is the part that scares many people, but it isn’t really anything to worry about. Here is the process of keeping your razor sharp, so you can use it for many years to come.

Get a strop

The first thing you need to get when you purchase a straight razor is a strop. This is simply a specialized strip of leather, which you use to sharpen a straight razor. When you purchase a new razor, it should be ready to use, so you won’t need to use the strop until you have used the razor many times. You will be able to tell when the blade gets a little dull and needs to be sharpened.

However, it’s important to remember that after you use the razor the first time, you shouldn’t use it again for around 2 days. This is the time when the metal needs to get use to your face and set up correctly, so it can always offer you a good shave. After this initial wait period, you won’t have to wait to use it again. You can use it as often as you need to as long as you maintain it correctly.

The process is simple when it comes time to use the strop. Hold the razor flat on the strop, and then all you have to do is drag the back of the blade along the leather strap until it is sharper. This side should be moved away from the body. Then simply turn the razor over and repeat the process. During this step, you should rub the razor on the strop towards the body.

When done correctly, this process should keep your razor as sharp as you need it to be and ensure that it can be used for a long time. There are other things that some people use to sharpen the blade, including creams and stones, but using a strop is the most popular way to care for straight razors, and the easiest way.

If you find that you are unable to sharpen it properly, you may want to get someone else to do it for you that has more experience. You can ask your barber or someone you know. You can even watch videos online if you need some additional help figuring out the process.

Additionally, if you ever damage the razor, you will need to have it fixed by a professional. For example, if the razor itself ever gets a nick or other imperfection, it will need to be sanded down or replaced, so it’s a good idea to store your razor somewhere where no one else will touch it.

When to Sharpen

When your razor isn’t cutting like it should or when it seems to be more rounded, it is time to sharpen your razor again. This should generally be after around 15 shavings and you should only sharpen it after you use it, and not before. That way, you can be sure there are no metal fragments coming into contact with your skin, which can damage or hurt you.

How to Keep it Clean

After each use of the razor, it’s best to clean it with hot water and soap. This is especially important if you have just sharpened it. This will clean off all the excess skin and oils that were left on the blade. Then you should dry with a soft cloth. Drying it is just as important as washing it, to make sure that the blade doesn’t get any rust or damage.

After it’s been dried off, it should be stored in a dry and cool place to make sure that the product can last a long time. Some straight razors have wooden or metal handles, so you may have to give them a little extra care when you’re washing and drying them.


Taking care of your straight razor is not hard at all. It is simply a matter of getting the right tools for the job. All you really need is a strop, or a leather strap, that enables you to run the razor along it and sharpen it. It doesn’t have to be sharpened very often, depending on how frequently you use it, only around once a month.

The other major thing to keep in mind is that the razor has to be washed, dried, and stored properly to make sure that everything is working just right. When you do all of these things, you will have a razor that works to give you a close shave, time after time.

About the author


I use to watch my dad shave every morning before he went to work. When I was old enough to shave all I could think about was using an old school straight razor as my dad did. I want to share all I know on this blog about shaving and using razors. I love sharing and writing about this lost art.

Click here to add a comment

Leave a comment: