Some of you guys may think that Straight Razor doesn’t require any maintenance. You just shave, clean it with water, dry with a towel and that’s all. After this you put it on a shelf in your bathroom and it waits there until you need it again. Well… That’s not the best way of how to do it. If you don’t pay attention to keeping it in good shape, your razor will soon become dull and useless. This guide will tell you everything about how to maintain your blade to make it live and stay useful for a very long time.
As you know there are 2 large groups: carbon and stainless razors. Stainless steel is more rust resistant. Both are great but carbon requires more care because it may get rust.
When you use the razor you need to clean the blade after every stroke to remove hair and shaving foam / cream from it. Many people think that this process is easy but it’s not!
Take a white towel and place it near the sink before you start. This towel will help you to dry the blade after every stroke. Clean blade is much more comfortable to use. But most of the people clean it wrong! They wash the entire razor with the handle instead of washing the blade only.
Pay attention: never water the tang and handle! Most of the people wash the entire razor but that’s wrong! Especially if the handle is made of natural materials. If it’s made of wood, horn or bone it’s almost impossible to get water out of it. When you close the razor after usage and you think it’s dry it touches the water inside and it gets rust. If you clean the blade properly the razor will last lifetime.
After you clean and dry the blade with a towel let it lay near the sink for some time. This time is required for the razor to become completely dry.
If you live in the environment where there is high humidity you need to put some oil on the blade before you put it away. Otherwise it may get rust. This is not a problem if you live in low humidity region. How to do it? Just take some oil and put it on both sides of the blade. Pay attention: don’t cut yourself. You may use mineral or other type of oil for this.
This is the first step many people don’t know about. They think that when they purchase a new razor, it will arrive ready for shaving. But the fact is that most of them are not sharpened enough and are not ready for serious usage. A buyer has to sharpen them first!
Of course if you don’t want to deal with sharpening you can purchase “shave-ready” tool. But think about how many great razors you may miss just because you don’t want to learn how to make them ready. You will have to narrow possible options and select from sharpened offers only! We don’t say that they are bad. No, they are also great but you will be limited.
The other reason to learn how to hone is because your razor will be losing sharpness over time. The more you shave the more blunt it becomes. If you don’t know how to make it sharp you will have to deal with special services and pay for this. Right now it will cost you about $30 to sharpen it once. Do you want to pay money and wait? We think it’s much better to master everything yourself.
Many people are maintaining sharpness of their razors themselves. It’s not difficult to learn how to do it. All you need for this is to buy a good honing stone and learn how to use it. Practice is the key.
Norton 24336 Japanese-Style Combination Waterstone 4000/8000 is one of the best offers on the market! The best price-quality ratio. It has 2 sides that allow to sharpen and then polish the blade.
It has more than 70% of 5 star reviews; many of them are from straight razor owners!View
We don’t recommend to buy cheap hones because they can damage the blade. They are good for kitchen knives but not for razors. It’s better to spend money once and purchase a good hone that will serve you for a long time and will do its job.
It may seem difficult but all you need to learn how to hone is to practice. I recommend you to sharpen your razor for the first time using professional service. That’s because you will see final result and will have a sample of how this should be done. This is great for your future experience.
4000/8000 hone is enough for a beginner. Later on you may decide that 8k is not enough for you and you want to make the edge even sharper. You will need finishing stone for this but again: 4000/8000 Japanese-Style Combination Waterstone is enough for every beginner and average user.
How often to hone? That depends on how often you shave. If you use your razor often you will have to sharpen it every 3-4 months or so. I recommend to pay attention to your feelings. If you feel that the edge is not sharp enough – it’s time to hone. You should always be comfortable to use your shaving tools.
Why I don’t recommend to do it every day? Because it’s not really necessary. Your facial hair is not so tough to cut and most of the razors I advise at this website are made of high quality steel. It stays sharp for a long time. Moreover, honing is not the only way to keep the edge in perfect shape…
Now you know that you need to hone blade after purchase and periodically when you feel it’s not sharp enough. But that’s not the only procedure. You should also “strop” it every time before you shave.
“Stropping” allows to maintain sharpness of the edge and prepare your straight razor for shaving. Moreover, it’s a pleasant ritual that allows you to get prepared and feel the blade. Most of the men like stropping not only because it’s a useful procedure but also because it brings pleasure.
It’s recommended to strop the blade for about 15-20 times before shaving. If your blade is in perfect condition you may do fewer strops. Try to experiment and find what’s better for you.
But don’t repeat this procedure after shaving! It’s better to clean the blade, dry it and leave it rest.
How often to strop? I don’t recommend repeating this too often. According to DOVO recommendations you shouldn’t repeat this procedure more than once every 24 hours. As you see if you shave every morning you can do it every time before shaving. Thus your blade will be able to rest enough.
Now you know how to maintain straight razor in order to keep it sharp and ready. Hone and Strop are two essential things you need for this. Don’t forget that it’s one time investment that will help you to keep blade in perfect shape for life!
The video below shows all the details about how to maintain straight razor. We belive you will find a lot of interesting information there.
That’s a good question, especially if these procedures stop you from purchasing straight razor. Yes, it’s possible to shave without sharpening and stropping. All you need is to purchase a razor with removable edge. It is not traditional blade, but you still may want to try it.
Believe me, sharpening and stropping are great procedures. Every man likes to sharpen and polish blades. You will receive a lot of positive emotions. That’s why I recommend to use traditional razors.