How To Sharpen Straight Edge Razors

Sharpening a straight edge razor should not be much of a chore once you have finished reading this article. The truth is that shaving using straight edge razors is gaining in popularity. Many men today take grooming very seriously and a good shave is at the core of it.

If you are a fan of straight edge razors then you need to understand that you do need to sharpen them regularly. If you do not sharpen them regularly, you can end up having painful experiences and possibly even an infection.

It is good to keep in mind that the blades discussed in this article are designed for use on the skin only. If you consider the fact that you are using the razor on your skin then it only makes sense to ensure that they are sharp enough for you to work with them safely on your skin.

Sharpening your razor ensures that you remove all nicks and damaged areas of the blade that could pierce your skin. Sharpening the blade simply encompasses the process of levelling out the blade edge also known as the bevel.

How Do Yo Know That Is Time To Sharpening?

bevel3You can do a few quick and easy tests to determine if you need to sharpen your straight edge razor. One way is to check if the razor has started causing you irritation or if it is pulling hairs as you shave. In such an instance, you should automatically know that the bevel has damaged ends.

Another method is to take a single hair plucked from your head and sliding it against the razor blade. A sharp blade will slice through the hair with ease. A dull razor will tear and snag the hair rather than slicing through.

Finally, you can slide your straight edge razor carefully across one of your nails. In case the razor creates a thin groove then it is sharp. However, if the blade does not make a mark, it is probably dull.

Sharpening A Straight Edge

The commonest way of sharpening a straight edge razor, as you will probably see in any gentleman’s barbershop is by the use of a strop.

If you are serious about your facial grooming and you have taken the effort to invest in a straight edge razor then the strop should be your main method for sharpening. The strop ensures that you take proper care of your blade.

A strop is simply a thick piece of leather that will most likely have a canvas strip on one side. The canvas is for pre-sharpening the blade.

Before starting to sharpen your straight edge razor, clean the blade first using a cotton ball and rubbing alcohol. You can do this by wiping it down on whichever side. Be cautious to avoid cutting your fingers when cleaning.

Once You Have Wiped The Razor

3026432-inline-1280-bevelkitIn case you are right handed, place the razor facing you in your right hand while the strop is in your left. The razor blade and razor strop should make a 90-degree angle in front of you.

After placing both items at the proper angle, pull down the blade the entire length of the strop by use of rapid strokes. After ten strokes or so, you should attain the sharpness necessary for a safe shave.

How To Sharpen A Straight Edge Razor

Using a sharpening stone is yet another effective way of sharpening your straight edge razor and is almost as popular as using the strop.

Using the sharpening stone, the results are equally good and you will definitely be able to maintain your blade with ease using this method.

One of the best things about using a sharpening stone for sharpening your straight edge razor is the fact that you will not have to do it as often as when using a strop. Actually, once every 3 to 6 months should be adequate so long as you understand the technique.

The best sharpening stone for this method is a fine grit sharpening stone. The best one is the 4000/8000 combination whetstones while Japanese Waterstones are perfect for the job.

Begin the process by laying the stone on a flat surface with some room for you to maneuver. You will discover that with the razor flat above the stone, that you have already obtained your angle. This is for the simple reason that most of the straight edge razors are hollow ground. This simply means that they are formed into a concave shape when on the ground.

Ensuring that the razor is lying flat, slide it evenly across the stone, leading with the blade’s heel.

Ensure that you use steady, slow, and light strokes across the stone and ensure that you do not over sharpen. After all, you will be using the blade against your face. Also, do not press hard when sharpening since this could potentially change the angle you sharpen up the blade thereby ruining it and causing a potentially hazardous future shave for you.


IMG_0143In conclusion, this article has been a discussion about how to know when your straight edge blade needs sharpening and the two main methods for sharpening your blade. By now, you should be in a position to sharpen your straight edge razor so that you can enjoy a closer and smoother shave. Now all that remains is for you to go out there and sharpen those blades.

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