How To Sharpen a Straight Razor

Today I am going to look at how to sharpen a straight razor. If you are using a straight razor, it means you must be pretty bad-ass! So congrats on that! As you will surely know, since you are such a bad-ass, a straight razor provides a much better and closer shave than other razor options might do. But of course, it also requires a bit more skill!

Stropping VS Honing

Before I jump into the steps on how to sharpen a straight razor, let us first make sure which tools we will need (right tools for the right job!). When it comes to sharpening a blade, you typically have two options – honing or stropping.

Honing – “Honing is an abrasive machining process that produces a precision surface on a metal workpiece by scrubbing an abrasive stone against it along a controlled path. Honing is primarily used to improve the geometric form of a surface, but may also improve the surface texture.” Wikipedia

Stropping – “A razor strop (or razor strap) is a flexible strip of leather or canvas used to straighten and polish the blade of a straight razor, a knife, or a woodworking tool like a chisel. Unlike honing or sharpening a blade, in which a whetstone removes metal bent out of alignment from the blade’s edge, stropping the blade re-aligns the indentations without removing any material.” Wikipedia

Usually when you go to a barber shop and you see them sharpening their straight razors, they will typically be using a strop on their blade rather than a hone. This is because a straight razor’s blade is thin, while if you want to sharpen a knife you will typically use a hone as the knife blade is thicker and coarser.

How To Strop Your Straight Razor Like A Boss

Stropping is the answer on the question “how to sharpen a straight razor”. Stropping is pretty straightforward. The basic method is to draw the blade spine-first along the strop. When you turn the blade at the end of a stroke, turn it over the spine, so the edge moves away from the strop and faces you.

Below is a video that illustrates how to sharpen a straight razor effectively:

How Often Do I need To Sharpen My Straight Razor?

As you noticed in the video, you will start to feel when your straight razor starts to dull. It will pull on your hair a bit, which will mean its time to sharpen that bad boy. Some guys like to strop their straight razor each time before they have a shave to ensure the blade is as sharp as possible every. Personally…I am a bit lazy to do that each time! But if you make it into a routine it can become quite a nice relaxing thing to do.

Wrapping Up – How To Sharpen a Straight Razor

I hope this article has been useful to you! Shaving with a straight razor requires a bit of skill, so please be careful. This also applies when you are sharpening your straight razor!

If you have some tips on how to sharpen a straight razor, please share them in the comments section below. I would love to hear from you!

Happy shaving!


Hey! I am Andries and I am the owner and curator of this blog.

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The Best Straight Razor For That Super Close Shave - Manomics - April 25, 2016

[…] reason being that straight razors can give you much more control and a really close shave. If you maintain your straight razor well, it should last you a long time and so even save you some money over the […]


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