How To Sharpen A Straight Razor

Learning how to sharpen a straight razor isn’t necessarily a difficult task but it does take some practice in order to get the process just right.

This isn’t a skill that will be learned in a matter of minutes and while you can read up on the process, the right tools and knowledge is needed in order to get the job done.

All you really need for the process of how to sharpen a straight razor is a polishing hone.

This tool comes in a variety of different types and you can invest in as little or as much as you want in something like a synthetic hone or stone hone.

Determine How Dull Your Blade Is

Before you begin sharpening your blade you want to fully understand how dull the blade is.

This gives you a good idea of how much sharpening needs to be done. You can assess your blade properly a number of ways.

You can test your blade on your thumb nail, you can use a piece of hair to test the sharpness and you can usually tell from shaving how much work needs to be done.

Purchase A New Hone Rather Than Inherit One

Straight razors have been used for many years and chances are, you have an older family member who had a straight razor and a set of hones they used to sharpen their blade.

While it may seem nice to inherit this type of item, you might have some trouble using used hones, especially if they were not well kept or unlabeled.

You might think you are sharpening your straight razor with a certain level of hone (like #1500) when in reality, you might not have enough power to do so.

A new set will allow you to sharpen your straight razor in record time.

Make Sure You Are Dedicated To The Process

If you only have a few minutes or are currently distracted, put off sharpening your straight razor for another time.

This process requires patience and focus no matter how good you are at it. When first starting out, make sure you go slow with the process and get it right. This will ensure that you master what you are doing, and you will be able to get better at it each time you use the straight razor sharpening hone.

Perfect Your Technique

When first figuring out how to sharpen a straight razor, the best technique you can have is keeping the razor flat in front of you.

Make sure you maintain equal pressure on each side of the blade and try to keep each stroke exactly the same length and angle. Take your time to ensure that you don’t have an uneven finish and don’t go too light. Too light of strokes will damage the razor in the long run.

As you feel more confident with the process you will be able to speed things up a bit. Remember, you aren’t running your hone along the length of the blade, but rather you are starting at the handled top and working quickly down the short end of the blade.

Using The Bracket Approach

Basically, the best approach to how to sharpen a straight razor is to cut away metal as need be and then to smooth the entire surface out. This is called the bracket approach. The only thing you need to be very careful of with this approach is making sure you don’t cut away too much metal.

This can then make it very difficult to get the final finish you desire. You also might want to cut away a little, smooth the finished product and go back and start again if need be. The general rule of thumb is to not do more than twenty strokes at a time before finishing the blade. You can then reassess.

Don’t Get Discouraged

Even if you have done a good job at honing your straight razor, it can take a few times for this process to really break in your razor. After you have shaved and sharpened your straight razor a few times, you will get a better understanding of your razor and how it needs to be sharpened. In due time you’ll have the straight razor and process that you desire.

Final Thoughts on How to Sharpen a Straight Razor

The internet makes it very easy to learn just about any new skill and learning how to sharpen a straight razor is one of these skills.

However, if you happen to know someone that is experienced with how to sharpen a straight razor, then you may want to inquire if they can sit down with you and show you their process of sharpening.

Having someone on hand to advise what you are doing right or wrong can make a big difference in the overall technique that you learn to use. Pick up a great sharpening hone today. Then this is knowledge you can utilize from now on.

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