Ask Aaron Q/A: How to sharpen a straight razor for shaving

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Philippa Lynch, from the UK, asks:

“Hi, Aaron, I bought a straight razor and a strop for my husband for Christmas – it is now clear that he needs more bits in order to sharpen the blade etc. Can you give me a list of essentials that I should have got then and could get now? Many thanks, Philippa”

Cyril Salter Solingen 5/8 Open Razor Round Point
Cyril Salter Solingen 5/8 Open Razor Round Point


“Mrs. Lynch,

A shaving guru I may be, but you have found my weakness. Straight razor sharpening is not something I am full of knowledge on, but I will assist you and give you as much as I know. You mentioned bits and I do not recommend any type of hand held mechanical tool bit for sharpening a straight razor. This is too dangerous and can cause damage to you or the blade or your equipment. You husband will need two, possible three stones, plus a paddle and strop. The stones should be sharpening stones anyhwere from 8 to 12k grit, even as high as 15. A natural coticule will work as well for the last step. The paddle should be covered in canvas and the canvas should have CrOx (Chromium Oxide) impregnated into the canvas.

If this seems like too much of an investment, I highly recommend seeking out a barber or someone known for the razor honing skills to do the work for you. A good razor shouldn’t need but honing perhaps once a quarter. I hope this helps on recommendations for what your husband needs! Feel free to get back in touch with us if you need any more help!

Smooth Shaving!

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Established in 2005, The Shaving Shack is your number one online traditional shaving shop. As one of Europe’s leading online shaving retailers, we pride ourselves on bringing you the best in double edge shaving, as well as men’s skincare and men’s grooming products. We’ve got shaving brushes, double edge safety razors, cut throat razors, shaving soaps, soap bowls, shaving creams, shaving sets and other shaving accessories to suit every budget.

Phone: +44 1752 898191

The Shaving Shack is a trading style of Dash Direct Ltd (Company number 04223426).


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