How to Sharpen a Straight Razor Without a Strop?

How to Sharpen a Straight Razor Without a Strop?

A long single blade can be rather intimidating but it could also lead to one of the closest and cleanest shaves you have ever received. But to have such an experience, the single edge of a straight razor needs to be sharp. 

Most people usually use a strop to restore the sharpness of a straight razor.

A strop (a strip of leather) is usually the go-to straight razor sharpening tool for most people. But, have you ever tried other methods other than leather strops?

In this guide, we will teach you an alternative method of sharpening a straight razor without using a strop –  sharpening a razor blade by using a sharpening stone.

See also: How to Clean a Badger Brush?

What You Will Need?

Sharpening Stone 

Sharpening Stone
Sharpening Stone

This is a sharpening tool that is normally used to sharpen knives. The three most popular sharpening stones in use are water stones, oil stones, and diamond stones.

  • Water stones or whetstones are uniquely made sharpeners that are used along with a cutting fluid to sharpen a tool. The fluid carries away any swarf that is produced during the sharpening process. It also helps cool down the cutting tool. 
  • Oil stones are special types of sharpening stones that are forged from aluminum oxide, silicon carbide, or novaculite. The best model is one that has tough wear and fracture resistance. Make sure the oil stone you choose will be capable of sharpening your straight razor to very close tolerances.   
  • Diamond stones, on the other hand, have monocrystalline diamonds electroplated on them. The surface onto which the diamonds are electroplated is usually made of steel. They can range in grit size from 325 to 1200 grit.  

Work Table

The surface on which you will place the stone when sharpening your straight razor. 

Step-By-Step to Sharpen a Straight Razor

Step 1: Choose a Sharpening Stone

You probably have one or two of the aforementioned sharpening stones. You can use any of the stones (diamond, oil, or whetstone).

However, for a straight razor, we recommend either a whetstone or an oil stone for this project. They are good at preserving the life of a straight razor and it is easy to maintain the ideal sharpening angle. 

Step 2: Soak the Whetstone 

Soak your whetstone in water for a few minutes before using it. Alternatively, you could sprinkle water on the side of the stone you want to use for sharpening. 

Step 3: Secure the Whetstone on Kitchen Counter or Countertop

Place a kitchen towel on the kitchen counter or countertop and then place the stone on top of it with the fine grit side facing up. 

Step 4: Start Sharpening Your Straight Razor

Open the shank to its full length to have complete access to the blade. Hold the razor with your hand and position the edge away from you.

Place the blade on the stone in such a way that when you start sharpening, you will be moving the blade from the point to the heel. You have to acquire the proper angle of the edge.

Then draw the edge from the point to the heel several times depending on how blunt the single edge of the blade is.

In this case, remember – you must maintain the proper straight razor-sharpening angle. It is better to pull the razor blade towards you while applying slightly diagonal strokes.

And yes, you have to repeat it several times until you get the desired level of sharpness.

Sharpening Straight Razor

Step 5: Check the Sharpness of the Edge 

After drawing the blade from point to heel several times, you can go ahead and check the sharpness of the single edge.

To check the sharpness of the single edge, prudently run your thumb perpendicular to the single edge. You should know it is sharp enough if you can feel the burr from point to heel of the edge. 


  • Never run any of your fingers parallel to the single edge of the blade, you might cut yourself. 
  • About 6-8 weeks, you must sharpen the knife to maintain the sharpness of the blade. However, if you sharpen your razor too often, your blade will also break quickly. Therefore, you should pay attention to your knife sharpening schedule.

Important Tips to Remember

  • Always check to confirm that the whetstone is stationary and not moving. This will help you to maintain a proper sharpening angle. In addition, the check also improves safety to make sure that you don’t cut yourself by mistake.
  • Don’t put too much pressure on the blade when sharpening the single edge.
  • Also, do not forget that the blade has a single edge.

Maintenance tips

  • When you’re done shaving, the first thing you should do is wash the razor and shake it a few times to get rid of the extra water and dry the razor.
  • Then, use a soft cloth to lightly absorb the water on the blade of your razor.
  • Thoroughly dry the razor and apply a layer of oil to the blade to prevent rust. (The oil recommended here is petroleum or mineral oil for best results)
  • Finally, leave your razor in a dry place to prevent moisture from affecting it.

Good maintenance will make your straight razor last longer.


Finally, after following the instructions above, you have a straight razor sharp without using a strop. Do you know any other way than above? Please share more with us if you know!

See also:

Kyler Lowe

I'm Kyler Lowe. I started to make it easier for men to find grooming tools to take care of their hair, beards, mustaches, and bodies.

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