Three keys to straight razor edge maintenance

It can be difficult to keep your straight razor shaving smoothly. Here are three key methods to maintain it.

These methods will keep an edge shaving smooth for up to three or four months before needing a hone. Of course, that depends on how often and how aggressively you use your razor.

Key Method 1: Palm stropping

Just use the palm of your hand. I recommend doing this before every shave.

This is a super light process that will give you that slightly smoother shave without going too hard on the edge. I recommend doing this first and then shave testing the edge before moving to the more aggressive method, the leather strop.

If it is just too scary for you, go ahead and skip to the next method. Stropping on leather.

See my process for palm stropping:

Key Method 2: Stropping on leather

When the palm is not enough. Doesn’t need to be the best strop, but the finer the leather the better. This is more aggressive than your palm and can damage the edge if you aren’t careful. Always apply very light pressure and go slow.

See my stropping tips:

Key Method 3: Be nice to your edge

There is a tendency to expect these amazing blades to handle any abuse you throw at them. I mean, a Japanese sword smith made these so surely they should hold up after cutting through last nights t-bone steak right? Wrong!

Even the highest HRC blade from Iwasaki needs to be babied.

“Well, how can I be nice to my blade?”

Firstly, one of the most overlooked aspects is blade angle. The spine of the blade should be as close to your face as possible while the blade is still able to cut hairs. This means the blade should be at a 20 to 30 degree angle. Not much more.

If the blade angle is too steep, you can destroy your edge in no time. We have all had some pretty rough first straight razor shaves where the blade is held perpendicular to the face. This is the stuff of nightmares for me. If you have done this and feel remorse, don’t worry, everyone has. I certainly have.

Aside from stretching the skin and getting a proper lather, the next element of focus is pressure. Maybe you come from DE shaving or even the quintuplet cartridge blade realm where you can push the razor into your skin and get away with a smooth shave. Just toss the blade when it gets dull right? Not with a straight razor.

With straight razors, too much pressure can not only tear up your face quicker, but it will also deform the edge faster. This leads to a dull edge.

The answer? Just apply light pressure and go slowly.

In summary, proper blade angle and pressure will help make your straight razor edge last longer.

Conclusion: Maintaining an edge is simple

These three key methods will help you keep your straight razor edge shaving smoothly for up to three or four months.

Key Method 1: Palm stropping
Key Method 2: Stropping on leather
Key Method 3: Be nice to your edge

If your edge is still not capable of smooth shaving after these, it’s time for some more intense work. You need to have your razor honed.

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