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Thread: Will my straight razor "routine" be enough to ensure that it will last?

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    Default Will my straight razor "routine" be enough to ensure that it will last?

    Hello there!

    I am new to these forums so if I am posting in the wrong place or breaking some other form of etiquette please do inform me.

    I would like to purchase a straight razor, but do not like the idea of sending my razor away to be honed, and wish to do it myself at home. This is what I was hoping to do...

    1. Purchase a "shave ready" straight razor.
    2. Use a leather strop before each shave.
    3. If I feel the edge becoming dull after a number of shaves, I will use a strop with a 3.0 micron paste, then a strop with a 1.0 micron paste, then finish it with a normal leather strop.

    Will this routine be enough to keep my razor sharp? I don't really like the idea of using a stone, so paste/compound would be preferable. I read on the wiki that a 3.0 micron paste is the same as an 8k grit. I just want to make sure that this routine would be ok.

    So, is it possible to keep a razor that was purchased as "shave ready" sharp using only strops and pastes? Or will it need to be honed using a stone still?

    Many thanks in advance for your help.

    James
    Last edited by JamesEde; 12-27-2013 at 10:09 PM.

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    Senior Member Raol's Avatar
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    Hello James,
    Welcome to SRP, you are at the right place.
    Looks like you've already put in a fair amount of research which is great.
    Have you already answered the questions like, which razor, where to purchase strop, brush, soap etc.?
    Should I plan to have my razor honed at least twice while I practice on another blade of considerably lesser value? Have you shaved with a straight before? Where do you write from?
    The more info you can share with us the easier it is to give you the answers you are looking for.
    Ralph
    S.L.A.M.,.......SHAVE LIKE A MAN!!!
    Not like a G.I.R.L. (Gentleman In Razor Limbo)

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    JamesEde (12-28-2013)

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    Hello Ralph,

    Thank you for the quick reply. In answer to your questions:

    - I already have a badger brush and some Taylor Bond St Sandalwood Shaving Creme.
    - I currently use a Gilette fusion safety razor and have not used a straight before.
    - I have purchased a cheap shavette to practice the technique on. If I find that I like it I was considering getting either a Dovo Solinger Diamant / Bismarck - I am willing to pay for good quality.
    - I have not decided where to purchase a strop from yet. But was considering getting a paddle strop with two sides so I can apply the 3.0 and 1.0 micron paste, and then also getting a hanging leather strop.
    - I am writing from the UK.

    Some other information that may or may not help:

    - I have relatively thick, dark hair.
    - I have a beard, but like to shave my neck 2-4 times a week

    I was hoping that the pastes and the strops would be enough to keep a "shave ready" straight razor sharp without needing a stone or sending it away to be honed. What do you think?

    Many thanks,
    James

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    Huh... Oh here pfries's Avatar
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    Some CrOx on a dedicated strop with proper technique can keep a blade going for a very long time.
    It will eventually need a hone this is inevitable.
    The blades are not indestructible but with proper care they can go for an (as far as I know) undermined length of time.
    unfortunately as you learn to maintain a blade you will more than likely dull an edge or three.
    Each time it will go longer but there is a learning curve.
    If you really want to be self sufficient plan on getting hones and more than one razor.

    Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but I cannot see it happening any other way.
    It will need to be honed at some point so the question is who,
    and if you are going to do it there is a learning curve to honing that is longer than the learning curve to shaving with a straight.
    It is just Whisker Whacking
    Relax and Enjoy!
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    I appreciate your useful information. I confess it wasn't the answer I was hoping for but thank you for the honesty!

    So, does that mean that the wiki is wrong when it says that a 3.0 micron paste is the same abrasiveness as an 8k grit? I read on here that an 8k stone is enough for doing touch up honing, so if the 3.0 micron paste can't do the same job then either...

    1. The 3.0 micron paste isn't the same abrasiveness as an 8k grit like the wiki says.
    2. An 8k grit isn't in fact enough for touch up honing.
    3. I'm missing something.

    I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.

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    Senior Member Raol's Avatar
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    You will prolong the blade's edge longer using your formula but as pfries mentioned ............
    Quote Originally Posted by pfries View Post
    It will need to be honed at some point.
    But not to worry, you've got lots of time to figure this one out.
    S.L.A.M.,.......SHAVE LIKE A MAN!!!
    Not like a G.I.R.L. (Gentleman In Razor Limbo)

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    Senior Member blabbermouth 10Pups's Avatar
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    The pastes are used as a finish after honing and do work as a maintenance tool . Great for touching up a blade that the strop just doesn't bring back. Another thing you might consider is a barbers hone. Look into them, they are made for what you are trying to accomplish. ( I think) You can find these relatively cheap and then you would only need 1 strop. No need for a series of stones. One thing I would say if you like the barbers hone idea is, be wise about buying 1. You can't find them new and if you just go to e-bay you may get 1 that is degraded and won't work well at all. Sometimes they have them in the classifieds here. Shop wisely for these.
    Good judgment comes from experience, and experience....well that comes from poor judgment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JamesEde View Post
    I appreciate your useful information. I confess it wasn't the answer I was hoping for but thank you for the honesty!

    So, does that mean that the wiki is wrong when it says that a 3.0 micron paste is the same abrasiveness as an 8k grit? I read on here that an 8k stone is enough for doing touch up honing, so if the 3.0 micron paste can't do the same job then either...

    1. The 3.0 micron paste isn't the same abrasiveness as an 8k grit like the wiki says.
    2. An 8k grit isn't in fact enough for touch up honing.
    3. I'm missing something.

    I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.
    It maybe the same grit but remember the pastes is loose and on a soft surface. A stone has it's grit locked solid and therefore works harder and faster. Plus you are going the other direction with the blade :<0) Different animal all together. I shaved off an 8k then strop for a year. Most in here would not consider it a finisher stone.
    Last edited by 10Pups; 12-28-2013 at 12:32 AM.
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    Good judgment comes from experience, and experience....well that comes from poor judgment.

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    Huh... Oh here pfries's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JamesEde View Post
    I appreciate your useful information. I confess it wasn't the answer I was hoping for but thank you for the honesty!

    So, does that mean that the wiki is wrong when it says that a 3.0 micron paste is the same abrasiveness as an 8k grit? I read on here that an 8k stone is enough for doing touch up honing, so if the 3.0 micron paste can't do the same job then either...

    1. The 3.0 micron paste isn't the same abrasiveness as an 8k grit like the wiki says.
    2. An 8k grit isn't in fact enough for touch up honing.
    3. I'm missing something.

    I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.
    As 10 Pups said a stone is hard, if you apply enough pressure to make up the difference on a strop you are likely to do as much damage as good.
    Dovo sells even coarser paste and you can get by like this for some time as we said but the inevitable will come.
    Bear in mind we hone primarily with an edge leading stroke for a reason,
    as a spine leading stroke will eventually create a wire edge and this is not conducive to shaving although great for a kitchen or utility knife.

    You are not missing something with your thought process if you ask me it is spot on but lacking in working knowledge.
    (Many things look good and are sound on paper)
    Experience however will tell you why barbers had hones as well as strops
    It is just Whisker Whacking
    Relax and Enjoy!
    Local Help/ Mentors



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    Thank you very much to everyone who has helped answer my question. It's great to have such a friendly community here and I appreciate you all taking time to help me out.

    I can see now that if I wish to be self sufficient then I am going to need a stone of some sort, and I now have a better understanding of why this is.

    I will do some research into getting a barber's hone, and then I will either go with that or, if the learning curve is a tad steep for me, I might consider switching to DE razors.

    Thanks again, all.

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