In order to get started with razor stropping, you will need a few materials. First and foremost is the razorstrop itself.
We are supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission, at no extra cost for you. Learn more. Last update on 8th December 2023 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.
This can be purchased at many hardware stores or online retailers. You may also want to invest in an abrasive compound which can help sharpen your blade faster and more effectively than without it.
This is optional but recommended for beginners looking to get the most out of their stropping experience.
Preparing the Strop
Once you have selected your strop, the next step is to prepare it. Start by cleaning the strop with a dry cloth or brush to remove any dirt or debris that may be present on its surface.
Next, if using an abrasive compound such as green chromium oxide, apply a small amount to the leather side of the strop – this will help sharpen and hone your razor blade. If you are using a new strop, it may need to be “broken in” before use; this means stropping your razor without adding any abrasive compound for several passes until the leather has been conditioned and softened slightly so that optimum performance can be achieved.
Once these steps have been completed you’re ready for stropping!
Positioning the Razor
When positioning the razor for stropping, it is important to hold the handle of the razor in your dominant hand and face the blade away from you. Place the spine (top edge) of the blade against the strop with its edge facing away from you.
Make sure that there is a slight pressure on both sides of your blade as you move it up and down. Move slowly in one direction for about 20-30 strokes before reversing direction and continuing for another 20-30 strokes.
The entire process should take no more than 60 seconds per side to ensure that you have adequately sharpened your blade without risking any damage due to overstropping.
Stropping the Razor
Continue with this back and forth motion for about 20-30 strokes. It is essential that you keep consistent pressure and stroke length throughout this process in order to ensure an even edge on your blade.
You may need to adjust your grip or angle slightly while doing so in order to achieve optimal results – but be careful not to press down too hard as it could cause damage to both your razor and strop!
When doing the “finishing strokes” after the initial 20-30, use a lighter pressure and shorter stroke length than before. This helps to remove any burrs or unevenness that may have been created on the edge of the blade during stropping.
Be sure to keep your grip steady and make slow, even motions with each stroke for best results.
After completing a few finishing strokes you can inspect your work; if necessary repeat until you reach your desired sharpness level.
This will help ensure that you get an effective shave each time.
When stropping, be sure to use firm pressure in an even stroke across the entire blade. Additionally, make sure that your razor is properly lubricated with oil or other suitable lubricant before each strop session.
If the strop becomes dirty or damaged, clean it as soon as possible by wiping it down with a damp cloth and allowing it to dry completely before using again. If needed, replace the strop altogether for better results.
If using an abrasive compound during your stropping sessions such as diamond paste or chromium oxide powder, apply a fresh layer every few weeks or whenever you feel like there’s no longer enough abrasiveness on the surface of the leather strop for proper honing of the blade edge.
If the blade is not getting sharper after stropping, it may be time to hone the blade using a honing stone or professional sharpening service. Honing stones can be used to sharpen and refine the edge of blades that are too dull for stropping.
If you don’t have access to one, then consider taking your knife to a professional sharpener for help.
In this case, take advantage of either a honing stone as mentioned above, or again visit a professional sharpener if necessary. Finally, if the blade is not making contact with the strop when attempting stropping strokes, make sure that its angle against the surface is correct and apply a little more pressure on each stroke so that there’s better contact between them both.
Once you feel comfortable with the basics of stropping, you can start to experiment with different techniques that are more advanced. Different angles on the strop allow you to sharpen different parts of the blade while a circular motion helps ensure an even sharpening.
Applying more pressure during your stroke can help remove deeper imperfections in the blade and make it sharper than ever before.
Additionally, it is important to remember not to over-sharpen your blades as this could cause them damage.
Tips and Tricks
When stropping your blade, always be sure to strop both sides evenly for an even balance. If you are running low on abrasive compound or your strop is wearing thin, it is better to use a light touch and fewer strokes than to apply too much pressure which could damage the blade.
For best results while stropping, focus on maintaining a consistent motion and pressure rather than counting the number of strokes. It’s important to remember that stropping is not meant as a substitute for honing or sharpening but only as a way to maintain the edge between hone or sharpenings.
To ensure that your blade stays in top condition over time, it’s important to regularly hone or sharpen it when needed.