Read time: 4 minutes
So you bought a straight razor and you’re ready to use it. You’ve made a great choice, but like other razors on the market, they eventually get blunt.
Enter strops, a wide strap (usually leather) with hanging hardware and a handle on its ends, used to give the razor a sharp, shave-ready edge.
In this quick practical guide, we’re going to teach you how to sharpen a straight razor using a leather strop.
How to strop a straight razor:
1. Set up your strop
Hang your strop on a secure hook, then use the other end to pull the strop towards you until it is taut. If your strop has a canvas side, you can run the blade against the canvas a few times to clean the blade and warm the steel.
2. Place the straight razor blade flat against the strop
Open the straight razor and place the blade flat against the strop. The spine and edge of the blade should always be in contact with the strop–never strop with the razor at an angle to the strop.
Have a secure grip of the razor by holding it by the shank. This is the thicker piece of steel between the blade and the pivot of the handle.
3. Start stropping by moving the blade towards you
With the razor flat against the leather strop and the spine (not the edge) facing you, pull the razor towards you while applying light pressure. As you move it, ensure the blade stays in flat contact with the strop at all times throughout the whole process.
4. Flip the blade
When you’ve reached the end of the belt, twist your wrist to flip the blade ready for the up stroke. The spine of the razor should always remain in contact with the strop, acting as a pivot for the blade to rotate.
5. Repeat steps 2-4
Generally, we recommend around 40-50 round trips. While this may sound like a lot at first, it’ll become a quicker process the more you familiarise yourself with stropping a straight razor. If you’d like to polish the blade and smooth the edge, flip the strop onto the canvas side and strop the razor 3-5 times.
Which one should I use?
If you’re unsure of which strops to get, we've included some of the most popular options for you below. Wider strops can be preferred as they cover the entire width of the blade edge. Narrower strops require stropping in an "X" pattern to ensure even sharpening of the razor edge.
To maintain your strop and keep the leather supple, we also recommend treating it periodically with a strop balm.