What's new

newbie confused about honing and stropping

Hi all,

Although this is a honing/stropping question, it seemed that this is the best place for this post. My apologies if I am incorrect.

I am yet to start my straight razor journey, although I have a shave ready straight on the way given to me as a gift (either a wapi or dovo from invisible edge)! Im currently looking into hones and strops.

I have read through the interactive guide, and read many threads on this site and others, but I am still a little confused about a few things, and would really appreciate your advice or comments on these.

1) how often to hone a razor? The standard answer seems to be along the lines of 'once your razor gets dull and stropping as normal doesnt restore it...the time this takes depends on factors such as beard coarsness.' Anyone have an rough guesstimate of the time scale? Once every month, more frequently, less frequently? Im just after a very rough idea.

2) I dont have the cash to buy a whole honing stone set. There is so much discussion here about how certain stones really dont leave the razor in a good enough state for shaving, and progressive honing on progressively finer stones is required. How true is this? Can I get away with just one (eg chinese 12k)? Or will this give poor results?

3) I also dont have the tools/facilities to effectively 'lap' any honing stone with a diamond plate or other expensive stones. Does this mean that I shouldnt bother with an 'unlapped' honing stone at all?

4) If I cant get away with an 'unlapped' honing stone, can stropping paste be used effectively instead? Or is stropping paste more of a 'post-honing stone' thing.

What i guess im getting at is, can I take my shave-ready razor, keep it well stropped (before and after shaves), look after it well (keep it dry and undamaged), and use just one unlapped honing stone periodically?

Or am I better off taking my shave-ready razor, keeping it well stropped and looked after, and get away without need for a honing stone? Could I use stropping paste instead? How frequently would I need to do this? (more frequently than if I were using a honing stone I presume?).

Im sorry that there are so many questions. I have plenty more, but I dont want to bore you all to death.

Any input would be great.

You have made a good start by buying a shave ready razor from Steve at the Invisible Edge.
When you receive it do not strop it or mess the edge up until you have your first shave, that way you will know what shave ready really means and this will be your benchmark.
You will be ok with a strop at first but will need to use paste or a hone after a few months to freshen the edge. This may be sooner in your case due to learning stropping.
The bare basics i think you need to start with is
1. Shave ready razor
2. Entry level strop ( dovo ones are cheap and good quality)
3. Seperate strop preferably a paddle to use red paste on ( you can get these at a decent price pre pasted and will not need to re paste for ages)

The above set up will see you through the initial learning curb and by using the paste you will not need to hone for quite a while.

Eventually you will want a hone
I recommend a yellow belgium coticle due to its ease of use and quality. You can vary the density of the slurry and grit using the slurry stone it comes with. With practice this can vary between about 6000 and 9000 grit in my opinion.
People rave on about Norton hones on this site but in my opinion the 8000 grit side is not good enough to make a razor shave ready.The Nortons are great if you are buying non shave ready razors but stick with the shave ready ones for now. The coticle gives a much finer edge on the razor.

It is not a cheap hobby at first as there is lots of basics you need to buy. But remember these items will last a lifetime.
When you get prefeciant you will end up replacing the strop with a more expensive one and rad will set in big style.
thank you very much Steve! That has definately cleared some things up for me....

edit: I had posted some more questions, but I have since gone back to the interactive guide which has now become a lot clearer to me.

Last edited:
Top Bottom