Using a straight razor can seem a bit intimidating for newcomers. This isn’t just because of how you perform the shave. It also has to do with the necessary maintenance that ensures the blade remains in good condition. Care is crucial for ensuring it continues to work smoothly. If you want a well-kept straight razor that’ll last a lifetime, you need to know these straight razor maintenance tips for beginners.
Strop Your Razor
Just as you wouldn’t leave the house without brushing your teeth, you shouldn’t use your straight razor without stropping. Stropping is a crucial step that aligns the microscopic teeth on the blade’s edge, ensuring a smooth and close shave every time. Lay your strop flat, and glide the razor with the spine leading up and down the leather surface. Make sure you flip the razor over its back to maintain an even edge. Remember—slow and steady wins the race. Going too fast can cause further issues.
Dry Your Razor
Leftover wet spots are a straight razor’s worst enemy. After each shave, thoroughly dry your razor with a soft cloth. Pay special attention to the area around the pivot and the edge of the blade. These spots are where moisture loves to hide. Leaving water on your blade can lead to rust and corrosion, which can seriously damage your razor.
Oil Your Razor
You should consider oiling your razor the equivalent of moisturizing your skin; both are essential to keep things in good condition. After drying, apply a thin layer of light oil to the blade. This forms a barrier that protects against further moisture, dust, and corrosion damage. You can use specialized razor oil or mineral oil from your local pharmacy. Just a few drops will do the trick.
Store in a Safe Place
When not in use, your straight razor still needs careful attention. That’s why you must store it in a dry place, away from humidity and extreme temperatures. Even after drying and oiling your blade, dampness can still find its way to your razor. A specialized straight razor box or sleeve will help protect it from dust and accidental damage.
Honing is another crucial maintenance step for those new to straight razors. This process rejuvenates the edge, keeping it sharp and ready for action. Fortunately, unlike stropping, honing isn’t a daily task. Depending on your usage, you might only need to hone once every few months. Use a whetstone, and follow the grit progression. Start on a coarser stone, then work your way to a finer one. The blade should glide over the stone; don’t use too much pressure.
Handle With Care
Last but not least, handle your straight razor with care. This item is a precision tool, not a toy. Avoid touching the edge, as oils from your skin can cause it to dull more quickly than usual. When opening and closing the razor, hold it by the tang (the narrow part of the blade near the pivot). Not only will this help with maintenance, but it’ll also make you less likely to cut yourself with the blade.