I assume you mean a straight razor/cutthroat razor., vs. a safety/double-edge razor.
I use a straight-razor. Simply because it costs less and I get better shaves out of it.
Yes, exactly, I meant straight razor vs. safety razor, thanks for the corrections.
Honestly, I never achieved shaving as clean with straight razor as with safety razor. But it may be that I am using straight razor, which is not too expensive. And I did not yet adjusted to sharpen it well. In fact, this is, appears to be, the most critical stage of the process, the making of good blade on leather strap.
Okay...running the blade over the strop does NOT sharpen it. It SMOOTHS IT. To sharpen the razor, you need a sharpening-stone. A good, high-grit knife-stone shoudl do the trick. I know some people go insane, and buy four or five different stones and oils and whatever, but you really only need one good one. Sharpen it thoroughly (at least 50 strokes for each side of the blade), going blade-first along the stone each time). Make sure the stone is WET (with water) before you start. You need lubrication to keep the razor running smoothly on the stone.
Then, strop the razor thoroughly on the strop (at least 25 strokes for each side of the razor).
Now, shave. You should have a nice, good shave now.
Before you try to hone your own razor I'd suggest you send it to a professional and have it honed. That way you know what a properly honed razor feels like and then can aspire to that yourself once you've used it long enough to need to touch it up.
Lynn is a straight shooter and will treat you fairly.
I was entirely self-taught when it came to using straight-razors. Everything from sharpening to stropping to how to use it, I figured out by myself.
Good for you. Given what you posted about how to hone a razor I'd say you are either incredibly lucky or have very tough skin. Or both.
I have neither, but I do have plenty of experience. I have excellent shaves, thank you. I'm completely self-taught when it comes to straight-razors. Everything I mention is learned through three years of personal experience. I had a couple of false starts when I began, back around 2009, but have never stumbled since.
I don't see anything wrong with how I sharpen a razor. I wouldn't have mentioned it if I didn't get results out of it. Which I do; very good ones. There's no reason why he can't learn how to sharpen his own razor. I did. Mostly because I had to; I didn't have anyone who I could send it out to have sharpened.
Besides, people would've been doing this on a regular basis to their own razors back in the day. It would've been just another one of those daily, household skills that men can't do anymore.
If your method of honing works to your satisfaction that's fine for you. If you've never had your razor professionally honed I'm going to step out here and say you have no idea what a correctly honed razor feels like.
You do have plenty of experience for a newbie. Just don't confuse that with wisdom.
There's a difference between wisdom and experience. I'm merely sharing what works for me. But that's no reason to discredit it, simply because it comes from the mouth of one who is self-taught. If it works, it works. A lot of people would've been self-taught when it came to using a straight, everything from shaving to sharpening it themselves.
I didn't discredit your experience. I specifically said that if it works for you then that's great. My main point was that you shouldn't encourage someone who appears to be having issues already to continue down a path to frustration.
It's like learning to play golf by yourself vs. getting lessons from a PGA teaching pro. Sure, you can teach yourself to make contact with the ball and hack it around the course. Lots of folks take up the game and then quit because they tried that method.
I'm simply giving him the advice I feel will give him the best opportunity for success.
Your razor absolutely needs to be properly honed. How often it needs to be touched up after that initial honing is very difficult to quantify. I've been shaving daily with my straight for over a year since I last touched it up (with a 4 sided strop impregnated with diamond paste). It has been 5 years since I honed it on stone. How often you need to hone depends on many factors: your technique, your beard (how thick the hair is and and how densely it grows), your stropping technique, how often you shave, etc.
You're also not "honing" with the strop (ignore my reference to the 4 sided strop above, it's semantics). You are "stropping" with it. Big difference. If you look at the edge of your razor with a microscope you'll see that what appears to be solid metal to the naked eye are really individual particles of steel. During shaving these particles become misaligned. Stropping realigns them. While some of the particles will break off and become embedded in your strop (it'll start to turn grey from these particles over time) that's not the primary purpose.
You should always strop the razor before using it. Some folks strop after shaving as well. The theory behind that is that is more thoroughly dries the razor. My personal opinion is that it's unnecessary. YMMV.
I learned to hone when I started shaving with a straight. Unless you just want to hone them as a hobby (or as a professional honemeister) it's not worth the learning curve or the investment in stones. Like everything else in wet shaving you can go overboard with buying hones. I had over $500 invested in a small collection that I used. Over a several year period I bought (mostly eBay) over 300 razors that I cleaned up, honed, and sold. I spent over 6 months practicing honing before I was proficient enough to consistently put a good edge on a razor. I was nowhere near as skilled as the guys who do it professionally.
Send your razor to Lynn and have him hone it. You'll appreciate the difference.