Honing, an Integral Part of Maintaining Straight Razors

Honing straight razorSince earlier straight razors did not come with disposable blades, honing a razor before a shave used to be an integral part of the shaving process. Also unlike the new age razors their forefathers did not come pre-honed so they had to acquire the art of honing even before they started to shave. Firstly, one need to know that honing a razor is not same as honing a knife, the stones required for honing a razor is much finer in grade- from about 4000 to 10,000 or even 12,000 grits.  The frequency of honing depends on how tough your beard is and how often you have to shave. But honing is only required when the blade cannot be restored to make shave ready on the strop.

Process of Honing

  • Firstly, lay the stone flat on a flat stable surface and hold the razor in right angle with the stone. The blade has to be put on the stone’s nearest end with the side facing away from you. In stropping, the idea is to have the back and edge of the blade touching the surface at the same time, to give the ideal angle for honing or stropping.
  • Now, slide the side of the blade up the stone, ensuring that the edge leads and the back and edge is kept in contact – it becomes easy if you lift the back a little. At the end of the stroke, roll the blade over so that the edge now faces you – no need to lift it off the stone, you just need to roll it around the axis at the back of the blade. Now, draw the blade back down the stone, keeping a constant contact as it is described earlier. When you finally get near the edge of the stone, roll over the blade again and start the next up-stroke.
  • You will notice gradual slurry build up, that is going to do the work for you.
  • You need to make about ten strokes each way, then strop to test.
  • If you press it against the ball of your thumb you will notice a certain stickiness which is actually the proof of its sharpness.

Honing stones available in the market

RUKO 6-Inch 3-Stone Honing Block Stones Knife Sharpener with Cedar Wood Base

RUKO 6-Inch 3-Stone Honing Block Stones Knife Sharpener with Cedar Wood BaseThis is a 3- stone honing system with a 6inch Whetstone complete with cedar wood base honing oil. The whetstones come in three varieties fine (natural), medium (synthetic) and carbo-ark (coarse). It is made in U.S.A with authentic Arkansas Whetstones. Added to this it comes with a lifetime warranty.


  • Wide variety of product where you can choose from according to your requirement
  • Easy to use


  • The set is complete in itself, leaves no space for negative feedbacks

Naniwa Super Stone New Ceramic with Stand Grit #220 IN-2002

Naniwa Super Stone New Ceramic with Stand GritThe high quality Japanese production makes it a cutting edge product. It is cheaper than other brands providing the same quality and the stone is really effective and delivers one of the best honing experiences.


  • Japanese high quality performance stays unmatched
  • Cheap and trust worthy


  • It is not a full set, the honing oil and strop belt if added would have made it complete

Norton Waterstone Starter Kit: 220/1000 grit stone

Norton Waterstone Starter KitThe 220/1000 grit is provided for repairing and steel cutting edges and the 4000/8000 grit comes along for maintaining, refining and polishing steel edges. A blue plastic box comes with it, having non-slip rubber feet which work as a holder for the stone while sharpening.


  • With the product an instructional DVD is provide for demonstrating the basic process of honing.
  • Two type of grits can be used for different kinds of tool sharpening.


  • No negative feedbacks can be attached to this product.

Hope this article gave you a deeper insight about the process of honing and the best possible honing stones available in the market. Buy them to get a professional shaving experience right at your own place.

Leo Flemming

About Leo Flemming

As a retired barber Leo has experience with all types of shavers, but his favorite has always been the classic safety razor. An avid collector of the elegant razors Leo is looking forward to sharing all of his knowledge with us, while he continues to help men stay well groomed and clean shaven. When Leo is not writing for us, you can often find him indulging his love of antiques at the local shops.

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