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Honing is the key to keeping your straight razor sharp and in shaving condition.

While stropping is used for every day maintenance, after a few months, your razor's edge will start to dull.  It will no longer feel "smooth" or "velvety" during your shave.  Not all is lost! The edge can be restored with a process called "honing".  You can either have a professional hone your razor (expect to pay somewhere around $15-$25), or you can hone it yourself.  We encourage our customers to hone their own straight razors.  We feel it enhances the experience and ritual of the classic straight shave.  Like changing the oil in your car or conditioning the leather on your favorite pair of shoes, maintaining you own razor can give you pride and ownership of your process.

As with anything else, there are many many approaches to honing.  We will not say, "this is the only way to hone a razor", but we hope this guide can get you started and on the right track to developing your own honing style.  This is the process we use on our razors and it works great for us!  If you are in Portland (or plan to visit) we encourage you to sign-up for one of honing classes.

If you haven't done so already, refer to our Anatomy of a Straight Razor and Anatomy of a Strop guides to sort out your points and tails and spines and edges! 

Part I of this series will familiarize you with the common terms, concepts and techniques related to honing. We will cover when to hone, and what you need to start honing on your own. Sharpening a razor is quite simple and can be done safely and effectively by most people in the comfort of their own home! This series sets out to demystify the process called "honing," and equip straight shavers with the knowledge to sharpen their own blade.  Read Full Article →


Part II of this series will discuss discerning when to hone, choosing your first hone, lapping the hone, examining the razor, and setting up your honing station. Finally, we will cover the basic technique for honing a razor: the X-pattern honing stroke. Read Full Article →


Part III of this series covers how we hone a razor at Portland Razor Co., from setting a bevel on a virgin blade to final polishing and stropping... Read Full Article →