Long before the battery-powered, ultra-sophisticated, multifunctional shaving razors appeared on the market, we had a simple (yet extremely efficient) razor we used to sharpen by using a leather razor strop.
You’ve probably seen your grandfather using one of those and listened to the whooshing sound it made with curiosity. Razors are still widely used today, particularly in barber shops.
They’re sharper than any automatic razor and offer exponentially better results. Obviously, you need a really good hand if you use one, as well as a proper leather razor strop to polish its blade.
Let’s answer some of the most frequently asked questions in regards to the good, ol’ leather razor strop.
How Do You Use One?
Sharpening a razor (or a knife) on a leather strop is easier than you might think. If you have one right now, you’ll see that it has something similar to a belt buckle on one end.
That needs to be attached unto something solid. Do not attach it to the knob on a drawer, because that’s a safety hazard. If possible, insert an eye hook in a wall and attach the strop to that.
These are the following steps you need to take to use the leather razor strop correctly:
- Grab the handle and pull the strop. You don’t need to pull too hard. Just make sure it’s a little tense.
- Find the perfect angle.
- Always pull the blade towards you at that angle. If you don’t, you’ll cut the strop in half.
- Push the blade away from you.
- The blade needs to be directed towards yourself, never in the opposite direction because again, you might destroy your strop.
- Push and pull until you’re satisfied with the sharpness and of the blade.
Do not try its sharpness with your thumb
How Often Should I Use One?
In general, a razor needs to be stropped every time you use it, either before you shave or after you shave. If your razor is brand new and you’re about to use it for the first time, it doesn’t need to be stropped.
By stropping the razor each time you shave, you make sure it’s always going to be in great shape and won’t have any rough patches that could make shaving difficult and dangerous.
Now you’re probably wondering: when do I know my straight razor is ready to be used with perfect results? This depends on the material the strop’s made of: if it’s a leather razor strop, the optimal number of strops is 100.
One time up and one time down construe as 1 stroke. Yes, it takes a while, true, but you’ll get the best out of your razor. Now, if your strop is made out of linen or another material, you can make do with only 50 strops.
Another thing you should know is that your leather strop needs some care, as well. Purchase a leather conditioner and apply it to the strop to keep it in good shape. This way, it will last you.
As you might expect, there are tens if not hundreds of brands out there. This can make it quite difficult to choose a trustworthy product. Luckily, we’ve got you covered. These are some of the products we think you should definitely consider:
- Parker’s Handmade Leather Straight Razor Strop
- GBS Leather Strop
- Ardent Leather Strop
- RoyalShave Leather Straight Razor Strop
Let’s take a closer look and see what each of these has to offer and what it lacks.
Parker's Handmade Leather Straight Razor Strop
- Stropping Area measures 3 Inches wide by 17 inches in length
- Made with durable Chicago Screw hardware - Genuine Brass screws allow for easy replacement of both the leather and canvas strop
- Reverse Strop contains is made of a webbed polypropylene frabic to dry your razor after shaving
- Paddle handles allow you to create the perfect amount of tension
Handmade in the USA
What previous customers like best about this leather razor strop is the fact that it’s made out of thick, high-quality Latigo leather. This makes the razors so much sharper than before with just a few strops.
Also, it needs half the quantity of honing compound that other leather strops do and comes at a very affordable price. Highly recommended for both beginner and professional straight razor users.
- HIGH QUALITY: Made of cow-hide leather. One side is made of leather and other made of fine black leather. Comes in plastic sleeve for protection
- STAINLESS STEEL CLAMP: Strops are joined by metal reinforced handle with swivel clip to hang
- PROFESSIONAL CHOICE: 23.5" in length and 2.5" wide leather strop
This is one of the most praised strops you’ll ever find. On one hand, it’s extremely affordable. On the other hand, that doesn’t compromise the quality of the product in any way.
It works just as great for knives as it does for straight razors. People like the fact that the leather is thick and it hones the razors really well with minimal effort on their part.
A recurrent praise was that it’s no less great than a strop that costs twice or thrice as much.
Ardent Leather Strop
- Leather Strop Is Of 100% Cow Hide
- 23 inches in length, 2 inches in width
- Hanging Strop With Stainless steel Hooks
- Leather Handle Grip,Excellent Quality, Excellent Value
- Can be used for sharpening woodworking tools and other fine edges and Blades
This particular leather razor strop is made with cowhide and allows you to sharpen a wide variety of blades and tools. Even though it’s relatively cheap, it’s surprisingly well-made and durable.
One thing that several people don’t seem to understand is that a leather razor strop does not need to cost you $300. A cheap one can be as great. Don’t throw money in the wind just because you feel like you’ve got too much.
If you don’t want to overspend on a quality razor strop, this might just be the best decision you can make. It’s certainly a good deal that you won’t live to regret.
RoyalShave Leather Straight Razor Strop
- 3" WIDE: Extra wide stropping surface with twin strop sets this apart
- PIVOT RING: Stainless steel pivot hook ring makes sharpening easier than ever
- Leather Surface Dimensions: 17" x 3" | Leather Type: Latigo
- Made in the USA
Made with Latigo leather, this luxury leather razor strop offers 3” of stropping surface and some unmatched quality. The results are amazing. Even the most damaged razors are given new life.
It’s a bit pricey, that’s true, but all the testimonials let us know it’s worth every dime. If you’re shopping for a truly luxury leather strop, then look no further.
Believe it or not, it doesn’t really matter how expensive your razor is, it’s all about the strop you sharpen it on. If you want a product that will last you and will serve you well, you need a leather razor strop.
Don't forget to check out our guide to straight razors as well.