When you invest in a straight razor you will quickly realize that you also need to invest in a strop to go with it. In this review, we are going to talk about what a strop is, how to use it in which is the Best Straight Razor Strop.
While there is a certain sense of achievement in shaving with a straight razor it also comes with a decent load of maintenance.
However, many guys enjoy this process and it becomes more of a ritual than just a regular shaving routine.
Recommendations for the Best Straight Razor Strop
Best Straight Razor Strop Definition
A razor strop is usually a long flexible piece of soft material that can come in many different types including:
Many times, the best straight razor strop will hang and have two handles on each side so you can pull it tight. However, you will also find strops that are just made to be handheld.
Since the straight razor blades are so thin the metal can get bent on a daily basis even with the smallest beard hair. Stropping realigns the blade to give you a more efficient shave.
Thicker blades like kitchen knives do not require as frequent stropping.
You can also use abrasive compounds on the strop that will help polish the bleed while stopping it at the same time.
What To Look For In The Best Straight Razor Strop
When looking for your best straight razor strop a lot of the decision comes down to your personal preference in what type of strop you want to purchase.
If you are new to what shaving with a straight razor, you may want to buy a cheap strop to learn on. You are more likely to cut the strop as you are getting your technique down.
It would be a sad day if you spent hundreds of dollars on a nice leather strop to just cut it to pieces shortly after.
Besides the type of strop the next most important feature is the width of the strop. Many beginners find a three-inch-wide strop to be best to learn on.
The next common sizes are two-inch-wide or two and a quarter inches wide. With these narrower strops, there’s a little more technique involved.
If you really want to learn the technique without spending any money you can make your own with a two-by-four and a piece of newspaper. The combination is smooth enough to hone the blade and you don’t have to worry about cutting the strop.
Balsa Wood – these strops are usually paddles and are meant to be held in your hand but won’t have as much draw as a leather strop. Therefore, you may often need to use these with pastes. These are not generally used on a daily basis like a leather strop. But when the daily stropping becomes less effective the balsa wood comes into play.
Loom Strop – Loom strops are basically handheld strops with a leather material. These could be great if you don’t have enough space in your bathroom to hang a leather strop. However, they won’t be as forgiving as a hanging strop and your technique will need to be a little better.
Paddle Strops – just as the name implies these are usually wooden paddles with your selective material affixed to them. They can have leather on both sides or sometimes leather on one side with a canvas or felt on the opposite side. These are great for using the different sides to apply different finishes to your blade.
Hanging Strops – these are the most common types of strops that have been around for a long time. They can come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. But usually the most convenient and most forgiving when stropping your razor.
Strops can be made out of several different materials which all have their pros and cons. However, as a beginner, if you want to play it safe your basic leather strop is the way to go.
If you have never stropped before you should just buy a cheap one so that you can get your technique down before moving on to a more sophisticated strop.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you will also have to maintain your strop just like your razor. This can be done with specialized soaps and oils that are specially made for leather.
How To Use The Best Straight Razor Strop
Stropping the actual razor is a straightforward process but getting the technique can take some time.
You want to start by placing the razor on one end of the strop with the spine facing the opposite end. Draw the razor across the length of the strop to the other side.
This is different from sharpening the blade where you would push the edge first.
As you get to the end of the strop you will want to rotate the blade off the strops of the edge moves away from the leather. If you turn it over on the edge it can continue rolling the blade which will defeat the purpose of what you just did.
Here’s a quick video shown you the proper technique:
If you have a narrower strop then you will need to use an X technique. This is where you start on one side of the blade and as you strop a move towards the other.
Where To Buy The Best Straight Razor Strop
While there are many places to buy the best straight razor strop online, Amazon usually has the most variety in the best prices. You can also quickly compare different strops to see which ones might be the best for you.
You can also get free shipping if you only spend $25 which is not hard when you are buying wet shaving supplies.
Also, since Amazon is so popular they usually have the most reviews which is nice to see many different opinions about one particular item.
It is definitely not the only place but it’s certainly a good place to start looking. These are some of the best-selling strops on Amazon.
Parker’s Handmade 3″ x 27″ Red Latigo
If you are just starting out Parker’s handmade three-inch Red Latigo strop could be a great option.
The three-inch width will make it more forgiving as you learn how to properly strop your straight razor. It is also put together with quality hardware including brass screws. These allow you to easily replace the leather or canvas when they are worn out.
It’s paddle handles are easy to grip so you can put the correct amount of tension on the strop. The back side has a red polypropylene fabric that helps you dry the razor after shaving.
The strop comes highly rated at 4.4-stars with many guys mentioning that it will get the job done. There were a couple complaints that the customer received the strop folded on top of itself. Which caused wrinkles in the leather.
You may want to contact the seller and make sure that it will not get shipped this way to you so that you don’t have to put some work into the strop to make it usable.
Overall though, just like they’re double edge safety razors this is a quality product from Parker.
DOVO Leather Strop
After you have your technique down if you are looking to get in nicer strop this Dovo leather strop could be a great choice.
You could also pair well if you happen to grab one of their fine straight razors.
This one is only 2 inches wide so you will have to cross strop the blade.
A small price to pay for a fine leather strop.
They also provide you with their own leather conditioning strop paste as well as a honing compound for when you want to refine the edge on your blade.
It has nice chrome handles that will let you pull the strop tight as you’re using it. In the back side has a nice fabric for applying the honing compound.
This one only has one review so far but it is five stars and Dovo is known for their quality craftsmanship.
Since it is a little more expensive this could be a great second strop as you don’t want to spend the money on this just to cut it up. It’s actually not that expensive considering that it comes with the honing compound and strop paste.
Gents Barber Shop 2.5″ X 23″ Barber’s Razor Strop Cow Hide
If you’re looking for just a piece of leather this cowhide leather strop from GBS is probably the best value for your money.
Becomes highly rated with 4.3-stars in about 30 reviews. Guys seem to really see a lot of value in this for the price they pay in the performance of the strop.
It has two strips of leather the black side is a little finer for finishing your blade. They also offer a 100% guarantee so if you are not happy you can simply return this for your money back.
It comes with paddle type handles at the bottom and a metal clip at a table that you can hang off your cabinet.
There were a couple complaints about it feeling cheap or that it was bent when it arrived but you must remember that this is a relatively inexpensive product.
If you are just looking for a piece of leather to get the job done then you’ll be more than happy with this one.
There are several reviews customers who even use this to strop other blades like kitchen knives.
There really isn’t a whole lot to this one but it is relatively cheap starter strop.
Fromm Illinois Razor Strop, IRS127, 2.5 x 23″
From is known for their Illinois razor strop collection and they are one of the oldest strop manufacturers in the USA. This model the IRS 127 is another great option for your first leather strop.
With over 150 reviews it has a 4.1-star rating.
While it’s design looks really nice, don’t let it fool you, it will still get the job done for your straight razor.
They use a top-quality cowhide leather and make this product in the US. The back sign has a canvas that already comes with zinc oxide To help sharpen your blade as you need it.
Make sure you keep in mind that you will have to break these strops in and some take a couple days and others take a couple weeks. They are shipped either folded or rolled so it will take several rounds of dressings and flattening before it is ready to use.
You can see several reviews from first time purchasers that still have there’s a year or more later and is in good shape. They also know adding Several oils or conditioners to get the strop ready-to-use.
Almost all of the complaints have to do with the way it is shipped so just know when you order this product you’ll have to put some work into it to flatten it out. but that seems to be common with a lot of these strops.
RoyalShave 3″ Red Latigo Leather
This moderately priced strop from RoyalShave seems to be another popular choice with over 120 reviews and a 4.4-star rating.
It has a three-inch-wide high quality leather surface that will aid you in your stropping process.
Like others on here has a metal clip at the top with paddle like handles. The backside comes with a webbed fabric that is great for polishing and finishing your blade.
This strop is not as long as the others at only 17 inches which just means you might have to make a few more passes.
Like the other stops on this list it will be shipped either folded or rolled so be prepared to condition it in order to first use it. You will also see some of the complaints talking about that as well.
Besides that, most guys seem to really enjoy this leather strop for their straight razors.
Best Straight Razor Strops For Beginners – Velvet Forge’s Razor Sharpening Strop
One of the best options for beginners could also be this sharpening strop from Velvet Forge.
It is only 16 inches long but comes with leather on one side and denim on the back side to work with your favorite sharpening paste.
The top has a brass hook with a swivel in the bottom has two brass rings for an easy grip and to pull the strop tight when you need to.
This strop only has about 20 reviews but most guys seem to enjoy giving it a 4.3-star rating. In fact, there are not many complaints about the condition of the leather Straight Out of the Box on this one.
This my offer one of the best perceived values for the price that you actually pay for it. You can also get this strop as part of a kit that comes with a 7/8-inch full Hollow straight razor.
Some of the other complaints are not really complaints, they are more personal preferences saying they wish the strop was longer or wider.
This could be the easiest one to use out of the box making it a great first strop for beginners.
Best Straight Razor Strop Conclusion
As you can see these are some great choices for your first strop. you will need to try to think about the features that you are looking for and that will work well with your straight razor.
You probably want to go for one of the less-expensive strops in the beginning as you are getting your technique down. as you get better then you can start looking for the best one for you.