Groom Manifesto | How to Grooming Guides - Groom Manifest™

How to sharpen your straight razor

Posted by Will Anderson on

There's nothing out there that can match the closeness and enjoyment of shaving with a super sharp straight razor. You will never need to buy blades again and a good quality straight razor can last a lifetime with the correct maintenance. This article is designed to give you a quick overview of how to keep your straight razor sharp, ensuring you have a rewarding shave every time.

Caring for your Straight Razor

Stropping

A strop is a flexible strip of leather, canvas, denim fabric, balsa wood, or other soft material, used to straighten and polish the blade of a straight razor. It helps realign the blade, keeping it keen between shaves. Unlike a whetstone, a strop doesn't actually remove any material from the blade.

Stropping your razor

How to use a strop

Typically we recommend stropping prior to every shave, initially doing laps on the canvas / linen side to help clean the razor and then lapping the leather to realign the blade. There's a lot of varying opinions on how many laps you should do but we'd recommend a 20 / 40 split to get started and see how you get on, that's 20 laps on the linen and 40 on the leather.

Here is how to do it;

  • If you’re using a hanging strop, attach this securely to a wall – chest height makes it easier to use
  • Turn your strop around so that the leather side is facing upwards
  • Pull your strop so that it is taught – this will make the whole process quicker and easier whilst protecting your strop and razor
  • Open up your razor to its full capacity. Use your thumb and forefinger to grip the blade shaft and place the razor at your end of the strop, with the blade facing towards you
  • Push the blade away from you with the spine of the blade furthest away from you, and as you get to the end of each stroke, flip the blade so the blade is now facing away from you, and pull the razor towards you. If your blade is wider than your strop, use a figure of 8 or X motion as you push/pull away to ensure that the whole blade is tended to.  

Strop Paste
Should I use a strop paste?

Stop pastes come in different varieties including abrasive and non-abrasive types. You don't have to use a strop paste but a non-abrasive paste can help keep your leather strop smooth and stropping with an abrasive paste can extend the period of time between honing. It's important to remember you can't mix pastes on the same strops so choose wisely.

Honing Whetstone

Honing

Just like a knife, your straight razor will occasionally need to be sharpened / honed. Typically this will be every 3 to 6 months depending on usage and you can choose to do it yourself or get it done professionally.

Sharpening stones, water stones or whetstones are used to sharpen the edges and are available in various grades, which refer to the grit size of the abrasive particles in the stone. A higher number provides a finer finish and lower if you require more aggressive sharpening or damage repair.

    How to use a Honing Stone:

    It's not set in stone (pardon the pun) on how often you need to hone your razor, but the general rule is that as soon as you start to feel your razor catching on your hairs/skin and stropping doesn't improve the situation, it’s time to sharpen it. There are a huge variety of honing stones available including natural and synthetic. Today synthetic stones are the most popular for beginners and professionals alike as they stones are consistent, easy to learn and cut very fast.

    • Make sure you are using your stone on a flat surface and that you are holding it steady. Some honing stones like the Barbarossa Brothers Honing Whetstone come with a rubber stand to stop the stone from moving during the process
    • Similarly to when using your strop, hold the blade shaft between your thumb and forefinger, spine facing the edge of the stone and place the blade totally flat against the stone so that both the blade and spine meet the surface
    • Using steady pressure, push your blade to the other end of the stone. It is essential to hone the whole blade in one stroke – if your stone is narrower than your blade, use a diagonal or curved motion
    • When you reach the other end, flip so that the blade is leading again and repeat the process the other way round
    • Do this around 5 or 6 times and you’re done!

    Important Notes

    • The whole blade must be honed in one stroke
    • The blade nor’ spine should not leave the surface of the stone throughout the stroke – keep it flat
    • Use the same amount of strokes per side and ensure you’re using equal pressure throughout

    We hope this short guide has helped you get started with sharpening your straight razor, if you have any questions just give us a shout and we will be happy to help.

     

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    How to use a Safety Razor

    Posted by Will Anderson on

    At Groom Manifest, we strongly believe a safety razor razor is superior to a cartridge based razor system as they offer a more comfortable angle that cuts the hair cleanly without grabbing or pulling excessively.

    Benefits include;

    • More control over the razor and the closeness of the shave
    • Less pulling - especially for longer stubble 
    • Single cutting edge which reduces razor burn
    • More economical - longer lasting and cheaper blades
    Learn how to Shave with a Safety Razor
    Read more →

    Father's Day Gift Guide

    Posted by Aidan Oldroyd on

    This Father’s Day, don't settle for socks and take that special man back to the good ol' days with some top quality, exquisitely crafted, traditional shaving products. Designed to deliver a superior shave, these gift ideas will be treasured for a lifetime. 

    Double Edge Safety Razors

    Designed to glide through stubble, the double edge safety razor is similar in style to modern cartridge razors but features a single blade which provides a close shave with less irritation. It also features a protective guard which helps prevent nicks and cuts. 

    Out top pick;

    r89 Razor

    Price: £32.50

     

    Shavette Cut Throat Razors

    The style of a straight razor with the ease of disposable blades, perfect for the man on the go. There is a reason why these are the razors of choice for most barbers, they deliver a superb shave every time.

    Our top pick;

    Buccaneer Shavette Brown

    available in different colours.
    Price: £30

     

    Straight Cut Throat Razors

    If your special man has a bit of time on his hands and appreciates the finer things in life then treat him to the pièce de résistance, the straight razor. There is nothing quite like the experience of shaving with a fixed blade and the enjoyment of keeping it in good condition. He will also need a leather strop to help keep the blade sharp between shaves.

    Our top pick;

     

    Dovo Half Hollow Razor


    Price: £84
     

    Father's Day Shaving Hampers

    Providing everything he needs for the ultimate shave, our hampers offer something for everyone - you can even build your own. Presented in a manly wicker basket, this gentleman's hamper will provide that personal touch without the need to wrap - we can even send it direct (just email to let us know not to include an invoice!)

    Edwin Jagger Hamper

    Price From £75.50

     

    The ‘Novice’ Dad

    Play it safe the Edwin Jagger Safety Razor Hamper, providing everything he needs for a satisfying traditional wet shave. All of the products are handcrafted in Sheffield, England and combine superb design with premium materials. You will get a double edge razor, pack of blades, shaving brush and a shaving cream.

    Feather Safety Razor Hamper

    Price £270
    The ‘Experienced’ Dad 

    The aficionado hamper is one for really pushing the boat out and features the AS-D2S razor, possibly the finest double edge razor in the world. It is accompanied with a Mühle silvertip badger brush finished in a matching chrome finish, Taylor of Old Bond Street Shaving Oil, Alum Block and a tub of Taylor of Old Bond Street cream.

    Dovo Cut Throat Hamper


    Price £270
    The 'Alpha' Dad

    If you want your Dad to feel king of the jungle then he really needs to be shaving with a straight razor. Nothing can beat the closeness of these razors and he will never need to buy blades again! Check out our Beginner Cut Throat Razor Hamper with Barbarossa Brothers Strop providing everything he needs at a competitive price. Includes a Dovo 8" 5/straight razor, choice of badger shaving brushes, shaving cream and a strop for keeping the blade in tip top shape.

    Build Hamper

    Price £Variable

     

    The ‘Particular’ Dad 

    Nothing quite hitting the spot? Why not use our ‘Build Your Own Hamper’ service and show your Dad you really care, with a made to measure gift set. Add the Hamper basket to your basket and browse to your heart’s content, add as much or as little as you’d like to your hamper. We recommend around 5/6 items to fill it out but we’re leaving this one down to you!

    We hope this has helped provide some inspiration this Father's Day and remember don't settle for socks! If you have any questions, please drop us a message at info@groommanifest.com. 

     

     

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    Dovo Straight Razor Guide

    Posted by Aidan Oldroyd on

    This guide has been put together in collaboration with Dovo and provides everything you need to know about looking after your new cut throat razor.

    We will cover:

    • Getting to know your cut throat razor
    • Manufacturing process
    • How to care for the razor
    • How to strop 
    • How to shave 
    • Warranty and Guarantee

    Read the Dovo Straight Razor Guide...

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    How to Achieve the Perfect Shave

    Posted by Mr. Manifest on

    For some men, shaving provides a daily ritual which helps them relax and feel their confident best. For others it's a chore, causing unpleasant side effects like razor burn, irritation and ingrown hairs.

    The good news is that everyone can make shaving a pleasure, a few simple changes can transform the quality of your shave. This article will cover our approach to achieving the perfect shave.

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