You may not have heard of it, but a shaving belt is an absolute must-have if you want to keep your straight razor sharp. When you you straight razor properly maintained , it will last for years, and sometimes even your entire life. If you buy a shaving belt it may seem expensive, but in the end it will be a lot cheaper if you keep your open razor sharp by means of a shaving belt.
What is a shaving belt?
A shaving belt (also called a shaving strop) is a belt on which you can sharpen your straight razor. A shaving belt has two sides, namely a leather side and a canvas side. With the canvas side you ensure that all metal particles are facing the same direction. This is also called “aiming” (more on this later). After aiming you will polish your knife on the leather side. This ensures that your knife becomes smooth and comfortable to use.
How do you use a shaving belt?
Would you like one using a shaving belt , but don't know how? We have made a step-by-step plan for you. When you follow these steps your open blade will shave like never before.
- When you want to start using your shaving belt, you first need to hang it somewhere. You can do this, for example, on a hook or the door handle in the bathroom.
- You hold the other side of the shaving belt yourself. It is important that there is tension on the shaving belt because it must not bend. If you allow your razor belt to bend too much, your straight razor will not move smoothly on the razor belt. Then you will not get the desired result.
- Hold your straight razor between your thumb and forefinger and keep it flat on the shaving belt.
- Then move your straight razor from bottom to top over the shaving belt.
- Did you get to the top of the shaving belt with your knife? Great, then turn your knife around and gently move it back down.
Use the canvas side of your shaving belt to aim. Aiming therefore means that you put all the metal particles to the same side of your straight razor. Run your razor across the canvas side about 15 times to make sure the metal particles are facing the same direction.
Now use the leather side of your shaving belt to polish your straight razor. This way your razor becomes soft and extremely comfortable to shave with. Run your knife over the leather side about 20 to 25 times.
What else do I need to sharpen my knife?
To maintain your shaving belt it is important to use a paste. A yellow paste for a shaving belt is greasy and specially made for the maintenance and care of the leather side of your shaving belt. The white paste for a shaving belt is made for the canvas side. This paste cleans the canvas side after use and thus ensures that your shaving belt lasts longer.
Once you have aligned and polished your knife, you can use a tension strap. This belt also has two sides, one side is brown and the other side is colored. When the colored side is red, it is especially for silver steel or carbon straight razor sharpening. When the colored side is green, it is special for stainless steel open razor sharpening. The tension belt can be used in the same way as a shaving belt. You use a tension belt occasionally, if your razor needs extra sharpening. Think of straightening as step 1, polishing as step 2, and sharpening as step 3.
When should you use a shaving belt?
Use a shaving belt if you notice that your once sharp razor is no longer so sharp. This can be every so many shaves, but the amount of shaves varies per blade. You feel best yourself when your knife is ready for maintenance.