I’ve used a Dovo Shavette successfully for many years without any problems, but the blades only last about three shaves and they’re weird to change, involving sliding out a plastic sleeve and clipping the blade in. So I’ve always wanted to switch to a straight razor. However good Dovo straight razors are difficult to find for less than €200 in Ireland so I decided on a middle-of-the-road stainless blade for €40 to start with for a year or two.

It came just about sharp enough to shave with, not nearly as comfortable as a fresh blade in a shavette (More like shavette shave three or four) but it quickly became unusable and stopped cutting the hairs.

I tried stropping it a couple hundred times to no avail.

So I got a block of sharpal green stropping paste and put it on an old leather strop. Sharpal Green is about 2 microns, 10,000 grit. Now I’ve read that 8,000 grit, 3 microns will sharpen a straight razor, so this seems more than fine enough, but I applied it to the old strop and went over about 60 times and it seemed to make it duller!

I have some .5 micron diamond paste somewhere, but it sounds like that wouldn’t help given that Sharpal Green should do the trick.

So, where do I go from here? I’m not going to splash out on an expensive razor if I can’t get a respectable mid-level one to at least work.

Better strop? Different paste? Different combination/order of pastes? Buffing wheel for my grinder? Whetstones/oilstones (I have some) before the paste?

Also what does the canvas side of the strop do?


Okay I've managed to improve things. I found a 3000/8000 sharpening stone, taped up the spine of the blade and gave it about 30 goes on 3000 and about 150 strokes on the 8000 side, then stropped it on the same strop that still had a residue of 10000 grit green sharpal on and it now shaves arm hair and short stubble, which is a great step in the right direction.

Because the blade is stainless rather than carbon steel, I believe it benefited from a little pressure on the fine side of the stone, and great care to always strike the stone at the same angle each time. This is progress :)

  • I don't think you're looking for life hack here, you need Shaving.SE site, which currently does not exist yet. Sep 2 at 16:33
  • 1
    Hi spl, Welcome to SE Lifehacks. To answer your last question (from the Dovo.com Blog): If you have the feeling that stropping doesn’t achieve the desired effect, the cotton or hemp side of a belt can help. Very experienced shavers will rub it with an abrasive and pull the straight razor several times on it to sharpen the blade. Honing should not be done by beginners as a wrong pull can ruin the razor’s edge! Good Luck!
    – Stan
    Sep 2 at 18:45

1 Answer 1


I haven't shaved in a long time, but the last several years I did, I used a Hoffritz straight razor.

My experience was that stropping, done correctly, did a fine job of maintaining the edge; I could (in my late 20s to early 30s) get a shave so close I only needed to shave three times a week to look and feel as good as I had with a multi-head rotary electric razor or early wet-dry foil shaver used every day.

The trick here is that you're probably stropping incorrectly. If you're flipping the razor over the edge at the end of the stroke, you'll roll over the edge with each flip and quickly wear/break off the finest part of the edge (which does the actual work of shaving). You likely made this worse, and permanently contaminated your strop, using the Sharpal Green compound on the leather.

I bought a razor stone when I bought my strop, and used it once (I had lots of experience sharpening knives and knew to rest the razor on its edge and back to maintain the correct edge angle, and then only worked a few strokes, pushing toward the edge, on each side with light machine oil).

After stoning, I stropped up with bare leather, turning the razor over its back after each stroke (pulling away from the edge with back and edge on the strop). A dozen or so strokes before each shave, with the last stroke on the opposite side of the edge from my forward shaving stroke (to ensure the "wire edge" that does the real shaving was turned the correct direction to cut with the blade at a high angle from my skin), and never touching the stone again, sufficed for several years of excellent shaves.

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