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When do I actually have to rehone a razor?


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Having more than one razor and enjoying honing so much (and practicing it…), I haven´t managed to get a single razor dull only by shaving with it in… well, let´s say, something around one and a half to two years, I guess… So I thought, when do I actually have to rehone a razor??? I don´t mean refreshing on water only, I mean really going the whole way.



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Going the whole way in the process of honing a razor, IMHO, shouldn`t be done more than once, if proper care is taken of that razor. That is, the first time you set the bevel. The razor then shouldn`t need more, unless of course something happens to that bevel itself (knoking it in the sink or God forbid, dropping it, or for example if you use CrOx on a loom strop and manage to get a convex bevel - anything that makes you do a complete bevel reset). If you manage to not need that, it`s perfect. Remember to use the same kind of tape and number of layers of tape everytime you thouch-up the edge, and you should be all set.

When you touch-up the razor with just water, you are still dealing with a slightly dull edge, and so, you will be removing steel. The only difference is that you do not need to remove steel at that fast rate you did the first time. That would only wear the razor prematurely.

I`m sure the more experienced guys will chime in on this.:)

Just my 0.02

Best regards,


I think this post relates to the thread opened
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about an "essay on barber's razors hones and strop" written back in the 1800's.
Here coticules are mentioned mostly for use without slurry.

This is because in the old times barbers would never have to rehone a razor from scratch, they just kept refreshing the edge.
I think they refreshed their razors very often, just to be sure the damage imparted to the edge by subsequent shavings did not fall beyond the rejuvenating capabilities of the stone.


Well-Known Member
Same for me on the nothing to add :thumbup:
Wonderful replies from both chaps, I believe that the regular touch ups were the main reason for success on the old barbers hones
Once the current research project I am involved with is finished, I plan to put that theory to the test

Kind Regards
Ralfson (Dr)


Well-Known Member
I do have 1 last thing to add, sometimes the edge will develop microchips from repeated contact with whiskers, not all steels suffer from this, and sometimes those chips will survive the touch ups, meaning that sooner rather than later the razor will require a full hone to keep it smooth

I knew there was something. lol

Ralfson (Dr)


Well-Known Member
Thanks, guys.

I´ve read the mentioned PDF before, but I didn´t get the point, I guess. Reading it again makes the whole thing pretty clear to me. And it solves the whole "why are vintage coticules sold without slurry stone" issue.



Well-Known Member
"Having" to rehone a razor all the way through and dulling all your razors over and over again just to rehone them on a coticule is something I can't tell the difference of anymore! :lol: :lol:


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Interesting, If you have even been about the wet shaving forums… and and someone asks for help with sharpening a razor we instinctively suggest “set the bevel”, when in reality, nine out of ten straight shavers only ever need to touch-up…
In days gone by, setting a bevel was unheard of... with good reason. If a razor somehow became so dull that a touch-up could not return a shaving edge, the blade would be sent to a cutler who would re-sharpen on a course hone (set the bevel) or regrind if necessary.


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Smythe said:
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That is a very important statement, an all too often overlooked when people start reading barber manuals. Dovo still has a "regrinding" service for worn-out razors. In many cases, that would translate in nowadays terms to "re-bevel setting" service for overly convexed edges. A retired barber has told me that every month a "traveling sharpening service guy" would drop by the shop to take all really dull razors and scissors for proper sharpening. The barber shop had a special cabinet with countless little drawers, holding each customer's own razor. Customers were supposed to buy a razor at their first visit to the shop, after which the barber maintained it and used it each time the customer entered for a shave. This was in between the 1920's and the late 1960's. If the razor stopped responding to the barber's honing, the traveling sharpening service took care of it.
So the man told me. He was a young apprentice in the 50's at a mundane seaside location in Belgium, where many rich folks were still visiting the barber for their daily shave. Farmers would come in on Saturday, when shaves were cheaper than on Sunday, when they shaved from early morning till the High Mass at 11am. They were obliged to attend the mass, and afterwards they still had to clean up the barbershop. On Sunday afternoon, they went dancing with the ladies. That's how he said it. :)

Kind regards,