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Thread: question about stroping technique

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    Senior Member JackeHj's Avatar
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    Default question about stroping technique

    I have used my razor about 8 times, stropped it at least 50 times before every use. But now i have a problem. The blade passes the HHT fine on the heal and in the middle of the blade so this part is fine and shaves great. But the toe is not that sharp and ti doesn't shave quite as good as it did the 5 first times... It was honed by Birnando so i know it was truly shave ready when i started using it. What am I doing wrong? My strop is the SRD black latigo 3". Should i test an 2" strop? I read that the 3" strops dont always stay flat... maby thats the problem..?

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    Your stropping stroke may be catching the toe. You have to make sure it is an even stroke. Wether you are using a narrow strop or full size, the same applies. Watch the stroke and maybe go very slow to see if you can see any issues with the stropping technique. The blade may be brought back with stropping, hard to tell from here.

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    barba crescit caput nescit Phrank's Avatar
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    Sounds like it could potentially be your stropping technique.

    Proper stropping is vital, after a year, I had to go back and re-learn proper stropping as I'd rolled a couple of edges on a few of my blades.

    What I was doing wrong, was lifting the blade from the strop for the return stroke, and as a result, I rolled the edge of the blade, which could result in exactly what you're describing.

    It's important to put the spine of the blade on the strop, and when you get to the end of the stroke, to roll the spine without lifting the blade from the strop for the return stroke. Also, don't press down on the blade.

    I will let others comment other possibilities and how to correct this.

    Good luck and welcome to the forum!

    Cheers!
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    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    Sounds like your not getting full coverage on the edge,Learn to do an X stroke,sort of like a windshild wiper.

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    There is no charge for Awesomeness Jimbo's Avatar
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    The problem with stropping is that it looks fairly straight forward when in fact it is quite technical and nuanced when done effectively, IMO. And it can take quite a long time (in my case maybe a year or more) to get it to a point where you can look back and say "Oh! That's what was wrong."

    Little variations in pressure, small changes in elbow and wrist height especially at the flipping point - these things, while not being majorly noticeable or a one-off "disaster" like say a nick or cut, can all add up and have a cumulative effect over successive visits to the strop, particularly when you do lots of laps (eg 50) each time.

    For me, the danger time was 3-9 months in. For the first few months I was careful, watched what I was doing, tried to keep things flat and went fairly slowly. Then the false confidence set in. I went faster, technique went out the window and with it so too did my shaves.

    I'm in no position to say whether your stropping is good or not. However, since you are in the early-ish stages of your journey to shave-mastery the odds are (based on numerous other people's experiences) that there are some issues with your technique that should be addressed. I don't know if you are in a position to make a short video of your stropping to share with us, but if you are it could be a useful shortcut to getting some practical and informed advice on what you could do to improve (if, indeed, you need improvement).

    It is hard to know whether your razor will improve with some careful stropping without seeing and testing it in person, but I'd suggest doing that as a first step at least. If the razor is at the point where it just will not shave comfortably, it may be a good idea to send it back to Birnando for a re-hone rather than suffer through poor shaves or, worse, cut or nick yourself by trying to compensate for the edge with more pressure - another common thing that can happen early on in a straight razor user's journey.

    Good luck, and give some thought to a video so we can provide some constructive criticism to help you along the way.

    James.
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    Senior Member JackeHj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phrank View Post
    What I was doing wrong, was lifting the blade from the strop for the return stroke, and as a result, I rolled the edge of the blade, which could result in exactly what you're describing.

    It's important to put the spine of the blade on the strop, and when you get to the end of the stroke, to roll the spine without lifting the blade from the strop for the return stroke. Also, don't press down on the blade.
    Thanx! But I don't think this is the problem… Dont lift the blade at all… Maby I do it spontaneously sometimes. I don't yet have much of an muscle memory so the strokes maybe vary a little from time to time… i dunno…

    Good luck, and give some thought to a video so we can provide some constructive criticism to help you along the way.
    Yes, I will try to make a video tonight! Have no videocamera so i'm gonna do it with my phone, don't have a tripod either. But I'll try!
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    Senior Member JackeHj's Avatar
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    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    Stropping looks fine,buy what you did on that box or board with the edge probebly took it off 100%JMO
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    There is no charge for Awesomeness Jimbo's Avatar
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    Thanks for the video!

    Couple of things - first, I agree with Pixel. Be careful putting the edge on anything other than your face, especially perpendicular like you did on the box. I appreciate you were showing us the smile, but edges are really quite delicate, so be wary.

    Second, it is a little hard to be sure but I think you may be lifting the spine on the return trip at the end, slightly. It could just be the shadows in the video - unfortunately the quality makes it hard to see.

    Third, try to develop a technique where you flip using your fingers rather than your wrist. You have better control with your fingers and will be less prone to excess pressure or getting into a weird wrist position. I remember reading something once (I think JimmyHad quoted it) that the old barbers recommended you imagine a glass of water sitting on the top of your wrist (the bit adjacent to the thumb, not the back of the hand) when stropping, and the aim was to keep your wrist so immobile that the imaginary water would not tip off - the flip is done with the fingers only. (there can be a slight wrist movement of course - the glass of water thing is just an image to help).

    Fourth, and this is not from the video just some general advice, most of the pressure (if you use any) should be directed toward the spine and not the edge when stropping. Torque the tang of the razor so that happens, and the edge will follow.

    Apart from that your stropping looks really nice. Fluid, not too fast or slow.

    Good luck,

    James.
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    Senior Member JackeHj's Avatar
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    Of course I had no pressure on when showing you the smile.
    Sorry about the quality of the video… The camera focused on my hand closest to the lens.

    Thank you! Some really helpful advises When watching the video myself I saw mi lifting the blade at the end of the return.
    I guess there noting for me to do but practicing until the technique if good and my muscle memory kicks in!
    Last edited by JackeHj; 11-14-2013 at 11:04 PM.

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