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Thread: Stropping technique with a smiling razor

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    EV2
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    Default Stropping technique with a smiling razor

    Hi gentlemen, a story and a question.

    My razor is a 10/8 smiling chopper. Last night, as is my custom, I did a quick HHT after stropping, testing the blade at both ends and in the middle. It passed with flying colors. Then I decided to polish it up a bit with Autosol and a piece of cotton wool, taking care not to polish up the edge. I failed, as I found to my horror that the blade would no longer cut a hanging hair after the polishing. I started stropping like crazy using my usual straight (i.e. non-X) pattern on my 3 inch strop, hoping to bring the edge back. Eventually, I got the middle of the blade to pass the HHT again, but the ends stubbornly refused. In desperation, I tried doing an X-pattern using a very light touch - lighter than I normally use - for about 20 laps. Lo and behold, this brought the ends back to life.

    So my question is: has my technique been wrong all along, and is the X-pattern the correct technique to use for a smiling edge, regardless of strop width? Or is it more likely that I've been using too much pressure?

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    Senior Member blabbermouth RezDog's Avatar
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    That is a matter of opinion. There are those that will swear that the only proper stropping technique is the X pattern regardless of blade style, size or strop size. I say if it works then do it. Also it is not the best practice to use polish on a working blade for no obvious reasons :-)
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    Senior Member blabbermouth Kees's Avatar
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    You cannot go wrong if you keep the strop taut, never lift the spine and don't use much pressure when stropping. X-pattern or not: not relevant. Why else would there be 3" wide strops?
    Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr.

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    Senior Member blabbermouth edhewitt's Avatar
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    I use a wiper type stroke on my wider strops, it is quite natural feeling, probably more so than straight up and down.
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    Senior Member UKRob's Avatar
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    I have 3" and 2.5" strops and use a X stroke on both. I also find that I use a heel forward motion. Certainly for curved blades I think it makes sense to do this - mayne not such a requirement for straight blades - but I do it anyway.
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    Senior Member blabbermouth RezDog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kees View Post
    You cannot go wrong if you keep the strop taut, never lift the spine and don't use much pressure when stropping. X-pattern or not: not relevant. Why else would there be 3" wide strops?
    They make 3" hones too, but what kind of strokes are most commonly used there?
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    At this point in time... gssixgun's Avatar
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    Really pretty simple

    The edge of the razor has to absolutely pass over the surface of the strop "Evenly and Equally" to effectively burnish the edge..

    It should be as plain as the nose on your face that a straight up and down motion will NOT accomplish that on a smiling razor regardless of strop size
    This is why it is common knowledge that an X pattern is used to teach stropping that way regardless of what razor or size strop you are using, the edge moves evenly and equally across the strop (and hone)

    There are other patterns that work too, that are not so popular, and better left to after you learn the simple standard X

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    Senior Member markbignosekelly's Avatar
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    +1 for using heel forward x strokes.
    I find with smilling razors it is imperative to use an X stroke whether using a 3" strop or not.
    Last edited by markbignosekelly; 07-13-2015 at 06:17 PM.

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    Senior Member blabbermouth Kees's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RezDog View Post
    They make 3" hones too, but what kind of strokes are most commonly used there?
    If I use a 3" hone I never do an X-pattern. With smiling blades I would never use a 3" hone nor a 3" strop.
    Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr.

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    Senior Member Ernie1980's Avatar
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    I asked the same question just last week, and using the x pattern ha worked well for me

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