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Thread: Just a little pressure, please?

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    Default Just a little pressure, please?

    I've been trying to follow the common advice of stropping with no pressure - just the weight of the blade. But I'm finding that unless I apply a bit of pressure I can't get smooth, consistent contact on the strop. Am I overdoing the 'no pressure' idea? Is a little pressure needed to get good contact of blade to leather? I know it's hard for anyone to say without seeing me strop, but what are your impressions of how much pressure you apply to get good results?
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    Think about using only enough pressure/"grip" nessiscary to maintain complete control at all times.

    As you get more experience this will decrease and your "relative" speed will pick up.

    My way of managing this when I got started was to use a heavy duty spring clamp to fasten the swivel end of the strop to the top of the counter so that I could lay the strop on the counter parallel to the edge/front.
    The off hand is used to keep the strop strait and in place, turning your hanging stop in to a bench stop.
    When you are learning the whole strop tension versus razor pressure thing is along the lines of the old "pat your head, rub your tummy" routine. The "bench strop trick" removes one variable for the time being.

    And other far wiser ones will soon chime in...

    Smooth Shaving...
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    it depends how ham handed you are. Some guys have real trouble using minimal pressure, no matter what they do it's too much. Not having that problem I took to stropping really easy.

    I find if I'm using a strop with heavy drag that drag is enough to almost pull the razor out of my hand. That's how little pressure I use. You have just practice until you develop the muscle memory.
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    You do need to have some pressure, but that is not the usual problem. If I hold my strop very tight then I tend to really push on the blade. For me it is about the balance between the hands. Light tension, results in light pressure.
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    One other thing that goes along with stropping. as stated light pressure and remember it's not a race. when people start out trying to mimic the old time barbers they usually end up with a nick or large cut in the strop or at least it did for me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveA View Post
    I've been trying to follow the common advice... Is a little pressure needed to get good contact of blade to leather? ...what are your impressions of how much pressure you apply to get good results?
    Experience/practice will get you there, not advice. It took me many months to gradually develop a light, smooth, uniform routine - never had an "Ah HA!" moment. How much pressure? Less, definitely, is more when stropping.
    Last edited by MisterMoo; 08-16-2015 at 08:28 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MJC View Post
    Think about using only enough pressure/"grip" nessiscary to maintain complete control at all times.

    As you get more experience this will decrease and your "relative" speed will pick up.

    My way of managing this when I got started was to use a heavy duty spring clamp to fasten the swivel end of the strop to the top of the counter so that I could lay the strop on the counter parallel to the edge/front.
    The off hand is used to keep the strop strait and in place, turning your hanging stop in to a bench stop.
    When you are learning the whole strop tension versus razor pressure thing is along the lines of the old "pat your head, rub your tummy" routine. The "bench strop trick" removes one variable for the time being.

    And other far wiser ones will soon chime in...

    Smooth Shaving...
    I'm going to try that. I think it'll be instructive.

    Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by MisterMoo View Post
    How much pressure? Less, definitely, is more when stropping.
    This reminds me of spending days with my Italian Grandmother (Nana) trying to learn her Italian Sausage recipe/system.

    Every time I would ask her how much of X she was using the answer was always the same:

    "Use enough, but don't use too much"
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    Quote Originally Posted by MisterMoo View Post
    Experience/practice will get you there, not advice. It took me many months to gradually develop a light, smooth, uniform routine - never had an "Ah HA!" moment. How much pressure? Less, definitely, is more when stropping.
    I have a 3" strop and I find that when I pull it taught and lay the spine of the razor on it with no pressure that it doesn't touch everywhere. That's when I started using a bit of pressure. Maybe I'm pulling too much on the strop.

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    Practice, practice, practice. As MisterMoo stated no Ah Ha moments. It took me a good couple of months or so and then I realized that I was not damaging the edge any more and was actually improving it. What changed? I have no clue, it just started working.

    You'll get there soon enough. Sometimes we just overthink things.
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