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Thread: Stropping, huh, what is it good for?

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    pcm
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    Default Stropping, huh, what is it good for?

    Like the Edwin Starr's song WAR (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dKAX7Jp8wo
    ), I was wondering what the benefit of stopping with linen, webbing, leather, and CR-OX. I've been blinding following a regiment and hadn't really checked to see what the benefits were of my steps. Well, I have a USB microscope, so I wanted to look and see what happens with the different tools I'm using.

    Including pictures here for your reading pleasure and discussion.

    Razor: J.A. Henckels that I had just honed and gone through about 10 shaves or so. I typically shave, do 25 strokes on linen, and 75 strokes on leather (again just based on what I hear, and think I ought to do). I would, after many shaves and when I thought it was tugging a bit, do 5-10 strokes on a Cr-Ox coated webbed strop, before the linen and leather stropping.

    Strops: I have a SRD 3" strop with leather and white linen(?) cloth. I have an older SRD 2.5" black latigo leather strop with a synthetic? webbed strop where on one side I have Cr-Ox paste in X patterns (maybe 4 Xs) and the other side I have a thin coating of Cr-Ox on the entire surface of the strop.

    Goals: I wanted to see, what, if anything the Cr-Ox pasted strops did. Likewise, I was wondering about the difference between the linen and leather, and whether I doing less or more stropping mattered.

    This is all empirical results, with the strops that I have, blade I'm using for this, and (obviously) my skill at stropping. YMMV.

    So... here is a sample pair of photos of the middle of the edge, using my USB microscope, set for the highest magnification (maybe 200x). In latter shots, I tried to take all the pictures in the same area (I had a mark in the hollow to get me roughly in the same area).

    STEP 0: Post shave, blotted with a towel (baseline):

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    STEP 1: Using X patterned Cr-Ox on webbed strop - 5 X strokes. With that, I see this:

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    Comment: I was surprised at the intensity of the effect of the Cr-Ox.


    STEP 2: 50 strokes on 3" leather. The results are:

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    STEP 3: Another 50 strokes on leather (to see what happens):

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    So that's what happens, in my scenario. In the next post, I'll try the linen...

    (Ignore the attached posts. I redid attaching files and can't seem to get rid of the duplicates.)
    Attached Images Attached Images   

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    Now, with what I have in step 3, I did the following...

    STEP 4: 10 X strokes on the Cr-Ox coated webbed strop:

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    I only had one shot


    STEP 5: 25 strokes on the 3" linen (cloth) strop
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    Comment: Really surprised at how much this cleaned up the edge.


    STEP 6: Try another 25 strokes on linen to see if any difference:
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    STEP 7: 50 strokes on 3" leather:
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    STEP 8: Another 50 strokes on leather (just to be anal ):
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    There you have it! I hope this proves useful for discussion. The results were interesting to me.

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    This was very helpful. Thank you.

    So - in short
    More laps on the strop is better than fewer laps - with correct form.
    CrOx improves the edge.
    Linen is better than webbing (with or without CrOx).

    Is that right? I do strop my razors on a CrOx pasted jute strop and it works awesome, but I only do it as a touch up when stopping on the leather doesn't seem to be doing as good a job. When CrOx doesn't get it, I go to the Swaty barber hone. After that, it's in for proper honing.

    I used to strop freshly honed razors on the CrOx strop, but stopped after reading a few things on this forum. Now it's just touch ups.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sandycrack View Post
    This was very helpful. Thank you.

    So - in short
    More laps on the strop is better than fewer laps - with correct form.
    CrOx improves the edge.
    Linen is better than webbing (with or without CrOx).

    Is that right? I do strop my razors on a CrOx pasted jute strop and it works awesome, but I only do it as a touch up when stopping on the leather doesn't seem to be doing as good a job. When CrOx doesn't get it, I go to the Swaty barber hone. After that, it's in for proper honing.

    I used to strop freshly honed razors on the CrOx strop, but stopped after reading a few things on this forum. Now it's just touch ups.

    Sandycrack
    Well, the photos can be interpreted lots of ways I suspect. I'll be interested in hearing what people think.

    I didn't have microchip ping or problems, so I'm not sure if the Cr-Ox would help there, but it clearly did make some stria on the edge.

    Doing more on linen or leather, improved a small amount, but not much, AFAICT.

    Seemed like the linen was a faster way to polish the edge, than the leather.

    The lightly and heavily coated Cr-Ox seemed to perform the same (I only did 5 on one, and 10 on the other, so will have to recheck at some point).

    I didn't have linen with Cr-Ox, so I can't tell if better than webbing.
    Regards,

    PCM

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    Senior Member Ernie1980's Avatar
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    Interesting pictures, thanks for sharing! I have noticed an improvement in my shaving since introducing a linen strop into my routine, your pictures seem to back up what my face is telling me
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    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sandycrack View Post
    This was very helpful. Thank you.

    So - in short
    More laps on the strop is better than fewer laps - with correct form.
    CrOx improves the edge.
    Linen is better than webbing (with or without CrOx).

    Is that right? I do strop my razors on a CrOx pasted jute strop and it works awesome, but I only do it as a touch up when stopping on the leather doesn't seem to be doing as good a job. When CrOx doesn't get it, I go to the Swaty barber hone. After that, it's in for proper honing.

    I used to strop freshly honed razors on the CrOx strop, but stopped after reading a few things on this forum. Now it's just touch ups.

    Sandycrack
    I've also stopped using CrOx after honing a razor. Partly because I want to feel what the hones are doing to the edge, but mostly because it's just not a necessity. And after discovering the wonder that is a barber hone, I've more or less retired the CrOx all together. It's faster (and less awkward) to touch up a blade by tossing a little lather on a Swaty and doing 4-6 strokes than it is to try and flip open my strop to get at the CrOx pasted linen for 10 laps.

    Very interesting to see what the linen and leather are doing at that high magnification. Looks different than what I saw through a 60x loupe, but I'm still adjusting my technique and haven't looked in a while. Might warrant a little closer inspection when I feel up to playing with it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sqzbxr View Post
    Yeah once, quite a while back. Very informative shots. My goal here was to see the effect of what my process is, on the edge. It was interesting to see several things and it's helping me interpret what I see when using the USB microscope.

    I was wondering the usefulness of the linen (cloth) stropping, and this showed some interesting results. Also, I wasn't sure of the effects of the Cr-Ox (both the lightly and moderately coated versions I had on the webbed strop).
    Regards,

    PCM

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    Quote Originally Posted by sqzbxr View Post
    No, this was the first time I've seen this. I spent some time reading thru the information, mostly out of curiosity. It's way too in depth for me. It's like a PhD level study in razor stropping, but kudos to the guy for his hard work, scientific approach, and dedication.

    I'm just looking for the best conventional wisdom on what works and I'm 99% there. When we get to this level of detail, it's an obsession. That's not a bad thing - it just isn't my particular obsession. I'm just shaving whiskers, not splitting atoms.

    I'm sure somewhere out there one could find a market for a 50k grit synthetic. LOL!

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    When something is done for years and years by professionals folks just seem to have problems believing it to be the truth. However time and time again we see the old way and materials are the best.
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