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  1. #1
    Member AFDavis11's Avatar
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    Default Stropping Speed Experiment

    Here we will discuss our findings and impressions for stropping slowly vs. stropping fast.

    My thesis is that given one week stropping slowly followed by one week stropping quickly (30 passes) we will see a slight improvement over the shave quality based on subjective opinion without any additional honing.

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  3. #2
    Member AFDavis11's Avatar
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    Default Alan's Shave 1

    Here is the synopsis of my first shave . . . from the other thread

    I took a freshly honed razor and stropped with a feather light touch 30 strokes really, really slow. That was a miserable failure. I returned to the strop using a little pressure so I could feel the edge stropping and did an additional 20 and got an ok/mediocre shave this morning. The cutting ability was there but the smoothness lacked. I have a habit of stropping on my hand during passes so I have to remember not to do that since that smoothes the shave out a little. I'll give it a 4 out of 10. I returned home to reshave after work. Freshly honed and stropped slowly produced a worse shave than yesterday. I may give the razor a few shaves to smooth out. I even had to check to make sure wasn't overhoned. Yuck. But once I applied a little pressure I could feel the edge drawing and that was comforting.

    When I came home I was not able to deal with the poor quality shave I received this morning. I did my second shave tonight. . . .

    Stropped up the razor using a little pressure and slow strokes. The shave was poor. Still surprising. I expected the edge to be at least fair but this is crazy bad. I do not know for sure if I can even complete 5 shaves. When I was done I had to finish with another razor. I stropped up another razor using high speed and a light touch and got a great shave. I may add this razor to the rotation later as a control razor. I'm a little stumped by the lack of quality of this shave. Really, really poor. I checked the razor again for signs of overhoning as that is exactly what the razor feels like. With a touch this light and stropping with high speed I may have to reevaluate the heat theory. Fast is way more effective than slow stropping so far (can't make any conclusions though as we are talking different razors). I can only hope that a few iterations of slow stropping will eventually smooth out this razor as my face is actually getting irritation (like with a cartridge razor ) I'm really regretting honing this razor up. If I hadn't honed it I would of atleast had the benefit of prior stropping. I may need to hone a new razor and try again with slow stropping as these results are very unexpected.
    Last edited by AFDavis11; 09-26-2007 at 08:58 AM.

  4. #3
    There is no charge for Awesomeness Jimbo's Avatar
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    Default James shave 1

    Did my first shaves this morning.

    I'm using two razors - one for the face and one for the head. Both have had probably 4 or 5 shaves since their last hone and I won't hone them before the end of the trials.

    Very slow stropping - one return trip every 5 seconds - with light/moderate pressure only, 30 return trips for each razor.

    Face - razor felt rough and had a tendency to hang up in thicker parts of my beard. I got razor burn on the more sensitive neck areas. I got a shave but it was definitely not at the same level of comfort I'm used to. At this early stage I'm thinking perhaps 5 or 6 out of 10.

    Head - similar to the face, but with no burn. Generally I need to go carefully on the parts where I still have hair, especially at the back behind the ears, but the razor gets through it fine. This morning, I really had to work hard to get the razor through that hair. There was more of a "sawing" action needed. Again, 5-6/10.

    James.
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    Member AFDavis11's Avatar
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    Default

    Alexander,

    Although your right, I; as I mentioned in the previous thread, stropped slowly when I was a newbie about 4-5 years ago and seem to have received a decent edge (or so I remember). Again though, I used a paddle strop. As I mention in my thesis I expected a slight improvement with a fast stropping action, not a dramatic reduction in the quality of the edge with the slow stropped razor.

    The reduction is so dramatic that I have concerns, control wise, because unlike Jimbo I decided to hone the razor prior to the experiment.

    I will likely try and bring myself up for atleast one more shave, irritation and all, then will strop this blade up fast to see if there is an improvement, then re-hone and try again.

    Thankfully, Jimbo, is also attempting this experiment and I have a control point against myself, otherwise to be honest I would have stopped the experiment already, assuming I must have done something wrong somewhere.

    But your right, with a fresh honing, the stropping doesn't seem to be having any effect at all.

    In fairness to your second comment I have to admit, atleast before I started this experiment, that I did not give much credence to the heat issue.
    Last edited by AFDavis11; 09-26-2007 at 09:02 AM.

  6. #5
    Senior Member Kyle76's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexander View Post
    Not to bore anyone or bias the testing, but I'm not sure if this should be much of a surprise. When polishing any old piece of metal, even using equal pressure, high speed buffers are faster and do a better job
    Not disagreeing with your overall point, but a high-speed buffer is going to make much more total contact with the metal because of the rpms compared to doing it by hand.

  7. #6
    Razorsmith JoshEarl's Avatar
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    Default

    I'm watching this experiment with great interest. The symptoms you guys are noticing--sub-par shaves, steadily worsening irritation, pulling, razor burn--sound very familiar to me.

    It wasn't until I realized that my honing wasn't the problem that I finally started to overcome the issues I'd been struggling with. Since I started focusing on my stropping instead I've seen steady improvements. When I get complacent about stropping, like I did these past few days, my skin gives me a harsh reminder.

    It's all about the leather!

    Josh

  8. #7
    There is no charge for Awesomeness Jimbo's Avatar
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    Default James Shave 2

    Second shave with slow stropping (same as yesterday).

    Face shave was similar to yesterday - pulling and razor burn. WTG pass was OK, but ATG pass was a bit painful. Forget BBS. Burn spread to cheeks. I'm trying very hard to maintain light pressure when shaving, but my natural instinct is to go harder to get smoothness, and this is causing burn. Trying to maintain some level of objectivity, the burn might be a cumulative effect from yesterday's shave not healing completely.

    Head shave was slightly poorer than yesterday - more pulling and I needed to go over some spots a couple of times. I can feel a couple of rough spots when I rub my hand over my head, and this is not something that happens under normal conditions.

    Shaving has slowed down for me too, noticeably.

    One thing I have noticed is that with slow stropping I'm not getting the same "feel" on the strop, which I guess is not surprising. For me, at least, higher stropping speed gives me a level of feedback that I can use to judge when the razor is ready for shaving. I'm not getting that with slow stropping.

    James.
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    Member AFDavis11's Avatar
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    Default Alan's Third shave-slow

    This morning's shave sucked. Didn't go anywhere. The razor wouldn't even cut whiskers. I gave up after just a few strokes. Depressing. I've forgotten, do straights even give a decent shave?

  10. #9
    Forum mogwai thebigspendur's Avatar
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    Default

    Are you guys using linen first or just the leather? If not at some point you might want to incorporate it and see what the difference is.
    Every day without fail one should consider himself as dead-Tsunetomo

  11. #10
    There is no charge for Awesomeness Jimbo's Avatar
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    I don't have a linen-sided strop, so for me it's just leather (after rubbing the strop with the heel of my hand a couple of times).

    James.
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