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Thread: Interesting article

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    Member AFDavis11's Avatar
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    Default Interesting article

    http://blog.modernmechanix.com/2008/...bs&Qis=XL#qdig

    Interesting article . . . dissproves theory of striations and teeth and shows that stropping is in fact a mild honing action.

    Or you guys can argue about its meaning.

    Two good qoutes:

    The theory always had been that the tiny “saw teeth” were bent out of line when the razor was used and that stropping merely bent the teeth back into line again. It was also believed that only razors made out of certain kinds of steel and manufactured in a certain manner could be sharpened by stropping. A widespread impression exists that stropping is useless and ineffective as applied to the wafer-thin blades used in many types of safety razors.

    The photographs on these pages clearly show how erroneous these beliefs have been. They show, for example, how the cutting edge, originally a wavy line not at all saw tooth in character, is bent over by contact with whisker stubble. The steel fibers are both bent over and crushed backward (Martin, 1931)

    and . . .

    WHAT does stropping actually do to a dull razor blade? This investigation proves that its first action is to bend back into place the fibers of steel that constitute the actual cutting edge. It removes the rust formed on the edge and thus restores the blade to shaving usefulness provided the rusting has not gone too far.

    The fact that the bottoms of slight nicks are made as sharp as the edge and that the nicks are actually reduced in size proves that stropping has at least a small abrasive action and therefore sharpening effect. This does not mean, however, that prolonged stropping will put an edge on a really dull (Continued on page 139) razor. Only honing will do that for a blade. (Martin, 1931)
    Last edited by AFDavis11; 06-03-2008 at 11:54 PM.
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    You'd think we'd know better after 75 years
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    Senior Member blabbermouth ChrisL's Avatar
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    Thank you for posting this article, Alan. I only had time to skim it and can't wait to read the whole thing. I used to coat my edges with Sterol and store the razors in the bathroom. I then stopped the Sterol and stored my razors OUT of the bathroom in a dry room. To the eye, the non-Sterol coated razors have not rusted or oxidized in any way. BUT.......even in a dry room, this article seems to support coating the edges with some oil to preserve the edge. I'm definitely going back to edge coating!

    Chris L
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    These guys were photographing at 3000x like Verhoeven was, except that he was using an electron microscope and took a lot more angles and looked at different abrasives and hones. But he didn't look at post-shave blades, or multi-shave-old-blades and how stropping affected them. So this article expands what we knew from Verhoeven's studies (or vice versa since this article is 80 yrs old).

    I've thought for awhile that the strop was abrasive, at least the linen side. I have sharpened a dulled blade with the linen, though it took a *lot* of laps and my arm needed a few days to recover. But in normal use all the strop needs to do is knock off the rust and polish the weakened-but-not-fully-rusted steel below it; it doesn't need to remove hardened steel. But even so, it *is* abrasive in a meaningful way.

    I was interested to see the article specifically mentioned vaseline, not oil. Oiling helps me somewhat, but not really enough. I'll have to try vaseline though...

    I've been doing a lot of experimenting with stropping lately and one thing I've noticed is that I have been drastically understropping my razors these past years. If I only did 10-15 laps on the linen and 30 or so on the leather then my edges would last about ten days. But if I did 40-50 on the linen and 30 or so on leather then the edges didn't really deteriorate at all over several months (Stainless razors need far fewer laps on the linen to keep a great shaving edge). So I've suspected for awhile that for me at least corrosion was the big edge-killer, and these photos demonstrate that this is certainly plausible. I've also noticed that my linen was turning black after a few months of this, which led me to believe that the material coming off the blade was the black oxidation. I think these photos have also convinced me that a mild abrasive on the daily strop may not be an inherently flawed idea, especially if you happen to live in an area with tap water that causes more rapid corrosion than is depicted in these photo or skin chemistry that causes the same problem. If the purpose of the strop is to abrade away the corrosion, then a little help can't hurt, the trick is to not overdo the stropping in this case.
    Last edited by mparker762; 06-04-2008 at 02:38 AM.

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    Admin & Forum fixer Bruno's Avatar
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    I have noticed that I understropped for a long time.
    These days I do 75 laps on the strop instead of 20 or 30 like in the beginning, and the edges are noticably better.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruno View Post
    I have noticed that I understropped for a long time.
    These days I do 75 laps on the strop instead of 20 or 30 like in the beginning, and the edges are noticably better.
    How long do your edges last? I do 20 to 40 and get between two an six months at the least.
    No touch up in that period, by the way!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruno View Post
    I have noticed that I understropped for a long time.
    These days I do 75 laps on the strop instead of 20 or 30 like in the beginning, and the edges are noticably better.
    Bruno I noticed the same thing. I started out strapping my razor 15 or 20 laps on linen then 20 or 25 on leather. Now I strap my razor 50 laps or so on linen and then 50 to 75 on leather before each shave and it has made a wonderful difference.
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    This article would also perhaps lend credence to the idea that stainless edges last longer, as they are less prone to oxidation.

    GO STAINLESS!


    (I also have carbon blades that I love, so don't jump all over me....)

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    Very interesting article! Thanks for posting it.

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    Senior Member blabbermouth ChrisL's Avatar
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    I thought about this corrosion issue more last night. I recall when I first started, my first razor was a TI Super Gnome honed by Lynn. First handful of shaves even as a true noob and not having a clue as to what I was doing were much better than I expected. So, in spite of myself and my limitations, Lynn's expert honing and the TI steel still gave me good shaves. Then.......after about 5 shaves, it turned to less than pleasurable shaving.

    I attributed it to my poor stropping ability and maybe damaging the edge. Lynn, was more than happy to retouch my razor which he did. Same thing.....5 shaves and a less than sharp razor (still, my stropping at that point was not up to par).

    NOW, this article to me answers those questions I had as to why. CORROSION or rust at the microscopic level on the edge and at that time my less than adept stropping that simply was not taking the corrosion off! There are so many similar complaints that newbies have: "I had the razor professionally honed and it shaved well a handful of times then it turned on me. Bad honing?" Lynn had coated my TI in Sterol very liberally. I coated that razor with nothing and did not carefully dry the edge as I should have. Corrosion!

    I have to hand it to the honemeisters for the services and even moreso for the touch ups they provide to new shavers. I firmly believe after reading this article that when razors are sent back to honemeisters it's probably often due to nothing more than corrosion at the edge level!

    Chris L
    "Blues fallin' down like hail." Robert Johnson
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