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  1. #1
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    Default Breaking in a new strop

    So, I got my new strop today - an IRC #127. The only problem is it's stiff as a board, and here in NZ it's incredibly hard to buy strop dressing, neatsfoot or mink oil to break it in with, and I'm too broke to buy some off the net for a while, what with the exorbitant shipping costs to NZ and the exchange rate. Would baby oil be acceptable, or will this bugger the leather?
    Also, what should I do to the linen side to soften it? I read in a restoration thread about someone resoaping the linen on a vintage strop, but wasn't sure of the purpose, so any info regarding breaking in linen or soaping linen is much appreciated. Is this necessary or just something some people choose to do?
    Cheers guys,
    Tom

  2. #2
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    I use the same leather dressing that I use on my bespoke shoes. After all, a strop is made of leather, too. Seems to work alright.

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  4. #3
    Senior Member singlewedge's Avatar
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    The barbers manuals talk of using lather to break in a strop.

    Smooth Glass bottles.

    Russian strop. This strop was originally imported from
    Russia. Most of these strops are now made in this country
    from cowhide leather. The name Russian strop still persists,
    and usually signifies that the Russian method of tanning was
    employed.
    The Russian strop is one of the best strops in use today.
    If new it requires a daily hand finish until such time as it is
    thoroughly broken in. Thereafter, it will require an occasional
    servicing. There are several ways of breaking in a
    Russian strop. One method frequently used is as follows :
    1. Rub dry pumice stone over the strop in order to remove
    the outer nap and develop a smooth surface.
    2. Rub stiff lather into the strop.
    3. Rub dry pumice stone over the strop until smooth.
    4. Clean off the strop.
    5. Rub fresh stiff lather into the strop.
    6. Rub a smooth glass bottle several times over the strop
    until a smooth surface is developed.
    Another method of breaking in a Russian strop is to omit
    the pumice stone. Instead, stiff lather is rubbed into the strop
    with the aid of a smooth glass bottle or with the palm of the
    hand.

    This is the only break in method that my manual mentions.

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  6. #4
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    If i recall correctly, a couple other members on here have used baby oil/mineral oil on their strops and like it. I would test a small spot on the strop and see how it looks and feels.
    My father used to use apply oil to his leather boots and then use a hair dryer to warm the leather a bit, to open up the pores(skin), so it would absorb the oil more readily. I did that to my dovo strop and it worked well...
    Glad ya got your strop...fun times. :-)

    Mac
    Last edited by McWolf1969; 06-27-2009 at 12:37 AM.

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  8. #5
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    Thanks guys. I know about using glass bottles to break it (have the label soaking off a beer bottle as we speak so I can use as smooth a surface as possible, and to prevent paper from making its way onto the strop for me to pick off). I just wasn't sure as to the suitability of baby oil.

    Anyone know anything about the question regarding the linen I asked above?

    McWolf - I'm looking forward to being able to do a proper stropping on linen and leather, rather than the home-made newspaper strop I've been using until this arrived.

  9. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by mosley59 View Post
    Thanks guys. I know about using glass bottles to break it (have the label soaking off a beer bottle as we speak so I can use as smooth a surface as possible, and to prevent paper from making its way onto the strop for me to pick off). I just wasn't sure as to the suitability of baby oil.

    Anyone know anything about the question regarding the linen I asked above?

    McWolf - I'm looking forward to being able to do a proper stropping on linen and leather, rather than the home-made newspaper strop I've been using until this arrived.
    Hey Tom,
    I understand...i love stropping linen and leather...i can do it for hours. lol
    Sorry i cant help with your linen problem...it does have the CrOx paste applied to it?

    Mac

  10. #7
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    No, but according to the site I bought it from it's impregnated with Zinc Oxide, which I think will have the same effect.

  11. #8
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    I posted some time back about washing linen on vintage strops that had bumpy areas. I used Woolite and a bucket of cold water. Rinsed them and laid them on a flat surface to dry. They came out softer and bump free. I also did one in the washing machine along with the clothes. It didn't come out quite as good but better than it was. Here is the OP.
    Last edited by JimmyHAD; 06-27-2009 at 01:29 AM.
    Be careful how you treat people on your way up, you may meet them again on your way back down.

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  13. #9
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    Iron it really hot as long as its still humid.
    You'll get the smoothest surface this way.

    Caution not to get the iron on the leather!

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  15. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by BeBerlin View Post
    I use the same leather dressing that I use on my bespoke shoes. After all, a strop is made of leather, too. Seems to work alright.

    Yup, I've used 'Hubberd's Boot Grease" and "Sno-Seal." I think the sno-seal does a better job between the two.

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