Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 28
Like Tree13Likes

Thread: Understropped and Overstropped

  1. #1
    Member AFDavis11's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    5,735
    Thanked: 1479

    Default Understropped and Overstropped

    I am coming to a conclusion related to stropping, particularly pressure that I would like to share. These are all just my opinions. I believe that pressure, or rather, the amount of pressure you use when stropping is relatively important. I believe that there is the potential for understropping and overstropping. The difference between a perfect edge and the other two extremes is very close to each other on the pressure scale.

    I think this is a very important consideration for beginners primarily, the rest of us may just be rolling with the variances.

    First, the Understropped edge: This is accomplished with a taut strop and no pressure. It is possible to get this edge using a little touch of pressure also. The understropped razor is actually a very good edge. It is very sharp. It shaves very well. It requires a light touch to shave with. The best part of an unstropped edge is that it corrects itself either by being stropped over several shaves, or even by shaving itself. The razor smooths out a bit just being pushed along the skin. Beginners should consider understropping their razors and let the first week of shaves just sort of settle in. Give the razor some time to get smooth. This is particularly important if you have purchased professional honing, as those edges are often very sharp.

    Second, the Overstropped Edge: The overstropped edge may not really be "rolled" persay, but the first sign is a dulled edge. Luckily this takes some pressure to achieve, but probably not as much as you might think. Overstropped edges have a tendency to be dull, cause irritation, and require more blade buffing to achieve a good shave. You can usually feel an edge that has been overstropped; it will feel like the edge is dull. It is easier to overstrop a freshly honed edge than it is to overstrop one that has settled in a bit with shaving.

    Third, the Correctly Stropped Edge: The correctly stropped edge maintains it's sharpness but adds a small amount of smoothness to the shave. It's important that I emphasize two points. The improvement is small, difficult to perceive, and the pressure point for a correctly stropped edge is very close to the understropped edge. The correctly stropped edge is best discovered with an against the grain stroke, which was previously difficult, and is now smooth and relatively easy.

    Further, I believe that the amount of pressure I am discussing has no rightful place with measurements in pounds, but rather perhaps in grams. Instead of grams though I would instead prefer to describe a continuum of pressure, say 1-10. I would suggest that the understropped edge is completed with NO pressure, the razor just glides along the edge, perhaps with it's own weight. If we add just a touch of pressure, we may still leave an understropped edge, which, as a reminder is a pretty good position to be in, since it is almost self correcting over time.

    Categorizing the stropping levels, I would put them like this:


    On a scale of 1-10

    No weight on the blade - 0 Level
    Understropped - 0 Level to a 2 Level
    Correctly Stropped - 2 to 7
    Overstropped - 7-10


    Using this information I am trying to make two points: One, that correct stropping is very low in pressure, practically overlapping the understropped edge and two, that before overstropping there is a wide margin, the correct stropping pressure. You overstrop by producing quite a bit of pressure. Then, with too much pressure stropping catastrophie occurs, particularly if you don't know how to hone and make the required corrections.


    In pratical terms, since I don't know if grams is really right or not, I will suggest that using only the weight of the blade is going to understrop a little, and again, that might be your best bet. I would suggest at this point that using the weight of your hand alone, and perhaps some of the weight from your arm (perhaps not), should give you good correct weight application. Applying pressure downward will likely create too much pressure. I might suggest, since I don't know how cleanly you might be stropping, that applying any downward weight might be counter-productive. Luckily, and most likely why so few people find this subject of interest, it appears to me that stropping rather naturally, with the weight of the hand applied to the strop may be the best option. So, in other words, it's rather simple to get the pressure right, assuming you understand the basic principles.

    I think this also gives some interesting points that advanced users could ponder about the importance of a strops mounting angle and it's emphasis in barbering texts. I think that using any angle could lessen the pressure and be helpful, and that a level strop could also be a good guide to pressure as well.

    So, finally, an apology on a strangely long post on a rather mundane subject, but I thought I would share my most current observations. Keep in mind also, that my advice is based on the use of my equipment and may not translate directly to what you are using.
    Last edited by AFDavis11; 01-29-2012 at 04:06 PM.

  2. The Following 21 Users Say Thank You to AFDavis11 For This Useful Post:

    111Nathaniel (02-01-2012), 2COR1011 (02-02-2012), alb1981 (01-30-2012), Durhampiper (01-30-2012), greasygreaser (01-29-2012), johnny2274 (02-01-2012), justalex (02-02-2012), Link8382 (02-26-2012), Loewenherz (02-20-2012), Maxi (01-29-2012), MickR (02-03-2012), milehiscott (02-01-2012), PaulKidd (02-21-2012), pinklather (02-01-2012), sleekandsmooth (02-06-2012), str8fencer (01-29-2012), strtman (01-29-2012), Terje K (01-29-2012), thuktunflishithy (02-04-2012), TroutWhisperer (02-12-2012), vathrud (06-07-2012)

  3. #2
    Silky Smooth
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    792
    Thanked: 154

    Default

    I for one really enjoyed your observations - thank you!

    Your thoughts on stropping pressure makes sense, somewhat analogous to the effect pressure can have when sharpening & honing.
    de gustibus non est disputandum



  4. #3
    Member AFDavis11's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    5,735
    Thanked: 1479

    Default

    Yes, very likely. I often find myself adding a little pressure and then using the same pressure reduction strategy I use when honing.

  5. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Phoenix Arizona USA
    Posts
    43
    Thanked: 4

    Default

    I keep enough pressure to keep the blade flat on the strop, not really weight just pressure. The weight is in keeping the strop tight.... I hope this is right, so far no issues on comfort.

  6. #5
    I used Nakayamas for my house mainaman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Des Moines
    Posts
    8,481
    Thanked: 2508
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AFDavis11 View Post
    I think that using any angle could lessen the pressure and be helpful, and that a level strop could also be a good guide to pressure as well.
    Very true, because the amount of downward force is decreased in this case, that allows for more leeway in pressure.
    When the strop is horizontal then all the force applied is downward force in which case there is less room for mistakes in pressure.
    Stefan

  7. #6
    Senior Member Proinsias's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Glasgow, Scotland
    Posts
    224
    Thanked: 37

    Default

    I started off trying to use zero pressure, much like I did with honing, but over time and with a little more confidence in my stroke a little well placed pressure goes a long way.

    Deliberately increasing the pressure to the point where it starts to wreck the edge is a useful exercise when one has a selection of shave ready blades or is able to rescue the damage on a hone. As a beginner I found under stropping came far more naturally as I knew if I ruined the edge I wouldn't be shaving with my only straight for some time. My stropping improved dramatically when I could freely play around with blades knowing I had a pile of other blades good to go and could reset the edge in a few minutes without any further expense.

    The strop also makes a difference. Of my hanging strops the latigo performs better with comparatively low pressure and my ebano pretty much demands pressure.

  8. The Following User Says Thank You to Proinsias For This Useful Post:

    AFDavis11 (01-29-2012)

  9. #7
    Forum mogwai thebigspendur's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    New Mexico
    Posts
    27,640
    Thanked: 4395
    Blog Entries
    4

    Default

    Thanks for your observations they are interesting.

    It brings to mind many years ago when I was in Chemistry class and someone was trying to show all the chemical processes involved in bread baking especially the role yeast plays. I think he filled up a couple of blackboards with chemical equations.

    I think sometimes we can make things appear way too complicated. For most of us who have been stropping for a while it becomes an intuitive process and rather than worry about how much pressure is being applied just develop a feel for it and it will come. Kind of like using a checklist every time you do something and then one day you lose the list and your lost when you should have just memorized it to begin with.

    For an academic exercise it's great. As a practical matter it's one of those just do it things.

    Just my opinion here.
    JimmyHAD, Otto and MickR like this.
    Every day without fail one should consider himself as dead-Tsunetomo

  10. #8
    Easily distracted by sharp objects alb1981's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Tempe, Arizona, United States
    Posts
    824
    Thanked: 94

    Default

    Good info!


    I must say that I have had noticible difference since adding a little (and I do mean little) pressure to my stropping. Since I started last year I had made ever effort to strop with no pressure what so ever. I noticed that freshley honed blades took a few shaves to settle down. Since reading about stropping pressure as of late I have made a concentrated effort to add just a touch of pressure. I find my shaves are improving on freshley honed blades and it is definately keeping my other blades in good working order.

  11. #9
    Senior Member milehiscott's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Denver, CO
    Posts
    177
    Thanked: 30

    Question Warning: Noob Question!!

    According to your observations, I understrop in a big way. I'm getting good shaves presently. However, if it ain't broke, fix it till it is.
    I strop with a hanging SRD latigo, close to vertical, using only the pressure of the blade weight. If I continue to use the same technique and do more laps, will I have the same result as correctly stropping?

  12. #10
    Member AFDavis11's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    5,735
    Thanked: 1479

    Default

    Probably not, but if your razor is shaving well, over a lengthy period of time, you're probably stropping well. If you aren't stropping effectively it should become evident after a few shaves, say 5-6.

  13. The Following User Says Thank You to AFDavis11 For This Useful Post:

    milehiscott (02-01-2012)

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •