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Thread: Strop style for Japanese Iwasaki Kamisori?

  1. #1
    xor
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    Default Strop style for Japanese Iwasaki Kamisori?

    Hey all!

    I've been shaving with a cheap straight edge razor for the last year or so - the type that you slot in those disposable [double edge- snapped in half] razor blades. Cost me <£10 on eBay.

    Anyway, I figured that I've proved to myself that I enjoy straight edge shaving, so treated myself to a Iwasaki Kamisori 50mm razor. It was out of stock in most places, but it turns out a place called 'JapaneseNaturalStones' had a few left - some reviews online suggested the owner is trustworthy so I went ahead and ordered it there. It arrived the other day and I had a shave...but it was disappointing to be honest. The blade was not sharp enough 'out of the box' and kind of tugged all the hairs.

    I read that the top of the [sandwood?] wooden box it arrived in could also be used for stropping (it actually has a raised rectangle surface on the lid too), so I cautiously tried that and it seemed to improve the edge slightly, but not considerably. I don't really trust stropping on the wood so I only did <25 light passes on the short box. This brings me to my questions;

    1) That disposable blade insert straight razor I used was actually really good. The blades were [obviously] razor sharp every time. Okay, it was cheap and not that stylish, but it did a great job. How do these quality/stylish/expensive razors compare to that cheap one? Would a properly stropped quality straight edge be even sharper than the factory disposable blades? Any other practical advantages?

    2) The strop. I obviously need one asap, but my fiancée wants to get me it for Christmas so will revert to my old razor until then. JapaneseNaturalStones sell 'KANAYAMA CORDOVAN STROP', which sounds like it would go well with my Kamisori (both benig Japanese and all). Or should I get a more regular strop? 'Kanayama Cordovan Strop 20000' looks like the best option on that site, but it still costs ~£100.

    3) Rubbing compounds. From what I've read/seen, these only need to be applied rarely to the strop, right? Are there any absolute essentials that I should apply to my strop right away? I've also been shaving using standard gel and no brush, but I figure with a proper razor I should use the proper accessories, so will get a cheapish brush [for now], and some different shaving cream. UK product recommendations welcome.

    Any other tips or info highly appreciated.

    Cheers!
    Last edited by xor; 11-25-2014 at 01:53 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member blabbermouth Geezer's Avatar
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    Hi and welcome to SRP! You did not say whether the blade is a Western style folding straight razor or the little wa kamisori.
    Here is a lot of information for you. Won't take an hour.
    Straight Razor Place Library - Straight Razor Place Library
    That said, Japanese Wa Kamisori is a really strange breed of cat.They can shave well but the steel is usually very hard and takes a really good hone person to make shave ready.
    Perhaps someone will post where in the UK you can get it properly honed.

    Do a search in the search box in the header above with the word kamisori, click enter and read a few of the threads that show. If you use the magnifying glass, the result will be a web search not the forum search..
    Again, welcome!
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    xor
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    Thanks for the reply, I'll read up that link.

    It's a straight one like in this link: Buy Iwasaki Kamisori 50mm | Buy | Services EU | JNS Slibe Service DK Kokkeknive Reviews | Japanese Natural Stones

    I assumed they came honed out of the box by the creator? And that it was just stropping that needed to be done? I'm not sure about handing/posting it to someone to hone...like you said, they are a bit different from your usual straight razor, and it did cost quite a lot, so I wouldn't want someone to mess it up. Of course if it needs to be done then I don't really have a choice - can't shave with a blunt razor.
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    Senior Member blabbermouth Geezer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xor View Post
    Thanks for the reply, I'll read up that link.
    It's a straight one like in this link: Buy Iwasaki Kamisori 50mm | Buy | Services EU | JNS Slibe Service DK Kokkeknive Reviews | Japanese Natural Stones
    I assumed they came honed out of the box by the creator? And that it was just stropping that needed to be done? I'm not sure about handing/posting it to someone to hone...like you said, they are a bit different from your usual straight razor, and it did cost quite a lot, so I wouldn't want someone to mess it up. Of course if it needs to be done then I don't really have a choice - can't shave with a blunt razor.
    Hi,
    Yes, you did get a good one! The Japanese can do stuff, consistently, with using blades that most would not try.
    The steel is super hard and usually does not respond well to stropping on leather.
    I think that being new, it may be sharp but beard prep and blade angle during a shave may make the biggest difference in the quality of a shave. It will take a bit of work to find how to hold the blade to your face on each side. The blade seems to be one sided but the bevel is , in reality, still a bevel of only a few degrees.
    They were developed for use by barbers and so they come in left and right handed styles.
    So a slight change in blade to face angle will make a difference.

    You can contact the seller to find a hone person they trust in the UK. I cannot.

    A Kanayama strop is way too expensive a purchase to buy when learning!! Get a good quality strop locally for 1/3rd the price.
    Here again some UK locals can step in for the answers.

    Enjoy your journey!
    ~Richard
    PS. I did look at the site further and the hone person says they will be out for a while. He should be back by this time. I would think that they are answering contact emails.
    Last edited by Geezer; 11-25-2014 at 06:42 PM.
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    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    Strop style? In reality a strop is a strop,But as Richard says,only go high end when you know how to strop properly.
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    xor
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    Great, thanks for the help.

    I'll order a cheapish £30-£50 strop for now, and can always get the £100 Japanese one at a later date. I've emailed the seller to confirm that the razor would have been honed already, so we'll see what he says.

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    At this point in time... gssixgun's Avatar
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    Jamie aka Celticcrusader here on SRP is in the UK and is a certifiable nutcase on Japanese razors you might want to drop him a PM that says HELP !!!!

    Neil Miller here on SRP is another name that comes to mind over on your side of the pond, he hones and actually makes some awesome strops
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    xor
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    Quote Originally Posted by gssixgun View Post
    Jamie aka Celticcrusader here on SRP is in the UK and is a certifiable nutcase on Japanese razors you might want to drop him a PM that says HELP !!!!

    Neil Miller here on SRP is another name that comes to mind over on your side of the pond, he hones and actually makes some awesome strops
    Cheers man, will do!

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    Quote Originally Posted by xor View Post
    I assumed they came honed out of the box by the creator? And that it was just stropping that needed to be done?
    Japanese blades, whether they are razors or kitchen knives, generally do not come with more than a basic edge. Makers here are generally catering to professionals who want to put their own edges on with their own set of stones. I'd say almost certainly your kamisori needs to be honed. Great razor, BTW!!
    Fudoushin Bujinkan Dojo
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