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Thread: Straightening Out a Vintage Strop

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    Default Straightening Out a Vintage Strop

    Hey everyone,

    I got this NOS C-Mon De Lux strop that seems to have a bend in the middle from storage or whatever. What would be the best way to remove the bend and get the strop back into a usable state. From what I hear they are great strops so I am very excited to get it working. Any suggestions would be apprecaited. Thanks so much!

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    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    that is a beautiful strop, and it appears to have its original linen attached (which will be a treat if you use it as it was designed to be used).

    You have two choices that I've used and that work - you can sandwich it between two pieces of wood and leave it in clamps, and it will straighten out some.

    Or you (can) if it's pliable, work it over a curved surface every day to let it relax, and then hold it in a position opposite of the bend. it should be straight or very close in a few days. (this is what I'd do)

    Above all, let it hang from a nail or something if you're doing nothing with it - use and gravity would straighten it without any other trouble if it's still clean and not stiff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveW View Post
    that is a beautiful strop, and it appears to have its original linen attached (which will be a treat if you use it as it was designed to be used).

    You have two choices that I've used and that work - you can sandwich it between two pieces of wood and leave it in clamps, and it will straighten out some.

    Or you (can) if it's pliable, work it over a curved surface every day to let it relax, and then hold it in a position opposite of the bend. it should be straight or very close in a few days. (this is what I'd do)

    Above all, let it hang from a nail or something if you're doing nothing with it - use and gravity would straighten it without any other trouble if it's still clean and not stiff.
    Thanks very much! I'll be sure to do all those things. From the looks of it, it does appear pretty well preserved and not dried out or anything.

    One question, assuming the original linen is there, what would be the manner it was designed to be used beyond the regular prep stropping? I'm not a fan of using pastes or sprays on fabric strops so I wouldn't be doing that.

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    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    In my experience (I've been using one now for about 6 or 7 years), the leather is an every day kind of thing, and the linen about once a week. The linen will have sort of a waxy feel to it and that waxy stuff will get on the razor, you can just wipe it off with a piece of T-shirt or something that won't damage the edge, and then go to your leather strop.

    I would never add an abrasive to it - never never never, its virtue is that it's a bit stiff with an edge without damaging it and the lack of abrasive means that it will keep the edge straight without wearing it rounded. Used properly, it is a thing of joy. It is not hard to keep a razor off of the hone for 200 shaves with this combination, and in my experience, when I do hone a razor, if I remove the edge, the linen edge even at 200 shaves was better quality than a freshly honed edge. Easily HHT passing and very smooth despite several hundred accumulated shaves, and it takes a couple of sessions on the linen in the course of regular use to get that edge back. That makes this cycle of use very very good for daily shaving (the edge is consistent and smooth, but sometimes doesn't peak until its seen the linen 3 or 4 times), and not so great if you're trying to hone quickly because you're doing it as a business.

    If the strop has never been used on the leather surface but is still in good shape, uncontaminated and pliable, you'll probably need to break it in to get the surface smooth. In the rare event that I've introduced a strop (which has only happened twice), it's easier to take a razor that you're not using and strop it on the new strop each day along with stropping the razor you're using on the strop that you're currently using. It makes sure you don't get in a rush with the new strop, but conditions the surface, and your wasted time each day is a matter of a minute or so, but within a month or two, you have a broken in very excellent strop (assuming it's horsehide given its era) that has been broken in doing exactly what you intend to do with it, so there will be no adjustment period. You can tell if the strop isn't broken in yet by whether or not it improves the edge of a razor without scratching. If it doesn't, it's not broken in.

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    Thanks very much for that info. I had no idea the linen strop was so versatile and good at getting a keen edge. I'll definitely give it s try using it as you said.

    I was thinking that if the shell is a bit dry I would use a very very small amount of neetsfoot oil on it to help with conditioning and straightening. Is that the best conditioner for the job?
    Last edited by Matt1222; 06-29-2017 at 07:09 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt1222 View Post
    Thanks very much for that info. I had no idea the linen strop was so versatile and good at getting a keen edge. I'll definitely give it s try using it as you said.

    I was thinking that if the shell is a bit dry I would use a very very small amount of neetsfoot oil on it to help with conditioning and straightening. Is that the best conditioner for the job?
    Pure Neatsfoot Oil is a classic.
    Look for solutions to keep horse tack solid: Passier's LederBalsam

    Because this is an old strop be gentle and allow any conditioner time
    to work. Like you said a small amount..

    One saddle shop on the web noted: Very dry leather may need to be treated on its underside with a thin coat
    of warmed Neatsfoot Oil, or fed with a thick saddle food such as Effax Lederbalsam, Passier Lederbalsam
    or Stubben Hammanol.

    I have a tiny tin of conditioner for leather bicycle seats that rubs in nicely with a knot of dry paper.
    It has a bit of wax to polish the surface. Boot polishes are often more wax than anything else.

    The equestrian folk may have the best variety of leather care products.
    Check locally for shops.

    Recall that Neatsfoot Oil is a rendered animal fat that does not solidify at room temp (oil).
    A lot of stuff like 'neatsfoot oil for baseball gloves' is blended with mineral oil.

    The answer for what to do is not clear even to experts.
    Leather Dressing: “To Dress Or Not To Dress” |

    Since many oils go rancid less is more. Do store extra oil 'correctly' in an airtight container.
    Today coconut oil, avocado oil, even unsalted bacon fat and more could all work with thin applications in moderation.
    In fact, any hand moisturizer could be rubbed on a strop after moisturizing your hands.
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    Hopefully the conservative methods will work but if they don't there is the nuclear option. Soak the strop in warm water until saturated then let it dry slowly followed by treatment with leather conditioner.

    That always works in severe circumstances but marks will be left on the strop which are permanent.
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    I could guess you have not received the strop yet?
    You may want to slow down in gathering advise until it arrives and it can be photographed and evaluated. Seems you have posted it before and the crease in the middle is (still) an unknown quantity?

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    Looks like it has a plastic slip over it, might not be too bad under that.
    He wore rat-drawn shoes and an old Stetson hat.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sharptonn View Post
    I could guess you have not received the strop yet?
    You may want to slow down in gathering advise until it arrives and it can be photographed and evaluated. Seems you have posted it before and the crease in the middle is (still) an unknown quantity?
    No. I have received it. It's not a crease. Really a roll or curve. Can be pulled straight without any mark on the strop. But doesn't hang straight with only gravity's weight. I placed it under a few heavy text books until I could deal with it properly.



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    Last edited by Matt1222; 06-29-2017 at 11:49 PM.

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