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  1. #1
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    Default Strop Draw, correct kind of leather and such

    Hello guys, first of im glad to be a part of the forum.

    Im a experienced knife Sharpner and now the straight razor bug bit me, so I do have have some questions as Im entering this new world. I live in Brazil and material (good leather, is hard to come by, at least in online shopping. Im pretty sure we have Good leather, just no sure if they are Tanned and treated correctly), I bought some Tanned cowhide and will test it, but looks mod Grainy and it will have a little draw, so here are my questions and any help would be appreciated..

    Today for knife sharpening I do use strops as follow after a 8k stone on a Japanese Knife..

    1 balsa wood and 1 micron diamond paste
    2 balsa wood 0.5 micron diamond paste
    3 bsa wood 0.25 micron diamond paste.
    Bare good bark Tanned cowhide strop glued to a base.

    I can an get sextremely Sharp edges with this system, most of the time I just stop at 1 micron balsa and bare leather. But some Japanese steels can take the refinement and in go down to 0.25

    No I decide to enter the world of Straight Razors and I need to have more knowledge on strops, I did some previous reserch but still have some questions

    So here we go, from the little a reserched here Strop Draw is the amount of resistance you feel when the blade is on the leather (the balsa is very smooth and fine). I read o a post that they would put it on a scale from 1 to 5, 1 being very smooth, waxy and soft leather and 5 having a more course grain that you can actually hear the blade passing trough the strop.

    I use a very, very smooth, shiny bovine strop, you canīt even hear the sound of the blade during passes. And it works great with knives after 1 micron balsa.

    So what would be ideal for straight razors? Lets say I finish honing the razor on a 8 to 12k stone, I already did some stroping on the balsa with the compound going down to 0.25 micron and gives a nice shave, but I can steel feel its an agressive edge with a little bite. So here comes the leather. Wich one is the most apropriate for straight razors (I know this is preference) ? Im about to buy some Latigo and Bark Tanned Oak to see whats best. The manufacturer say they provide strop for lots of places and the difference beetween the two is that one is waxy, almost complety smooth texture, waxy, glossy feel and the other is a little Grainer and have some draw to it.

    So Draw is a matter of preference because, lets say, number 3 on the scales of Grainy you can control the Razor better while running the blade trought the strop? Or smooth will give you a more refined edge for a clearer
    shave? (suposing we are coming from a 0.25 micron balsa strop)

    I almost bought a cordovan strop but from what I read you can get very close results with quality leathers, and horse butt. Just need a little more passes..

    So here I am, needing some advice on leathers for strop, that doesnīt cost a fortune, that I can build my own with the correct leather. But still my bigger doubt ia about the DRAW and its pros and cons.

    Also I Heard people her In the forum saying something about treating the leather, with oils and Waxes after they are done to give a smooth silky finish even scrubing it. Is that possible? What products would be used?

    I'de like to Thanks
    everyone in advance for taking their for the help as im probably gonna have to buy this leather in the USA and want to spend right the first time as our exchange rate is 3.5x 1 us dollar, so if we are taking a Cordovan its 500 hundred here even before taxes.

    Thank you very much
    Last edited by Euclides; 08-01-2017 at 01:27 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Brontosaurus's Avatar
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    Hello Euclides, and welcome to the forum. It sounds like you are well underway with knives. For knives, I like leather mounted to a board, but for razors, I prefer a hanging strop. And more lately, I've been using a felt-lined, small paddle strop that has a little cushion to it. Strop draw is a matter of preference, I suppose. For a hanging strop, I like a light draw, rather than a heavier draw. Shell and horsehide usually do the trick for me here. Yet more lately, I've have been using a small piece of oil-tanned bovine with a heavier draw, and this has caused me to slow down and really concentrate on each stroke and the pressure I'm applying. Latigo and bridle leather I've never cared for, at least with razors (a little bit more for knives).

    A cheap way to start might be to acquire some thick vegetable-tanned leather, cut it to size and then sand it in the 150x-180x range with garnet sandpaper, to give it a toothy, Russian-leather type surface. Put a grommet at one end and attach it to a doorknob with a leather lace. This is a nice, inexpensive, medium-draw strop for starting out in my opinion.
    Striving to be brief, I become obscure. --Horace

  3. #3
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    Nice, thanks for the reply, when you say sanb the leather you mean the part from the flesh right? Or the outside skin?

  4. #4
    Senior Member Brontosaurus's Avatar
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    Sand the smooth, finish side. (I believe this might be termed "top grain" as opposed to the inner of "split" side.) It can be sold pre-cut to width as belting or strips.
    Striving to be brief, I become obscure. --Horace

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