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Thread: What to get to have a complete strop system?

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    Member mdeamicis's Avatar
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    Default What to get to have a complete strop system?

    So the more I read the more convoluted it gets. Leather for final finish and fabric to clean the blade first. But load the fabric with a cutting agent and get that all over the blade before you hit the leather? Seems to me that a strop set should be 3 pieces. A refreshing strop of webbing, linen for cleansing and leather for final touch. But all the delux strop sets come with just 2. A fabric of some sort, lots that seem to be intended for cutting agents, and a leather of some sort. And some people put cutting agents on the leather. It's getting more and more confusing the more I try to figure it out.


    I'm not interested in a beginner strop,so please don't insist. I don't like collecting things. Crap just piles up over time and I'm over that. I am paying attention to the wealth of training information and I'm confident I will be able to dial the stopping motion with no problems.I just want to get one good set up and be good to go.

    It sounds to me like once you have it dialed, linen and leather after or before every shave will keep your razor in good shaving condition for months and then a refresh will be necessary. But then you're good to go again. With maybe a honing annually or less depending on how good you are at stropping.

    That being the case, is it a good idea to just get a nice linen and leather set and a dedicated refreshing strop? In one of his videos Lynn shows how to use the inside of a linnen strop to paste up an refresh an edge. If this keeps razor serviceable does one need a the poly webbing strop or any other special equipment? Or is it just fun to hear the razor zip along the polypropylene? I know some people get a lot of satisfaction acquiring, using, and playing er em I mean experimenting with all the trappings of the hobby. And I get that. I have had a lot on hobbies. But what I want for me is an enjoyable shave with a sharp razor every time forever. The fewest items I can aquire to get that is all I want.

    I still haven't even ordered a razor yet so I got time to figure this out. The guys at SRD are checking with Aust to see if he will make a shoulderless all bells and whistles razor for me. I have lost a few ebay auctions on SR or serviceable razors to hold me over but I'm honestly not in a hurry. Hence why I'm losing. My Braun is still going strong and will get me through. I will even keep it for emergencies,it's served me well after all.

    Sorry for the long ranting question. I'm just not finding what I'm looking for searching the forums.
    I know nothing ~ MIKE

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    Senior Member dinnermint's Avatar
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    A strop with linen and leather, period. Stick with brands you see in the Shave of the Day. People use them for a reason, and have used more than we can imagine, in some cases.

    If you want to refresh with a finishing hone, that works. Then just rinse the blade, dry it, then linen and leather.

    With pastes or sprays, I do 10 laps, wipe with toilet paper then linen and leather.

    It all depends on what you like, which comes with experimentation. Unfortunately....

    If I had to suggest one way to do it; naniwa 12k and an appropriate strop. This is the gold standard IMHO and has given me the most repeatable successes.

    I would give recommendations for a strop, but have only really used an SRD strop and a kanayama 30k. Scrupleworks are highly regarded and reasonable priced, but haven't pulled the trigger yet.
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    Member mdeamicis's Avatar
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    Also a question for those with experience with the SRD premium fabric and their hard pressed wool felt. Are there significant differences? I have no experience with "pressed" felt, but knowing how felt is, it is abounds like pressing it would make it less grabbby and it would be really good for cleaning the blade before leather. The SRD. straps come with these as options as matched webbing which makes me think it's intended as a refreshing strop.
    I know nothing ~ MIKE

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    Member mdeamicis's Avatar
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    Red face

    Great, now I'm gonna be up till 3 am reading shave of the day and googling products again. Some help you are

    Linen and leather. It's worked for 500 years right? I guess if I'm not trying to take an abused razor back to shave ready after wacking weeds with it there's no reason for a full set of hones right? So a descent 12k naniwa like you sugest makes perfect sense. Any specific recommendations? Probably need flattening stone though huh?

    As far as disqualifying yourself from recommending a strop, well if you've only used what you got and are happy with it I'll just take that as an endorsement.

    Thanks for your advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by dinnermint View Post
    A strop with linen and leather, period. Stick with brands you see in the Shave of the Day. People use them for a reason, and have used more than we can imagine, in some cases.

    If you want to refresh with a finishing hone, that works. Then just rinse the blade, dry it, then linen and leather.

    With pastes or sprays, I do 10 laps, wipe with toilet paper then linen and leather.

    It all depends on what you like, which comes with experimentation. Unfortunately....

    If I had to suggest one way to do it; naniwa 12k and an appropriate strop. This is the gold standard IMHO and has given me the most repeatable successes.

    I would give recommendations for a strop, but have only really used an SRD strop and a kanayama 30k. Scrupleworks are highly regarded and reasonable priced, but haven't pulled the trigger yet.
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    Senior Member Jnatcat's Avatar
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    A quality strop is paramount in maintaining the edge of a straight, having a flax linen, cotton or suede second or third piece are optional but are a nice luxury if you can afford them. As far as what's best that would be open for a long discussion and I am sure that horse has been beat but getting a quality strop from folks like Tony Miller, Alastair at Westholme, Torolf at Scrupleworks and then some others like Bison branded, SRD, Kanayama and the list goes on and on it just depends on your budget

    I have tried and or owned lots of strops and they all perform the same function and that is maintain the edge and as long as you do your part and strop correctly you can carry the edge for a very long time, I would how ever advise that if you don't have much stropping experience that you not use any paste or sprays on your strop as you can cause more harm than good plus honestly you don't want to apply that to a $300 strop you can paste as inexpensive one.

    You don't need to start with an expensive Shell strop but if that's what you want then go for it but be mindful that a lot of us have nicked and or cut a strop or two, that's how I got my beater... anyway nice piece oh HH or similar is all you need and then you need to decide if you want a second piece like cotton, flax linen, poly webbing ( I hate that stuff ) any way that to can be debatable as their are going to be those that swear that poly webbing is the best and those like me that love flax so in the end get a quality strop and learn to strop the right way and as you venture down the road you can try other materials or just own one as one is all you really need if it's taken care of, I have just one with 9-10 back ups
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    Previously lost, now "Pasturized" kaptain_zero's Avatar
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    I'll chime in quickly.

    A strop is great, get one.... There are lots of NICE ones out there and there are cheap crappy ones. There is no need to break the bank, smoking credit cards and the like. Strops are much more of a want/like over need. ANY good strop is fine... as mentioned above, SRD has a nice selection that are reasonably priced and will serve any straight razor shaver well. There are others of course, but in NA, the SRD strops are easy to come by and get the job done.

    Stay away from pastes, sprays, diamond pastes and the like. Chromium oxide (the green stuff, but only the stuff for straight razor use, not the stuff sold for knives and the like), can be handy to have on a paddle strop. You can make your own if you wish.... it's only a strip of leather on a piece of wood. A few strokes on it, now and then, can help maximize times between honing sessions, but it's not neccessary. The important part is to avoid contaminating your hanging strop. If you only have one hanging strop, both leather and linen should be kept clean of abrasives.

    Seasoned straight razor honers and shavers *may* have a second pasted hanging strop they like to use (it takes a lot of practice to do it right, the paddle strop is much easier), but they never let any of their paste or powder contaminate their daily strops! They also know how to fix an oops on the pasted strop, something you really don't want to have to learn right off the bat.

    Hones.... a 12K Naniwa will serve you very well. You will need some way of flattening it before first use as hones are rarely flat enough to start. Once flattened, they should only need an occasional cleaning.

    There are many ways to go about flattening hones.... most of us have settled on a diamond plate (a DMT 325 or perhaps an Atoma 400) for convenience sake as they last forever if you take care of them and do a great job. You can also use wet/dry sand paper on something flat, or perhaps a cookie sheet on a flat section of concrete floor with loose silicone carbide grit of the appropriate size and a splash of water. Best bet, get someone close by to flatten it on *their* hone for you and you don't have to bother buying one.

    The most important thing in my mind is to have at LEAST 2 shave ready straight razors! No, not because you want to collect razors, but because the edge is very delicate and it takes very little to damage it. Something like rinsing the blade in the sink.... the slightest touch to the sink or tap will require a full on honing to restore that delicate edge. When... not if... when, this happens, you need that second razor to keep you going while the other one is being honed.

    I cannot stress that paragraph enough. Get at LEAST 2 shave ready razors.... and stay away from Ebay..... there are too many bad apples on there these days selling junk... and sometimes even the junk never arrives.....

    If you do your own honing, it's handy to have a second razor you know shaves well, lying on the counter when you test out the edge you just honed up. I sometimes reach for the backup razor as I'm not as happy as I thought I would be with a honing job. And if you do decide to hone your razors... know when to say when and walk away. Many a chap who starts to learn honing, keeps grinding away on the blade instead of just putting it down and walking away. You can always come back tomorrow as of course you still have at least one sharp razor to shave with!

    So... my kit would be 1 decent hanging strop from SRD or wherever, a pasted paddle strop for those quick touch ups before the edge goes off too far, and a 12K Naniwa for those times when the paddle strop no longer does the job. If you can afford it, a diamond plate will serve you well and let you flatten that hone quickly and also let you refresh it ever time you go to use it. And lastly, 2 good but plain razors.... nothing fancy required.... the fancy razors shave no better than the plain ones, but the price goes up quickly. A puck of soap or tube of cream and a simple brush would round out the wet shaving kit.


    And about learning stropping.... you WILL nick that strop, my dad was a barber for probably 45 years and his last strop has at least 130 nicks in it. It's not the end of the world, just a bit of sandpaper and sand the nick out if it catches on the razor. If the nick is in the shape of a flap, you can use a bit of contact cement to glue it down and then lightly sand it smooth again. Just check for any grit left behind from the sandpaper which would damage the edge on any razor stropped.

    For more info on how to treat your hone(s), refreshing the hones, touching up your razor, the shave test etc., have a look at Glens' (Gssixgun) videos on youtube.


    Regards

    Christian
    "Aw nuts, now I can't remember what I forgot!" --- Kaptain "Champion of lost causes" Zero

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    Senior Member Porl's Avatar
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    It's good to see that you are doing plenty of reading before you jump in. This is clear from your questions and it is to be encouraged.

    The problem that I had at the start was similar to yours. I was reading and watching tutorials galore. Every time I saw something new, I thought I need that.

    You know what? I didn't. I have a two sided paddle strop with CrOx on one side. I use this quite infrequently and is kept separate from my everyday hanging strop. This is something I like but is really not essential.

    What I have that I consider to be essential is a hanging leather strop with linen back. That gets used every single day. That and a good razor and you are set (not including brushes and soaps of course).

    Then when your blade needs refreshing you need to decide if you are going to have a go yourself or just send it out. If you are going to send it out you have enough stuff.

    I decided to try myself so I got a Naniwa 12K finishing stone. That's it. I am now self sufficient. There may come a time when I want to restore razors in which case I will need more stones, but strops not so much.

    The advice you read here is all good advice, but some of it is personal preference and not necessarily essential.

    If you start with the essentials, you might find you have preferences for other things and you will be in a better position to understand them too.

    As for not getting a cheap strop, I totally understand your point of view and I didn't. Just be prepared that you will nick it at first, but many times the nick can be dressed and the strop still be perfectly serviceable.

    Good luck and get that Aust on order with a good two piece strop and you will be well on your way. Also when you do get some gear just remember that we like pictures here so be prepared to show off your stuff.
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    [QUOTE=Porl;1759211Good luck and get that Aust on order with a good two piece strop and you will be well on your way. Also when you do get some gear just remember that we like pictures here so be prepared to show off your stuff.[/QUOTE]

    Yeah. I'm dying to get that aust. Problem is I developed a particular taste in a hurry no thanks to all the razor porn here. I really do want a shoulderless and I really do want an aust. And I want the etching and the Schorkopf. Right now he's not doing the shoulderless thing but I know he has because I've seen the pictures. Don is looking into it for me. Hopefully it's an easy request. I'm dreading there might be a wait, possibly a long one. I really do hope not but I'm prepared to just order a Bismarck kit if there is a long or indefinite wait.

    And thanks for reassuring me in the idea I'm coming around to. Thinking of an SRD 3 inch bridal strop with a linen back and a nani 12k with maybe a dmt combo because I have wanted the dmt for awhile anyway for a packable emergency repair hone. My adventure steel is D2 or other durable steels.
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    Senior Member Porl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mdeamicis View Post
    Yeah. I'm dying to get that aust. Problem is I developed a particular taste in a hurry no thanks to all the razor porn here. I really do want a shoulderless and I really do want an aust. And I want the etching and the Schorkopf. Right now he's not doing the shoulderless thing but I know he has because I've seen the pictures. Don is looking into it for me. Hopefully it's an easy request. I'm dreading there might be a wait, possibly a long one. I really do hope not but I'm prepared to just order a Bismarck kit if there is a long or indefinite wait.

    And thanks for reassuring me in the idea I'm coming around to. Thinking of an SRD 3 inch bridal strop with a linen back and a nani 12k with maybe a dmt combo because I have wanted the dmt for awhile anyway for a packable emergency repair hone. My adventure steel is D2 or other durable steels.
    You won't go far wrong with that at all.

    Other people do shoulderless blades. I have one from Thiers Issard which is very nice, one from Nate's Straights and a big fella from Koraat all very fine blades. Non of them with the shorkopf though. They all have really nice thumb notches though, that's something else for you to Google and drool over

    I think I might have seen an Aust for sale on the shaving shack website. The problem is that is UK based, although I believe they ship globally. They don't offer shave ready but my understanding is that Ralf's razors come that way regardless.

    Typically shoulderless does translate (but not always) to a heavier grind because they don't need the strength from the shoulder.
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    I know you don't want to hear this, but I would recommend trying an inexpensive piece of cowhide before risking to nick or slice something precious. And 2" wide is good because it will incline you to introduce a little bit of lateral motion into the pass (and who knows, maybe 3" wide won't be necessary after all). Afterwards, you can always sand it and paste it, and it becomes the third element you mentioned in your first post. Or a travel strop.

    For me the secret to stropping resides in the grip of the shank. Rather than a top-and-bottom grip of the shank with a pencil-roll flip, the shank should be gripped more towards the sides, with a bias on the side of the shank towards the edge with the thumb, and a slight turn of the wrist during the flip. Sham has a good video on stropping in my opinion, although I differ from him in that I start from the top and hold both elements when stropping.

    Last edited by Brontosaurus; 08-04-2017 at 11:03 AM.
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