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  1. #1
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    Default Leather strop care?

    I am sure this is already talked about and I apologise in advance for possibly reposting.

    My leather strop is getting very shiney, very very smooth. Is this accepatble or would I be wise to take a very fine grit sandpaper say... 400 or higher and gently rub the leather until it is less smooth?

    Or is having smooth, shiney leather what is required?

    Also, strop width: does it matter the width? I plan on purchasing a new strop in a week or so, but in the meantime I am using home made strops of various thicknesses and widths. The one that gets the most use is 3 inches wide and I see most strops are sold between 2 and 2 1/2 inches wide.

    is it better to have a strop not as wide as the blade of my Razor?

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    Forum mogwai thebigspendur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulyGoodshave View Post
    I am sure this is already talked about and I apologise in advance for possibly reposting.

    My leather strop is getting very shiney, very very smooth. Is this accepatble or would I be wise to take a very fine grit sandpaper say... 400 or higher and gently rub the leather until it is less smooth?

    Or is having smooth, shiney leather what is required?

    Also, strop width: does it matter the width? I plan on purchasing a new strop in a week or so, but in the meantime I am using home made strops of various thicknesses and widths. The one that gets the most use is 3 inches wide and I see most strops are sold between 2 and 2 1/2 inches wide.

    is it better to have a strop not as wide as the blade of my Razor?
    To me a shiny strop just means it's well broken in. I wouldn't do anything to it.
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    Senior Moderator JimmyHAD's Avatar
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    In general a very small amount of neatsfoot oil rubbed into the strop will increase the draw. Like many here I use the palm of my hand to warm the strop up and the natural oils in the skin will be somewhat of a strop treatment.

    As for size, that is a personal preference. I've used 2 1/2, 2 3/4 and 3" and can get along fine on any of them. Since you've made your own you'll have some idea of what works for you. There is no hard and fast rule.
    Be careful how you treat people on your way up, you may meet them again on your way back down.

  5. #4
    Member Carlo's Avatar
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    I have a strop that has gotten hard; I treated it with some antique leather conditioner and now wonder if it's ok to do. Secondly, my barber and I have become friends and I and working with him to start providing real straight shaves... he currently uses the one time use blades and wants to get his straights that he was given by the barber that sold him the shop into shape (I was able to hone one up for him to try). His strops are very old and hard. I was wondering if they can be rehab'ed or should he just get a new one?

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    Cheapskate Honer Wildtim's Avatar
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    Neatsfoot oil works wonders on older leather, use it sparingly. Ball glove conditionar also works pretty well, it is usually a neetsfoot blend. Glycerine soap also helps to clean and condition leather shaving soap is fine, murphys oils soap works better as would saddle soap.

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    They call me Mr Bear. Stubear's Avatar
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    If you sand your strop you'll end up with a suede-y finish, so dont sand unless you want that sort of finish.

    A small amount of neatsfoot oil could be the way to go, as Jimmy suggests.

    Theres also this Wiki article available: Strop treatment and repair - Straight Razor Place Wiki

    Good luck!

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    The Assyrian Obie's Avatar
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    Default Leather strop care?

    Gentlemen:

    As with most here, I rely on the palm of my hand for the daily strop leather treatment. I have never tried Neatsfoot oil, though I think I'll take up Stuart on his recommendation and keep some around.

    The strop width is a question of preference, as JimmyHad notes. I have two 2" and two 3" strops. I like both, but slowly I seem to prefer the 3".

    Regards,
    Obie

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    Senior Member kevint's Avatar
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    I too made my own strop. For me it is a toss up whether lightly napped or smoothed is better. First thing I did was to sand the top grain surface with 320 I believe. That worked well I thought. Sometime later I treated the strop with charcoal and then later still with castile bar soap.

    The charcoal was a whim I suppose and just made it look dirty. Sometime after the soaping I began to feel that some foreign nasties had attached themselves so I re-sanded with 320 or 400. I use it like that for the time being with good results.

    Applying the soap will give you a shiny surface with loads of draw after burnishing it in with your hand.

    Personally I would never apply oil to the strop. But I do think sanding the surface of the average piece of veg tan or for an even better strap -oak tan- is doing good. you want it on a flat surface and to use a good flat sanding block. Best of luck

  11. #9
    Senior Member blabbermouth ChrisL's Avatar
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    I stumbled through experimentation, onto a process similar to Kevin's; I've made a number of strops myself out of veg tanned cowhide and horsehide.

    I also sanded them up to the grit range he mentions and ended up with a velvety smooth strop surface on the strops. I rather liked them. Zero draw, but at the time, I hated heavy draw.

    On a whim, I rubbed in a generous amount of Mitchell's Wool Fat lather into the surface of a cowhide strop I had made previously. I spent about an hour firmly hand applying the lather. The leather really soaked it up. Then I let it dry and with very heavy pressure, I rubbed the strop surface with a soft cloth, effectively burnishing the surface. The surface was very shiny and soft. I took a glass canning jar and briskly rubbed it across the surface further burnishing it and seating the lather. At that point, the lather transformed into a waxy coating.

    Heavy draw on the strop now, but it works so well now and does what a strop is supposed to do: prep and keep an edge going.

    Chris L
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