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Thread: Is linen neccessary + The difference between linen and cotton

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    Senior Member ganboyi's Avatar
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    Default Is linen neccessary + The difference between linen and cotton

    Ok, I am sure this question has been asked before but if I put it into search I can't quite get a direct answer to it. I thought I would therefore ask the question to bring it up again for those who wanted to know (like me). Is linen stropping necessary. I can't really make an opinion myself. Until quite recently I didn't notice how effective stropping actually is. I definitely used to strop before but perhaps only 30 laps. Now I do about 60 and I can really feel a difference every time I shave. I do maybe 10 on the linen before I start but this is because I saw a video with Jockeyes saying this was to warm up the blade. I still can't really decide if there is a difference and there have been times I have gone straight to the leather without feeling much difference in shave.

    What are your experiences?

    Also, have any of you tried cotton? Would cotton have the same purpose as linen, i.e. as a warm up to the leather?

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    They call me Mr Bear. Stubear's Avatar
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    Having tried using just leather for stropping, and leather plus a material, I prefer the edge on a razor after its been stropped on the material side as well as the leather. Thats just my personal preference and there are others here who use leather alone with very good results.

    I do 30 material (on my main strop its SRD's webbed fabric) and then 60 leather strokes before each shave. I then do 15 material and 25 leather after cleaning the razor post shave in order to get rid of any microgunk on the edge and make sure its totally dry.

    I've used linen on my first strop, and this strop is webbed fabric so I cant advise you on the cotton. That said, the webbed fabric is a great material and performs easily as well, if not better than, the linen on my other strop.

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    Senior Member ganboyi's Avatar
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    Thanks Stu - is webbed fabric the same as cotton? That sounds about right when I think about it.

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    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    Hi Ganboyi,

    In my opinion, anything you strop on that produces friction warms the blade, so stropping on leather will do that to a greater or lesser degree, depending on the type of leather and how it has been dressed.

    Again - in my opinion - the difference between leather and natural vegetable materials is that the leather is less abrasive. Not much in it with the materials normally used in strops, but enough to notice a difference.

    I find that the less refined linen is coarser than cotton and has a slightly more abrasive effect.

    Regards,
    Neil

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    Senior Member ganboyi's Avatar
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    Neil! Just the man. It is your website that prompted me to ask as I saw your cotton option and wondered the difference to linen. Great to hear your thoughts. Thank you.

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    They call me Mr Bear. Stubear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ganboyi View Post
    Thanks Stu - is webbed fabric the same as cotton? That sounds about right when I think about it.
    No, theyre totally different..!

    The webbed fabric is a synthetic material and the best way I can describe it is somewhere between a car seat belt and the straps from a backpack. It works very well though.

    You can see images of both the cotton and the webbed fabric on the SRD website.

    If you look at the image here (Straight Razor Designs Material Strop Replacement - $4.99 : Straight Razor Designs, The Finest In Gentlemens Shaving And Grooming Needs) from left to right the materials are the hard felt, webbed fabric, the cotton weave and the black one on the right I'm not sure about.

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    Senior Member ganboyi's Avatar
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    Ahhh that makes sense. I did think webbed fabric was synthetic but no experience with it. I suppose on a scale from soft to hard would be cotton-linen-webbed fabric?

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    Inane Rambler Troggie's Avatar
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    Also remember that all Linen is not created equal. You can go to Fabrics-store.com: Fabric - Linen fabric - Discount fabric - Upholstery fabric - Wholesale fabric - Vintage fabric - Cotton fabric and order a sample of different weight linen for free. the Heavy weight linen feels a little coarser than the light weight linens and may be more durable for stropping material if you are attempting to make one yourself.

    I am not sure what weight the SRD strop use for linen as I currently am using a homemade one until I can figure out which SRD strop I want.

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    Senior Moderator JimmyHAD's Avatar
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    This is something that has been debated for years as evidenced by the 1961 barber manual excerpt in the SRP Wiki help files here. On page 26 it reads,"The viewpoint is accepted by barbers that the leather strop is indispensable,where the canvas may or may not be, depending on the individuals coordination of hone and strop. With some types of hones, however, the canvas is considered to be necessary."

    I got a big kick out of that because I've seen so many differing views on the subject. IME a linen or a webbed fabric before the leather is definitely improving my edges. I've no experience with cotton but I've read that some guys prefer that material.
    Be careful how you treat people on your way up, you may meet them again on your way back down.

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    At this point in time... gssixgun's Avatar
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    The benefits to the shave are subjective, and therefore up for discusion...

    BUT

    Anyone who strops on a white colored linen/cotton fabric will tell you, and can show you the one fact of the discussion... There are traces of rust and corrosion left on the fabric, the longer you use it the more that shows up.... I would rather have those traces on the fabric (where they can be brushed off easily) then embedded in my leather strop....

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