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Thread: Abrasive pastes on daily strop

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    Senior Member blabbermouth Kees's Avatar
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    Default Abrasive pastes on daily strop

    My stropping routine before shaving is 60 laps on the linen and 60 on leather. After 5-10 shaves, some razors up to 20 the shaves become less smooth and comfortable. After a touch up on the Escher followed by Cr2O3 pasted strop gets the razor to my liking again. Just a touch-up on the Cr2O3 pasted strop does not improve the razor's perfomance enough for me. I only use it to soften the edge after the hones.

    My question: do you guys use abrasive pastes on a daily basis?

    What do you use? Do you use it on the leather or on the linen?
    Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr.

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    Member AFDavis11's Avatar
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    Kees,

    This is one of the few contentious areas of SRP where, after I describe what I do, sometimes the conversation veers off into warnings about how my razor will explode, the strop will catch on fire, etc.

    Big picture, I don't really use anything, but, remnants of the materials I use are likely to remain.

    On linen I apply fireash. The fireash must be, it seems, from a wood product. It can not be from paper. I think the fireash does as much to help dry the edge as anything else.

    On plain leather I apply graphite. I only started doing this after I learned that, traditionally, all strops were produced with some sort of honing compound infused into the leather to help with stropping. Obviously, these compounds had to be very, very, very high grit. Anything approaching even .1 micron would be too abrasive for daily use and cause overhoning in short order.

    I apply the graphite, very sparingly, then strop the razor about 100-200 passes. This produces a wicked edge. Then, using just my dry finger, I "remove" the graphite.

    As you can imagine, even though the graphite dissapears very easily, some remnants are likely to remain. These remnants do not cause any damage, problems, or my strop catching fire. Nor do they overhone the edge. But, it sure helps the strop do its job. Once I learned that traditional strops all had "hyper-gentle" abrasives added to them I stopped worrying about any ill effects.

    The list of the compounds used traditionally on strops can be found on the RazorCentral website. The only one that I have found, determined that was easily in my price range, and used, was graphite.

    I suppose I would also need to caution that when the graphite is applied full force that it produces a very strong honing action, similar to about a 16K hone, and should not be used by beginners on a hanging strop.

    Here Sir is the qoute from RazorCentral on how a strop is created:

    "Good leather is calf, buffalo, or beaver. After gluing it on the wood, it is dressed with pumace (dry). Any substance put on the leather should be absolutely free of grains which might damage the edge. Many substances are used in powder form: stone, pencil, red chalk, hone, pumace, terracotta, pottery. Pumace and pottery cut so fast that there is a risk of destroying the edge. Good substances are: amaril, le rouge d'Angleterre, vermillion or cinnabre. Rouge d'Angleterre is nothing more than cast iron. The powder is mixed with olive oil or fat. The mixture should be hard and cold before applying it to the strop, then let it dry for two days."

    So I simply apply a little graphite from a pencil, dry. Then I hone up the razor to its final cutting ability. After that I wipe the graphite off with my finger and just let the remnants remain.
    Last edited by AFDavis11; 06-27-2010 at 01:23 PM.

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    Senior Member blabbermouth Kees's Avatar
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    @ AFDavis11:

    So do you mean you apply fresh graphite on the leather strop before you hone the razor and wipe most of it off after honing before stropping?

    Do you use that very same leather strop daily after this until you re-apply before you hone the razor again?
    Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr.

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    Member AFDavis11's Avatar
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    Kees,

    I'm not sure I follow your question. I take a razor fresh off an 8K stone. Then I apply graphite using a regular piece of paper to my strop. I fold the page twice and then I rub a pencil all over the folded page. Then I apply the graphite to my daily strop, rubbing it vigourously. Then I finish honing by doing about 100 passes on the strop to produce the shaving edge that I use.

    Then I gently "wipe" off the remaining graphite with my finger, using nothing but the skin oil on my pinky.

    This leaves a powder infused slightly into the strop.

    Then I strop daily, using that strop.

    If I want to remove all the graphite it seems to be pretty easy by using a soap infused brush, but I found this step unnecessary.

    I re-read your question and I think the answer is "yes". I finalize the honing using a strop fully infused with graphite, which produces a wicked sharp edge, then I remove about 90% of the graphite and use that as my daily strop.
    Last edited by AFDavis11; 06-27-2010 at 01:53 PM.
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    Texas Guy from Missouri LarryAndro's Avatar
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    AFDavis11, thanks for your description of the use of graphite. Fourth of July is approaching. I think I am going to try to blow up one of my strops in a similar manner.

    I'm serious about trying. The blowing up part, well...

    The reference in the quotation to rouge was interesting. That is ferrous oxide if I got it right. I have become a regular user of the 0.09 micron ferrous oxide from Kremer pigments on leather, right before untreated leather stropping. Maybe, I am doing something similar to what is being described.

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    AFDavis11, in your description, I noticed that you don't add any oil or fat. Is that correct?

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    Senior Member blabbermouth niftyshaving's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AFDavis11 View Post
    Kees,

    This is one of the few contentious areas of SRP
    .....snip...
    On linen I apply fireash. The fireash must be, it seems, from a wood product. It can not be from paper. I think the fireash does as much to help dry the edge as anything else.

    On plain leather I apply graphite.
    .....snip....
    .
    graphite or carbon/ charcoal?

    Straw especially rice straw has a silica component that
    is available after burning..... At one time charcoal from
    straw was considered an excellent strop amendment
    with and without tallow/ Neatsfoot oil.

    Most paper contains a clay filler . It makes sense
    that it would be less useful than ash from straw or bull rushes.

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    Senior Member blabbermouth Kees's Avatar
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    @ AFDavis11:

    First impression: this works a treat! I wasn't successful using your application method. Rubbing pencil graphite on paper and rubbing that onto the leather. This resulted in rubbing off the leather oils onto the paper instead of rubbing the graphite onto the leather.

    I decided to use graphite powder that locksmiths use which is much easier to apply. Moreover: graphite powder is purer than pencil graphite as the latter contains clay and other stuff for hardening the graphite.
    Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr.

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    Hones & Honing randydance062449's Avatar
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    AFDavis.... was that lead from a No. 2 pencil or?

    Kees..... did you find that the locksmith graphite had any large pieces that needed to be worked out first?

    I do like the idea of working a fine abrasive in and then removing a majority of it leaving only the finest grains ( hopefully).

    Thanks guys,
    Randolph Tuttle, a SRP Mentor for residents of Minnesota & western Wisconsin

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    Hones & Honing randydance062449's Avatar
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    There is still one abrasive that I want to try....... I have a bottle of ink that is now excess and used to be for refilling printer cartridges. I assume the black is a fine carbon.

    I was considering applying the ink to a leather strop, working it in with a glass bottle and then letting it dry. Has anyone tried this?
    Randolph Tuttle, a SRP Mentor for residents of Minnesota & western Wisconsin

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