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  1. #1
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    Default A true noobie strop question

    I just purchased my first straight razor and strop. I have read almost every thread on strops and I understand the use and proper way to strop, but I am confused on my choice. This is the strop I purchased "Vintage Blades Black Latigo 3" Hanging Razor Strop with Handles" from vintage blades llc. Once I receive this strop and the straight blade I purchased, do I need to do anything to prep the strop such as oil it or use paste, or do I just hang it and go to work with it? Did I make a good choice of strop? The straight razor I purchased from the same place is the Dovo 5/8 full hollow Best Quality which will be shave ready by Lynn. I am hoping that I made a good choice in strop. Any advice or help is appreciated.

  2. #2
    The Great & Powerful Oz onimaru55's Avatar
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    To quote from the site you mention
    "The leather used in making these strops contains a variety of oils that permeate the hide during the tanning process. As a result, our strops provide the perfect "draw" as is. Nothing is required to "break in" these strops prior to use."

    I'd suggest you do nothing at all with the strop until you have a shave with the razor as honed by Lynn.
    Those in the room who believe in telekinesis, raise my hand.

  3. #3
    The Electrochemist PhatMan's Avatar
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    Davidco,

    Initially just rub the strop with the palm as Mr Abrams has suggested.

    I know many will dis-agree with me, but I would get a 'starter' strop first.

    If my experience is anything to go by, the first strop will take a right beating with nicks, cuts etc

    I apologise if you are an experienced stropper and don't need the advice

    Good luck !

    Have fun !

    Best regards

    Russ

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    Quote Originally Posted by PhatMan View Post
    Davidco,

    Initially just rub the strop with the palm as Mr Abrams has suggested.

    I know many will dis-agree with me, but I would get a 'starter' strop first.

    If my experience is anything to go by, the first strop will take a right beating with nicks, cuts etc

    I apologise if you are an experienced stropper and don't need the advice

    Good luck !

    Have fun !

    Best regards

    Russ
    Russ, Thanks for the advice. I am far from an experienced stropper, as I have never stropped before. I think it is a great idea to get a starter strop to practice on. I already purchased the other strop, so I will hold onto that until I get some experience under my belt.

  5. #5
    Avoiding RAD... 1 razor @ a time nzFuzzy's Avatar
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    +1 for a learners strop

    My first strop was made for me by the local leather shop at a relatively low cost. Probably not the ideal leather for a strop but great to learn on as it soon had a collection of war wounds.

    My advice is to start out fairly slowly and work on the muscle memory of what you are trying to do. How to flip the blade on the spine and keep an even pressure throughout. Try and relax the hand holding the razor as I found I got cramp after about 30 strokes as I was concentrating so much on what I was doing.

    Above all... relax and have fun - with the shave as well as the stropping. Follow Lynn's advice about starting with the cheek(s) only for the initial shave.
    Don't do anything you wouldn't want to explain to the paramedics!

  6. #6
    They call me Mr Bear. Stubear's Avatar
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    +1, just rub it with your hand before each use. A couple of weeks of doing that will really get the leather nice and supple!

    I rub my strop before each use all the time as it increases the draw and seems to make the stropping more effective. The oils in your skin also maintain the leather, so its kinda win/win TBH..!

    If you want to practice stropping, I read a great idea on another thread here: Cut out a strip of newspaper the same size as your strop and clip it in a large bulldog clip. Use the clip to hang up the paper just like you would your strop, and practice stropping on that. If you slice it then you need to practice the stropping motion, and if you tear the paper you're applying too much pressure.

    Doing this will give you a feel for both the actual stropping motion and how much pressure to apply when stropping, with the added advantage that its basically free and totally replaceable if you cut or tear the paper.

    Good luck and keep us posted!

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  8. #7
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    Rub it with your palm before each use until the strop feels warm to the touch (this will kill your arm if you get a horsehide )

    As for the Beginner/practice strop notion... I think it's not necessary. Get a nice, expensive, MODULAR strop for your first one. The more pricey it is, the more likely you are to take care and learn proper technique... If you try your hardest not to nick it, it means, if it isn't getting nicked, that you're on the right track... but if you buy a cheap one and nick it, you're likely to just chalk it up to being new. While that's true, it also implies a subtle "it's okay to do that when I started out"... While everyone nicks their strop sometimes, you never want to expect a nick, as that just leads to looser, sloppier technique.

    So, I say start out expensive so that you have motivation to learn it right the first time, and start out modular, so that if you do nick it or gash it, it's only 20-40 dollars to replace the leather, rather than the whole strop.

    YMMV, but I find that a careful start leads to a successful finish, and playing with the expensive stuff makes you extra careful

  9. #8
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    Thank you for all the advice. I ended up going with a pretty decent strop and once everything arrives, I will let you know how it goes.

  10. #9
    I shave with a spoon on a stick. Slartibartfast's Avatar
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    What is the saying? Money doesn't buy class?

    Well, it doesn't buy stropping skills either...

    Quote Originally Posted by ShavedZombie View Post
    Rub it with your palm before each use until the strop feels warm to the touch (this will kill your arm if you get a horsehide )

    As for the Beginner/practice strop notion... I think it's not necessary. Get a nice, expensive, MODULAR strop for your first one. The more pricey it is, the more likely you are to take care and learn proper technique... If you try your hardest not to nick it, it means, if it isn't getting nicked, that you're on the right track... but if you buy a cheap one and nick it, you're likely to just chalk it up to being new. While that's true, it also implies a subtle "it's okay to do that when I started out"... While everyone nicks their strop sometimes, you never want to expect a nick, as that just leads to looser, sloppier technique.

    So, I say start out expensive so that you have motivation to learn it right the first time, and start out modular, so that if you do nick it or gash it, it's only 20-40 dollars to replace the leather, rather than the whole strop.

    YMMV, but I find that a careful start leads to a successful finish, and playing with the expensive stuff makes you extra careful

  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slartibartfast View Post
    What is the saying? Money doesn't buy class?

    Well, it doesn't buy stropping skills either...
    I know it doesn't, but caution doesn't hurt at all.

    Money doesn't get you stropping skills, but the wiki does, and if you do your research and head at a cheap strop with the expectation ti nick it, you will probably nick it... If you do your research and approach a nice strop as "this cost me a lot, I'll be careful" then you're less likely to nick....

    What is the saying? If you expect you'll fail [nick], then you will fail [nick].
    Last edited by ShavedZombie; 07-26-2010 at 10:08 PM.

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