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Thread: Do antique strops still work?

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    Question Do antique strops still work?

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    Doesn't sharpen as well as I'd like it, is it me or the strop? Its got no handle so I have to put it between my legs and step on the end to strop. Girlfriend thought I was doing something naughty when she walked in. I know its a jimmyrig, but thats my style. So, do these old things work, or do they need to be supple?

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    Senior Member rodb's Avatar
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    If it's not all creased and nicked it should work, just get some Neatsfoot oil and soften/condition it.
    There should be good info in the Wiki

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    There is no charge for Awesomeness Jimbo's Avatar
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    Well... supple is good, yes. There are ways and means to supple-up an old strop which, like so many things in life, usually involve sandpaper, lard and a soda bottle.

    In all seriousness, yes many old strops work fine. That one in your picture does not look like it is beyond redemption, though it is hard to tell from a picture. But just the couple of nicks there that you *may* be able to sand or pumice flatter. Make sure if you apply a highish grit sandpaper or pumice stone to the strop that you remove any grit left behind. Then treat the strop with conditioner of some kind (lard, neatsfoot oil, etc).

    As to how you are holding it.... I mean sure, you can do it the way you are doing it of course, but it hardly seems stable or safe. One slip and there could be a disaster of monumental proportions. Maybe try to tie the top end to a towel rack or similar with some string through that top loop/hook. Then grab the end with one hand, your razor with the other, and carefully strop.

    Good luck.

    James.
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    Thanks for the info James!
    Do you think it matters which side of the strop I use? I was thinking about even using the inside of it, because the outside is kind of scaly, kind of dry. So you really are able to sand these things and have them still work, you're not just guessing?

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    Senior Member whavens's Avatar
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    I have one I sanded and used several coats of neatsfoot oil on. I just got a good coat of oil on it, let it sit, then repeat. did this several times until I was happy with it. Works like a charm now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by whavens View Post
    I have one I sanded and used several coats of neatsfoot oil on. I just got a good coat of oil on it, let it sit, then repeat. did this several times until I was happy with it. Works like a charm now.
    I did the same thing, it's my goto strop now. They will drink up lots of Neatsfoot oil, especially if they are really old.

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    There is no charge for Awesomeness Jimbo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1800sRazorCollection View Post
    Thanks for the info James!
    Do you think it matters which side of the strop I use? I was thinking about even using the inside of it, because the outside is kind of scaly, kind of dry. So you really are able to sand these things and have them still work, you're not just guessing?
    Absolutely not guessing. As the other guys have said, lightly sanding and applying some sort of leather treatment (perhaps repeatedly) is a tried and tested way to rejuvenate an old strop (in fact, some people do it on their brand new strops to increase draw and/or adjust the feel of the strop to their liking). It might not always work, as it depends on how far gone the leather is, but it sounds and looks as though in your case it is well worth a shot. I'd definitely give it a go. As I said before, the only thing to watch out for after sanding is to ensure any grit from the sandpaper is removed from the leather (otherwise you'll wind up with an abrasive strop, "contaminated" with the grit from the sandpaper).

    The beauty of an old strop is that you have very little to lose by trying this and potentially a lot to gain.

    James.
    Last edited by Jimbo; 08-12-2011 at 09:08 PM.
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    You got that right, I've put three coats on and its still drinking it up!

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    Antique Strops:
    My one and only strop is an antique 3" horsehide job. All I've ever done to it is lather it down periodically with Williams soap. Although it came to me in pristine condition the smoother side has sustained a few cuts (which I probably need to pumice out). Other than that it has worked like a champ daily for almost 3 years.

    Suggestion on mounting:
    My old place had the flat "appendage" style door knob in the shave cave so I simply routed the O ring on the end of my strop through the door knob pulled it taught and handled my business. When I moved, the shave cave in my new place had the more traditional round type door knobs. After several unsuccessful attempts at using stick on hooks on the wall and puting the O ring on the strop through the stick on hook, after some ideation here's what I came up with.

    1. Go to a hardware store and purchase some small black plastic zip ties (wire ties, mine were about 12" long, a pack will cost you a couple bucks)
    2. Thread the zip tie through the O ring on the strop
    3. Fasten the zip tie around the small part of a door knob and pull the zip tie tight
    4. Cut off the excess zip tie and you're in business.
    Last edited by 1OldGI; 08-17-2011 at 11:13 PM.
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    Thats a good idea, I think I'll jimmy-rig something today. Thanks brother!

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