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  1. #1
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    Question How long does a strop last? Do old ones work well?

    The only strop I have is old, early 20th century. I fed it lots of baby oil and it seems to work fine for me, but I can't get my blade "scary sharp." Anyone have any experience with old old strops? Should they work just fine with a little oil?

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    Just a guy with free time.
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    Well I don't have any business saying so, but I think an old one is fine. I have an old one, and a new one, and they both do the job equally so far as I can tell. But it's been noted that I'm not so good with details..so...take it FWIW. :P

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    Senior Moderator JimmyHAD's Avatar
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    I've got strops that are older than I am and I'm old. They work well if they were in excellent or better condition when I got 'em. I don't oil them as they didn't need it. A good strop should last longer than you will with proper care.
    Be careful how you treat people on your way up, you may meet them again on your way back down.

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    what Dad calls me nun2sharp's Avatar
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    I wouldnt have used baby oil, baby oil is mineral oil with a fragrance added, neatsfoot oil would have been the way to go. It doesnt matter the age of the strop as long as the leather is supple and defect free.
    It is easier to fool people than to convince them they have been fooled. Twain

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    Forum mogwai thebigspendur's Avatar
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    Strops get better with age and I'm of the mind the older strops were just better than the new ones (in general). I'll use some conditioner on them a couple times a year but I live in single digit humidity conditions which sucks the moisture out of everything, me included. The only exception I've found is my Kanayamara strop which has need nothing in the years I have it. It must be magic or something.
    Every day without fail one should consider himself as dead-Tsunetomo

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    My strop is over 50 years old, inherited from a family member. Check the smoothness of the leather before you use it. When I got mine it was a bit gritty, so here's what I did and I suggest you do as well. You say you don't think you're getting the razor sharp enough. That's most likely technique but there could also be surface abrasives that are there due to the age. You might not even feel it to the touch, but your razor would.

    First, if it has linen, soak it overnight in some bleach and soap. I scrubbed mine lightly as well. Let it air dry for a day or two.

    For the leather, I gave it a thorough rubdown with 0000 steel wool. If the leather has some defects, try 000 or even lower sandpaper grits to sand out any rough parts or nicks. I was lucky that it was just caked-on surface gunk on mine. Neatsfoot oil has been recommended, and it's the best, but honestly I used baby oil on mine and I'm quite happy with how it turned out, . Once you oil it once, you shouldn't have to again. Give it a few rubs with your palm before you strop if you want to soften it up a bit. I don't do that personally, but a lot people have said it helps.

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    . Otto's Avatar
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    I have two strops. One is for travel. I'm sure both will outlast me.


    "Cheap Tools Is Misplaced Economy. Always buy the best and highest grade of razors, hones and strops. Then you are prepared to do the best work."
    - Napoleon LeBlanc, 1895

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    Senior Member rodb's Avatar
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    My favorite strop is at least 40 years old. I Neatsfoot oiled mine when I got it due to extreme dryness, and it's been fine since.

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    Enthusiast Gammaray's Avatar
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    Indefinite life if stropped correctly and remains defect free. Sorry to say that the mineral oil does not play well with leather. I would clean it well with some saddle soap and then go again with Neatsfoot oil as already suggested. The feel is very important. It should feel perfectly smooth, soft, pliable, very flat (no cupping) and free of defects. If it passes these tests then I agree with others that the stropping of the blade actually seems to improve the strop over time. At least that has been my experience with razors. However, stropping knives or hatchets will definitely limit the life of any piece of leather. Enjoy.

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  10. #10
    50 year str. shaver mrsell63's Avatar
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    I have my grandfather's vintage 1930s George Worthington finish strop and it is in fantastic shape. Leather is a very unique material. Very durable.....

    Jerry
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    JERRY
    OOOPS! Pass the styptic please.

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