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Thread: Ranking of strop materials

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    Default Ranking of strop materials

    Is there a ranking of strop materials somewhere? For example the different draws of the different leathers? And what about the secondary strops; like wool felt, nylon webbing? Is one type better than another or just different for different purpose?

    Thanks

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    Senior Moderator JimmyHAD's Avatar
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    If you search around past threads you'll find all sorts of stuff scattered around with the info you are seeking. For a quicker solution go to Straight Razor Designs 'strop shop' here . They have about every variety of leather available.

    If you click on the different links for each you'll find a capsule description of the characteristics of each of them. Draw, feel , that sort of thing, which I guess is what you're looking for. Same with the fabric components. To really know which you would like the best you have to try them yourself. I'm a horse/shell and linen guy myself.
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    Thanks. I looked in the Wiki and searched some threads. I did not know if it was consolidated somewhere.

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    lz6
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    Eventually what you may find here is not a "ranking" of strops as opposed to just a listing of all materials used as strops.
    Like most things, and generally speaking, that involve straight razor shaving, selection of strops and many other things are
    very subjective. What jimmyHad enjoys in a strop may be very different than what I may like in a strop. Jimmy is certainly right that you will find information on the different types of materals on SRD's website. You can also peruse all the posts
    under strops and stropping.
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    Bob

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    I used Nakayamas for my house mainaman's Avatar
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    As with soaps and razor grinds there is no ranking, it is really a personal preference.
    Pretty much boils down to what kind of draw you prefer, light medium heavy. Figuring out your preferences will come with experience.
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    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    I'll give you mine, since it's totally useless unless you're me! (on the leathers)

    1) Shell Cordovan
    2) Broken in Horse Butt
    3) Veggie Tanned cowhide (or any good smooth cowhide), on the firm side
    4) anything softer than that

    #1 can be pretty expensive. I stick with #2, in my experience it does a better job maintaining a razor edge when it's somewhat hard like horsebutt, it's more resistant to the odd nick you might make once you're experienced (figure that really will be close to zero, anyway). The downside is it isn't as common as cowhide and the hard horsebutt strips you find will often need a some breaking in, as they can be relatively thin, abrasive and quite tough.

    I don't use the other side of the strop much unless I come off a stone that's not that fine. In fact, I'd say I use the felt/canvas parts of strops usually just to clean off the edge of the razor if I think it might be questionable, so that whatever is there doesn't contaminate the leather.

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    From all the reading i've done on different strop materials i'm starting to lean towards a kangaroo leather with a nylon webbing.

    Kangaroo apparently has the finest grain of leather used for this purpose. Because of this it is extremely strong and can be made thinner.
    Nylon webbing seems to work great. I actually use my secondary military belt and get great results from it. The next webbing I try will be made from aircraft seatbelt material which is a much finer weave. The noise and feedback from the webbing is something to get used to as it is much louder sounding than any fine linen on the market. The nylon also takes pastes/sprays exceptionally well.

    I haven't found a 'roo strop I can afford yet so good luck on your hunt! AND as with anything, as mentioned before, it's really up to personal prefrence. Whatever you feel gives you the best feeling edge for your shaving needs is what you'll end up with.

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    Quote Originally Posted by brooksie967 View Post
    From all the reading i've done on different strop materials i'm starting to lean towards a kangaroo leather with a nylon webbing.

    Kangaroo apparently has the finest grain of leather used for this purpose. Because of this it is extremely strong and can be made thinner.
    I thought that shell cordovan is probably the finest leather you can get on a strop?
    For me cotton webbing is the best, nylon is ok but nothing special.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mainaman View Post
    I thought that shell cordovan is probably the finest leather you can get on a strop?
    For me cotton webbing is the best, nylon is ok but nothing special.
    Here's an explanation of the properties of Kangaroo Leather. Take from it what you will!

    Studies conducted by the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) confirm that kangaroo is one of the strongest leathers of similar substance available.[5][9]

    Similarly when split into thinner substances kangaroo retains considerably more of the original tensile strength of the unsplit leather than does calf. When split to 20% of original thickness kangaroo retains between 30 to 60% of the tensile strength of the unsplit hide. Calf on the other hand split to 20% of original thickness retains only 1-4% of original strength.[9]

    Kangaroo leather is lighter and stronger than the hide of a cow or goat. It has 10 times the tensile strength of cowhide and is 50% stronger than goatskin.[10]

    Studies of the morphology of kangaroo leather help explain its particular properties.

    The collagen fibre bundles in cattle hide are arranged in a complex weaving pattern. The fibres are often at angles as much as 90 degrees to the skin surface. Cattle hide also contain sweat glands, erector pili muscles and a distinct gradation in elastin levels, concentrated in the upper part of the skin. Kangaroo on the other hand has been shown to have a highly uniform orientation of fibre bundles in parallel with the skin surface. It does not contain sweat glands or erector pili muscles and elastin is evenly distributed throughout the skin thickness [11]. This structural uniformity explains both the greater tensile strength of the whole leather and the greater retention of strength in splits. Bovine skin is much more complex in cross section. Hence in whole section it has many more weak points from which tears can start when placed under tension. In addition when sliced into splits the collagen fibres running at significant angles to the skin surface will be cut. These then become weak points in the structural strength.

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    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    Does anyone know where to get cordovan shells at this point? For someone who might like to make their own strop?

    Allen Edmonds is still making shoes with cordovan last I looked, and getting shells from Horween. Will horween sell a small amount of it?

    Kangaroo sounds fine, but it seems when barbers had the choice of anything and everything, they chose shell first and horse butt second.

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