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Thread: Strop Length

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    Senior Member officerdread's Avatar
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    Default Strop Length

    Hello Gents, I'm going to be cutting the leather to length soon for the strop I am making. I have seen various lengths on strops over the years. Seeing I really only use 16" of my strop and the current one I use is 24" I am debating about the length of the custom one I am making. My thought is the the longer the strop the more flex it will have. Basic physics. If you string a power line between two poles the wider the span of the poles the more flex or "belly" you will have. If you put the poles closer together with the same tension on the line it will have less flex or "belly". So I am thinking a 19" surface should be plenty of stropping room for me and will make for a stiffer stropping surface. Thoughts?

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    Quote Originally Posted by officerdread View Post
    My thought is the the longer the strop the more flex it will have. Basic physics. If you string a power line between two poles the wider the span of the poles the more flex or "belly" you will have. If you put the poles closer together with the same tension on the line it will have less flex or "belly".
    After you run the power line, the poles don't move, so the tension is static. You can alter the tension by pulling harder on the strop. I think that "wobble" along the short axis of the strop would be a bigger issue than "belly" along the long axis as you lengthen the strop. In any case, I would not consider these in picking a length. For me it would be the length of a comfortable stroke based on my anatomy - arm length, joint flexibility, that sort of thing. Maybe take a piece of rope and attach it to whatever you attach your strop to. Use a butter knife and comfortably strop it on the rope. Have your wife or a buddy use a sharpie to mark the rope at the beginning and end of this stroke. Use that as a basis for your strop length, adding a couple inches for hardware and occasional "slop" in your stropping.

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    Senior Member officerdread's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joegags View Post
    After you run the power line, the poles don't move, so the tension is static. You can alter the tension by pulling harder on the strop. For me it would be the length of a comfortable stroke based on my anatomy - arm length, joint flexibility, that sort of thing. adding a couple inches for hardware and occasional "slop" in your stropping.
    My thoughts exactly. With a shorter strop, I have to pull less to keep it straight. Thus more comfort. As for as arm length, ect, as I stated I only use 16" on my current one. An additional 3" of "surface" I would think would be enough room. I have already figured in the folds for the hardware being 3 - to 4". Making a total length of about 23" straight.

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    Senior Moderator JimmyHAD's Avatar
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    Since most all of the vintage pro barber strops I've gotten/seen are 99% of the time 2 1/2 x 23 or 24" that is what I look for in a strop. I was at my buddy then young Joe Galipean's barber shop and he was demonstrating his stropping technique to me. He was stropping on a Certifyd Red Imp and used short strokes, probably no more than about 12" of the strop.

    Old Frank Natale, 70 years old and more than 50 years barbering worked for Joe. He said, "Use the length." and began stropping on his dubl duck strop using probably 18 or 19". I've always kept that in mind. OTOH, since this is your own custom build it would be cool to make the shorter strop as you're planning. You can always make a longer one if you feel like it.
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    Senior Member officerdread's Avatar
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    That's what I was thinking. I'll have leather left over for another. I guess it boils down to different strokes for different folks. "no pun intended" LOL
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    At this point in time... gssixgun's Avatar
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    I just finished measuring quite a few strops looking for the actual length of the "Stropping Surface" the OAL really varies because of the Handles and the Hardware but the actual stropping surface seems to be right about 16 inches...

    Not that it makes a big difference because you are making one for yourself, so you can adjust it where you want, but I just did the measurements so I figured I would toss that out for you to have
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    Senior Member officerdread's Avatar
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    That's right were I'm at... Thank you..!

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    Senior Member tiddle's Avatar
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    16-18" sounds like a good starting point to me.
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    Mastering implies there is nothing more for you to learn of something... I prefer proficient enough to not totally screw it up.

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