PDA

View Full Version : straight razor users... What makes for a great strop ?



Chef Niloc
10-08-2011, 11:55 AM
This is going to get lost on me in that other thread so I'm giving my questions it own topic.


I don't know much about straight razors and i know nothing about stropping them. However I was going to make a thread asking a few questions as I taught it would be fun to make a few.

What is the preferred weapon of chose, the strap, paddle, or hard flat mounted? Is the hanging strop just the old time classic and a flat mounted would work better, or does the handing strap still have it's advantages?

I have made flat mounted Strops before so the rest of my questions are in regards to the hanging strap type strop.

1) how do they work? I know a hanging strop is useless for knives so how/ why do they work on razors?

2) What's the best length and what's the "preferred"/ classic length ( I know they may be different)?

3) i have seen ones with a canvas back strap. Is this a additional strop or just a fancy backing? If it's a 2nd strop what is it's used for? Also is it canvas, what is the texture/ weave like, Is it like denim?

4) on that last link posted to the english made strop that guy says he uses:

heavy duty cotton and genuine linen, hard wool felt
What is the best here? I would think felt would cause problems, water + felt = bad news? I would think that Belgium linen canvas would be the most luxurious, but would it be the best preforming? I think the weight and weave would be the biggest factors here?

That guy also says he uses:

I use fine cowhides, the best latigo leather, excellent english bridle leather, superb shell cordovan leather
first side note he is lying he's not tusing Shell cordovan he's using but straps, much cheeper then Shell and would definitely make for a better strop as the Shells are very thin and starchy. That brings me to my next question:
What's the best leather to use? I have always herd/ thought horsehide as the unique cell structor creates a nice drag, it's abrasive & water resistance? I find it works best on the hard mounted Strops I have made for knives. So what's up with the cowhide and latigo, any advantages?

Is there anything you find "missing" on most strops? You know sometimes as a daily user you find things that would improve the design of things, kind of like what we de here with kitchen knives.

DwarvenChef
10-08-2011, 08:04 PM
1) how do they work? I know a hanging strop is useless for knives so how/ why do they work on razors?



So many questions :p I'll do what I can with what I know. I'm not as big into the different strops but I'll add what I have and what I use.

I use a strop made for me by Tony Miller (http://shop.thewellshavedgentleman.com/) a latigo 3" with a cotton canvas backing. How they work, Just as with a knife you are aligning the edge to as keen an edge as you can get. A hanging strop has a much longer surface so you get a better polish to the edge. Unlike kitchen knives with "toothy" edges a razor has a minimum of tooth that is polished as fine as you can get it. By having the the hanging strop you can use less strokes to get the same effect as from a bench strop, but in a different sort of way. A hanging strop will eventually round the very edge due to the slack caused by how the strop hangs, even if held over tight. This can even help an edge that has not fully been honed properly. Yes you can get a shave off a bench strop but it will take longer and with what I feel a lesser quality shave.

I do use a bench strop from Hand American when an edge is just starting to fall short, than finish again on the hanging strop.

DwarvenChef
10-08-2011, 08:25 PM
I have bench strops, paddle strops and hanging strops. I use them all for different things and rarely at the same time. The paddle strop has diamond paste on both sides, 1.0 and .5 that I use on the road for maintenance along with a narrow 2.5" hanging strop. The bench strop is the same system I use for my kitchen knives accept that the one leather pad with Cro2 is only for razors. This Cro2 leather is used to add a touch of polish after using on the stones. From there I go to the hanging strop for 60 passes. Than it's ready for daily use.

Canvas backing is a on going debate as to usefullness, I like it for a few reasons but never used it untill reciently. It's most often used as a pre stroping action that may or may not help the razor take a better edge... I'm still on the fence on that as I have not noticed that much of a difference. However after the shave, and after wiping down the razor I do a few strokes on the canvas to clean the edge of any microscopic sediment that may be on the edge that regular wiping didn't remove. This has shown a noticed difference in how long my edges last. So I now do this step regularly after every shave.

As for changes I'd like to see.. I have seen so many strops and styles that I can't think of anything that has not already been done, heck this things have been around a very long time lol. But here are a few features I like in my strops...

I like wide 3" strops, most razors are 2.75" to 3.25" wide so having a 3" wide strop allows you to get the most leather on the edge ever pass over the strop. Tony Miller adds D rings as handles if you want them and I find I like them. D rings also hold the strop more evenly across the base than if you just held the bottom with your fingers, but that is also a finer point that you may not notice till you have been using them for a few years.

I'm sure more will pop up as I read the OP and as this thread grows :)

mainaman
10-08-2011, 08:30 PM
All you need is a good cowhide leather strop, paddle or hanging and a really good finishing stone.
I personally do not care about pastes they are just crutches IMHO. I have felt with 0.5 diamond spray and leather with CrO that I uses so rarely I might as well never have bothered to make them.
I made a paddle strop using the recipe provided by Iwasaki, sanded all the way to 2k sandpaper , got it mirror finished and super smooth delivering great edges to the razor. My hanging strop is horse hide, Japanese made, very soft with great draw, works like a charm.

jm2hill
10-08-2011, 08:36 PM
not to hijack Colin, but just fishing for some info - I'm getting bored of gillette (stropping that on jean only does so much).

Anyone have some starter info to read?

DwarvenChef
10-08-2011, 08:38 PM
Ditto on the pastes in the long run, I got them years ago and found later that they are more a problem than a cure. But they do help some people and I'm ok with that. Of the abbrasive goops out there I prefer Cr02 over diamond pastes. As we know Cr02 is a rounder abbrasive and diamond is more angular cutting deeper grooves that a round abrasive does. This traslates into a rougher more aggresive shave, and some like that, I don't and go with the Cr02.

EdipisReks
10-08-2011, 08:38 PM
beards are a lot easier. :)

mainaman
10-08-2011, 08:40 PM
not to hijack Colin, but just fishing for some info - I'm getting bored of gillette (stropping that on jean only does so much).

Anyone have some starter info to read?
yes here
http://straightrazorplace.com/srpwiki/index.php/Straight_Razor_Place_Wiki:Books/Beginners_Guide

make account on SRP (http://straightrazorplace.com/forum.php)
and get started, people there answer a lot of questions and are very helpful.
you can always send me a PM if you have questions.
I suggest start with basic equipment to learn the ropes
then you can enjoy the numerous ADs associated with straight razor shaving.

Pensacola Tiger
10-08-2011, 08:42 PM
not to hijack Colin, but just fishing for some info - I'm getting bored of gillette (stropping that on jean only does so much).

Anyone have some starter info to read?

Looking for info on straight razors?

http://straightrazorplace.com/forum.php
http://straightrazorplace.com/srpwiki/index.php/Straight_Razor_Place_Wiki

Shaving of all types, straights, DE, SE & cartridge?

http://www.badgerandblade.com/

Lots of other websites, those two are probably the best.

Pensacola Tiger
10-08-2011, 08:42 PM
beards are a lot easier. :)

But nowhere near as much fun!

EdipisReks
10-08-2011, 08:46 PM
But nowhere near as much fun!

i don't know, i really like my beard.

Cipcich
10-09-2011, 06:30 AM
A man without a beard looks naked at best, effete in fact . . .

DwarvenChef
10-09-2011, 07:44 AM
Something about starting the day with a leathal weapon at your throat just really puts the rest of the day in perspective :)

I used to hate shaving, now I rather enjoy it.

l r harner
10-09-2011, 10:42 AM
i have a horse bench strop with CrOx but only use it inbetween stones and for cleaning up before finish strop on hanging bridal leather that HA made for me years ago(or my classic shaving duel strop)
im sure i coudl get a slighly better edge (i want to get a 20k G from a certan vender on here :) ) but all my razors ship with a shave ready edge (some ppl liek a edge a bit more sharp and some liek one a bit more forgiving so i shoot the middle)

i dont use a canvas anymore and only now and then on the back of my classic strop (light dusting of crox ) jsut good stones and clean leather 90% of the time

Chef Niloc
10-09-2011, 12:21 PM
How still / thick is a good strop and what's the best length?

maxim
10-09-2011, 12:30 PM
Colin do you go for straight razors now ? :D

Chef Niloc
10-09-2011, 12:35 PM
Colin do you go for straight razors now ? :D

No no no don't get any ideas in your head. I love to do leather work and I'm wanting to make a very nice barber strop. I have just never seen or used one so I'm trying to get info.

The hekler
10-09-2011, 01:22 PM
I don't know which vendor you are referring to but shell cordovan was once very common in high end strops yes it is thin but it is very strong and has a wonderful draw to it. Now it gets confusing because cordovan also refers to a leather treatment which is not shell (which is actually not hide but a thick calous like membrane on a horses rear). The thickness is not of the utmost importance I have heard of some making strops from kangaroo hide which is very thin. More important is the draw, an almost sticktion like force between the razor and the strop different draw will leave a different finish on different razors. I for one like alot of draw for my heavier wedge type razors and use a very slick horsehide strop with much less draw for my finer hollow razors. For dimensions I prefer a 3" by 24-28" strop although historically 2.5" was probably the most common with wider strops cupping becomes an issue as the edges will rise giving you problems. If your looking for examples Straightrazordesigns makes a beautiful strop for the money but the kanayama that JimR sells out of Japan is supposed to be in a league of it's own, for the price it should be. Heavy linen is the most historically correct backing material but the poly webbing put out by SRD is easy to use and effective. Felt is a great when used with compounds like diamond or CrOx. Hope this helps!

mainaman
10-09-2011, 03:41 PM
I don't know which vendor you are referring to but shell cordovan was once very common in high end strops yes it is thin but it is very strong and has a wonderful draw to it. Now it gets confusing because cordovan also refers to a leather treatment which is not shell (which is actually not hide but a thick calous like membrane on a horses rear). The thickness is not of the utmost importance I have heard of some making strops from kangaroo hide which is very thin. More important is the draw, an almost sticktion like force between the razor and the strop different draw will leave a different finish on different razors. I for one like alot of draw for my heavier wedge type razors and use a very slick horsehide strop with much less draw for my finer hollow razors. For dimensions I prefer a 3" by 24-28" strop although historically 2.5" was probably the most common with wider strops cupping becomes an issue as the edges will rise giving you problems. If your looking for examples Straightrazordesigns makes a beautiful strop for the money but the kanayama that JimR sells out of Japan is supposed to be in a league of it's own, for the price it should be. Heavy linen is the most historically correct backing material but the poly webbing put out by SRD is easy to use and effective. Felt is a great when used with compounds like diamond or CrOx. Hope this helps!
isn't shell and horsehide the same thing?

The hekler
10-09-2011, 06:24 PM
isn't shell and horsehide the same thing?

Horsehide is just that the hide of a horse treated like leather... Actuall shell cordovan is not hide at all it is two oval shaped calluses under the skin of the horse on it's rump. Shell is most often used for high end shoes. It is not actually the hide which is a common misconception but a layer between hide and the flesh of the animal, it's use was much more common prior to the 20th century when horses were more common, for strop makers it has gotten to be prohibitively expensive to purchase in the length required for a strop >20" as the two "shells" found on a horse are often too small. Cordovan is also a treatment used on leather which is often confused with shell cordovan often intentionally to increase price. At least this is what I have found to be the case in my research which was certainly not exhaustive but was fairly thorough. I knew of at least one company still using shell but that was almost a year ago an I do not know if they are still operation. But I think there is only one company in the US making shell cordovan and they clearly mark each piece as such.

Chef Niloc
10-09-2011, 08:09 PM
Horsehide is just that the hide of a horse treated like leather... Actuall shell cordovan is not hide at all it is two oval shaped calluses under the skin of the horse on it's rump. Shell is most often used for high end shoes. It is not actually the hide which is a common misconception but a layer between hide and the flesh of the animal, it's use was much more common prior to the 20th century when horses were more common, for strop makers it has gotten to be prohibitively expensive to purchase in the length required for a strop >20" as the two "shells" found on a horse are often too small. Cordovan is also a treatment used on leather which is often confused with shell cordovan often intentionally to increase price. At least this is what I have found to be the case in my research which was certainly not exhaustive but was fairly thorough. I knew of at least one company still using shell but that was almost a year ago an I do not know if they are still operation. But I think there is only one company in the US making shell cordovan and they clearly mark each piece as such.

I did not know that shells were used for Strops thanks for that info. Every thing he just sad is true. There are only 3 tanneries that I know of that still make shell. One in France, one in china and Horween in Chacogo. Horweens is vastly superior, they have been makeing it for over 100 years and two they only use domestic horse stock. We don't eat horses like France and who knows what china does to get there horse stock??? Horween has nice big shells, thes are 28-36", but they don't come cheep these costume 150 ea
http://i198.photobucket.com/albums/aa214/celtic2174/bc16714a.jpg
http://i198.photobucket.com/albums/aa214/celtic2174/45c9f406.jpg