10-06-2019, 06:34 PM
#1
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For years I always stropped on fabric before leather.  I never thought through why I did that.  I just accepted that it was the proper way to strop.  When I saw strops with only a leather component, I questioned how the maker could omit the fabric.   I vaguely recall reading explanations as to why it was necessary to first strop on fabric, such as the fabric somehow preparing the edge for the leather.   None of these explanations offered a reasoned rationale, but I always kept up the routine.  

I finally decided to test the concept.   Starting on January 1 of this year, I stopped stopping on fabric.  I haven't stropped on fabric all year, and on September 30 it was 9 months that my blades do not touch fabric.  The result of my 9 month experiment is that I cannot discern any benefit from stopping on fabric.  My shaves from stopping on leather alone are the same as from stopping on fabric and leather.

If you strop on fabric before leather,  what is your reasoning underlying this practice?

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 10-06-2019, 07:06 PM
#2
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(10-06-2019, 06:34 PM)TheLegalRazor Wrote: For years I always stropped on fabric before leather.  I never thought through why I did that.  I just accepted that it was the proper way to strop.  When I saw strops with only a leather component, I questioned how the maker could omit the fabric.   I vaguely recall reading explanations as to why it was necessary to first strop on fabric, such as the fabric somehow preparing the edge for the leather.   None of these explanations offered a reasoned rationale, but I always kept up the routine.  

I finally decided to test the concept.   Starting on January 1 of this year, I stopped stopping on fabric.  I haven't stropped on fabric all year, and on September 30 it was 9 months that my blades do not touch fabric.  The result of my 9 month experiment is that I cannot discern any benefit from stopping on fabric.  My shaves from stopping on leather alone are the same as from stopping on fabric and leather.

If you strop on fabric before leather,  what is your reasoning underlying this practice?

I usually only strop on fabric (canvas) when I'm touching up my blades in between hones.  I use chromium oxide paste (green) for this.  Other than that I use only my leather for daily stropping.

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 10-07-2019, 02:21 AM
#3
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I use a linen strop first as well. Because...not one, but two master-honers instructed me to do so. I am a good student.  Wink

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 10-07-2019, 04:21 AM
#4
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I use a suede strop before leather. Helps keep the leather cleaner, free-er of remanents of soap and oils I might miss.

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 10-07-2019, 05:42 AM
#5
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(10-06-2019, 07:06 PM)Scott_Mac Wrote: I usually only strop on fabric (canvas) when I'm touching up my blades in between hones.  I use chromium oxide paste (green) for this.  Other than that I use only my leather for daily stropping.

Stropping on fabric with CrOx to touch up the edge is definitely beneficial  I'm likely headed to where you already are, which is to use only leather for routine daily stropping.

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 10-07-2019, 10:25 AM
#6
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(10-07-2019, 04:21 AM)lloydrm Wrote: I use a suede strop before leather. Helps keep the leather cleaner, free-er of remanents of soap and oils I might miss.

Same here...I imagine that cloth/leather does not lead to a sharper edge.

I do believe that using a cloth strop first leads to a cleaner edge before taking the straight razor to the leather strop, and that just makes sense to me.

Vr

Matt

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 10-07-2019, 03:15 PM
#7
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Stropping on linen, canvas or some other substrate before going to leather only serves to prepare the edge before the leather stropping by cleaning/removing any oxidation away and also serves to dry the blades edge on the post shave.

I have tested a razor by shaving everyday and just stropping on leather with no stropping on linen etc.... and the edge seemed to be ok but then after the test was over I looked at the edge under a loupe and I could clearly see the edge had suffered some by not stropping on the linen

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 10-07-2019, 03:32 PM
#8
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(10-07-2019, 03:15 PM)Panther308 Wrote: Stropping on linen, canvas or some other substrate before going to leather only serves to prepare the edge before the leather stropping by cleaning/removing any oxidation away and also serves to dry the blades edge on the post shave.

I have tested a razor by shaving everyday and just stropping on leather with no stropping on linen etc.... and the edge seemed to be ok but then after the test was over I looked at the edge under a loupe and I could clearly see the edge had suffered some by not stropping on the linen

Makes sense to me!

Vr

Matt

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 10-08-2019, 03:00 AM
#9
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(10-07-2019, 04:21 AM)lloydrm Wrote: I use a suede strop before leather. Helps keep the leather cleaner, free-er of remanents of soap and oils I might miss.

I imagine that suede offers a heavy draw due to its softness and nap...

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 10-08-2019, 05:44 AM
#10
  • evnpar
  • Emeritus
  • Portland, Oregon
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Other than cleaning the edge, I once read that the friction of first stropping on linen warms the edge which makes it more responsive to polishing on leather. I use various combination, all which seem to work. Most of my strops have a linen component. However, stropping on suede that came with my Kanayama strop seems to work as well as linen in preparing the edge, if that's what it's doing. My Mastro Levi loom strop has a linen side impregnated with CrOx, and a few strokes on that before using the leather side also works well. Since three different methods work well for me, does it mean that none of the pre-leather stropping is doing anything? I don't know, but since they take so little time and are working well, I'll keep doing what I'm doing.

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 10-08-2019, 05:45 AM
#11
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I see the benefit of having the blade clean prior to taking it to leather, and stropping on fabric accomplishes that.  However, I thoroughly wipe the blade after each use, so the blade is clean when it gets to leather.  Anyway, there are no fixed rules here, and we should each follow whatever stropping routine we feel works best.

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