11-28-2012, 12:24 PM
#1
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Hi all,

New to this straight shaving lark. So far I have been using a Parker Shavette as a bit of practise and am getting better with it now managing my whole face with just razor burn on my neck. I have only had one bad day with it and 2 lovely scars to prove it. I know shavettes are generally considered harder to use and less forgiving than a straight so I figured if I could not kill myself with a shavette I would be in good stead for a straight.

So, following ready this forum inside out I decided to invest in an unseen razor and poor mans strop kit from Whipped Dog. This is due any day now (customs permitting) and I am going to shave with it straight away as it will truly be shave ready and I would like to feel what it is like for future reference.

My question is after my first shave and before my second how many runs along the strop do people recommend, I have seen this vary enourmously from site to site.

Many thanks for reading this far and your help.

MODS; please feel free to move this if it is not in the correct forum.

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 11-28-2012, 12:45 PM
#2
  • DoubleB
  • Active Member
  • Zeeland, The Netherlands
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Stropping and how many passes is very personal. I do 40 on poly webbing followed by 60 on leather. Some do 20 on leather only, some do 100. It comes down to what you are comfortable with. If I recall right you need 20 passes atleast. More is fine, less is not.

Don't forget; Larry sends the razors out honed, cleaned and stropped. Which means that you do not need to strop it before your first shave.
I really recommend you keep that in mind. As you said, you want to know what a shave ready edge feels like for future reference. You're new to this so you might screw up stropping your first time (no offence intented). Therefore; don't strop before the first shave. Shave and see how it feels. Then you can start stropping.

Good luck and let us know how it works out!

EDIT; sorry, I misread; you allready asked about stropping AFTER your shave. My bad.
About stropping twice; after and before shaving; IMHO opinion it's an overkill. I strop before shaving only (not counting the 10 passes I do on the poly webbing after my shave. This is to dry my edge

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 11-28-2012, 01:15 PM
#3
  • Kavik79
  • Active Member
  • Albany, NY - USA
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I usually do 10-20 on the fabric followed by 60-75 on leather. Probably overkill but, as long as it's done right, more is better than less in my eyes. Anyway, it's a good time to let some lather soak your whiskers and relax for a minute or two before your shave, kind of get yourself in the right mindset. And once you get the hang of it even 100 laps won't take you 2 minutes

I think the strop in Larry's kit is leather only, no fabric, right? If I didn't have the fabric first I'd add a few more laps on the leather.

After use I rinse and wipe off the blade, then hit the leather for 10-15 laps to be sure the actual edge is clean and dry

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 11-28-2012, 02:33 PM
#4
  • Arcadies
  • Senior Member
  • Greeneville, TN
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(11-28-2012, 12:24 PM)Shiny Wrote: Hi all,

New to this straight shaving lark. So far I have been using a Parker Shavette as a bit of practise and am getting better with it now managing my whole face with just razor burn on my neck. I have only had one bad day with it and 2 lovely scars to prove it. I know shavettes are generally considered harder to use and less forgiving than a straight so I figured if I could not kill myself with a shavette I would be in good stead for a straight.

So, following ready this forum inside out I decided to invest in an unseen razor and poor mans strop kit from Whipped Dog. This is due any day now (customs permitting) and I am going to shave with it straight away as it will truly be shave ready and I would like to feel what it is like for future reference.

My question is after my first shave and before my second how many runs along the strop do people recommend, I have seen this vary enourmously from site to site.

Many thanks for reading this far and your help.

MODS; please feel free to move this if it is not in the correct forum.

Good luck with getting started! I've thought about trying it from time to time but the upkeep always turns me away. Hell I can barely manage to keep my pocket knives well sharpened
and I couldn't keep a steady angle while sharpening if my life depended on it, it's amazing my knives have any edge at all.
So I don't see the whole honing/stropping ritual going well for me. Biggrin

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 11-28-2012, 03:51 PM
#5
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I'm not going to tell you what to do, or suggest what to do, I'm just going to tell you what I do.

After the shave it's 50 on linen, 50 on cotton, 50 on bridle leather.

Before the shave it is 50 on horsehide.

Why 200 laps? Because my edge lasts forever. Okay, I sharpen them occasionally because I really need to feel the sharpness or else it feels wrong. But they aren't anywhere near dull.

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 11-29-2012, 02:29 PM
#6
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(11-28-2012, 02:33 PM)Arcadies Wrote:
(11-28-2012, 12:24 PM)Shiny Wrote: Hi all,

New to this straight shaving lark. So far I have been using a Parker Shavette as a bit of practise and am getting better with it now managing my whole face with just razor burn on my neck. I have only had one bad day with it and 2 lovely scars to prove it. I know shavettes are generally considered harder to use and less forgiving than a straight so I figured if I could not kill myself with a shavette I would be in good stead for a straight.

So, following ready this forum inside out I decided to invest in an unseen razor and poor mans strop kit from Whipped Dog. This is due any day now (customs permitting) and I am going to shave with it straight away as it will truly be shave ready and I would like to feel what it is like for future reference.

My question is after my first shave and before my second how many runs along the strop do people recommend, I have seen this vary enourmously from site to site.

Many thanks for reading this far and your help.

MODS; please feel free to move this if it is not in the correct forum.

Good luck with getting started! I've thought about trying it from time to time but the upkeep always turns me away. Hell I can barely manage to keep my pocket knives well sharpened
and I couldn't keep a steady angle while sharpening if my life depended on it, it's amazing my knives have any edge at all.
So I don't see the whole honing/stropping ritual going well for me. Biggrin

Arcadies,
Believe it or not straights are infinitely easier to sharpen than a pocket knife. You don't have to hold an angle to get the proper bevel on the edge. It's already built into the razors. If you can lay a razor flat on a hone and slide it forward, flip it and lay it flat then drag it back, you can easily sharpen a razor. There is no holding the spine off the stone to find an angle.
You do this with progressively finer stones or film, strop it and you're ready to go. The mechanics aren't as difficult as it may seem.
And the upkeep is relatively minor when you come down to it. Once the edge is on the blade from honing, regular stropping is all that is necessary for quite a few shaves and this only takes minutes. To me, it adds to the fun factor of using a straight. Taking that blade, very old school ( and most likely very old if it's vintage) sharpening it yourself and then using it to get a great shave. Once you have the hang of it the shaves can go nearly as quickly as a regular razor. If not save these shaves for when you have a bit more time to play and enjoy the experience.

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 11-29-2012, 02:50 PM
#7
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It's incredibly easy to keep a shave ready razor sharp. Sharpening a dull razor, different story.

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 11-29-2012, 03:32 PM
#8
  • Arcadies
  • Senior Member
  • Greeneville, TN
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(11-29-2012, 02:29 PM)mycarver Wrote: Arcadies,
Believe it or not straights are infinitely easier to sharpen than a pocket knife. You don't have to hold an angle to get the proper bevel on the edge. It's already built into the razors. If you can lay a razor flat on a hone and slide it forward, flip it and lay it flat then drag it back, you can easily sharpen a razor. There is no holding the spine off the stone to find an angle.
You do this with progressively finer stones or film, strop it and you're ready to go. The mechanics aren't as difficult as it may seem.
And the upkeep is relatively minor when you come down to it. Once the edge is on the blade from honing, regular stropping is all that is necessary for quite a few shaves and this only takes minutes. To me, it adds to the fun factor of using a straight. Taking that blade, very old school ( and most likely very old if it's vintage) sharpening it yourself and then using it to get a great shave. Once you have the hang of it the shaves can go nearly as quickly as a regular razor. If not save these shaves for when you have a bit more time to play and enjoy the experience.

Ah, that is a bit reassuring, thank you for the info. I always thought you had to keep a certain angle or it would damage the spine and/or etching, if the blade has any. I may look into a lower end starter setup (possibly a sight unseen deal, they seem popular) in the future, including researching effective yet affordable stones. I know many just strop and send their blades off for sharpening when needed but if I jumped into straights I'd want to do it myself.

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 11-29-2012, 05:46 PM
#9
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(11-29-2012, 03:32 PM)Arcadies Wrote:
(11-29-2012, 02:29 PM)mycarver Wrote: Arcadies,
Believe it or not straights are infinitely easier to sharpen than a pocket knife. You don't have to hold an angle to get the proper bevel on the edge. It's already built into the razors. If you can lay a razor flat on a hone and slide it forward, flip it and lay it flat then drag it back, you can easily sharpen a razor. There is no holding the spine off the stone to find an angle.
You do this with progressively finer stones or film, strop it and you're ready to go. The mechanics aren't as difficult as it may seem.
And the upkeep is relatively minor when you come down to it. Once the edge is on the blade from honing, regular stropping is all that is necessary for quite a few shaves and this only takes minutes. To me, it adds to the fun factor of using a straight. Taking that blade, very old school ( and most likely very old if it's vintage) sharpening it yourself and then using it to get a great shave. Once you have the hang of it the shaves can go nearly as quickly as a regular razor. If not save these shaves for when you have a bit more time to play and enjoy the experience.

Ah, that is a bit reassuring, thank you for the info. I always thought you had to keep a certain angle or it would damage the spine and/or etching, if the blade has any. I may look into a lower end starter setup (possibly a sight unseen deal, they seem popular) in the future, including researching effective yet affordable stones. I know many just strop and send their blades off for sharpening when needed but if I jumped into straights I'd want to do it myself.

Don't mean to get away from Shiny's original post, but yeah, get a razor ( sounds like you're thinking Whipped Dog, sight unseen) and have a go at it.
If you want to really low buck it, look at using films. Heck of a lot cheaper than stones and you'll get a great edge and see what it's all about with very little invested.
Go for it. It's fun.
After that,, it's all down hill when the AD kicks in.

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 11-29-2012, 10:01 PM
#10
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Santa has been early. Got myself a delivery from Larry and his elves, my Whipped Dog bundle has arrived. 6 days from USA to UK too.

It looks an amazing kit, can't wait to get going.

For the other poster, I see the maintenance as part of the whole thing about using a straight. It came with full instructions too, very recommended to any other newbies.

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 11-30-2012, 12:34 AM
#11
  • DoubleB
  • Active Member
  • Zeeland, The Netherlands
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(11-29-2012, 10:01 PM)Shiny Wrote: Santa has been early. Got myself a delivery from Larry and his elves, my Whipped Dog bundle has arrived. 6 days from USA to UK too.

It looks an amazing kit, can't wait to get going.

For the other poster, I see the maintenance as part of the whole thing about using a straight. It came with full instructions too, very recommended to any other newbies.

Good to hear. Good luck and let us know how you are doing!
Since you have the balsa strop in the kit you should be set for a while. Go slow and don't overdo it. You'll be running in no time!

@Arcadies
As Richard and Lee pointed out it's not that hard. If maintained properly, the edge can last you years!

Give it a shot, you know you want to Biggrin

@Lee
Any significant difference between the horsehide and bridle?

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 11-30-2012, 01:10 AM
#12
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(11-30-2012, 12:34 AM)DoubleB Wrote: @Lee
Any significant difference between the horsehide and bridle?

I think most of it is in my head. Horsehide has less draw.

Honestly in a double blind I probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference between the edge stropped on horse & stropped on bridle leather. Or any other full grain leather.

That said, it's a lot more fun. Biggrin

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 11-30-2012, 08:47 AM
#13
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When you go to strop your first few times, go slow! Getting out of control before you have good technique can cause you to nick and gouge and ruin a perfectly good strop.

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 12-01-2012, 11:35 AM
#14
  • gijames
  • Mile High Soldier
  • TN, USA
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who here likes the poly-webbing prep-strop?

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 12-01-2012, 12:00 PM
#15
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I prefer the natural cotton. Most any twill material will work just fine. Denim works ( as it's also a twill) along with my favorites the cloth woven belts. Bought a bunch at a thrift store for a buck each. Easy then to load them with whatever flavor compounds or sprays you like.

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 12-01-2012, 12:35 PM
#16
  • Kavik79
  • Active Member
  • Albany, NY - USA
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(12-01-2012, 11:35 AM)gijames Wrote: who here likes the poly-webbing prep-strop?

which "poly-webbing prep-strop"?

I've had an Illinois strop that had what appeared to be a polypropylene webbing (a guess, based on how the edges were melted where they were cut, and how stiff and plastic like it felt). Hated that one with a passion. It felt, and sounded, like I was running my edge over a cheese grater. It never damaged the razor, but the sound and feel of it always made me cringe.

I bought some polyester webbing for a strop I was making, planning to use it as a base for some spray/paste. It's infinitely softer and more flexible than Illinois one. I haven't finished putting it together, so I can't say how well it works, but a test stropping 'dry', it feels nice....if anything I'd say too smooth to do any good on it's own


I love the herringbone weave cotton fabric component on my walking horse strop. At times when I maybe haven't cleaned my razor well enough and can see soap scum residue along the edge, after the stropping on cotton it's nice and clean and ready to strop on leather without gunking it up. The combination of how well it works and how smooth it feels makes it my favorite so far...
However, I just got a Tony Miller strop with a genuine linen component that I'm quite eager to try Cool

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 12-01-2012, 12:39 PM
#17
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(12-01-2012, 11:35 AM)gijames Wrote: who here likes the poly-webbing prep-strop?

Hate it. IMO.

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 12-01-2012, 01:02 PM
#18
  • DoubleB
  • Active Member
  • Zeeland, The Netherlands
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(12-01-2012, 11:35 AM)gijames Wrote: who here likes the poly-webbing prep-strop?

I'm very satisfied with the results, compared to cotton. YMMV.

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