Stropping a straight razor refers to the process which flattens and refines the blade with the use of a very flexible fabric, for instance, felt, denim, linen, or a cotton weave; newspaper or a strip of leather. Most of the time, this term is misjudged with the term 'sharpening’, but these terrms mean different actions. The razorblade may feel a little bit 'sharper’ after it has been stropped, but it is really more 'keener’ as there is no metal that has been removed from this blade. There are several different variations of how to do it, however, the technique that is used is the same.
Good maintenance and proper honing are both undeniably essential for an excellent straight razor shave; however even a razor blade that has been perfectly honed by the best professional will not make it up for a poor maintenance technique. This act aids in maintaining a fine, shaving edge on the razor blade. The most generally held belief is that it knocks oxidation from the edge of the razor, removing some metal from it, and then realigning it.
This process plays a central role in the upkeep of a shave-able straight razor. When your straight razor blade’s cutting edge makes contact with your face, you will feel the results of the last mainaining procedure and if the results are constant. If you do it in propper way it will aid on keeping the edge in its ideal shave-ready condition. There are several kinds of pastes and strops which can be applied for the resolve of aiding in keeping a razor sharper for longer periods of time. In case you get that your razor dulls after several shaves, you should examine your maintenance technique since a good technique must keep a blade for several shaves. You can also check your belt and ensure that it is always in a usable condition.
The video below shows all the details about how to keep sharpness of the edge. We belive you will find a lot of interesting information there.
When you do it, there are two fundamental considerations: how the user will conduct his motions and how the belt is going to be secured in place. In case these considerations are solid, the technique can be learned very quickly and much easier. It is very imperative to ensure that everything is ready and in place before you start.
Muscle memory is also another factor that must be considered. Thus, it is hard to correct a poor technique, and it is worth taking effort and time to correctly learn right from the beginning. In the case of muscle memory, in martial arts, there is a common saying that an individual must repeat something a thousand times so as to learn in the right way and ten thousand times to correct something that he learnt in the wrong way. As you see it is much better to spend time learning proper movements.
You must be sure that the strop is secured properly to a stable, in an immovable point. Pull it and ensure that it is firmly fixed to a stationary object. In case it moves around you will not get good results. One exemption for this is when you are travelling, and you must fix it to an object that is less secure or use a paddle belt. It is much wiser to get to know how to maintain edge on a paddle that has been steadied before you try to hold it in your hand. Attempt to secure it at a height that will allow your hands to move in comfortable way. You must not get tensed so as to move the razor or hold the belt. It is much simpler to maintain with the right technique in case you are relaxed.
Get a peaceful place so that you can do all the actions. You will be holding a sharp edge in your hands, and there is no point of putting others in grave danger. You might be familiar with the sharp edges; however a majority of people are afraid of them. Additionally, you might not be able to relax completely with pets or kids running around as you do your job.
A majority of hanging strops have a D-ring or a leather handle on the non-secured end that can be steadfastly be held to achieve a perfect grip. The belt which do not have any attachments must be held firmly with the use of one’s palm a few inches up from the end. Never squeeze too hard, in case your knuckles turn white, you should release a little bit of the pressure.
There is one important advice: hold the leather belt parallel to the ground in the beginning. It’s much more difficult to cut it if you hold it in this way. After you get some skill you may change the angle and hold it 45 degrees to the ground.
You will open the handle of the razor at a full 180 degree to make it easier for the razor to roll around. You will then take the tang between your forefinger and thumb. Locate the best point where you can hold the blade so that it can quickly flip from one side to the other. In case you have an uncomfortable and a weak grip, it might significantly slow your overall stropping speed and this will force you always to try to make up for it.
One of the most popular techniques is holding a razor like you hold a pencil and flipping it at the end of every motion. If you can master such technique that’s great. But some people may have not enough physical dexterity to do it in that way. This will result to cutting your belt making it less useful. If you can’t do proper maintaining with traditional grip try to find your own comfortable grip.
You will pull the strop till it gets taut. It does not have to be excessively taut; however, it will evade further issues in case it is tightly held in a straight line. Ensure that you position it in such a manner that it provides a flat, non-angled surface for the razor blade to move down. Check your wrist angles and monitor the movement of your hands during the process so as to prevent excessive twisting.
Neither too little nor too much. That is as accurate a description as you will get. Tensioning the strop and then loading the blade’s pressure against it can go hand in hand. This will only be learned by testing and doing for a couple of times. You can begin with a comfy and firm tension with a very light pressure of the blade beside the belt. It is perfectly natural to load excess pressure instead of too little. This is particularly essential to recall when you maintaining full hollow ground razors that are way more flexible than ordinary wedges.
Make sure you stop your movements several inches before the end of the belt. If you flip too close to the end you may damage the edge with metal details.
Some people think that they must keep serious pressure when moving. That’s wrong. You goal is to make the blade’s edge touch the leather as lightly as possible! If the pressure is too hard the edge may become dull.
We recommend to buy wide strop that covers all the surface of your blade. It will make the process a lot easier. But you also may use a narrow one. If it’s narrow you have several ways of using it but one of the best is to sharpen the first part of the blade and then the second. Make several strokes for the left part and then several strokes for the right part. Repeat. This will allow to cover all the surface.
Improper actions can make a well-sharpened razor feel much duller and rougher than it should actually feel like during a shave.
The issues resulting from poor technique are: