February 02, 2008

Stropping is king

It's easy to forget when you've got a closetful of hones for dealing with those old ebay razors, but the guys in the old days frequently made do with just their strop.  The linen on the back is a slow polishing hone, but is sufficient to keep a razor sharp if you use it enough.  How much is "enough" depends on a number of factors, like the coarseness of your beard, the pH of your water, and the quality of your preparation, but somewhere between 20 and 50 laps should do it.  Just keep a light touch, since as with all honing the lighter the touch the finer the edge will be.  The coarse linen bangs the edge around, so after sharpening the razor on the linen be sure to follow it up with 20 laps or so on the leather to straighten the edge back out.

Another option I've been playing with is denim, which is also a very fine slow abrasive, but because it's a finer weave than linen it doesn't seem to knock the edge off kilter as much.  I've had great success stropping on the denim and going directly to the shave.  Unfortunately denim is much flimsier than the linen used for strops, so I put it on a paddle strop. 

denim paddle

Posted by: mparker762 at 09:18 PM
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