How to get a sharp blade without your strop?

Use a straight. You know it makes sense.
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SolingenFan
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How to get a sharp blade without your strop?

Post by SolingenFan » Tue Mar 25, 2008 7:29 pm

I forgot my hanging strop at my parents home today. I was forced to use a small paddle style strop, and got a bad shave.

Today I experimented with using a rough tablecloth, and a piece of leather from an old satchel.
Still a blunt feeling.

After that I gave it about 100 laps on the small strop. And about 50 laps after the first pass.

My question: how do you cope with these situations, when no strop at all is within reach?

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kaptain_zero
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Post by kaptain_zero » Tue Mar 25, 2008 8:13 pm

Take some sheets of newspaper, fold them up nicely into a strop. Open a drawer slightly and put one end of the paper strop a couple inches inside the drawer and push the drawer shut. If the fit is tight you should be able to pull the paper strop taut and can strop away. If the drawer doesn't work, you can lay the paper strop on the edge of a table and use it as a bench strop... if that doesn't work, use the belt that holds yer pants up! Personally, I can shave right off a fine barbers hone without stropping so in a pinch, that's what I would do.

Regards

Christian
Previously lost, on the way to the pasture. Now pasteurized.

EL Alamein
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Post by EL Alamein » Tue Mar 25, 2008 8:30 pm

In such a pinch I strop on my fore arm.

Regards,
EL

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Post by mparker762 » Tue Mar 25, 2008 8:51 pm

I strop on my leg if I'm wearing jeans, or newspaper if that's available. Failing that, I'll strop on my arm.

But mostly, I try not to get in that situation. I've got a couple of travel strops - a small paddle and one of tony miller's vegan hangers and they can go just about anywhere as long as I remember to pack one.

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Joe Lerch
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Post by Joe Lerch » Wed Apr 02, 2008 8:03 am

These are all good answers, but be aware that in his comprehensive report on knife sharpening Prof. Verhoeven found that stropping on plain leather after honing did not affect sharpness.

The real benefit of stropping comes after you've used a blade and caused the microserrations in the edge to spread out. This makes the edge wider and effectively, less sharp. Stropping stands the microserrations back up, making the edge thinner and, effectively, sharper.

When you've just finished honing, the microserrations are all aligned, so you wouldn't expect stropping to sharpen the edge. What it will do is smooth the edge, making the shave more comfortable. For some, the results of a fine hone (say 10K) may be smooth enough, so no stropping is needed after honing. So, it would be possible to use a fine hone after every shave and never strop. This wears the blade unnecessarily.

If you don't have a strop and you don't want to hone constantly, all of the ways described by others will work. I suggest you do it to prevent deterioration of the edge by the shave. It may mean mid-shave stropping.
Joe

SolingenFan
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Post by SolingenFan » Fri Apr 04, 2008 1:08 pm

It may mean mid-shave stropping.
Indeed. If I feel the blade is becoming less sharp than comfortable, than I strop again between passes 2 and 3.

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Post by Dave_D » Fri Apr 04, 2008 2:05 pm

If a blade starts fading between passes I dump the blade, several Dovos have not made the cut for that reason. Ive read the research that indicates that stroping doesnt actually sharpen the blade, but whatever it does seems to make the blade cut better.

Dave

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drmoss_ca
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Post by drmoss_ca » Fri Apr 04, 2008 2:36 pm

Dave_D wrote:Ive read the research that indicates that stroping doesnt actually sharpen the blade, but whatever it does seems to make the blade cut better.

Dave
'Splain it to me. It doesn't sharpen, but it does cut better. What, exactly, does that say about the knowledge and intelligence of the author of that research?

Chris
"Je n'ai pas besoin de cette hypothèse."
Pierre-Simon de Laplace

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Joe Lerch
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Post by Joe Lerch » Fri Apr 04, 2008 3:43 pm

drmoss_ca wrote:
Dave_D wrote:Ive read the research that indicates that stroping doesnt actually sharpen the blade, but whatever it does seems to make the blade cut better.

Dave
'Splain it to me. It doesn't sharpen, but it does cut better. What, exactly, does that say about the knowledge and intelligence of the author of that research?

Chris
First, it's legitimate research. This author has a lot of work in this area, and he's a prof. at a major college. His name is Verhoeven and the paper relates experiments in sharpening. It's easy to find.

Secondly, it depends what you call sharpening. Most of us would consider sharpening as removing material. Plain leather stropping doesn't do that to any significant degree. It only smooths, and even that requires a lot of reps.

So what does leather do? It realigns the edge. I think of the microserrations like the bristles on an old toothbrush, sticking out in all directions. That makes the edge thicker and effectively less sharp. When you strop, you stand those buggers back up, making the edge thinner, and effectively sharper. THis is common knowledge and can even be found in the old barber manuals. However, shaving does gradually wear down the edge, and eventually (maybe a year) youe need to remove material to actually sharpen the edge.

How about answering my question about the hones you used?
Joe

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Joe Lerch
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Post by Joe Lerch » Fri Apr 04, 2008 3:47 pm

Dave_D wrote:If a blade starts fading between passes I dump the blade, several Dovos have not made the cut for that reason. Ive read the research that indicates that stroping doesnt actually sharpen the blade, but whatever it does seems to make the blade cut better.

Dave
It is not unusual for stropping to be necessary mid-shave. It depends on the toughness of the beard.

When I was young, I used to go to an old Italian barber who was a master of shaving. It was not unusual for him to strop while shaving someone.

If you're dumping razors because of this, you may be throwing out good razors. Dovos tend to be good.
Joe

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Post by SolingenFan » Fri Apr 04, 2008 10:44 pm

Is stropping on the canvas side just realigning the edge, or does it remove some material as well, just as a very fine honing stone would do?

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drmoss_ca
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Post by drmoss_ca » Sat Apr 05, 2008 3:29 am

Joe Lerch wrote:Secondly, it depends what you call sharpening. Most of us would consider sharpening as removing material. Plain leather stropping doesn't do that to any significant degree. It only smooths, and even that requires a lot of reps.
A semantic problem then. I would define sharpening as the act of making it cut better, which might be done by means of honing, stropping etc.
Joe Lerch wrote:How about answering my question about the hones you used?
I can find no such question in this thread.

Chris
"Je n'ai pas besoin de cette hypothèse."
Pierre-Simon de Laplace

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kaptain_zero
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Post by kaptain_zero » Sat Apr 05, 2008 5:51 pm

SolingenFan wrote:Is stropping on the canvas side just realigning the edge, or does it remove some material as well, just as a very fine honing stone would do?
It would seem that our collective knowledge on this question has been documented in this thread.

Regards

Christian
Previously lost, on the way to the pasture. Now pasteurized.

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rustyblade
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Post by rustyblade » Sat Apr 05, 2008 6:01 pm

If you have a tendency to nick your strop, stropping on your arm or leg probably isn't a good idea. :lol:

Ooooh I hit an artery!
Richard

sebell
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Post by sebell » Sat Apr 05, 2008 8:08 pm

I also thought about that Richard... I can't really imagine
stropping on my arm. Perhaps that Shavette will come in
handy some day :)

- Scott

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Post by Esoteric83 » Sun Apr 06, 2008 12:24 am

If Chuck Norris shaved... :lol:

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Joe Lerch
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Post by Joe Lerch » Mon Apr 07, 2008 8:59 am

drmoss_ca wrote:
Joe Lerch wrote:Secondly, it depends what you call sharpening. Most of us would consider sharpening as removing material. Plain leather stropping doesn't do that to any significant degree. It only smooths, and even that requires a lot of reps.
A semantic problem then. I would define sharpening as the act of making it cut better, which might be done by means of honing, stropping etc.
Joe Lerch wrote:How about answering my question about the hones you used?
I can find no such question in this thread.

Chris
If you want to define sharpening that broadly, OK. But manufacturers of blades to things to make them sharper, like coating, and that's not sharpening. So we definitely have a semantic problem.

Regardless of what you call it, there's a difference between removing material from an edge and realigning it. The latter procedure includes stropping on leather and steeling a knife.

The process most of us follow is to remove material occasionally and realign frequently, usually for every shave. My point is that a newly sharpened blade doesn't need alignment, but may benefit from the clenaning or smoothing some stropping offers. Some guys don't need that stropping if they finish with a fine enough hone.

On the second point, I think I was referring to a differenet thread in which you described a honing sequence. My mistake.
Joe

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