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Stropping a VALET Autostrop?

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Stropping a VALET Autostrop?

Postby Karl » Wed Feb 01, 2017 5:33 pm

SO far in my adventures in antique razors I have collected several models by buying lots and estate sales. I ended up with 3 VALET Autostrops. These are about as SteamPunk as a razor can get and even though I did not hold high expectations I bought a pack of FEATHER blades and tried one. Despite what felt like a near death experience I was very pleasantly surprised by the closeness of the shave and no nicks (unlike my evil GEM).
Going back and forth between razors this VALET steadily became my favorite except for the nearly $1.00 blades that I get 5 shaves out of then it just suddenly pull the hairs.

So I found a couple old strops but I am making the blades much duller. I did find an old copy of the instructions but that does not seem to help. It says 10 times (each way?) and not to use any rouge or grit. I found a couple YouTube videos but no improvement. The strops seem to be in excellent shape for their age. I tried making my own strop. I tried a high end white polishing rouge; no luck.

Has someone discovered the secret trick to getting the claimed 4 months per blade from stropping a VALET? [-o<
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Re: Stropping a VALET Autostrop?

Postby oldjoe » Wed Feb 01, 2017 7:56 pm

Not 4 months but using neats foot oil on each blade the stropping results in a very sharp adequate blade for me. Also works very well on the old Rolls Razor
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Re: Stropping a VALET Autostrop?

Postby CMur12 » Wed Feb 01, 2017 11:18 pm

Welcome to SMF, Karl.

I've never had a Valet Autostrop, but I believe I have read that the blade needs to be sharpened, as one would a straight razor, if the blade is actually dull. The Autostrop system will probably help to extend the life of a good sharpening, but I doubt it will sharpen a dull blade. I may have this razor confused with the Rolls Razor.

I think Brian/ShadowsDad knows something about this, so hopefully he will weigh in.

- Murray
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Re: Stropping a VALET Autostrop?

Postby Karl » Thu Feb 02, 2017 12:28 pm

oldjoe - I did liberally apply Neats Foot Oil to just the back of the older, dryer strop that I found. I was careful not to get any oil on the smooth front. It was impressive how much oil such a thin piece of leather can soak up. Since I have a spare strip I may try Neats on the front too.

CMur12 - Thank you. Old razors have become my recent fixation. I did try to strop an old dull blade back to life with no luck. I tried a blade after 4 shaves that was just beginning to pull and the strop dulled it completely. My stropping so far is having the opposite effect that I want.

This is one of the YouTube videos: [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buPBS_QDh8M[/youtube]

Except for the failed stropping and expensive FEATHER blades I like everything about these old VALET razors. So far I have picked up 9 with only one being dead (blade holder mashed/frozen). Some like the most handsome one are a little aggressive but I found that the open/close tab in the back is cleverly designed to allow you to adjust the blade exposure too. I cannot seem to take clear pictures of something this small or find a picture online but one is case hardened steel with a brass top and as nicely made as any little pocket revolver you could ask for - but a little too aggressive.

I have not tried modifying a GEM blade yet. They seem much thicker than FEATHER blades but about as sharp so maybe they will strop better. (and cost half as much)
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Re: Stropping a VALET Autostrop?

Postby CMur12 » Thu Feb 02, 2017 3:33 pm

Karl, Treet, PAL, and GEM Blue Star blades are carbon steel, so they might strop better than stainless blades, especially the coated stainless.

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Re: Stropping a VALET Autostrop?

Postby brothers » Thu Feb 02, 2017 8:50 pm

It's not just stropping that gives an edge to a blade. It's honing on a proper stone. On these ancient blades that haven't been properly sharpened in many decades, it's going to take a bit of work to get it to cut whiskers once again. Once there is an edge to do the cutting, then stropping when done properly can prolong the life of the existing efficiently cutting edge. It so happens that there is a good sticky posted here in August of 2008 by D.Irving, a previously active member of this shaving forum. Just take a quick peek just above this topic, near the top, that has a little light bulb icon, How to sharpen a wedge blade.
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