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How to dull an edge by stropping?

G

Guest

Chaps,

I've been thinking. Never a good thing, I know. But all that talk about beginners dulling their edges by stropping "wrongly"... Has anyone ever managed to actually dull an edge this way? I'm not talking about a steep angle and heavy pressure, just the occasional high pitched hissing of a blade not perfectly aligned with the strop.

Thanks,
Robin
 

DJKELLY

Well-Known Member
Hi Robin-Denny. I am a complete tyro to stropping correctly, but have learned a little from NOT doing it correctly. Before straight razor forums, I thought that stropping was done only five or six passes similar to honing on Crox. It was my observation that the razor got duller after this short session, so I gave up on the practice and shaved right off a pasted loom strop. My edges would not last a complete shave. Since this forum and a few others I have learned to use 30 linen and 50 or more leather and it still seems to me that the first few laps dull the edge and then make it much, much better. I am not sure, but I believe there is a microscopic "wire edge" that gets worked with the repeated passes but not with just a few. Hope this helps. Denny
 

wdwrx

Well-Known Member
ummmm..... yep!
My first pro-honed razor I dulled through poor stropping technique. I f I got two shaves out of it before I'd pooched the edge, i'd be surprised.
And another time, I pulled some kind of weird manouver that caused me to fling the razor across the room, and should have cut my strop clean in half, but didn't even leave a mark, resulted in a very obviously rolled edge. Some serious stropping on canvas recovered it almost perfectly though. I was quite surprised that I was able to get the edge back into shape.

As to the "hissing", I usually don't experience that any more, though it was quite common for me when i first started.

Surprisingly, I've read an old text (circa 1852 IIRC) that advocates tipping the razor to about a 10 deg angle for stropping by raising the spine off the strop! ( I couldn't find it with a quick search but I'll see if I can tomorow) They might have shaved with straights everyday back then, but mis-information was just as rampant then as it is now, it seems.

Also, as a curious note, "Liam Finnagan" an Irish Barber with a bit of Youtube fame, has a most bizzare stropping technique where his strop is held very loosley and he may even raise the spine a bit while stropping. I tried this method a time or two. with no great success. Here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vY46z9I90p0&feature=related At 1:21 you can see an example of his stropping. Not that I'd recommend that style to anyone without plenty of experience.
 

tat2Ralfy

Well-Known Member
You should see him use a Coticule, I dont know what gives, but I suspect that both the stropping video and Coticule video are wind ups.

Best regards
Ralfson (Dr)
 
G

Guest

You never know. I have seen people do similarly strange things with good results. I presume the learning curve is a bit steeper and longer. Like, decades instead of months.

Any road, back to stropping. I wilfully abused a razor this morning. Little pressure, wrong angle. It didn't negatively affect the blade. Which makes me wonder what one has to do to dull a blade by stropping. Pressure will do the trick, but teaching a beginner not to use pressure is easy. Even strokes, proper flipping, and keeping blade and strop aligned are a bit trickier. But at the end of the day, I doubt that the hysteria created elsewhere has any relation to reality.

Maybe a word on the background of my question: I was looking for a calligraphy pen to write a letter to one of my relatives (she prefers
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). In the box, I found a razor that our charwoman had put in there about three years ago. I had had this razor professionally honed three times because I was not getting the results I was made to expect by reading other forums. It never quite worked. It was, however, a 4/8, a size which I find difficult to use even today. So I test shaved with it, and lo! it worked. I still hate this razor, of course, but it shaves well. Which is why I believe that a lot of that "ooooh, be careful!!!!" stuff is just a way to get more people to have their razors "professionally" honed.

Regards,
Robin
 

wdwrx

Well-Known Member
Robin, that brings to mind a very common old technique (as per turn of the century writings) of checking the edge with the Thumb Nail Test even at the final stage. I once had a conversation with "English" about it on Olivia's site, and he also advocated that test, claiming that it also didn't do any damage to the edge. Not that I've tired it; I'm still too chicken to want to take a chance with a honed razor, though i do use it during bevel setting. Throw that one out on SRP..... I would, but after being spanked by the "Big Guy" on another forum, I'd probably get banned.

I'm not surprised that there is an agenda about having razors professionally honed, but I can't think how recommended stropping technique dovetails with that. I think that the recommendation of using pastes might do that more. My experience has been, as Bart once pointed out to me, that the edge deteriorates quickly, yet pastes are often the first advice given (after "send that razor out to a pro") BWTHDIK? I've quit using pastes all together now, and I'm just a n00b.

Cheers,
-Chris
 
G

Guest

Pasted stuff. The Germans swear by it, and I find it hard to believe that a nation that has been producing some of the finest razors around should have been collectively wrong. While it is certainly true that a pliable medium (like felt) or a strop will alter the edge geometry over time (months? years?), wood or hard rubber should be relatively safe.

The narrow mindedness is nothing that is SRP specific, by the way. It has to do with people, not sites. Some of the so called honemeisters are quite a few shillings short of a pound, and their approaches to anything related to sharpening show it. Makes me wonder how many of them believe in intelligent design.

Ah, well...
 

wdwrx

Well-Known Member
BeBerlin said:
Pasted stuff. The Germans swear by it, and I find it hard to believe that a nation that has been producing some of the finest razors around should have been collectively wrong.

I'm sure this is true. Though i don't speak French or German, I'm familiar with the idea of using pasted strops to do everything, including bevel setting. I've used GoogleTranslate to lurk a couple of European sites. I wasn't trying to denigrate a practice because it is different from what I do, just thinking out loud.

BeBerlin said:
The narrow mindedness is nothing that is SRP specific, by the way. It has to do with people, not sites.
Ahhh... but some are worse than others..... much worse. It's very obvious that one site in particular has a motivation to protect a mind-set. "Good advice doctored to increase sales" as it was once pointed out to me. It's at times pathetic to see the push for certain products and and services, often apropos of nothing. One more example of creative (or not so much) marketing. Some posts read like bad advertising copy. It has the unfortunate effect of tainting all advice.



BeBerlin said:
Some of the so called honemeisters are quite a few shillings short of a pound,

bwhahahahah! Ya think? :D


BeBerlin said:
...their approaches to anything related to sharpening show it.
I really do agree with the statement about "short a few shillings", but I'm curious to hear more about this.

Ralfson,
Do you really think those videos are bogus? (is that what you meant by "wind up"?) I've seen Liam's honing video as well, and was surprised at the amount of slurry he used, and his curious "pig-tail" stroke. Also the fact that he doesn't seem to dilute his slurry, or use his coti with just plain water (or lather for that matter).

Robin, sorry for hijacking your thread.... back to stropping...


Cheers,
-Chris
 

tat2Ralfy

Well-Known Member
Robin, you always start the most interesting threads :thumbup:

Chris, I do believe the videos are bogus, good american word btw. I may well be wrong but the way I see it is this, I can take a razor that is a little below par, i.e. in need of a touch up, and repeat exactly what liam does in his video, will the edge be better for it? most likely not, the video itself may not be bogus, just badly described or incomplete, either way I know that if someone asked me the best way to touch up a razor on a coticule, slow strokes, pig tails, and slurry most likely wouldn't be in the conversation.

My best regards
Ralfson (Dr)
 

Bart

Well-Known Member
A engrossing conversation, that you guys are having here. :)

First, about Liam Finnagan's stropping technique, he uses a very thick strop, and has a lot of slack in it, but his strop doesn't bend at the edge, I will guarantee you that.
Per request of Lynn Abrahms, I made a diagram once, that illustrates what I think is an important factor when stropping, way more important that the actual slack in a strop.

Ar in words, there needs to be some pressure on the spine. The ultimate of not having any pressure on the spine, is lifting it.
If you want to know what it does, try it! I have.
Take a razor that passes the HHT well and strop it 5 laps with the spine lifted a few mm above the leather. What a nice way to kill the HHT. :) Now strop the same razor about 30 laps in good fashion. Notice how the HHT returns. That someone tells me again that stropping isn't about realigning an edge. I bet Robin stropped this 4/8 before shaving with it yesterday. I regularly receive "assess my edge before rehoning it"-razors, that I can easily improve with a bit of efficient stropping.

Bottom line: inefficient stropping doesn't instantly kill an edge, unless we're talking about turning the razor over the edge, or some other severe calamity. Nevertheless, inefficient stropping will be, well eh... inefficient.

The case against pasted stropping has a lot to do with it being much easier. If it were as good as honing, what fools would we be to use solid hones for achieving something that can be done quicker and easier with a 4 sided paddle and the right pastes. So, there has to be something wrong with it, right? As a perverse side-effect, everyone can quickly learn to sharpen with a 4-sided paddle, so no one would need to rely on "professional" honing. The international honing hero's consortium can't allow that to happen, can they? :D
But all joking aside, take a razor, dull on glass, hone it on a Coticule with slurry till it shaves arm hair. Next take it to a paddle strop with Dovo red paste for 30 laps and finish on a paddle strop with CrO. Shaves me very well. Been there, done that and all. But don't put the CrO paddle to far away, because you will soon be using it every other shave. Is there something wrong with that? Hell no. Your razor will still last many years and the shaves will always be great. I know several people who use that method. By the way Robin: all pasted stropping lends it ease and efficiency from a pliable or compressible surface. It is the introduced convexity that focuses the abrasive action on the very edge. In a way, the layer of tape in the Unicot method achieves exactly the same. But there is nothing inherently wrong with a convex edge. It just needs to be re-flattened ever once in a while. That is easy enough.

Chris, about the lifting of the spine. It has been speculated that the old wedges were honed with the spine lifted above the hones, just like a normal knife would be sharpened. The fact that most antique wedges are not found with the kind of bevel width that would be present if they were being sharpened flat on the hones, seems to support that hypothesis. If we read your old resource in that light, we must not be surprised that they would not strop the razor flat either. Just a thought.

Kind regards,
Bart.
 

tat2Ralfy

Well-Known Member
Yes yes
But what about the honing video?? ...lol

Nice post Sir Bart, and very informative as always Sir :thumbup:

Best Regards
Ralfson (Dr)
 

wdwrx

Well-Known Member
tat2Ralfy said:
Nice post Sir Bart, and very informative as always Sir :thumbup:
Hear! Hear!

I'm intrigued by mention of doing more laps to regain HHT values. It put me in mind of something I've often wondered: if razors and stones and strops all don't become "set" to a particular user. Meaning that if you strop or hone a razor a particular way for extended lengths, the edge or other properties would take on an individualist quality, such that if another user took it, it wouldn't be optimized to his idiosyncrasies and so he might find it difficult to strop, or shave with? I think it might explain such a huge disparity between various styles of honing or stropping, all of which apparently are effective for that particular user. Or is that a silly question?

I guess I'm thinking of dished hones, and worn out blades, "honing art work", that kind of thing.

Some thoughts about the diagram though. Wouldn't there be a very faint deflection over the edge? Such that instead of two simple planes whose axis is under the spine there are actually three, with a slight second axis under the edge? Very minor, I'll admit, but I would suggest that it is controll over that very fine variable, the second axis, that bespeaks "skilled" stropping. I may be speaking too soon, as i haven't reached to point where i've extended the use of an edge very long, I just keep re-honing the darn things!:D

Just some thoughts...
 

Bart

Well-Known Member
wdwrx said:
Some thoughts about the diagram though. Wouldn't there be a very faint deflection over the edge? Such that instead of two simple planes whose axis is under the spine there are actually three, with a slight second axis under the edge? Very minor, I'll admit, but I would suggest that it is controll over that very fine variable, the second axis, that bespeaks "skilled" stropping.
But of course. There is deflection at the edge as well, both caused by a bend in the strop and a slight compression of the leather.
I believe most people would agree that, for clean leather stropping, a hanging strops is more effective than a piece of leather glued to a board. It's the increased deflection of a hanging strop that makes it more efficient, or shall I say "more powerful"?
But, too much is too much, as the little experiment I suggested, will clearly demonstrate.

About your other idea, that the tools become used to the owner, I'm more skeptical. I do believe that everyone eventually develops his very personal set of proceedings that all work together to form a successful habit. In that light, you can safely assume that my stropping style suits Coticule edges best, and that my shaving technique (angle, pressure, etc.) is tuned to the kind of edges I have on my razors. Yet I don't think that my tools are aware of that. After all, they are dead items, even though the strop has been alive once, and so was the brush. The latter can even become alive when not cleaned properly for a prolonged time. :D

Bart.
 

wdwrx

Well-Known Member
Bart said:
....The latter can even become alive when not cleaned properly for a prolonged time. :D

Bart.
I had one of those once... it finally crawled out of the shower and died! Then through a very circuitous route I ended up here. Who'da thunk?:w00t:
 

deighaingeal

Well-Known Member
Thanks everyone for this thread it has been an interesting read. I have always been very curious about the pasted strops as a replacement for hones. I have made a couple of leather "hones" and I own a full set of diamond sprays for polishing stones, but have yet combined the two for fear of my lack of experience.

-Gerrit
 

torbenbp

Well-Known Member
You really should`nt fear experiments going wrong. There is some excellent advice around here,Sir Bart and others,should be taken to the letter. But playing around,with different combinations of hones,sprayes etc. doesnt mean you are doing it "wrong". It`s all a matter of preference. Some like an ultra sharp edge,with an instant "bite". Others prefer a more forgiving and _perhaps_ less sharp edge..Both have their supporters,and I see nothing wrong with it.

In my very humble experience,going above 12-16 strops on pasted linnen with,gives a "bity" edge and thus destroyes the coticule edge. An edge that is much preffered,in my case.

Kind regards
Torbs
 

deighaingeal

Well-Known Member
I suppose I have always been that way. I research until I am blue in the face, then spend a lot of time re-reading. I may eventually step up and do something, but it takes time. I still haven't touched my BBW because of this. (I do not own a coti yet as I am still a student and do not have the funding.) I might start a thread about this if I ever get over myself.
Back to our regularly scheduled thread!
 

tat2Ralfy

Well-Known Member
RIGHT YOU HORRIBLE LOT!! THIS THREAD HAS GONE WAY WAY OFF TOPIC FOR LONG ENOUGH!!
ALL POSTS THAT DONT CONTAIN THE WORDS "DULLING" AND "STROPPING" IN THAT ORDER AND IN ENGLISH WILL BE DELETED WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT!!!

Oh wait, wrong Forum!!!!

Bwhahahaha Bhahahahaha Bwhahahahaha (lightning flash as all fades to black) Bwhahahaha!!!

"The rain poured down on the city as night fell, but the rain cant wash the city clean, only one man can do that, and it is me, Bwhahahaha!"
 
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