ShavingUniverse.com

Register a free account now!

If you are registered, you get access to the members only section, can participate in the buy & sell second hand forum and last but not least you can reserve your preferred username before someone else takes it.

Nubuck leather strop?

Dovofan

Well-Known Member
Well, I have an old strop, stiff as a board, that had a surface like melted sugar. When I tried to strop a razor on it, it would make a terrible "hissing" sound, even though the razor was perfectly flat on it. So I decided to sand it, make it softer. I used 200 and 325 grit sandpaper and the result is a nubuck-like surface. So, is this finish on a leather strop suitable for stropping razors? :-/

This cheap peace of leather now produces a decent draw, unlike the glazed surface it had, and is now more soft, having a bit of a flex when I put the blade on it. The only downside so far is that it leaves fine "leather dust" on the razor after a good stropping, which can be easily removed with a paper tissue...

So, what do you guys think? Should I use the "lather and rolled bottle method" to give it a shiny surface, or just live it like this? Which one would work better?

Best regards,
Alex
 

wdwrx

Well-Known Member
Alex, for my 2¢, I'd try the lather and bottle. Though the fact that it keeps shedding makes me worry that the leather itself is beginning to deteriorate.
 

Dovofan

Well-Known Member
Thanks Chris!
Do you know of any other way I could bring this strop back to life? Besides the "neatsfoot`s oil", which is widely UNavailable in my country... much like other things, actually...
Other leather treatment products are all water based, mixed with silicone, glycerin, but they seem to be not "oily" enough. What I mean is that, the water in these products seem to make matters worse, as the leather gets wet and then dry again, and so on...

And regarding the shedding... It`s not deteriorating, in my oppinion, but blade kind of cuts (with the spine I guess) the fine grains of the leather! :-/
 

wdwrx

Well-Known Member
well, the lather might help, be sure to use lanolin based lather (I keep a puck of Williams around just for that reason, though I could be wrong that it even has lanolin in it.)
I wet the puck down, and then rub it on the strop. While it's drying rub the hell out of it with a bottle. Wipe with a damp rag to clean up any obvious residue, and let it dry a few hours.
I've treated my leather strops with a leather conditioner that was labeled as "food safe" or some such. Had to dig the bottle up: "Leather New: A blend of high quality oils" Though that probably won't help you much, as it's an American product. I guess my point is, maybe try to find a good quality leather conditioner, but avoid anything with silicone, waxes or petroleum distillates in it.

keep us posted.
 

Dovofan

Well-Known Member
Thanks for the tips!

I`m searching a local equivalent of neatsfoot oil, online, and this is something rather frustrating, as the word for "leather" is the same word for "skin" in my language... You can imagine the hits I get, with God-knows-what kind of oils for women to put on their skin... Quite fun, actually :)) Not the thing I was looking for, though :blink:

My soap is the L`Occitane Cade Soap (yes,with the bowl), I guess it has lanolin, but I`ve tried it once before and it always leave a soapy and gooey surface afterwards... Still looking for other solutions

Alex
 

Bart

Well-Known Member
I wouldn't be too quick to add something oily to the leather, and if so, only very sparingly.
A bit of human skin oil, left by a vigorous rubbing may be just the thing. And it's free.:)

But before that, I would sand that strop to a finer degree, 600 grit will do. Vacuum it very well after that, and start rubbing it with your bare hands. Keep doing that every time you use it, and the strop will improve over the course of a few weeks. It may help to run your hands trough your hair, before rubbing the strop, as that picks up some natural oil.

But let's hope Torolf chimes in, he's a bit our resident leather specialist over here.

You can always have a go with oily/greasy substances later, but before you know it, you'll be stropping on a coat of grease. That works well for some fellows, but somehow it doesn't work well for me.:confused: Maybe a matter of different stropping technique, or different expectations.

Kind regards,
Bart.
 

wdwrx

Well-Known Member
danjared said:
You could also use mink oil or Dovo yellow paste.

Bingo! There's about the best answer I think you'll get.
Mink oil can go rancid though, IIRC, so I'd keep that as a second choice.
 

wdwrx

Well-Known Member
And the voice of reason speaks! Thanks Bart, you are of course correct. I've got one strop that definitely has too much oil in it. Whatever you do Alex, do sparingly.
 

Dovofan

Well-Known Member
Thank you guys for the input!

For now I`m going to stick to Bart`s idea. This is because 1.the nubuck finish actually works and 2. I don`t enjoy an oily-lardy piece of strop for my razors either. The soap I used always left gunk, and so did the extremely-rich-in-lanolin hand creams that I also used...

Now, to find a finer grit sandpaper... I`m thinking of taking it even further, to 1000, so that the surface is really smooth :sneaky:

Eventually, I will change this piece of **** with a proper strop... I`ve got my mind set on the Old Traditional that the guys at Different Scent sell... But 80 Euros is something that I do not have just laying around just now... :cry:
 

TM280

Well-Known Member
Thanks for that link, Ray.

Alex,

Bart gave you good advice. Work up with increasingly fine sandpaper. If you have taken the surface off of the leather, it will never be slick and shiny again but you will probably wind up with something very pleasant. Burnishing with soap and bottle will get you close if you sand first up as high as possible (You could try to find a bar of "pure" glycerin soap, women use it on their faces...).

I've seen a few vintage nubuck-type strops and have prepared them myself (I also believe that Ruprazor sells only nubuck strops...). Very nice for stropping if the oil content is well controlled. I have an old horsehide strop which I need to take the oil out of, it clearly will be a great strop but sticks a bit. So I would advise to finish your sanding then see if it needs any conditioning. If you like the draw, do it from the backside, then it makes very little difference what conditioner you use (even though I tend to avoid silicone myself...).

regards,
Torolf
 

wdwrx

Well-Known Member
There's a links section?:confused:
:thumbup:

Someone should give me a link to it then... I've got a few.... And I'd love to see what Cedrick has....
 

Dovofan

Well-Known Member
Bart said:
Upper right menu. It says "recommended websites". :)

Thank you for that, and thanks to Ray for that wonderful resource. It sure changes the way we ought to think the conditioning of our strops... Should at least prevent them to get soaked in oils. :thumbup:

Best regards,
Alex
 

Dovofan

Well-Known Member
TM280 said:
So I would advise to finish your sanding then see if it needs any conditioning. If you like the draw, do it from the backside, then it makes very little difference what conditioner you use (even though I tend to avoid silicone myself...).

I haven`t put anything on the face of the strop yet, and I don`t think I will, provided I will find sandpaper that is fine enough to give a rather smooth surface. As for the oil, I will put it only on the back of the strop, and let it migrate through the fibers, to the front. I understood from the article that Ray linked in his post, that it is better to rub the leather with a damp cloth on the surface, then apply oil on the back, so that the oil doesn`t reach the surface and it doesn`t cause the fibers to swell and loose their suppleness. That is exactly what I am going to do! :thumbup:
 

urmas

Well-Known Member
Dovofan said:
Well, I have an old strop, stiff as a board, that had a surface like melted sugar. When I tried to strop a razor on it, it would make a terrible "hissing" sound, even though the razor was perfectly flat on it. Alex

Hi Alex,

The first thing, what I would do is making a leather supple... and after that goes sanding and soaping and botteling...
Recently, I found a good remedy to making leather supple - look for leather conditioning oil at animal stores, where are traded with horse holding goods. This oil is used for saddles and for other leather things for maintenance. This oil contains mineral oils and animal fats. Perhaps it is that neatsfoot oil, I don't know...
Do not use too much of oil and maybe it's better when you use the oil on leather strop back side. The goal is to make leather supple but not oily.

I have a several strops and only Kanayama and TM were supple, all others new strops what I have bought - Dovo, Herold were stiff and dry.

Best regards,
Urmas
 
Top