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Strop cleaning question

mysteryrazor

Well-Known Member
I received 6 used strops. All the linens need cleaning. I usually use ivory soap and a brush. The linen usually shrinks 1/2 to 3/4 inch. On one of the strops a C-Mon Master the linen is thickly encrusted. What cleaning products are safe?
 

Emmanuel

Well-Known Member
Jay my AV friend.1) You have to clean them with a pure soap.Then ,in a basin add warm( no hot)
water for example 5 liters plus one kilo sifted wood ash.Linens should be stay soaked for 24 hrs.After rinsing should be white like the snow. Thats the safest and more traditional method.
Your friend
Emmanuel
 

Bart

Well-Known Member
Emmanuel said:
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:thumbup:
This man is a treasure of artisan knowledge. I have almost that exact same recipe for cleaning fabric, in a booklet about pre WWII household tasks (home tanning hides, etc...)

Kind regards,
Bart
 

TM280

Well-Known Member
The wood ash creates a mild lye solution. You could use lye soap.

regards,
Torolf
 

vgeorge

Well-Known Member
I use on my linen shirts Woolite and Resolve, very mild detergent and stain remover.

Am I to understand that these modern cleaning agents could be not good or damaging on a Linen strop?

(I do understand that Emmanuel's method is traditional and in line with the history of our hobby.)
 

TM280

Well-Known Member
Hi Emmanuel,

Lye is soaked out of wood ash, mixed with fats one can produce soap.
This is basically how we made it when I was growing up:
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regards,
Torolf
 

mysteryrazor

Well-Known Member
Thank you for the information and help. I worked up the nerve to wash the strop. This one is going to be a project. The crust is rouge and not water soluble. I have used alcohol in the solution and that is helping. The strop is soaking and I will go out and shop for some stronger soap.
 

mysteryrazor

Well-Known Member
I used Blast a non chlorine powdered bleach with Borax and Costco liquid soap. It took five washings to get the strop clean. The second strop was no problem in comparison. I will wash the strops 2 at a time so I do not mix up the hardware and leather.
 

wdwrx

Well-Known Member
I have a similarly treated vintage strop; heavy reddish, caked on stuff, completely impervious to water and normal detergents. I finally took the, somewhat extreme, step of soaking it in virgin lacquer thinner, allowing it to soak and changing the fluid several times. IIRC it ended up soaking for days on end. I even took to "smacking" the stuff out of it by swinging it through the air in such a manner that it would hit a clean board evenly along its length with a very satisfactory "smack" sound and leave a bunch of whatever the hell that stuff was behind.
It removed about 90% of the stuff in it, but not enough to make me want to actually use it.
I'm intrigued by the wood-ash step, but in all honesty,I have a surplus of strops now (cant remember the last time I use a strop progression) so I'll try to keep the idea in mind come spring.
 

mysteryrazor

Well-Known Member
I have to consider my self lucky in getting the strop clean. Rubbing alcohol helped a lot and repeated brushing and soaking in Blast and liquid soap worked on that one. The others should come clean they just look like normal lax care.
 

Smythe

Well-Known Member
The encrusted "stuff" is probably wax or some type of oil.
Before attempting to wash the material in soap and water you need to remove the waxy stuff.

The best thing I know for that is lighter fluid or Naphtha. Naphtha is a solvent that will not harm the material, but will devolve wax and oils and carry away any abrasive grits with it.

Caution... Naphtha is flammable... so do this outside.

After you think you removed all or most of the waxy stuff, allow to dry then wash with soap to remove the NON waxy stuff and get it white.
 
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