Fromm Strop Dressing vs Neatsfoot Oil

Discussion in 'Strops/Stropping' started by sc.toor, Feb 11, 2012.

  1. Long story short, I'm upgrading from Larry's Poor Man kit after quite a few months of use on and off.
    I'll probably pick up one of his new-ish Rich Man strops, but the consideration of a TM instead is still kicking around in the back of my head.

    Anyways, onto the point.
    I hear a lot of talk about Fromm Strop Dressing and Neatsfoot Oils for keeping a strop in good condition.
    Is one meant for restoration and another for upkeep, or do they both do the same thing?
    I'm curious if there is a difference between the results of the two, or if it's just another personal preference.
    Looking at the price point, one would assume the Fromm stuff to work better, but we all know what they say about assuming things.
  2. I like Mitchells Wool fat shave soap. I put a coat of lather on the strop as needed and let it dry overnight then thoroughly wipe it clean with a dry cloth prior to my next use. Don't use a nice brush as it will pick up dye from the leather.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2012
  3. I would suggest not using either on my strops. While dressings have their place it is always better to use them if you really need to change the feel of a strop rather than as a routine thing. Rubbing with the hand is usually all that is needed for most strops as dressings can sometimes totally change how a strop feels, often for the better, but occasionally for the worse.

  4. Kentos

    Kentos Moderator Emeritus

    If you get Tony's Paragon strop, you will likely never need to condition the thing if you take care of it.
  5. both get the job done. I orginally ordered the Fromm with my Illinois Strop last year. I wouldnt call it a miracle snake oil. It did what is was intended to do. Somewhere it was recommended to dress the strop. I cannot remember where. No way just using oils from had would have made the difference I got from using a product. I do give the strop a run with palm of hand now and it's just enough to keep it where it needs to be for me. I have a few other projects going on and needed specifically neetsfoot oil. Decided to do a comparrison for strops. Larry recently sent me a poormans paddle strop for testing. I did one side with Fromm and one side with Neetsfoot oil to see if there was a big difference. I don't notice any difference after letting it sit . Long term could make a difference. Fromm is a white, light creamy substance with a pleasant smell. Neetsfoot oil is a yellow colored oil that is by far slicker then Fromm when doing comparison tests on rubbing fingers together after wiping product off. Night and day difference. I wouldn't say smell is unpleasant but it's a oil type smell.
    With th difference in slickness I would suspect you could make a difference In way strop felt compared to Fromm with neetsfoot oil depending on how much product one used.

  6. Mark,
    This is the biggest problem with dressings.....using too much. Once applied it is hard to undo again. Nothing wrong with a dressing once you have a bit of experience and feel you need a different draw. Many times though newbies in their excitment with the hobby feel they need to constantly tweak their gear whether the gear needs it or not. In the beginning I suggest leaving things alone. Later though experimenting is fine if done carefully and dressings are applied in a controlable manner.

    I have used the Fromm dressing years ago on an Illinois strop and it helped an overly hard surface develop more draw. Neat's Foot Oil can provide everything from a silky draw, to a hard almost waxed surface to a slippery mess depending how much and how quickly it is applied.

    I like the idea of applying very light layers of dressing until the desired feel is reached but stopping short of too much. I think the idea is for the oils in the dressing to soften and expand the fibers of the leather but not fully saturating it to where the oil now becomes more of a lubricant than a friction enhancer. This is where I have seen newbies have a hard time knowing when to stop so suggest doing nothing at first until they feel their strop needs something rather than overdoing it right out of the gate. I have had luck with applying a small amount of dressing to my hands and rubbing a thin film onto the strop repeatedly until the right feel developed. I have also tried flooding the surface then rubbing most off before the leather becomes fully saturated. This is more of a gamble though.

    A lot will depend on the type of leather. Latigo is already waxy/oily and depending on the proportion of wax/oil the dressing may either blend or repell from the surface. More natural leather will absorb the dressing and give the best results. Bridle leathers are finished in a variety of ways. Some have the colored dyes applied almost like a painted on layer and seem to repell most dressings. Other have the dyes in the leather, rather than on it and will accept dressings much better depending on the waxes used.

    Dressings do have their place but one cannot always predict their results. This is why I prefer caution in the use of them. I hate to see newbies ruin a new strop right out of the box feeling they need to dress them first before ever using them.

  7. ouch

    ouch Moderator Contributor

    + a million on not using too much.

    I had an old strop that at one point was more neatsfoot oil than leather, so for years I avoided using it altogether. Recently, I found that a dab of Dovo dressing (in the tiny yellow tube) worked wonders on my latigo. When I say use a small amouont, I mean a small amount. It comes out of the tube about the diameter of the lead from a mechanical pencil, and 1/8" of it is enough. Nothing beats just using a strop until it becomes perfect, but occasionally you need to help things along.

  8. So, I shouldn't have used half the bottle on a small strop? just kidding. I should have prefaced only using a very very small amount. Also should have said the fromm can be a little frogiving where I suspect the neetsfoot oil won't be. That's why I talked about the super slickness and keft out Important facts. I have also made my own strops to experiment with different draws while dreaming about someday hopefully being able to own one of those wonderful TonyMiller strops.
    I have had leather boots since I was a kid, leather hunting gear, so applying some type of product to restore, clean and water proof em, I learned the hard way a long time ago always always start out with the least amount of product. I remember the first time I used my dads mink oil that was the same one he has had since I can rememeber and still has the same one. Got yelled at for using too much and made boots look like crap.
  9. Mark,

    Did the same thing with hiking boots 35-40 years ago. We were so into hiking and backpacking that whenever we couldn't hike we waterproofed our boots. They really only needed so much dressing but we were eager and had nothing else to do all night. We had the greasiest boots around!

    Mink oil and Sno-seal were my favorites.

  10. i also don't think the oils form my hands are enough to maintain my strops. a bit of neatsfoot on my star shaving big momma strop seems to have enhanced it. i squirt it out of a travel spray bottle to apply and the massage it in...

    i'd like totry a tony miller one day... one with lots and lots o' draw. any suggestions?
  11. Kentos

    Kentos Moderator Emeritus

    Hope someone sells their latigo. Then give it a little oil for good measure :).
  12. Love Sno-seal I have a giant tub of it, been using that well since I got banned from the mink oil. Guys in the military could never figure out why I was only one with boots that didn't leak. Great stuff. I will say I know Sno-seal wont work on certain things and I'm not saying what but it doesn't. Then again most of my experiments never work. Hell, my wife's winter bots were Sno-sealed, the kids boots , the dog leashes etc. wife wasn't happy bout her boots. Oppps! Yeah let's here about those wonderful strops of yours and draw. So much more has gone on your website since I was a newb and bugged you with strop questions. Trying to convince you to start making your paddles again if that brings back how long I hit you up for advice. By the way you were right and I should have listed
  13. I picked up one of Larry's rich man strops and like it, the leather is the same as the poor man strop but its 3 inches wide and has a fabric strop. I dont think you need to do anything to it.
  14. hokahay

    hokahay Contributor

    I have a beautiful Tony Miller old timer. I also have some Mountain Mikes strop conditioner. I use the conditioner all the time. I put it on my wallet, my phone holster, my manicure case and my beat up poor mans even got a tiny bit. But I followed Tony's advice and I just hand rub my TM, no conditioners or oil. It's da bomb.
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2012
  15. hi when are more strops coming
  16. Instead of dedicated "strop dressing," I will use a very small amount of Saphir Renovateur ... Since I really only feel the need to do this once or twice a year. It seems to work very well. Rub in with fingers, let stand about 15 minutes and buff with combo of
    fingers and old t-shirt or a Selvit cloth. Am I on the wrong track here? It seems to work very well and this strop keeps my edges aligned just fine.

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