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Does excessive stroping make edge duller?

I run into the following YouTube video.


He recommends not more than 20 strokes on hanging strop , claiming that excessive stropping makes edge duller, bringing/quoting some evidence ( observations under electronic microscope) . He also advises not to use any strop pastes, since it turns hanging strop into bad ( not cmpletely flat) hone.

On my opinion, it makes some sense, at least for hanging strop.
What do you think?
 

Legion

Moderator Emeritus
That is correct about the pastes, it will eventually round the edge. But a clean strop and good technique shouldn’t dull after 20 laps. Indeed, for me around 40 seems to be the best.
 
+1 with @Legion, particularly with regard to pasted stropping. As for laps on a clean leather hanging strop, if properly done , "excessive' stropping does not exist. My high carbon steel blades get 60 laps before each shave. My stainless steel blades get 80 and my very hard stainless steel blades get 100 laps.

Works well for me.
 
+1 with @Legion and @rbscebu, stropping does not dull your razor - if you do it correctly. Meaning you keep the strop taught and don't use very heavy pressure. If the strop is lax, you will fold your edge. I strop from 20 to 40 laps before shaving. After honing, usually 100 laps. And just like honing, shaving, making lather, there is a learning curve for stropping.
 
In theory, it sounds that using paddle strop should eliminate the problem.
Sounds like more theory than experience.

Fact is hanging strops are ideal for straights. Stropping correctly is good and will not damage a razor.

You can think about it and theory plenty or find YouTube “experts” saying nearly anything. But those are the facts from a few centuries of human experimentation.
 
It should be noted that this phenomenon depends not only on the skill but also on the leather. Horsehide is more gentle on the edge while a cowhide strop can pull out a burr. I've seen this kind of things with a microscope. In practice this brings the razor back from HHT5 to HHT4 with obvious shaving consequences. So with a cowhide strop the less is more IMO.
 
Really, a burr off spine leading on leather? Amazing
If it looks like a burr, pops a hair like a burr, and shaves like a burr, then I don't know what else can it be. I'm not saying that this happens right on 21st pass (20 passes is quite restrictive, but then again it is enough when the edge is crisp), but this is a thing to bare in mind while using cowhide strops. Again, IMO.
 
I don't shave with burrs - that sounds extremely painful to me. If someone has a wire-edge after honing, generally good stropping will remove that instead of creating. Better honing and you won't have that anyway but I have never seen a strop cause that personally.
 
After shaving with straights for about three years, I had a real eye opener when I bought my first Fili14. The seller claims to have honed it to 12k and then stropped it for 200 laps on Latigo leather.
When I got the razor I did the HHT and tree topping tests. Used to .1u balsa edges, I was unimpressed and was tempted to put it through a pasted balsa progression before my first shave, but decided to give it a try.
Wow! It was the best shave ever. Not only sharp, but also extremely smooth.
Since then I have upped my stropping to between 70 and 100 laps on clean leather and has given me consistently great results.
 
There was a study done on this some years ago. It was determined that ordinary stropping with higher lap counts improved an edge to a degree that was detectable by most shavers up to around 60 laps, at which point fewer and fewer shavers noticed any further improvement and beyond 100 laps virtually nobody could detect further improvement. Nobody observed any deterioration of edge quality up to 200 laps which is as far as the experiment went.

My favorite strop is a DIY compressed cowhide strop. I stropped several times beyond 300 laps and found no detectable deterioration of shave quality. My second favorite strop is my Kanayama and I have gone over 200 laps experimentally, and found no negative effects on the edge. I usually go 50 or 60 though if it is a razor going out to someone I often go 50 on cow and 50 on shell. No particular reason. I don't think anyone would notice the difference if I just went 60 on one or the other.

Excessive sloppy stropping can make an edge dull, yes. Excessive stropping with paste on the strop, yes of course, though at first it may see to be improving the edge. Hardly anyone still pastes his hanging leather strop, mostly newbies who learn to strop from 120 year old books or articles, or old movies.

Yes, paddle strops have been tried. In the present age we usually use a paddle only for travel. A few users like to use a paddle for pasted stropping. Probably 2/3 of members here do not even own a leather paddle strop, being quite content with one or two regular hanging strops, used without paste. The very light sag consequential with stropping a razor seems to be beneficial to the edge. It just works, has worked for at least a couple hundred years, and will probably be still working hundreds of years from now.

Poor stropping technique can dull an edge. Poor stropping technique and lots of laps can dull an edge even more. Lots of laps with good technique won't harm your edge.
 
I bet you did, though I don't claim it was necessarily because of the strop.
No, you would lose that bet I am afraid. First, I can hone, so this is not a problem for me. But I play around with a lot of razors and stones and if I leave a foil edge on any millimeter of the edge, it will crumble on my whiskers in less than half of a pass and become impossible. Foil and me do not mix well. I do not shave with a burr, even a small one and I cannot shave with it. My face needs very sharp. And I can make very sharp well thankfully.
 
I got 153 shaves using only a hanging leather strop and secondary, and Alfredo got 133 with leather only, so I would say no, proper stropping does not dull an edge.

 
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