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How did the Japanese strop, old school?

Legion

Moderator Emeritus
I have been looking at traditional Kamisori razors a bit lately. You always see vintage Japanese razors and hones, but I have never seen a vintage Japanese strop.

I just use my regular strop with mine, but I was wondering how it was done "back in the day". Did they use hanging strops, paddles, or just go from stone to face?

Anyone know for sure?
 
No idea really, but when reading old honing guides written by Japanese folks there is always a mention of palm stropping to remove burr.
But as for daily maintenance I have no clue.
Hopefully someone has.
 
Good question, I have a Kamisori on the way and would like to know too. My plan was to strop as usual.
 

Legion

Moderator Emeritus
Good question, I have a Kamisori on the way and would like to know too. My plan was to strop as usual.
That's what I do at the moment, and it works. I was just wondering if there was a special technique or equipment which they traditionally have. I'm thinking of making a special narrower strop for mine, but I thought Id ask if there are any special considerations before I start.
 
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Maybe newspaper? I've seen people strop on the palm of their hand. Dangerous stuff :D
No,it really isn't. I do it all the time.
Great way to feel if there is any tiny flaws in the edge during or after honing. And as a quick fix if the kids have ran away with the strop.
Or after a nano-grit hone & you don't want the silicates in the leather messing up your test.

What is dangerous is to do a honing strokes on the hand. Not recommended :biggrin:
 
It seems many of them come in soft wood boxes that can be used to strop. Wondering if they used a similar approach?
 
The ones I had liked to scratch my strops. The only strop that was not harmed was my Hand American.

I would suggest a narrow, cheap strop. Larry sells a double bridle strop for under $30. I use it for my CBN spray, but I think it would be ideal for a Kamisori.
 

Legion

Moderator Emeritus
The ones I had liked to scratch my strops. The only strop that was not harmed was my Hand American.

I would suggest a narrow, cheap strop. Larry sells a double bridle strop for under $30. I use it for my CBN spray, but I think it would be ideal for a Kamisori.
I should be OK for strops without bothering Larry.:lol:

Actually I was wondering about the scratching issue myself. The kamisori I have now does not seem to cause a problem, but I could see how some might. I made myself a "special" kamisori strop, which I can show if you like, but if the concensus is that they palm stropped in the old days I might give it a try.
 
On some, I have found the edge of the "hase" (spine) to be a bit sharp. Unless you smooth that out, it will scratch a strop especially when you do the flip.
 
Leeg, if there's no histotry of Japanese leather strops I wonder if they bothered ?

I know they don't steel a knife as there's no reason to. If you look at the asymmetric geometry (kataha) & the high hardness, the edges don't fold like softer European style knives. At a ballpark of 65 HRC you maybe don't get that type of damage... as long as the knife is used correctly. Chipping could be more likely tho.

Back to shaving you then have another combination of factors. Super hard, super sharp steel, & super sparse & soft beards. The average Japanese wouldn't shave that often nor would it be much of a challenge for a kamisori. A lick or 2 on the right stone would keep the razor tip top as it does the knives.
I think the most common use of stropping would be to remove a burr after honing rather than maintenance but then I'm just postulating :)
 

Legion

Moderator Emeritus
Leeg, if there's no histotry of Japanese leather strops I wonder if they bothered ?

I know they don't steel a knife as there's no reason to. If you look at the asymmetric geometry (kataha) & the high hardness, the edges don't fold like softer European style knives. At a ballpark of 65 HRC you maybe don't get that type of damage... as long as the knife is used correctly. Chipping could be more likely tho.

Back to shaving you then have another combination of factors. Super hard, super sharp steel, & super sparse & soft beards. The average Japanese wouldn't shave that often nor would it be much of a challenge for a kamisori. A lick or 2 on the right stone would keep the razor tip top as it does the knives.
I think the most common use of stropping would be to remove a burr after honing rather than maintenance but then I'm just postulating :)
You might well be onto something there, mate. But the samurai were shaving their head as well as their face, which might offset the sparse beard idea. Hmmm.
 
With the pressure that guy is using on the kamisori video I wonder he is trying to strop off a burr post honing rather than strop pre shave ?
 

Kentos

Wiped out at 25
Moderator Emeritus
Well it's titled "te ire" which means "to maintain", so I assume it's a normal everyday stropping.
 
You might well be onto something there, mate. But the samurai were shaving their head as well as their face, which might offset the sparse beard idea. Hmmm.
I think they had specialized styles of kamisori for shaving heads vs beard etc.
 
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