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Major Breakthru after 1.5 yrs of straight shaving

Ive been using a couple of straights for the last year and a half and compared to my FAC and other shavettes the shave has never been as comfortable. They always pass the HHT, but theres always been the tiniest bit of pull on my tough beard. This morning, for reasons unknown, I stropped with a slight X. I had never done that because I have an extra wide strop. Holy Smoke! I cant believe the difference in comfort and performance. Such a small change in technique. Just when you think you've learned it all...

Slash McCoy

I freehand dog rockets
Excellent! Now check your strop. It may be slightly cupped. Or it may have some surface irregularities. A bit of x-stroke action can help to mitigate imperfections in the strop.
What he said. These results suggest that part of your razor wasn't making good contact without the angle... which suggests the strop is cupped.

Not that you really need to do anything about that... since you can just keep stropping at the angle.
I spent some time last weekend at a local GTG here in Denver that has a number of VERY well regarded honers and long-time straight shavers. One of the tips I took away was potentially why, regardless of width of the strop, an X-pattern makes a tangible difference in smoothness of the shave. At its most basic point, leather is by its very nature an uneven surface, regardless of cupping or other issues a hanging strop might have. The slight sideways action on the leather ensures that all parts of the blade are getting even contact. The very same principals apply to honing, which is why no matter what stroke a person is using (outside of a couple of corrective strokes) that some form of action across the surface of the hone laterally is necessary.
Thanks for the input. I did notice that the ring between the strop and the handle doesnt go the full width of the strop. So when i pull it, there is more tension in the middle, less on the sides. I think ill see about getting a narrower one as well. Suggestions on an affordable one? People seem to like whipped dog around here.
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