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Pre-shave Stropping - Always Leather & Linen or Not?

Just make sure you are pulling on that pasted linen real tight if you decide to go that a way. It'll convexify your bevel in a heart beat depending on how much abrasives you put on it.

Balsa has less problem, but not zero (balsa is still flexible).
Balsa being slightly flexible is actually one of its advantages to stone.
With stone, if a portion of your edge is 0.1 micron off the stone, you aren't doing anything.
Absolutely zilch. You are just moving some water molecules.
But since balsa can flex, it can make contact with the edge and compensate for some edge deformities.
For newbies, it can solve a lot of problems.
So far, since I've been looking at straight razors, I've seen stropping strictly on leather, on linen and leather, on linen with chromium oxide and leather, on linen with various pastes and leather, and on balsa wood with diamond paste. I've also seen honing on lapping film (something I'd never heard of and had to look up). Seems there are lots of ideas and opinions on getting a sharp edge.
naked leather!
learn to max out naked leather
you will find you don’t need pastes
get an good inexpensive strop you inevitably nick it
im a big fan of film

get your razor honed by a known honer
you will have a much better SR experience
i have yet to meet a razor that is truly shave ready out of the box.
Well, I had my first full shave with my new Ralf Aust straight razor. I didn't get to strop it properly, because I'm still waiting for the strop to arrive, so over the last few days, when I would stop in the bathroom, I would palm strop it a few times. It was an improvement over the right-out-of-the-box test on one cheek I did the other day. It could still be better, though. A good "real" stropping should take care of it.
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