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Stropping speed - how slow is too slow?

I tried to find an answer to this elsewhere, but didn't find a satisfactory answer.

I am brand new to SR shaving; I just got my first straight along with a practice razor and strop yesterday, and gave stropping a first try last night with the cheapo set. In reading and watching videos about stropping, some sources mention speed being a component of the effectiveness of stropping (something to do with friction and heat?). Having given it a shot, it is clear to me that until I become proficient with the stroke, speed will be incredibly slow compared to the videos of experienced stoppers I've seen.

So, that leads to my question: how slow is too slow to get the full effect of stropping? If the friction producing heat is in fact an important component of stropping, it seems that at slow speeds the heat would be dissipated too quickly.

Appreciate opinions, anecdotes and sources.
I think the two speed concepts are different. What most people refer in the videos about a strop speed relates to the friction that the type of leather applies to the blade. Basically, low friction = fast strop, high friction = slow strop. The choice between a fast or a slow strop (or light vs. heavy draw as most people refer to) is purely a personal preference.

In both cases you may strop using fast or slow strokes. The end result will be the same, so no need to rush. Just be sure that both the edge and spine of the razor are consistently in touch of the strop.

I find that too slow strokes make it harder to sustain a flat blade on the strop. At the same time, I do not see the need to strop as fast as some guys do on youtube, so I take my time and enjoy the zen-like experience that stropping provides
Slow to start while learning and speed will come once the muscle memory is there. No need to go super fast either. ‘Medium’ speed is good for stropping and for life in general.😎
slow is smooth, smooth is fast...

slow enough to control the blade and not cut up your strop. speed will come later. just stay attentive to what you're doing, feeling in hand, and hearing, as the blade travels the strop. if you're paying attention, you'll know when you've done something "off".
Thanks for the input. I think the main source I based my question on was not the best. Nothing else I've read or seen since mentioned friction heat being a factor.

As I'm starting to actually shave with my new razor, and therefore strop it, I find the "right" speed is coming naturally. Now if only shaving my chin felt as natural... But that's a topic for a different thread.


Goose Poop Connoisseur
My stropping speed varies day to day and I never try to change whatever speed comes about. In fact, thinking about it isn’t a good idea. Your speed and comfort level will develop all on its on.


I think technique is more important - how the edge makes contact with the leather. It seems that your brain can learn a physical motion slowly and once learnt can speed it up without too much effort.

A friend of mine who is now a renowned and accomplished professional musician once heard me practising the piano. I wasn't very good at all. He said I was trying to speed up too quickly. He said you don't need to speed up you will just be able to play fast when you have really learnt the piece and proceeded to make me practise dog slow for the rest of the afternoon. The next time I sat down I found I could play the piece at the full speed.

I have noticed that the edge improves quicker when I strop fast with a good technique ( in fewer strokes) but the final result is just as good no matter the speed.

Concentrate on technique slowly. Speed will happen naturally.
Speed comes with technique. I don't think that stropping by hand will ever get you in circumstances that your blade will overheat. If you strop to fast you may cut your strop or damage the edge so strop in your own speed. You may need some strokes more, but SR shaving is not for the hasted anyway.
Can never go too slow. Sometimes I go super slow and it takes a second or two to travel down the strop. I usually finish this way.
I think a little speed is needed but not much. I CAN strop very fast but I strop at a comfortable speed for me and you will find that groove with practice.
Reason being you need a little pressure too and that will slightly increase with speed.
I strop rather carefully.
I start with spine on the strop and I don't make contact with the blade edge
until the razor is in motion.
Likewise I rotate the edge off of the strop just before the end of the stroke.
I keep the strop tight and use very light pressure.

I go at a leisurely pace with my whole shaving routine.