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Two vintage strops

Hello everyone , I just purchased two vintage strops. After reading countless threads I was wondering at the end of the day what’s the best way to bring these back to life ? Is a light coating of nests foot oil the way to go ? Should I do a light sanding with find sandpaper first? What steps should I take ? Here are two crappy pics from the bay . One is a red imp 700 and the other is a Scottish lassie

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Personally I'd lather them with a Trumper's cream (don't laugh, this was de rigueur 20 years ago), rinse them, pack them individually in terry cloth towels and place them on a straight surface and put a weight on them (long enough to cover all their surface) and let them dry. Once dry then apply a generous splash of bay rum and let dry again. If they're still dry and non-pliant add some neatfoot in thin coatings with a day or two between them until they get softer.

Chris
 
All that, of course if they're dried out (I am assuming they are). If not and they're still pliant just hit them with the bay rum, let dry and strop away.

Chris
 
Any Trumper's shaving cream will do. Personally I used the rose scented cream many years ago. Lather the strop up thick with a brush just like you'd shave it.

As for Bay Rum the traditional stuff is what folks used. Back then it was Dominica which cannot be had now for love or money. So Grand Bay Rum will do nicely (the stuff Cantilles sells now instead of Dominica - Cantilles was the official US supplier of the age old Dominica Bay Rum years ago).

This routine was supposedly old barber's advice from long ago we followed. Back then who knows what they used for cream - Barbasol, Yardley?

I think the cream was for the glycerin content which helped soften the leather but can't say for sure. It also acted as a cleaner to remove residues and dirt.

The Bay Rum was to help disinfect I think (guessing here) and the oils also helped make the strop more supple.

Back then it worked well. There may be better alternatives today so hopefully someone else will chime in here and offer them.

Many roads to Rome.

Chris
 
Thanks Chris !

I’m basically looking to clean them up and soften them for use. I thought more people would have some advice for this .
 
Thanks Chris !

I’m basically looking to clean them up and soften them for use. I thought more people would have some advice for this .
For vintage strop cleaning use saddle soap, it cleans and conditions the leather safely. Then apply fromm 1907 strop dressing, neatsfoot oil, or Venetian shoe cream as per the instructions. I use the fromm dressing and is easy to apply.
Bssically rub in 1 coat, repeat in 24 hrs, do it every 24 hours until the strop is soft and supple.
Larry
 
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Thanks @Njguy1977 that's a huge help !
My advice with your 2 strops is try the saddle soap and fromm dressing. I wouldnt go the sandpaper route unless you had major nicks. Best to do the least amount of damage to a vintage strop first. Usually all they need is a clean and conditioning. Just be paintent with the dressing and allow the leather to slowly soak it in every 24 hours, then rub it with your palm from time to time. That warms the leather and allows the dressing to soak deep. Just dont overdo it, its easy to add more, but impossible to take away.

Larry
 
Well i applied my first coat of saddle cleaner to the strops , they look pretty clean and pliable . Next I will use the fromms once I let them dry .
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Thanks @EL Alamein ,

tonight is my first coat of the fromms, the only thing about the strops are the backs(nylon), they are junk, Dirty and frayed . I believe I’ll order some new nylon from tony Miller
 
Should I worry about the back of the leather ?? Also how many times should I clean with the conditioner before applying the fromms? Is one good cleaning like I did enough?
 
Should I worry about the back of the leather ?? Also how many times should I clean with the conditioner before applying the fromms? Is one good cleaning like I did enough?
You can coat the backs with the Fromm dressing and treat them as you would the front.

When I used the saddle soap I disassembled my strops and the coated them with the dressing and then reassembled.

As for the nylon you could hand wash gently in laundry detergent mixed with water or use oxy clean mixed with water as well, agitate by hand gently and then rinse well. Lay the nylon strop flat on a towel and let them air dry in a warm place in your house. I wouldn’t give up on the nylon part because they look dirty, they will never be pristine white but can be useable after a clean.

The saddle soap will never get the leather looking brand new, it’s just how good vintage leather is. Rather it will make it pliable and free of contaminants. From what I can tell from your pictures your on the right track to getting them into a useable strop. I only use saddle soap once, I wouldn’t do multiple cleanings back to back with it. Rather use the saddle soap as a maintenance when your strop is feeling stiff and looking dirty again.

Larry
 
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@Njguy1977

Thanks!!! that was a HUGE HELP!!! I went ahead and treated with a coat of fromms tonight . I will take your advice on the nylon and see what I can do before I order new nylon. They are starting to feel really nice .Nice strops BTW!
 
Thanks @EL Alamein ,

tonight is my first coat of the fromms, the only thing about the strops are the backs(nylon), they are junk, Dirty and frayed . I believe I’ll order some new nylon from tony Miller
The backs are nylon?? I've never heard of this. How do you know? Usually they are fire hose linen for such old pieces and clean up fine. I'd think they were imposters if they were nylon.

Also the backs usually have a coating on them - what it is I can't say but it works well. I *think* it might be an early variation of the Dovo white linen paste. Some backs are plain linen fire hose.

Of course you could have waxed backs but you'd know it if you did, not hard to identify. Waxed linens work well also. No mistaking them for nylon.

I find this very interesting.

Chris
 
Chris,

I apologize they are the original backs that came with the strops which would be fire hose linen most likely . I meant to call them cotton strop material.
 
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