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What to look for in first strop? What are compounds and why would you use?

Just getting into this side of the game. Please be gentle.

What should I look for in a first strop? I know nothing too expensive as I will chop it up at some point.
What are compounds, and are there benefits to using them?

Thanks,
Jim
 
Benefits: polishes and Aline’s the “fin” on the edge of the razor for shaving must be done befor each shave.

Compound: some use crox on the canvas but not really needed it’s subjective.

What to look for: a peace of real leather veg tan can be any type of leather doesn’t make a lot of difference but beware in the long term the type of leather will work faster some ie cow leather has more grab on the blade then say kangaroos or deer.

My experience: when I started off I brought 2 frank shave strops raindeer veg tainted canvas on back side and cheap iv already chopped one to crap just sstroping and not paying attention to what I’m doing but really to start off with go cheap it doesn’t need to be. 200 buck English bridle strop sort deal go cheap get a couple, the way I did it was I had one compleatly plain strop no compound/dressing I just oiled it the second one I put crox wax on the canvas so I had a polishing ability up to you how to do it but that’s what I’d do
 
There are some cheap(er) new good real leather strops available. I would suggest one with leather and linen type. A strop width of 65mm (2.5") or more will make stropping easier for you.

It is up to you if you want to use any type of compound. If you do, use it on the linen, not the leather and clean the blade in between going from linen to leather so as not to get any compound residue on the leather.

A suitable new strop for you can be had for about USD 10 to 15.
 
A lot of us started with the Illinois 827, it’s a good beginner strop for under 40 dollars. There will be a good chance you will nick up your first strop so anybody here would advise to not go for something super expensive.

Larry
 
This strop should suit you fine. Available on AliExpress for under USD 10. It is 60mm wide, good leather and linen, strong ends and a swivel hook attachment.
1166149307-1991539522.jpg
The leather is supple and easily nicked so you will learn.

I used one of these to learn. Liked it so much, I later got another for "real" use.
 
As others have said, inexpensive strops are the best beginner strops. I bought two right off the bat - one dirt cheap and one moderately priced, along with a cheap Gold Dollar razor to practice technique on the cheap strop. For your main strop you don't want to use any compounds, on the leather or linen/canvas sides. That strop will be for daily razor maintenance. The linen side will clean off the razor's edge, and the leather side will align the edge and/or whatever magic the plain leather does to it. A second strop or set of strops (paddle strop, balsa strop or second hanging strop) can be treated with compound (CROX, FEROX or diamond compound) to touch up the razor's edge periodically. Alternatively, some treat the back side of their linen or canvas on their primary strop. Whatever method you choose for compounds, just be mindful to clean the blade before it touches your finishing strop; you want that to be free of any compounds or other particulate matter. There's a wealth of information and opinions on compounds here, and I am too new in the razor maintenance process to share mine.
 
If you plan on using compounds, buy some cheap 2 sided paddle strops and use those for your pastes.....if you decide you don't like them you wouldn't mess up your stop trying them.
 
What iv noticed is my hanging strop works better then pasted then my balsa but I could be wrong I just think it being hanging allows for a better result with paste but that is subjective some maybe say it isn’t some like me think it is but it’s best of you try these things for your self
 
What iv noticed is my hanging strop works better then pasted then my balsa but I could be wrong I just think it being hanging allows for a better result with paste but that is subjective some maybe say it isn’t some like me think it is but it’s best of you try these things for your self
Pasted hanging strops and pasted paddles have been used for generations with only meh results. Compare them to a proper Method edge and you will never again consider that pasted leather might have any conceivable use. Believe me, I have tried pretty much any publicly shared method of making a razor sharp. Or keeping it so.

It is easy to use the balsa incorrectly and think that it is no better. Follow The Method. Carefully and exactly, and you will not be disappointed. Fail to follow the directions exactly, and you probably will, and you will wonder why such a fuss over just one more way to make a razor sharp.
 
Pasted hanging strops and pasted paddles have been used for generations with only meh results. Compare them to a proper Method edge and you will never again consider that pasted leather might have any conceivable use. Believe me, I have tried pretty much any publicly shared method of making a razor sharp. Or keeping it so.

It is easy to use the balsa incorrectly and think that it is no better. Follow The Method. Carefully and exactly, and you will not be disappointed. Fail to follow the directions exactly, and you probably will, and you will wonder why such a fuss over just one more way to make a razor sharp.
I see where I have gone wrong I would be using 1 u diamond not 5 u crox crayon
 
I see where I have gone wrong I would be using 1 u diamond not 5 u crox crayon
Not 1u, at least not often. 1u is only slightly finer than 12k grit. From a typical 12k or 20k finisher, you would want to go with .5u then .25u and finally .1u, and then use .1u for maintaining the edge. Seldom would you ever want to use 1u diamond on balsa.

The balsa needs to be of good size. Most of us prefer 12" x 3", and .25" or so thick, glued to .75" thick acrylic backing. NOT WOOD.

The balsa must be lapped. It is not flat or smooth enough when you buy it.

The diamond paste must be applied sparingly. It should seem as if you do not have enough.

The diamond paste must be rubbed into the balsa. The idea is to embed the diamond particles deeply so that you combine the cutting power of diamond with extremely small scratch depth.

All paste must be wiped off of the surface of the balsa. You must not have a coating.

Pressure must be extremely light and balanced. The only realistic way of doing this is to hold the balsa IN HAND, vertically, i.e. with one end up and one end down.

It takes a lot of laps and there is very little feedback. The standard application is 50 laps.

Occasionally you should add a pull stroke on each side of the edge. To do this, simply pull the razor about 1/2" ACROSS the balsa. Not far. Only 1/2" or 3/4" at the most. This clears the edge. A pull stroke should always be followed by 6 to 10 regular laps. Lately I have been using a pair of pull strokes between sets of 10 laps and this seems to work very well and results in an exceptionally smooth edge.

Always seek to minimize cross contamination between different balsa strops with different grits. This is extremely important. Wipe the blade thoroughly. Don't allow the balsas to contact each other. It is a good idea to wash your hands with soap and water between grits in the progression.

After a month or two, reapply the paste.

After 6 months to a year you may need to re-lap because the balsa will be full of swarf.

Generally, we strop on the balsa after every shave, 50 laps. If done correctly, the razor should never again need to be honed unless you damage the edge.

More details in the Pasted Balsa Strop thread.
 
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