The Real Effects of Stropping:

Here recently I attended a family reunion and people asked about my traditional shaving hobby. I literally had to explain to them what stropping actually does to a straight razor. Then it hit me that I might need to do a blog post on it later on. So I decided to go ahead and explain to those what stropping really does to all 3 forms of wet shaving in general. This process can be done on straight razors, single edge and double edge blades as well. But it's generally associated with straight razors. Basically if you were to take a microscope or a jeweler's loupe and look at the blade's edge, you would see some very small scratches and even slight nicks in some of the blades' edges. Stropping does NOT sharpen like the general public believes. But what it does do is clean the blade's edge, and remove any small burrs or slight nicks that occurred either from the manufacturing process or honing itself. Stropping also gives that extra polish to a blade as well. In terms of single edge blades, Personna's GEM blades were beyond horrible for me. I almost couldn't use them due to them being so rough and uncomfortable. So someone suggested that I strop them which I did and it improved the post shave feel by at least 10 fold easy. Antoher good example in terms of comfort would be Feather's DE blades. They are so sharp that in some razors they're actually harsh and more often than not, cause razor burn even in a mild razor which I don't like. So basically what I was told to do by another friend, was to flip the Feather DE blade over and strop the blade on an old pair of blue jeans or denim. Guess what. No razor burn and a close smooth comfortable shave. Here's what you need to remember about stropping in general. Stropping = comfortable shave period. Another thing that has been getting on my nerves as of late would be the "elitists" stating how much of a difference that certain types of "smooth leather" makes when nothing can further from the truth. That's just a ploy they use to make more money. According to people who have honed and stropped more razors than I can count and currently have thousands of edges that are currently out there shaving as we speak, the only real difference you might see in a strop when it comes to smooth leather is basically none in terms of the effects of stropping. Now you will see a difference in quality and construction and obviously costs of course, but will that expensive smooth leather strop be much better in terms of use? No it won't. Here's a prime example of that. I recently bought a starter strop off of a friend for $15 dollars. It's still in use over 2 months later. About 5 months ago, I bought an expensive paddle strop for around $90 dollars. I just tossed it last week. The very first day right out of the box, that modular paddle strop already had problems. The hard wool felt pads fell apart and were unusable which was basically half of that stropping system. When I tossed it, I had no usable pads and the replacement pads had been out of stock for months. That turned out to be an expensive $90 dollar mistake. This little $15 dollar starter strop that I bought off of a friend has been great and has outlasted an expensive stropping system. If that paddle strop had lasted and not been poorly constructed, there would NOT be any difference in the results. And just be fair and honest, I did just get over my initial learning curve and I had no clue as to what I was doing when I bought expensive paddle strop either and I did take a 3+ month hiatus from straight razor shaving. But knowing what I know now, I won't spend that kind of money when I don't have to in terms of shaving gear in general. Especially when you don't have to and can get the exact same results with inexpensive strops. This is NOT a knock against premium products at all. It's about getting great results and enjoying the hobby of wet shaving in general.

Ike & The 207:

Tonight's shave felt extremely good. Tonight I decided to go with a Skin Bracer  themed shave so I went with Strike Gold Shave  and the...