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How to improve results when stropping my razor?

Tue Apr 02, 2013 9:38 am


I've got your balsa stropping block along with the chromium oxide paste. I also have a leather strop with another paste that I bought years ago and don't know much about - other than it's red. I am trying to sharpen and strop my straight razor - I'm getting it sharp but it still tugs at my beard when I try to shave with it. Does it matter which strop I use the razor? Also, my balsa block is still showing green but I'm seeing a lot of black in it. When do you know it's time to sand it down and start over? What method do you use to sand it down?



Re: How to improve results when stropping my razor?

Tue Apr 02, 2013 9:45 am

Hi Rick,

It's always hard to analyze what is going on with unknown variables. I don't know what the red stuff is that you're using.

You might want to try the chromium oxide on balsa as your first strop and then do leather with .25 diamond spray or cbn spray as a final strop.

Also technique matters with stropping a razor since the edge is so fine and thin. Can you show us a video of how you are stropping? We could watch and see if we could help there as well. Just a thought.

Finally, the co paste on balsa lasts a long time. If it's getting really black that's the metal that is getting slowly polished onto the co. The flip answer is to re-apply when it stops working but my experience is that people over apply rather than over use their loaded strops. Try adding 1 or 2 drops and then take a paper towns and lightly spread it over the whole strop so it's nice and thin. See if you get better results before sanding it down.

Re: How to improve results when stropping my razor?

Tue Apr 02, 2013 10:15 am

The red stuff is probably DOVO paste. Is it on a hanging strop / balsa / bench strop?

How does the razor perform right off the stones? Does it perform the HHT? What progression are you using and what type of razor?

Do you have a strop with no compound?

Re: How to improve results when stropping my razor?

Tue Apr 02, 2013 10:46 am

The leather strop is meant to be a hanging strop. I use it on top of the balsa strop. I think I put too much paste on because my knives/razors drag when I use it. Can I take the paste off without ruining the strop? My razor is a stainless steel, German made razor - can't remember the brand. What is the HHT? How should my razor perform off the stones? I've always tried stropping first.

thanks for your help.

Re: How to improve results when stropping my razor?

Tue Apr 02, 2013 4:53 pm

True the red stuff is probably the Dovo paste, or a jewlers rouge. My grandpa always used the red rouge to strop with. So much of this is technique, probably much more so than the actual stropping medium. The trick is to pull the strop very tight...personally I have had mixed results with hanging strops. Well executed stops on a flat surface leather, or paddle strop give me better performance than the hanging strop...it might also be the way it was honed too.

Re: How to improve results when stropping my razor?

Wed Apr 03, 2013 10:56 pm

"How does the razor perform right off the stones?"

I'd like to emphasize this. You may need to more precisely define the geometry for the strops to work to full advantage on your stones. Beyond the Chromium oxide (ROUGHLY half micron) you can further refine the edge with quarter and tenth micron CBN and beyond for an even more high performing edge, especially so when using a finer strop like kangaroo or nanocloth. Also try to get some higher grit stones in there before jumping to half micron material for it to perform to full advantage or you will get that toothy hair pulling edge.

Be cautious sanding down strops as this can leave BIG particles embedded in the Balsa. Best to just sparingly add more of the same compound or start fresh on the other side. Jeweler's rouge is designed for jewelers who cut softer metals than steel and really not optimal for fine edges.


Re: How to improve results when stropping my razor?

Thu Apr 04, 2013 10:17 am

HHT = hanging hair test: http://www.coticule.be/hanging-hair-test.html

Strop on clean leather before shaving. Pastes and compounds are fine, but the final edge should be clean leather imo. You should get fine edges right after that.

Off an 8k stone, the razor should perform the HHT2. What stones are you using?

Re: How to improve results when stropping my razor?

Sat Apr 06, 2013 4:28 pm

RICK <> As mentioned, there is no way to know what the red paste is, but I can add that I have a red paste, not from Dovo, that is 0.1 micron iron oxide.

Furthermore, regarding the Dovo pastes...

A little clarification

Dovo Pastes

Green 5-8 microns
Red 3-5 microns
Black 1-3 Microns

They are also a mild cutter, not anything like CrOx, CBN, or Diamond..
Many people like them on the softer Sheffield steels, in my experience I like them on leather paddle or bench strops, but I have heard others that used them on linen with good success..
Some people on the EU forums that are not as hone oriented as SRP use these on loom strops to finish their razors...

Hope that helps
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