No strop at hand?

 

How to strop (when you ain't got a strop) handy.

Have you ever travelled away from home and found that you've forgotten to pack your razor strop?

No? Neither have I.  Let's take a moment to feel smug.  Now think about the movie Home Alone.  You wouldn't leave your kids at home or in the car would you?  More people do than you'd think.

So, it pays to be prepared.  You and I could be that person.

What should you do in such an emergency?  You've left that beautiful Cordovan Shell strop at home. Should you shave? Buy an emergency disposable? 

 

You've left your strop at home....

 

Here's some good news.  The world is full of potential strops for your razor.

It's true. Need convincing? Well read on.

Stropping means stroking the blade, in effect the cutting edge of the razor, against a surface that results in a degree of uniform friction.  Ok, so why does your razor need stropping?  In case you're thinking that I'm only asking this question as an opportunity to showcase my drawing skills, it's a fundamental point.

 

What happens to a razor's edge

 

The drawing above is intended to convey an image of what happens to the very delicate, extreme edge of the razor.  Whereas I could show a microscopic image of razor's edge, it's not really necessary: your beard is tough and shaving it knocks the edge about.

That's why we strop folks. To ensure a smooth shave you need to re-align the edge.

Ok, so what can you use instead of your go-to, faithful leather?

Here are some options:

 

1. Denim

Yes, you probably own a pair of denim jeans. If they're clean, get stropping.  Perhaps shut one end of the trouser leg in a drawer and, pulling the end tight, strop away.  You could do this whilst wearing the jeans, but don't come moaning to me later.

 

2. Newspapers

Remember newspaper? it's what we used to read before we got digital and lost the power of concentration. What was I saying? Oh, yes. Newspaper is an excellent stropping material in an emergency.

 

3. A leather belt

Seems obvious, but a leather belt could be useful, as long as it's not too curved or highly stitched.

 

4. Your hand

The skin of the palm of your hand is a marvellous stropping material.  Have a look at this video I made.  Just open your palm wide and tight and strop with care. When I do it, I prefer to strop and lift, not flick the razor over on its spine.

 

I hope that's useful. I'm thinking about developing a Don't Forget your Strop App. Interested? Thought not.

 


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