Rolls-stropping your DE blades 101....

Discussion in 'Shave School' started by rollsshaver, Jan 28, 2009.

  1. rollsshaver

    rollsshaver Peace be with you

    Stropping a DE Blade

    I have posted about this in a couple threads on TSD, and a few people suggested I just do a thread on this technique, so here it is.
    If you are doing this with a fresh (unused) blade, cork it first.


    Guys, I have been doing this whole wet-shaving thing for a very long time. Number one thing, I do not use cork. It is too hard and very likely would aid in slightly dulling the blade. I use a hunk of styrofoam (packing peanuts are perfect). I just run the very edge lightly down the foam a couple times on each side. Not every single blade needs it, but I do it anyway to avoid the grief of those rough ones you come across once in a while. "Corking" does pull away those little burrs that cause an otherwise good blade to give a terrible shave. Stropping the same blades just realigns the edge, and hones it back into smoothness. These are facts guys. 50+ years of experience, all the while trying every different technique around. And this has been one of the best things I ever discovered.

    You only want to cork it once, just before the first use. After that, follow my instructions below to properly strop the DE blade...........


    I suggest stropping before every shave. I have been told by many straight razor users that you should always do it before, and never after, you use the blade. The metal needs time to "rest" after it has been used. Otherwise, if you strop a freshly used blade, the edge can actually fold and become damaged. Many dedicated straight shavers actually rotate razors so that it gives each razor sufficient time to "rest". DE blades are thin enough that rotating them is not necessary though....

    1. Pinch the blade between your thumb and index fingers so that the edge runs horizontal to them.

    2. Now, make sure that you are holding the blade far enough back that it will flex against your skin. This will take just a second for you to make the adjustment.

    You are going to stick you other arm straight out in front of you, palm up!!

    3. Take you other hand, which has the blade in it, and gently press the blade as flat as you can get it across your forearm, close to your inner elbow.

    You will notice the blade flex ever so slightly to conform to the shape of your forearm. That is fine.

    4. Now, gently, with the blade FLAT against your skin, slide it to your wrist. Do that four times. You are now stropping your blade!!

    5. Now turn the blade over and repeat. After you do both sides, rotate the blade and do the same on the other edge.

    It may sound crazy, but after doing it a couple times, you will get use to it, and it will just become habit.

    ** A couple little tips ............

    1. When sliding the blade down your arm, you still are pinching one side!! I remember someone years ago just laid the blade on thier arm and slid it back and forth. That did not work out too well..................... :eek:

    2. Also, if you are not comfortable using you arm, newpaper works great too.

    3. If you have an actual razor strop belt, try that too. The technique is exactly the same. If your strop has a leather and a canvas piece , use the canvas strap first. Then proceed to the leather strap. Some do it the other way, but I have learned (from many years of trying it both ways) that using the canvas first/leather second works a bit better.

    I hope this helps. Let me know if you are not 100% clear on how to do this.

    Papa Roy and Shamrock like this.
  2. rollsshaver

    rollsshaver Peace be with you


    Can someone please move this next door to the Shave School?

  3. sol92258

    sol92258 I have no earthly idea

    you mention newpaper being sufficient, made me think about brown paper sacks, ever tried those?
  4. rollsshaver

    rollsshaver Peace be with you

  5. 1969Fatboy

    1969Fatboy New Member

    do you strop after every use? or every 3rd?
  6. rollsshaver

    rollsshaver Peace be with you

    Shawn, I just edited my post. You want to strop before every use.
  7. rollsshaver

    rollsshaver Peace be with you

    Whoever moved me, Thank You!!
  8. hoglahoo

    hoglahoo Yesterday's News

    None of my razors need to rest. I don't know why, maybe they are bucking the trend? Anyway, many vintage straight razors were sold with instructions to strop both before and after the shave as stropping afterward had the added benefit of helping dry the blade.

    Also, I have a vintage inch and a half wide wooden strop that is coated with some sort of thin paper. I wonder if it was designed to strop DE blades?

    How much longer do your blades last when you strop them than when you don't?
  9. Shep

    Shep The Shep Abides

    I can vouch for Rolls' method here. I started doing it a couple weeks back and it has improved shaves and extended blade life by about one shave for me.
  10. rollsshaver

    rollsshaver Peace be with you

    It really depends on the blade. Sometimes you can extend the life of a blade for five or ten shaves by properly stropping it.
  11. Gillette_Man

    Gillette_Man New Member

    I know that Dave had gotten something like 34 shaves out of a Swedish Gillette blade that he was hand stropping between uses. You can read about it here.
  12. Shep

    Shep The Shep Abides

    Not that I dispute these claims (I don't), but I just don't see how they're getting all those shaves out of one DE blade w/out tearing up their faces. Even with stropping I got four shaves out of a 7'o black and felt really good about it.
  13. rollsshaver

    rollsshaver Peace be with you

    Shep, some guys do not go after multi-pass BBS shaves like we do. Others might have softer facial hair. The most I can get, even with a Swede is a couple weeks.
  14. Gillette_Man

    Gillette_Man New Member

    You don't know Dave. He once shaved with a carpet cutting blade. :happy102
  15. Shep

    Shep The Shep Abides

    I served with a guy in the Navy who clipped his fingernails with a pair of wire cutters. Every time. That's cheap!
  16. Shep

    Shep The Shep Abides

    I'm going to revisit the Swedes using the strop technique. I had one fantastic shave w/ them and then they went to hell. This may resolve that. The Swedes are the ones in the greyish black wrapping right? Or are those the Russians?
  17. rollsshaver

    rollsshaver Peace be with you

    Them be Ninjas........

    The Swedes are in a Blue pack. Dave (Dirving) has some for sale right now, and they are cheaper than you will get them anywhere else.

    Swedes are Gillette Platinums.......... **edit** Not the same ones I sent you a long while back. Real one are in a plastic holder too.


    This thread should be stickyfied........
  18. riffin

    riffin Active Member

    Are you running the blade over the foam like you are slicing it, or is it a stropping motion? "Lightly" = ??? Will the blade leave any impression or mark in the foam?

    Thanks! I might give this a try. (Like I need ANOTHER thing to do in the bathroom in the morning! :rolleyes: )
  19. rollsshaver

    rollsshaver Peace be with you

    For the corking part, you are doing a slicing motion in the foam. This should be done with almost zero pressure.
  20. Shep

    Shep The Shep Abides

    So the ones you sent me are Russians? I think it says Gillette Platinum on the wrapper. Can't remember. Need to check later.

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