A razor's cutting edge is made up of microscopic teeth that bend every time you shave. A strop is intended to realign and straighten these teeth while also removing oxidation and metal debris. To keep your razor in good shape for years to come, strop it before each shave.
Connect the metal ring to a fixed point and pull the strop towards you, leather side up. It's critical to keep your strop taut and flat while using it; if there's any slack, you could end up doing more harm than good.
When the leather surface of the strop becomes dry, apply a leather balm to it. A little goes a long way, so start with a small amount and add more later if necessary.
It's natural for the leather to darken in colour as it ages, but it's critical that it's free of nicks and cuts. Any cuts could harden and damage your razor's cutting edge.
Hold the razor by the tang at a 180-degree angle, with your thumb on top and two fingers on the opposite side. Tuck your elbow in to reduce hand movement and find a comfortable grip that allows you to freely roll the razor from side to side.
Place the blade flat on the strop, with the cutting edge facing you. Draw the razor away from you, starting with the spine, using light pressure. Maintain blade contact with the strop at both the spine and the cutting edge; if the spine lifts off the strop, the edge will become rounded.
As you reach the top of the strop, turn the razor over on its spine by rolling the tang between your thumb and fingers so that the cutting edge is now pointing away from you. Remember to take your time throughout the whole process - if you’ve ever watched a movie where a barber strops a razor, they’re usually going far too quickly.
Return the razor to you, beginning with the spine. Steps 3-5 should be repeated. With proper technique, 'over-stropping' a razor will not cause any harm, but aim for 40-60 round trips. You'll quickly get a feel for the razor and be able to tell when it's been stropped incorrectly or insufficiently.
If your strop has a canvas side, begin with 15-20 round trips before moving on to the leather. The canvas has mild abrasive properties that aid in cleaning the razor before moving on to the leather side.
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