Beautiful and interesting strops are something that has been on my aggenda for a long time, with so many types of animals and exciting new natural and synthetic materials out there it is unlikely that the holy grail of stropping has been discovered. If one looks at the humble bovine or cow's leather, most strops are simply marketed as such, while in reality skin thicknesses and properties vary a lot, smoothness, texture, thickness and I would assume genetical, cellular, and certainly physical properties.
When you start reading up on strops and what they do you get a deeper understanding of their function and abilities, but when you start to investigate exactly how this happens at microscopic/grain level, you quickly realize that there is very little information out there, there are quite a few discussions and theories on the forums, but hardly any are backed up by conclusive evidence or facts. It is mostly the top layer properties of the leather (outer skin side) that will determine what it does in terms of allighnment, burnishing and abrasion of your razor, and with very little facts out there we thought it best is to create some strops, send them out into the world and let them build or break their own reputation.
This sealskin strop has a sturdy, tight and firm grain pattern, the corium has quite a fine, compact fibre composition as well. The leather has lots of natural valleys, but no ridges which would make it unsuitable for stropping a fine edge, the appearance of this leather is certainly beautiful, unique and full of character, identifying a genuine sealskin strop will not be hard to do at all! Stropping on this softer leather is easy and comfortable, angling the razor to have the entire bevel meet up with the surface is similarly easy, even more so than most other strops of a similar thickness. The strop has a light draw and making a full hollow 6/8 razor sing it's swish-swash song is easy as pie. The leather is just over 3 mm thick and flexible enough to roll and fold with out damaging or cracking the stropping surface.
Why do 50 laps when you can do 25!? The answer is this extra length sealskin strop, perfect for that essential stropping before, and if you prefer after your shave. We have added a canvas side to this one, refined the shape a bit and spent some extra time on finishing, apperance and stitching, the fact that this strop is made from sealskin places it in our exotic category.
The strop is cut and stitched by hand, the handle is thinner, smoother and shaped differently than out medium range strops, the edges are also burnished to give the effect of a well polished, uniform edge in a dark shade that goes beautifully with the lighter brown leather.
The canvas end has a snap fastner that clips on to leather side of the strop, this prevents the canvas side from dangling down when using the leather side, it is also useful if you prefer your linen to have the hard leather as a base when stropping on it. We have also added a swivel end to this strop as you'd be using two different sides, the need for unhooking and re-attaching your strop's D-ring is eliminated.
The strop has an overall lenght of around 970 mm, and is 75 mm wide. it has whopping 625 mm of stropping surface, pretty sure a good pilot can land a Boeing 747 on this thing!
Is it a sensible strop? I am 1.88 m tall and find it very easy to use the entire runway, less turns means less chance of damage to your strop, quicker blade preps and the 75 mm wide leather is great as you do not need to do X-strokes to cover the entire blade, minimising the chances of 'burning' your blade on the edge of a leather strop. The cotton canvas with dual functionality makes this a product that is well worth forking out a few ronts on, not to mention that it made by hand by fellow-Saffers!
We have a few more ideas in this range, so please provide feedback to help us offer some more items just the way you like them.