07-31-2017, 10:58 AM
#1
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Received a package yesterday from Alastair (Owner/Operator) of Westholme Strops and he sent me several of his strops to test:


From L to R are Roo, Spanish Horse Hide and Cordovan, Kanayama is far right and my other strops are under these.

The Roo has a very different feel and draw to me is a medium heavy, the Spanish Horse Hide is a light draw and the Cordovan which is his personal strop of several years is a light to glassy draw, he wanted to send me a Cordovan that was broken in so i could get an idea of the draw.

Even though both his Cordovan and Kanayama is Cordovan they both exibit a very different draw and feel.
[Image: UoactRG.jpg]

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 07-31-2017, 11:36 AM
#2
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I like a light draw, so for me it would be the horsehide and cordovan.  I had a Roo strop many years ago, but sold it because the draw was too heavy.

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 07-31-2017, 12:45 PM
#3
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(07-31-2017, 11:36 AM)TheLegalRazor Wrote: I like a light draw, so for me it would be the horsehide and cordovan.  I had a Roo strop many years ago, but sold it because the draw was too heavy.

Yes the Roo seems a tad heavy and depending on the blade used it's almost sticky with firm pressure, not sure I like that, the Spanish Horside and Cordovan are much smoother and lighter, actually the Spanish HH is very close to my TM Italian HH

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 07-31-2017, 01:00 PM
#4
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(07-31-2017, 12:45 PM)Panther308 Wrote:
(07-31-2017, 11:36 AM)TheLegalRazor Wrote: I like a light draw, so for me it would be the horsehide and cordovan.  I had a Roo strop many years ago, but sold it because the draw was too heavy.

Yes the Roo seems a tad heavy and depending on the blade used it's almost sticky with firm pressure, not sure I like that, the Spanish Horside and Cordovan are much smoother and lighter, actually the Spanish HH is very close to my TM Italian HH

I missed out on the TM HH strops, which I regret.

With shell cordovan, the draw can sometimes seem almost too light.  You used the word "glassy" and I think that's a good choice.

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 07-31-2017, 01:09 PM
#5
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(07-31-2017, 01:00 PM)TheLegalRazor Wrote:
(07-31-2017, 12:45 PM)Panther308 Wrote:
(07-31-2017, 11:36 AM)TheLegalRazor Wrote: I like a light draw, so for me it would be the horsehide and cordovan.  I had a Roo strop many years ago, but sold it because the draw was too heavy.

Yes the Roo seems a tad heavy and depending on the blade used it's
almost sticky with firm pressure, not sure I like that, the Spanish Horside and Cordovan are much smoother and lighter, actually the Spanish HH is very close to my TM Italian HH

I missed out on the TM HH strops, which I regret.

With shell cordovan, the draw can sometimes seem almost too light.  You used the word "glassy" and I think that's a good choice.

Yes I love the TM HH, Tony and me had been chatting and I told him i wanted a different strop and he came back to me many, many weeks later and said he had found some Italian HH in his shop that he used to make what he called 'Grandpa Strops" with, the leather is not as pretty and the handles have an antique finish to them to make it appear quite old and used so i purchased two of them with an extra piece of leather, I gave one to my son and other to me witha spare leather topper. My son ended up not liking his so i sold it off, stupid on my part as now that it's broke in it's really nice.

Here is a pic of it right after getting:

[Image: 8S9NcIS.jpg]

[Image: vjk3eiQ.jpg]

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 08-15-2017, 04:34 PM
#6
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Just a quick update, I have moved from the Kangaroo to Italian HH, the Roo althought very nice just has way to much draw for my preference  so am testing the HH for the next 10-14 days.


I honestly wanted to like the Roo as I don't have a Roo strop but depending on the razor used it's almost magnetic, i know strop draw is very subjective and what I consider medium heavy another user might consider light medium but if a strop is nor comfortable fore the end user and you end up stropping incorrectly it's not going you do your razor or strop any good, Alsatair from Westhome advised that the Italian HH is supposed to have a heavier draw but he backed it with veg tanned HH to add some rigidness to it and still remain flexible but stated doing so may have taken away some of the draw.

So after testing this one I will move on to his cordovan

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 08-20-2017, 10:04 PM
#7
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Well Gents another strop tested and done with and now am moving onto the shell cordovan, I already have the Kangaroo and Italian HH boxed up and they will be heading back with Alastair's personal Shell Cordovan strop that he was so generous to send me

I have lots of strops, not as many as some but honestly who needs more than a couple, well I have about 8 and they vary from TM Spanish HH, TM Fast Bridle, TM Oil Tanned, Kanayama Cordovan, Scrupleworks Oil Tanned, Rasurpur Paddles etc...

Well in my quest to try different materials to see what I favor the most Alastair from Westholme was kind enough to send me three strops to test, well long story short I don't personally care for the Roo as it has in my opinion a pretty magnetic draw and this is contrary to what others have said about this material but I believe draw is all relative to each user and what is heavy or light to one may not be that for another user, I used the Roo for about a week to ten days and just decided not for me and moved to the Italian HH, again it's one beautiful piece of work with great attention to detail with stuffed handles and top quality workmanship but after about a week it to does not exhibit what I want in a strop, depending on whether I warm the leather first or the razor has a particular grind the draw is what I would call a medium and if warmed with a heavier grind exhibits a medium + draw, not nearly the draw of the Roo but to be honest to heavy for me.

I found the draw on the Italian HH and Spanish HH to be quite different from each other, grant it these two strops are from different vendors and one is Italian and one is Spanish ( not sure the difference ) anyway the Spanish HH has a very velvety feel after a few passes very similar to my Kanayama but by no means can it be classed as cordovan but from my understanding Kanayama strops are not what Horween would classify as cordovan by their standards as it's processed quite differently.

I always thought I wanted a strop that was what I call a medium draw leaning just a small amount towards the heavy side but as I have been using and comparing my strops to various others I am finally figuring out that I like strops still on the medium side but leaning towards the lighter side, so with all my rambling I am now testing the Westholme Shell and to be honest I am thinking it's going to be what I order from Alastair and yes it happens to be the most expensive, I honestly was hoping that I would have liked the Roo as I don't have one in my arsenal but it's not suited to my taste.

So in closing please don't take my non scientific testing of strops as the tell all story that shell cordovan, oil tanned or certain types of HH as the only thing you should be looking at, my suggestion is to try lots of different leathers from different makers to see what you like and or dislike as one oil tanned or cordovan from one maker may and most likely will be different from one another, are all strops created equal.... No, but you have to find one that allows you to maintain the correct stropping action to maintain the edge that you or someone else has put on your razor(s) because if use a strop that you cannot maintain control over using it will won't do you, your razor or your strop any good.

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 08-21-2017, 08:58 AM
#8
  • Entasis
  • Atop the Razor's Edge
  • Southern California
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Thanks for the strop feedback, Panther308. The beauty of straight razor shaving is that you can fine-tune every aspect and you never cease learning. It's hard narrowing down hones, strops and straight razors since it's so much fun trying out new things or changing-up an existing ones.

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 08-21-2017, 08:26 PM
#9
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Thanks Entasis it's really been fun testing these strops and even more so testing some new JNATS and more testing to come, it seems I can go weeks and weeks being happy with what I have as far as edges I get from my razors then I get that itch that forces me to chase that edge again, I am by no means a "Hone Master" but I love getting great edges especially when they are for someone else, I take more pleasure in their edges than mine if that makes sense and now I am in the process of pairing down to a simpler regiment.

Currently have about six strops I think and want to get down to four and my hones have always been pretty simple using just 2-3 stones but the first couple never really matter it's the finisher that makes all the difference and currently have been super pleased with a Nakayama Kiita I have been testing, it's not a soft Kiita like most, the owner of the stone believes it comes from a deeper strata layer which makes it harder but I'm no stone guy but know the edges I have been getting from it are killer smooth and very keen, have a few more nagura's to test with the stones I have, sort of like an asano progression but using just tomo's nagura's with various grits compositions so going to use a softer nagura that more or less releases larger garnet particles and then work my way down to a finer tomo.

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