02-17-2019, 11:11 AM
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Good Day Gents,

Some of you may know that at one particular time I was on a quest to try all sorts of strops and let me say I have tried a lot over the years from high dollar Cordovan to steer hide and pretty much everything in between like horse hide, Kangaroo etc...And after trying all sorts of leather I figured out what I liked and sold off all the rest and have been quite content.

Well a few weeks back Mr. Tony Miller of The Heirloom Razor Strop Company contacted me and asked me if I would evaluate one of his strops at no charge and give some feedback on one he was developing and I eagerly accepted so for the past few weeks I have been using his Artisan Steer-Dovan leather Strop and can say I am very pleased with the results, upon getting the test strop in local post I am never disappointed by the quality Tony puts into his strops and this sample strop did not disappoint

The appearance upon opening the leather had light sheen to it very similar to my Westholme Cordovan but a lot thicker but still very flexible so for the first couple days I rubbed it a lot just to work the leather down to a softer side so I could do a side by side comparison to the other strops I have and I had decided I was going to compare it to my higher end ones which are my Westholme Cordovan and Vintage Kanayama 50, the Scrupleworks HH I have would not fall into this comparison as it has a muddy griity draw so I left this one out along with my Grandpa Spanishish Bridle.

After a few days I started stopping everything from almost wedges to extreme full hollows and freshly honed razors to ones that had not been honed in months and the following is what I came up with.

The strop at fist seemed somewhat glassy but there was a small amount of resistance and it seemed gritty and gave off a loud stropping sound but seemed smooth and seemed to not detract in dressing the edge in any way.

As the days passed and I rubbed and rubbed the leather it seemed to be getting softer and less loud but does seem to be less glassy if you warm it first by giving it 15-20 rubs before use but again very little draw but not glassy like my Westholme Cordovan which is what I call a hard glassy strop that is very thin but rigid in width but very flexible and soft in length

When comparing it to my Vintage Kanayama 50 Strop the Kanayama is a velvet
smooth and soft in every way possible and the Steer-Dovan strop exhibits more towards this strop than the Westholme, I’m not sure how the Kanayama is produced but it’s supposed to be a Cordovan Leather that’s not processed the same way as all other Cordovan strops as it does not exhibit that waxy hard glassy feeling.

Like I said the strop started off loud and smooth and had somewhat of a gritty tactile resistance to it so maybe from the processing it’s the raised leather fiber but upon using from stropping and just hand rubbing most of that has gone away.

I also have stropped freshly honed razors on it and did side by side shave tests and this strop performs just as well as my other test strops I have and in the end if I take one razor and strop it on each of the leathers I have the feel of resistance in regards to draw are all very close so currently if I were to place this in a lineup against my other strops this is how it compares to my other strops I would say it compares very closely to the Kanayama but has a bit more draw and when I say a bit I mean very, very little and is louder but the loud sound does not affect what it does in any way but like I said the loudness seems to be getting less and less with each stropping.

This strop also seems harder than the Kanayama as the Kanayama is like a worn out belt that you could fold any way you wanted and does not have the wavy hard feel that the Westholme has but it does have a bit more sheen to it that is a tad waxy but again not close to the Westholme 

In closing I would say this strop has little draw that is not buttery but is fast and smooth and reacts to how warm the leather is and is lounger and grittier than a waxed Cordovan.

My plan is to use it for a few more weeks and see if anything changes but currently if this strop were to be available no one would be disappointed in its current performance and I’m sure it will break in nicely as it sees more use

And for those that want to read what type of leather is used and how it’s processed here is Tony’s explanation on that and at the very end are a few pics

The leather used is a steerhide shoulder. Shoulders and butts are quite strong leather and mine are all cut vertically, spine to belly which gives the best qualities. This leather is veg tanned and uses waxes and oils in the process which basically makes it like a bridle leather but it is not marketed as such since it is far more flexible. It is rolled under pressure at the tanners to impart the glazed surface much like they do with cordovan and even veg tanned horse butts. This sort of irons the leather and compresses the fibers imparting the sheen on both front and back. As with most leather I use I can travel to this supplier and inspect each hide before purchase to ensure quality and feel and am my usual picky self when cutting and choosing which pieces to use.

On a side note, it also has a cool characteristic called "pull up" (which has no particular added benefit for a strop) that when bent sharply it gets very light but the oils in the leather will quickly "pull up" in to those stretched fibers and transfer back, darkening it again. It is a cool feature for wallets, bags, etc... though, but no one should bend a strop that sharply.

In closing if you are looking for a nice strop that will provide years and years of quality razor stropping lease visit Tony’s Site and look he has to offer and if you choose this one you won’t be disappointed.

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8 1,815
 02-17-2019, 11:26 AM
  • Steve56
  • Senior Member
  • Knoxville, TN
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Hey William, nice looking strop! Try rubbing the surface with a tomo nagura or a softer stone like a kiita. It will smooth and polish the leather. You’ll probably want to lightly lap the tomo afterwards though.

Cheers, Steve

8 839
 02-17-2019, 12:54 PM
  • Gabe
  • Senior Member
  • Arizona
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Excellent review. 

Have you tried his horse hide Notovan? Wondering how it compares.

109 2,172
 02-17-2019, 03:30 PM
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(02-17-2019, 11:26 AM)Steve56 Wrote: Hey William, nice looking strop! Try rubbing the surface with a tomo nagura or a softer stone like a kiita. It will smooth and polish the leather. You’ll probably want to lightly lap the tomo afterwards though.

Cheers, Steve

Steve, for now I am just letting the blade smooth the leather down and it’s doing a great job, it does seem to respond better if you don’t warm the leather prior to stropping but then lately I have just been taking my hand and giving any leather I use just one light pass to get the light coat of dust off it then strop normally 
(02-17-2019, 12:54 PM)Gabe Wrote: Excellent review. 

Have you tried his horse hide Notovan? Wondering how it compares.

Gabe, I had one of Tony’s Notovan strops several years back and just could not warm up to it for some reason the draw just was not right for me but the Grandpa strop I have is super glassy and smooth

8 1,815
 02-17-2019, 08:36 PM
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Excellent review William.  The TM Premium Steerhide is my prefered strop, but I'll have to try this one.  From your review and the TM website, it seems this strop is designed to look, feel, and perform like cordovan, but at a more reasonable price.

60 10,323
 02-18-2019, 07:31 AM
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I love my Tony Miller strops! Congrats!



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