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The shell itself is a layer of fibrous muscle found below the hide - it has to be revealed by 'splitting' the hide and flesh layer from the sheet of shell. It is tanned, shaved and dyed by hand in a long and laborious process that can take up to six months. The end product is a non-porous, wrinkle- and largely water-resistant leather with a lustrous, smooth finish that is very strong. The draw is very light, and it gives a highly refined edge to a razor. It is around 1.8mm in thickness.
The other stropping material is 100% pure cotton. The cotton side is used first or to clean the blade after shaving by stropping it for 20 - 30 laps to dry it.
Dimensions and stats:
29 inches overall length
15.5 inches stropping length
2.5 inches wide
genuine shell cordovan
handles made from stuffed black russia calf leather
chromed sturdy swiveling scissor hook
stainless steel d-ring
handles and panel attached with screw rivets - each stropping panel can be replaced easily
This strop is usable right from the box - it does not need breaking in (although it will improve a little with use) and it needs no oils or strop conditioners or dressings of any kind. Suggested stropping regime: 30 round laps on cotton followed by 50 round laps on leather, then experiment to find the optimal number of laps on each surface that suits you best.
Please note that this is a genuine shell cordovan strop - it has been glaze-finished by having the leather surface in contact with a sheet of glass to give it a shiny surface which will show any tiny natural marks and natural features of the leather mercilessly - this is normal. I do not use the same leather as the 'kanayama' style of strop - the two are very different - kanayama is thicker for instance. So - if you are after a kanayama strop, although mine are by no means inferior, this is not the strop for you!
Please note that this is an English handmade product, made by one individual - not a factory item made by machine, so you should expect signs of handwork such as slightly irregular stitching, etc. Leather is a natural substance which also shows some marks and slight imperfections, none of which will interefere with the ability of this strop to produce a super-fine edge on a razor. I always make a test prototype of every strop I sell, selecting the leather that has representations of all marks and imperfections for the test prototype, and I use it punishingly so I am very familiar with the materials I use and can personally recommend them. The items I sell are made from leather that has far less pronounced markings, etc, than the test prototypes - anything not meeting my exacting standards is rejected!
Packaged weight will be in the region of 600 gms