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Ambrose Custom Spanish Horsehide Strop

Item Description

Here is a review thread on this strop begun by others, with nice photos and everything. http://badgerandblade.com/vb/showthread.php?t=154571 I did not see an actual review in the reviews of this strop, though. Hope this is not a repeat review. I agree with azmark and Barbash say in the above thread.

First a bit about my strop experience. I have a Tony Miller 2.5 inch wide latigo, with cotton webbing, Dovo white pasted strap--see below. I also have a vintage horse cordovan shell strop in great shape with a Hess Milk Labs Silk Finish strap. I also have a vintage shell strop in less great shape, that still does a pretty good job, which has been sanded down and oiled, and has quite a bit of draw for a horse shell strop. In the past I have owned and used lesser quality rawhide type strops. I have a decent barber's hone and a nice wood paddle strop covered with hard felt with diamond spray on one side and CrO on another. I also owned and used for a long time balsa strops with both separate diamond spray and CrO. I have never used a Japanese cordovan strop or, say, any of the Hand American products. On to the product!

Fit and Finish, Thickness of Leather, Overall Appearance--Workmanship and quality of leather is wonderful. Strop is a beautiful honey color. Very distinctive. Very thick, but not so stiff. Has a suppleness to it with without any tendency that I find for the leather to cup. Hardware is top notch. 2 inch wide cotton webbing strap is same as what I bought separately from Ambrose in the past and is very nice. I pasted mine with Dovo white paste and it seems ideal for doing that. Maker stamp is very nice.

Design--A beautiful design that is lavish in its use of stunning leather. Strop is one piece with a barber's end--my favorite and what my vintage strops have--and an elegant fold over top. Lots of square inches to use to strop. A long and elegant old school look. The one piece design and the excellent fit and finish give it stunningly clean, long lines. Luxurious.

Amount of Draw, Efficacy--Here is where this strop really shines, and I truly hope I am not exaggerating in what I say here, because I am skeptical myself as to whether any strop can make that much of a difference in an edge compared to any other strop. As others have said, it does not have the amount of draw of latigo, but has much more draw than most shell/horse strops, at least the ones I have used, even the one I sanded down quite a bit to remove damage. There is something very pleasant about that specifc level of draw. Also, very pleasant to touch the leather and hold it in one's hand. A substantial feeling tool in every respect. The part that seems to much to be true, is that I have (on loan to me) a Double Duck Wonderedge and a DD Special Wedge, which each had amazing edges on them to start with. I may not be the best stropper in the world, but I sure did not change technique for this strop, and as nice as the edges were before they took a noticeable step up--smoother and sharper--after being stropped on this strop as a finishing strop. I find that hard to believe, as I was not exactly using poor quality strops to begin with.

Value--I expect these strops to last forever. Craftsmanship is great. Quality of leather seems wonderful. The design is beautiful, but also the one piece aspect uses long pieces of very nice leather. A super value.

I have always taken exceptional pleasure in owning the TM latigo strop. Such a thing of craftsmanship and beauty to look at and use. I take equal (or more because of the additional elegance of the one piece design) pleasure in owning and using this strop.

Kudos.

Probably should use the thread above for comments that are not full reviews.

Latest reviews

Sooo... how does an Ambrose Spanish leather strop look after almost 20k passes? Pretty darn good! :thumbup1:

I have been using one of these at home since the end of June. I wanted to wait on giving a full review until I could give it a real workout. The first week I used it I was already impressed with it. After all the use I have put on it, I can pretty much just sum up the rest of the review in one word: amazing! :thumbup:

Now the strop that I bought was an irregular (see here) but regardless, the quality of the leather and the hardware was excellent. My "fix" was just to put a vintage hanger on it. I was skeptical of the cotton at first as it felt light and really zippy; really not what I was used to compared with the vintage canvas strops (such as Hess Hair, Dubl Duck Satinedge, Kanayama etc.) However, in use, it works great. It certainly kicks up an edge as well as any of those other ones. Mine initially came with a 2" wide one, but I have since tried a 2.5" version and like it even more!

The leather has a interesting feel to it; you'll probably find yourself stroking it often. :laugh: I like a strop with fast action like cordovan. Now this isn't as fast as that, but provides just enough draw to give you better feedback. Jose didn't advertise being able to use the back with paste, but I am happy to say the backside provides an excellent surface. You could even use it without paste as the slight texture it has should make it a good "sharpening" side. What I found happens is the little nooks and crannies do a great job filling up and holding the paste allowing the surface of the leather to be unpasted. Hard to explain, probably better to just look at the picture. Basically it allows for a more evenly pasted surface. It freshens up an edge real quick. :blink:

As far as strop care goes, I have applied leftover lather (Cella, a tallow based soap) 3x since the end of June. It hasn't needed anything additional. The surface and finish has proved to be very durable. The leather is still as beautiful as when I first got it. The canvas has not had any issues with fraying or raising a nap. Jose does apply a seam sealer. I am not sure if he just applies it to the cut ends or over the whole thing but regardless, it works great.

I had several strops to compare this one to. Initially I preferred my cordovan strops and felt they gave just a bit of a better edge. Now that the Spanish leather has probably fully broken in and after the lather applications, I'd say they keep an edge equally well. The cordovan has less draw, but as far as performance goes I can't say it holds an advantage anymore! Plus I can use the backside of this as opposed to the cordovan. :thumbup:

In summary, you can't go wrong here. Not only is Jose a stand up guy and a pleasure to deal with, his strops are excellent and a great value. They aren't fancy as some you see with stitching or colored stampings but that isn't what I am into either. I prefer a simple barber end strop. :thumbup1: In fact I like the strop so much, I have sold my other strops and placed an order for a couple others from him, including a cordovan. And get this.... one of those strops I sold... was a Kanayama! :blink:


Front surface (approaching 20k passes!):

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Close up of the grain:

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Back side pasted:

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I meant to take pictures and do a real review, but it kept getting pushed back, so I decided that a quick one was better than none. My experience is mostly with vintage strops. Including several shell and cordovan. The only modern strop I currently use aside from this one is a Bismark that is my beater strop.

First are the weaker point/s. The canvas is currently only available in just shy of 2", though Ambrose is working on getting wider cuts from his supplier. 2" is a little awkward to strop on at first, though you do get used to it rather quickly. Still, I'd prefer it came in the same width as the leather. This is what kept it from getting a 10 for fit and finish. The canvas material is nice. Stiff fibers, but still with good flex.


The hardware and it's mounting method are both very nice. The leather is good and thick. ~6mm on mine if I recall correctly. The draw is very nice. Smooth, cushioned and quite loud. It's works very fast for the type of draw it has. I'm often surprised at how quickly I'm finished on it.

Cost strikes me as fair for the strop. The quality is above everything else I've used by quite a bit with the exception of my vintage Dubl duck which is similar, but still inferior to this piece of leather (though the wider canvas on it still keeps it hanging next to this one).
Efficacy
5.00 star(s)
xa_sc_review_field_title.fit_&_finish
4.00 star(s)
Overall Value
4.00 star(s)
Amount of Draw
4.00 star(s)
Thickness of Leather
4.00 star(s)
Here is a review thread on this strop begun by others, with nice photos and everything. http://badgerandblade.com/vb/showthread.php?t=154571 I did not see an actual review in the reviews of this strop, though. Hope this is not a repeat review. I agree with azmark and Barbash say in the above thread.

First a bit about my strop experience. I have a Tony Miller 2.5 inch wide latigo, with cotton webbing, Dovo white pasted strap--see below. I also have a vintage horse cordovan shell strop in great shape with a Hess Milk Labs Silk Finish strap. I also have a vintage shell strop in less great shape, that still does a pretty good job, which has been sanded down and oiled, and has quite a bit of draw for a horse shell strop. In the past I have owned and used lesser quality rawhide type strops. I have a decent barber's hone and a nice wood paddle strop covered with hard felt with diamond spray on one side and CrO on another. I also owned and used for a long time balsa strops with both separate diamond spray and CrO. I have never used a Japanese cordovan strop or, say, any of the Hand American products. On to the product!

Fit and Finish, Thickness of Leather, Overall Appearance--Workmanship and quality of leather is wonderful. Strop is a beautiful honey color. Very distinctive. Very thick, but not so stiff. Has a suppleness to it with without any tendency that I find for the leather to cup. Hardware is top notch. 2 inch wide cotton webbing strap is same as what I bought separately from Ambrose in the past and is very nice. I pasted mine with Dovo white paste and it seems ideal for doing that. Maker stamp is very nice.

Design--A beautiful design that is lavish in its use of stunning leather. Strop is one piece with a barber's end--my favorite and what my vintage strops have--and an elegant fold over top. Lots of square inches to use to strop. A long and elegant old school look. The one piece design and the excellent fit and finish give it stunningly clean, long lines. Luxurious.

Amount of Draw, Efficacy--Here is where this strop really shines, and I truly hope I am not exaggerating in what I say here, because I am skeptical myself as to whether any strop can make that much of a difference in an edge compared to any other strop. As others have said, it does not have the amount of draw of latigo, but has much more draw than most shell/horse strops, at least the ones I have used, even the one I sanded down quite a bit to remove damage. There is something very pleasant about that specifc level of draw. Also, very pleasant to touch the leather and hold it in one's hand. A substantial feeling tool in every respect. The part that seems to much to be true, is that I have (on loan to me) a Double Duck Wonderedge and a DD Special Wedge, which each had amazing edges on them to start with. I may not be the best stropper in the world, but I sure did not change technique for this strop, and as nice as the edges were before they took a noticeable step up--smoother and sharper--after being stropped on this strop as a finishing strop. I find that hard to believe, as I was not exactly using poor quality strops to begin with.

Value--I expect these strops to last forever. Craftsmanship is great. Quality of leather seems wonderful. The design is beautiful, but also the one piece aspect uses long pieces of very nice leather. A super value.

I have always taken exceptional pleasure in owning the TM latigo strop. Such a thing of craftsmanship and beauty to look at and use. I take equal (or more because of the additional elegance of the one piece design) pleasure in owning and using this strop.

Kudos.

Probably should use the thread above for comments that are not full reviews.
Efficacy
5.00 star(s)
xa_sc_review_field_title.fit_&_finish
5.00 star(s)
Overall Value
5.00 star(s)
Amount of Draw
5.00 star(s)
Thickness of Leather
5.00 star(s)

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