I didn't use a lot of strops. I didn't went crazy and got a few vintage and modern strops. I started with one and it's this one. I think it's fairly safe to review it today as I used it for more than 6 months now.
Sure, this is a very narrow strop, I hated the X pattern for a while. I got another strop, 3" and decided after a month that I prefer the X pattern, I find the finish to be better. That might be me...
Good starter strop? Yes, that was my first strop and it's what I use today.
Draw? Well unsure but I will go with low as it doesn't pull much. The leather is very soft.
That strop has a good thickness which is great as I nicked it quite a lot. A bit of sandpaper does miracles. It doesn't look pretty but it works!
I'm very happy with that strop, if it would be a tiny bit larger, I think it would be awesome. (2" or 2.5").
This is my third strop, I also have a TM Latigo and a Vintage horsehide. I bought this to leave at work because it was cheap, small, and available locally.
Fit & Finish: Nothing about this strop says it will withstand the time but it should last reasonably long with some basic care. Components are small and sewn together. The rings are small gauge and the swivel isn't very smooth. The linen is thin and rough and is also loaded with white paste. The linen has a sag to it and is difficult to get tight. The leather though is clean cut and there is no blemishes or scarring. A nice smooth surface.
Draw: At first it almost seemed to be draw-less. Very light but not really in a good way. I worked some stiff Speick lather into it which darkened it up and gave it a nice draw, somewhere between latigo and horse.
Thickness of Leather: This is relatively thin leather, not paper thin but thin none the less.
Efficacy: It is a very narrow strop but I like that a lot. I don't like larger than 2". The linen does a good job prepping the blade and the leather does pretty good after the Speick treatment.
Overall Value: For what I was looking for this strop fits the bill pretty good. I don't expect it to look good and be a display piece but for storing in my locker and stropping a razor it does fine. If this was my daily at home it would probably be disappointing.
Not everything is better, here in the Old World. Sure we have the three T, Harris, Dovo, Thiers-Issard, Filarmonica, Mastro Livi and a plethora of vintage pieces. But there's something we haven't got. We have no quality strops. Sure, we have a lot of industrial made strops, but the difference with a Miller or a Kitayama is simply embarassing. For a lot of us Italians this Dovo strop (or his paddle cousin) is the one and the last we'll buy. Sad, huh?
I have this strop, double sided (linen at the back) and a 3'' Red Latigo Miller Artisan.
Fit & Finish
Not bad, for an industrial made cheap(ish) product. The leather is smooth, the linen is not creased and the metal fittings are well made. There are no screws, everything is pasted and stitched; once damaged, this strop goes straight in the bin.
Amount of Draw
Very very little draw. This, and the reduced width, makes its use quite complicated for a novice (X movements galore, with no pressure at all). Alas, on this side of the Ocean, a strop larger than 2'' is quite difficult to obtain.
Thickness of Leather
Average. Enough said.
Efficacy Per se, the leather side is not so good, without the linen the rating will be about 3. Use the linen side everyday before the leather, and this strop starts to become a good value for the money.
I think that for a mere "razor user" (one or two hollow ground pieces, bought new and carefully honed and preserved), this can be a good strop. A vintage collector, with many exoteric pieces (wedges, japanese...), should steer clear and buy something with a lot more draw (Russian leather, Latigo or Horsehide).
After I bought the Miller, I recycled this one by pasting the linen side with CrOx (french paste, mysterious brand). Now I use it sometimes, to remember myself why I prefer the Latigo