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Cheap strops. Do they work?

So this just arrived. $6.50 shipped from the US.

The hardware? Actually it's just fine. Maybe not quite as nice as vintage... but it's fairly substantial metal and has all the right parts. Honestly the hardware alone is almost worth what I paid for the strop.

The big question is the canvas.

It's that plasticky really stiff stuff. I seem to remember cheap illinois having something similar. I'll test it and get back on if it works... if it does, this is a great deal.


Leather? It's cheap, but it is leather. Like the Xbay this arrived with a big line of creasing near the bottom. This also arrived with a gouge about 2/3 of the way down the strop. Also like the Xbay, there's plenty of other flaws in the leather surface... but they are recessed, and the leather has more of a "finished" look than the Xbay did. It's cheap leather, with fibers pulling apart like a stringy overcooked steak at the edges... but it seems like it's real leather... again not dissimilar to cheap Illinois strops (but with flaws all over).

I'm probably going to try stropping and stopping before I hit that big gouge to test it out. This is the first strop of these cheap ones I actually EXPECT will work like a real strop from the feel of it... but that probably means it'll be the disappointment.

In either case, I got my moneys worth with the hardware and I'm actually much more hoping that the canvas works than the leather. I couldn't really care less about the leather's functionality other than to review it.


Flesh side of the leather seems reasonably clean if you use it for pasting.
 

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That’s the same, except your “leather” is better than what I had. Whatever plastic finish was on it felt like it was made for outdoor benches or something. For the price, can’t say it wasn’t fair. Glad you got some utility out of yours!
 
So Leather seems to work according to HHT (I'll shave test it soon to be sure). Feels to me like if Illinois had a "seconds" strop made out of the stuff that didn't make the cut for their $30 strops. Definitely not fun to strop on (loud and stiff and plasticky) but seems to work.

Canvas no go. Way too stiff and plasticky. I'm seeing if running it through the wash helps, but not too hopeful.
 
I pulled the trigger on one, and it just arrived a couple hours ago. I will try it out tomorrow but it definitely beats theexbay's strop.
 
I worked the leather a little to get it loose enough to strop on, just be careful not to crease it. I'll let you know how washing the secondary component goes.

How did yours arrive? Any wrinkles or damage like mine?


Update: Washing didn't really do anything. Working it a bunch helped a tiny bit but it's still crazy stiff. Might try a vinegar soak. Stropped a razor on it and it seems damaging to the edge as it is now. Hopefully if I find a way to soften it, that'll go away. Otherwise the secondary component is junk.
 
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So I was kinda busy configuring my trading platform and was gonna take it out of its plastic bag tomorrow before the exchanges open but since you asked, I went ahead and opened it. Lots of dents and it looks like split cowhide, not top grain, with the upper side buffed and polished to look like hair side. Meh. I will leave the feedback that it deserves, considering the low price. I will strop something on it tomorrow but think I will end up calling it a SSO, Strop Shaped Object. Can't expect much for that price, though.
 
I worked the leather a little to get it loose enough to strop on, just be careful not to crease it. I'll let you know how washing the secondary component goes.

How did yours arrive? Any wrinkles or damage like mine?


Update: Washing didn't really do anything. Working it a bunch helped a tiny bit but it's still crazy stiff. Might try a vinegar soak. Stropped a razor on it and it seems damaging to the edge as it is now. Hopefully if I find a way to soften it, that'll go away. Otherwise the secondary component is junk.


Try this.
Can't hurt.
 
Yeah that's similar to what I've been doing with my hands but a little more aggressive. Doing it like that will be the next step once I get out of the vinegar.
 
So I pulled it out of the soak and worked it aggressively it's definitely a little looser now but it still feels like rigid plastic... I will give it a little while to dry and then I'll see if it still seems to damage the razor.


edit: less than before, but edge still gets beat up. Maybe in theory it could eventually be softened to usability, but I'm gonna call it a waste.

Hardware - Works

Leather - Seems to work but I'll confirm with a shave test and get back to you

Canvas - Fails.
 
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.... Maybe in theory it could eventually be softened to usability, but I'm gonna call it a waste.
....
Canvas - Fails.
Try bonding some natural chamois to the canvas then strop on the chamois after the leather. You might be pleasantly surprised. I was.

I used rubber glue for the bonding. Two coats on the canvas (because of its porosity) and one on the chamois.
 
So basically just use the secondary as backing to add stiffness to the Chamois?
Not so much for stiffness but rather for strength. Chamois is not strong enough to use on its own as a hanging strop.

Here is one that I put together. Took about 30 minutes.

IMG_20201121_135546.jpg
 
So the leather seems a bit damaging and overly abrasive. The surface at 100x doesn't show abrasives, but it's very rough with large gaps and there are ugly black flecks caught in it here and there that may be damaging. I'm going to call it a fail.


Only the hardware seems worthwhile.
 
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I make my own strops for cheap.
Top grain leather, three strops can be made for $11.
Canvas material, $1 each 2" x 12" strip.
Hardware. About $8 to make two double-sided strops.
Polishing compound, $3.
Lapping film, $6 for a variety pack.

Maybe I should give one of those Chinese leather-and- canvas models a chance.
 
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