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New antique strop

eBay find

JM Schmid & Son
Providence RI
Shell Horsehide Strop

Before

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After Restoration

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It has some cracks where someone folded it in half for many years. Do I need to fill them in with something? It appears a previous owner moved the hardware to the opposite side to avoid them. The logos were upside down. Razors stropped on this strop pass the hanging hair test way easier than on my previous 10$ made in China.

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Congratulations! That's my Magic Strop. I have one and have used it for years. It is by far the best strop I've ever owned.

It can bring up an edge like no other strop I own and I don't know why. Mine is a very dark on the leather and I've wondered if it was ever pasted in some way. Very unique.

I wish you well with it, I almost never see them come up for auction (full disclosure, I have second one I rarely use keeping it as a back up, took years and patience to find).

Let us know how it works out.

Chris
 
eBay find

JM Schmid & Son
Providence RI
Shell Horsehide Strop

Before

View attachment 1023956

After Restoration

View attachment 1023957
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View attachment 1023963
It has some cracks where someone folded it in half for many years. Do I need to fill them in with something? It appears a previous owner moved the hardware to the opposite side to avoid them. The logos were upside down. Razors stropped on this strop pass the hanging hair test way easier than on my previous 10$ made in China.

View attachment 1023966

You did a great job restoring it. Looks great. Maybe @Tony Miller can chime in and let you know the best thing to do to fix the cracks.
 

Tony Miller

Vendor
You did a great job restoring it. Looks great. Maybe @Tony Miller can chime in and let you know the best thing to do to fix the cracks.
I have not really done restorations on old leather so am far from an expert on that. To me those deep cracks look unfixable but maybe one of the restoration gurus know some magic.
 
I have not really done restorations on old leather so am far from an expert on that. To me those deep cracks look unfixable but maybe one of the restoration gurus know some magic.
I think they are probably unfixable. The leather isn't real thick so they go pretty much all of the way through. They don't actually seem to be much of an issue functionally. I sanded them down so they are beneath the plane of the razor edge. And I'm very gentle in how I use it. So far the results are great. My other strop is vastly inferior. I have had good luck making simple strops that I use to help minimize burr in between stones in a knife sharpening progression. So I figured I would just find a piece of leather and then work it into submission like usual. Razors are more picky. I
was doing fine with my edges. But this thing turned it up another little notch. Shell horse hide is the real deal. I tried it both directions just to make sure I wasn't fooling myself. The cracks are only on one side so they can be avoided but it makes the logos hang upside down which annoys me. It seems to work great either way.
 

Tony Miller

Vendor
I find the depressed dips and marks to be a non-issue when stropping provided they do not go completely across the strop's surface or interest with either edge. The razor then glides along the normal surface and never falls into or "feels' the dip. if the dip however projects all the way to an edge the razor will likely feel it and react slightly each time it passes over. Most leather will have tiny depressions or even veining in spots that will not be an issue in performance and they only bother me if they detract from the appearance. I find horsebutt tends to have more small flaws and texture variations than other leathers because of where it comes from on the animal. The butt (much like on humans) can have a little cellulite type ridges.
 
I find the depressed dips and marks to be a non-issue when stropping provided they do not go completely across the strop's surface or interest with either edge. The razor then glides along the normal surface and never falls into or "feels' the dip. if the dip however projects all the way to an edge the razor will likely feel it and react slightly each time it passes over. Most leather will have tiny depressions or even veining in spots that will not be an issue in performance and they only bother me if they detract from the appearance. I find horsebutt tends to have more small flaws and texture variations than other leathers because of where it comes from on the animal. The butt (much like on humans) can have a little cellulite type ridges.
I think I'm going to let this one go.
I used it a lot over the last several weeks. I spent extra time burnishing and sanding and rubbing the areas around the cracks. I bought several other shell strops to compare. I told my wife it's like when she buys shoes. You order a whole bunch, pick out your favorites and then send the rest back. Except instead of returning them to Macy's I release them back into the electronic bay. Anyways I found some that are equally nice with good linen components and no cracks. I did do lots of testing and pretty much came to the conclusion you did above. The cracks have no influence on stropping performance. I could not tell the difference between this one and the other half dozen or so that I tried.

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My collection at the moment. I'm getting them all cleaned up. Left to right:
1. a small strop I bought at an antique store in San Francisco ten years ago. I use it as a paddle strop for knives.
2. a cheap Chinese cow hide strop with linen. I use it in between stones when I'm honing. It's also much better for wedges which seems to be the Shell's weakness
3. National Barber Supply. This is the only real dud. It's not actual shell and it's cracked all to hell. I might cannibalize it to use for trim pieces on some of the other ones.
4. Velvet Finish. Kind of short. Very slick and thin and fast. This one is in excellent condition. It's going to be my travel strop.
5. Sure Edge Razor Strop. This one needs new hardware and then it will be my main every day strop. Extremely fast but not slippery. I love this thing.
6. Red Imp with linen. Very good shape. Might keep it, might sell it. Logos were stamped and inked. Ink is gone but the embossed stamp is still pretty cool. Medium speed for shell. So still pretty quick on the draw
7. Satinedge Dubl Duck with linen. It looks like a dog took a bite out of it. Only an aesthetic issue. Medium speed. Might keep it might sell it.
8. Irsco with linen. Definite keeper. The Sure Edge is the fastest of the lot. This one is the slowest. As in, it has the most draw of my shell specimens. It's also the thickest. I will keep it for middleweights. Half hollows and the like. It will probably also be my every day after shave strop.
9. The Master Barber Strop from before.
10. A women's linen dress belt from the Salvation Army that was my first fabric strop. I still use it pretty frequently when I just want to clean an edge a little without affecting it.
 
I got my hardware today for the Sure Edge strip. It came with two disintegrating pieces of sewn leather attached to some sort of cheap plated steel. The plating was worn and there was bad pitting and rust and corrosion. So I got these 2 D-rings and some Chicago screws and some scrap leather. The rings are way overkill. But I don't plan on making any more strops, so what do I care? They will last forever. Heavy gauge Scuba gear cast stainless steel 2 1/4" inside diameter.



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