What's new

Vintage leather strops

So the Imp 700 I bought got here and seller had cropped a fairly decent gouge out of the pictures. Debated a return and decided just to restore it. A bunch of sanding later and it's almost restored... just need to throw the linen in the wash and apply some mink oil to the leather once it arrives (ran out).
 
So the Imp 700 I bought got here and seller had cropped a fairly decent gouge out of the pictures. Debated a return and decided just to restore it. A bunch of sanding later and it's almost restored... just need to throw the linen in the wash and apply some mink oil to the leather once it arrives (ran out).

That's frustrating!
I didn't see anything either. I would contact him anyway and maybe get some rebate.
 
I should have probably tried that before I restored it. Now I'd rather not, as if he says to just return it, what am I gonna do tell him "Nevermind, I already fixed it". I'll message him and inform him that he should be sure to show damage such as it had if he ever sells a strop in the future and maybe he'll throw me a small refund; but I'm not gonna expect anything.

Once restored, it's a really nice strop... though I still need to wash the linen.
 
Finally unpacked my strops. Had one of each, so now I've got two 700s and a 700C. Biggest difference I see is the C is noticeably thicker.


Must have been mistaken about cordovan labeling. Just the DD advertises cordovan.

"Shell" common and a few reference "treated" or "cured"
 
My 700 and 700C are both the same thickness and look identical under a good loupe.
The surface of the C being harder/shinier than the other.
I think DD is the only one I have seen that was labeled Cordovan too.
Cordovan leather just feels different.
 
So I went back and compared all three and I'll say this:

The C is much more limber. It rolls and flexes smoothly the whole length. Like a Kanayama, where it is evenly supple from one end to the other and almost rolls like a wave moving across the ocean.

The 700's on the other hand are tighter/stiffer along the length.

This difference would make me think that the C may be cordovan (or shell) and the 700's not. But obviously that's a big assumption. I'm just saying that "limberness" is a trait of certain pieces of leather, maybe shell in general, but definitely cordovan.

Of my Strops.... which have that "rolling" ability vs which don't:

Also in order of Most flexible to least:


Have:

Kana #3
My homemade Italian Cordovans
Ace 905 "Flex Tan"
980 Genuine Shell
588-X "Natural Shell with that fine silky draw"
Real Edge Select Quality Russian Shell
Red Imp 700C
CMon "Blackie" (this has a diamond cut back which I think was designed to give this flexibility, I actually doubt this is cordovan, maybe not even shell, but the diamond cut does make it much more limber... I've had other strops like this before too)
Moose Head "Shell"
198 "Seel Brand" English Horse Shell
Dubl Duck Scotch Shell Cordovan



Dont:
TM Heirloom Old No 2 (Limber but doesn't easily "roll" like the above ones)
Red Imp 700 (Mostly stiff but not almost solid like the four below)
Camel Brand 124 (Not quite as stiff as the three below, but still very stiff... From this one down they can nearly stand upright if you grip the bottom)
J Tarnow Selected Horse Hide (this would definitely be considered very stiff)
Ambrose Spanish HH (this would definitely be considered very stiff)
Second Red Imp 700 (this would definitely be considered very stiff)
 
Really don't think they are Cordovan.
All my Imps are the same in flexibility as this can be a huge variable in age and treatment.
I have a Diamond Back by Certifyd that is crosshatched on the backside and is super flexible.
It is 100% Shell as are the Imps from stated Ads. The Diamond back is super fibrous under a loupe, like a heavy mesh - cool really.
The way they wear also suggest to me that they are not Cordovan.
Cordovan is incredibly durable and not subject to the scuffs that will show on an Imp or other vintage strop.
None of my Kanayamas show the same type of wear as the vintage ones do.
Its no comparison really IMO.
Shell yes. Cordovan no.
 
I'm just saying that "limberness" is a trait of certain pieces of leather, maybe shell in general, but definitely cordovan.

This is true, but for me, if you try to cup a vintage strop across its width it is very stiff.
A cordovan strop easily cups in any direction.
Lengthwise mine are all pretty supple. Widthwise the difference is huge.
 
Yeah I find flex by width is almost entirely condition & thickness, and a thick vintage will usual not have any flex (but some thin vintages I own flex great by width *these are actually some of my favorite vintages... work great and cheap*)... the flex along the length does seem more to do with the leather itself, although thickness and condition still have influence.
 
Last edited:

steveclarkus

Goose Poop Connoisseur
I got a wonderful vintage strop that was made before I was even born. It had two pieces of leather - one horse hide and the other horse shell. I finally put it away as a keepsake and had the cobbler up the street make a strop for me which works beautifully. Eventually I will probably get a Tony Miller though - a 2 1/2” with no linen.
 
Even nos vintage strops need to be worked in if they are waxed linen. I still have an extra nos one somewhere I got with my nos boxed wladimir savin and that linen was a pita to get working wo shedding wax.
 
Mail call strop from the Bay. Does anyone know the age? I sanded her down and applied leather balm.
D6A9BE6E-6445-4210-AB81-B45C93A19D7F.jpeg
95D3710E-C763-45BD-8002-5E4C346DE3C5.jpeg
CD7CFF76-4586-43FD-BB33-41578E4DA6E3.jpeg
128E8296-F9E1-4615-816B-D7AA7D1BB0B6.jpeg
 
Yeah, pretty strop. Can't do anything more than venture a broad guess at the date though. Maybe researching when the maker closed would help. Martin J rubin is a NY lawyer now.
 
Here's the imp after the restoration. Looks good as new. Speedy little devil.
 

Attachments

  • 16318114897587936347188874581848.jpg
    16318114897587936347188874581848.jpg
    5.7 MB · Views: 14
Top Bottom