As I’ve been learning the in’s and out’s of shaving with a straight razor, I am learning to appreciate the importance (and subtleties) of stropping. For those of you unfamiliar with stropping, it is the back-and-forth motion done on a piece of leather to prepare the straight razor for a shave, aligning and polishing the edge (not really sharpening though. That’s honing). I now have three strops: a very basic, two-inch leather strop, a mid-grade, three-inch paddle strop, and a strop with both cotton and leather surfaces. I want to write specifically about the cotton/leather strop–a “Latigo” strop from Bison.
Latigo leather is cattle hide leather tanned with a combination of alum and gambie, often used for saddlery, and is both durable and supple. Even though this is Bison’s least expensive strop, it just screams “quality!” You can tell that this was built to last. The hardware is substantial and well thought-out. There’s a large swivel clasp at one end of the strop and a large grasping handle at the other.
The Cotton Side
This strop also includes a linen/canvas strop as well. I had never used a canvas strop until now. I had thought a leather strop was all that was necessary, and indeed using only a leather strop will be adequate. But the addition of a linen/canvas side to use as a “coarse adjustment” (while the leather side is used as a “fine adjustment”) on the straight razor blade has made a difference in the comfort of my straight razor shaves. Nothing dramatic but a definitely smoother shave.
There may be less expensive strops but this Bison strop is definitely an “heirloom quality” item: high-quality, hand-made, and detail-oriented.
What Are Cotton Strops Used For (On Straight Razors)?
How To Buy And Shave With A Straight Razor