A Redditor asks:
“I’ve been wetshaving for awhile now using a Merkur 34c, Feather blades, and Taylor of Old Bond Street sandalwood cream (thanks to this sub). It’s been great and now I’m looking to take the straight razor plunge. Doing research, I’ve noticed a number of the higher end strops actually have two pieces…a leather piece and a cloth or linen piece. What is the purpose of the cloth? Is it just for polishing or is there something else?”
I recently wondered about this myself. I’ve read where some straight edge aficionados think it doesn’t make a difference and they don’t use it, just the leather. On the other hand, others seem to swear by them. I asked Matt of Razor Emporium, who helps make the fine strops over at Bison Leather, about it. He said:
“It’s used as “step 1” for stropping – often sharpening pastes are applied to this side. It’s also just more coarse than leather and kind of does the “heavy lifting” of getting the cutting edge lined up. The leather is like the step 2 or final polishing of the blade. Leather is used since its grain is very tight, even and smooth so it won’t do damage to the fine blade edge. It’s also a very flat and pliable material.”
I’m currently testing one of the Bison strops with a cotton side (shown above) for a review so I hope to have more detail on this topic soon!