Vintage razor strops can add a great dimension to your razor set. They look the part, they are often tried and tested for their quality, and the authenticity speaks for itself. However, choosing one is not as simple as just going for the one you most like the look of.
Varieties of Vintage Razor Strops
There are dozens if different lengths, widths, and qualities available. A lot of it comes down to preference, but not always. Using longer, wider strops is easier than using the narrower ones, so beginners might want to bear this in mind.
Width: When you strop a blade, you should aim to cover the full length of the blade with each up or down stroke, which means the narrower strop users will have to perform a more difficult, diagonal motion. If you do this wrong, you could end up slashing or tearing right through the strop. There’s nothing worse than buying yourself a nice new strop, only to cut through the thing on your first use.
Length: You’ll also need to decide whether you prefer doing shorter, faster motions or longer, slower strops. There’s not really much difference in the difficulty here, it’s just about speed and comfort. Stropping a razor is an acquired skill so you’ll just need to get used to the length over time.
Material: Leather and cow-hide are the most common materials that you will come across. Strops have two sides. One side is rougher than the other, used to prep (clean) the blade before stropping. One side is usually linen, canvas or cotton.
Generally, it’s not the type of material used that matters, but the quality. The price and condition of the strop for sale is usually a good indicator of quality, but brand name is more often the most reliable source. I’m going to go into brand names more now.
Best Brands For Vintage Razor Strops
Here are some of he most well known, commonly found, and highly regarded brand names available.
Illinois/Fromm Razor Strops: These ones are still made today as well. They are generally regarded as great strops for their price, which makes them the best value strop on here. Beginners can give them a good use too.
Medal of Award: Coming up for 100 years old, you can find some on eBay still and their condition is great. They have a nice width as well which is a great bonus.
Dovo: Anything Dovo makes is great quality and there are plenty of vintage Dovo strops to be found.
There are going to be many more razor strops that you stumble across in your search for the perfect one. If you bear in mind the tips I gave above, and do some checking with the vendor, you are likely to find one of good quality. By no means do you have to stick with one of the above brands.