Introducing the Bison Cordovan Strop

I have been asked by Bison to take a look at their new cordovan strop. Full disclosure, I didn’t buy it, but I don’t get to keep it either.

The leather is real cordovan leather from Horween. One of the last two known tanneries still making horse leather. For those of you unfamiliar with cordovan, it is amazing leather. It is something else.

What struck me first about the leather is the deep & rich brown color. It’s a great color. I definitely approve. The next thing that struck my eye was the hardware. The hardware is unlike everything else out there. The clip and fasteners are simple & elegant.

Inspecting the strop, the craftsmanship is exquisite. There really isn’t much to say in this regard other than it is very well constructed.

The cotton piece is what I’m not terribly enthusiastic about. It feels stiff for some reason. That said, it’s not different than modern day offerings. It is also infinitely better than nylon webbing. Functionally, it does the job perfectly fine. It just isn’t as soft as my vintage Japanese strop.

As good as the hardware and the cotton piece are, you are reading this review to find out how good the actual working piece is. So, how good is the leather? It is excellent.

The cordovan used in this strop is different than the cordovan you normally see in strops. It is a darker color, more similar to the cordovan found on shoes than on Japanese cordovan strops. It also performs differently. The leather starts off extremely creamy and supple. It then breaks in to something completely unique. If Japanese cordovan feels extremely slick and plastic-like, Horween cordovan feels life like and has an extremely nice draw to it.

The closest leather I can compare it to is actually Tony Miller’s horsehide, but it’s not the same at all. It is cordovan with a hint of draw. Incredibly slick and smooth as only cordovan can be, but it has some draw like latigo. It is very hard to explain this in words, but suffice it to say that the feel is absolutely unique and a real joy to use.

In sum, the leather is not friction less like a Kanayama, but it may just well be better because of it. It is certainly a different beast and deserves a place in your shave den if you are serious about strops.

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