Okay, so I went about six months using exactly one strop: a Tony Miller latigo. I laughed and scoffed at those AD-addled fools who had to try every exotic unicorn strop ever produced. What's the point, right? I got good results with one, so I was free to gleefully overspend on just about every other damn AD known to man.
Well, curiosity finally got the better of me. I got another strop. A horse. Hey, this is kinda cool. The draw is so much lighter. It's a new twist to my game. You probably know where it goes from there: enter SAD. I got bit. You name it, I got it. Russian leather, English bridle, water buffalo, kangaroo, notovan, buffed cowhide, another horse (hey, something with a name as cool as "de Caballo Mas Fina" has got to be awesome, right?). I had to hide them in the closet, leaving only a couple hanging in the open at a time lest the wrath befall me. There was of course that variety, but for the most part, I discovered that the difference was essentially linear. That, with the notable exception of the roo (which has a medium but distinctly "different" draw), the difference between strop A and strop B could be summed up entirely in the quantity of the draw. Don't get me wrong, I liked that variety, and I collected a few really nice strops along the way.
About the only material remaining on my "to try" list was genuine cordovan. Of course I'd read the effusive praise lavished upon this stuff, but come on...it's just horsehide, right? I was curious, sure, but not curious enough to shell out those bucks. One day, maybe. Well, it kept nagging me, as these things tend to do. I'd read a SOTD post or something mentioning Kanayama, and an hour or so later I'd find myself virtual window shopping at easternsmooth. Hmmm...so many choices, this one looks good. Wait, what's that in dollars? Oh...okay. Close window. Eventually I got to the point where I was actually putting one in the basket before thinking better of it and backing out. Okay, one day...
Then, a few weeks ago, strolling through the Contributors' Corner (which to be honest I don't often do), I came across a minutes-old post by an upstanding member of this community offering for sale (at a tremendous discount) this:
The Kanayama Signature Series 65000. With my Paypal account fortuitously fat from some recent den purging, I leapt. Dashed off a PM, commenced silent prayer. Mind you, I had, in my previous e-shopping near misses, always gravitated toward the Signature Series. I really liked the idea of that buffed horsehide secondary, and the debossed markings were, I thought, an elegant touch. I had never virtually ventured any higher than the 55000, though, in a pathetically rationalized attempt at frugality. Now, here - for quite a bit less than the 55K from the manufacturer - was the big daddy, the 65K, the top of the line in the Signature Series. Ding! "You have received a new private mesage..." Open... WOOHOO!
Exactly two days later it's in my hands. First impression: this thing is gorgeous. Smooth. Supple. Thick. I like where this is going. It's a little wider than most everything else I have, about 2 3/4", and loooong - nearly 26". I trot up to the den for an impromptu test run. Whoa... Stop the presses. This is unlike anything I've ever stropped on before. The draw is light, but not too light. There is, however, a unique and difficult to describe quality to it, something off that linear scale. Suffice to say, I love it.
So, it's been a couple weeks. Every morning it's the same question: what am I stropping on today? Every morning, the answer is the same. Sure, there's 20 laps on the TM linen, but then it's 20 on the buffed horse secondary (a very nice, smooth sensation, by the way), then 40 on the cordovan. Ahh...perfectly smooth results. Gone is the desire for variety. My other strops hang lonely. Some have already found their way to new homes. I have indeed found the ONE STROP TO RULE THEM ALL.
SAD is dead.
Thanks again, Bob.