So I finally got my Kanayama strop in after all that rigmarole.
It was packed in what must be the best strop packaging ever. I am sure it took Mr. Aoki from Aframestokyo a lot of effort to do, and he obviously has pride in the product he offers.
Despite a lot of hoopla surrounding the cordovan primary surface, I am most impressed with the secondary suede strop. It is very thick, and has a ton of draw, yet because it is buffed you can regulate the amount of draw with pressure and can strop at a top speed despite the heavy draw...an oxymoron if you will. While I doubt it has the abrasive qualities of linen, it feels really good and certainly will clean off the bevel in anticipation of moving to the primary leather. Dare I spray it with some nano poly diamond?!?
The primary leather is nice and smooth, but has fine vertical sanding/finishing marks on the surface. I was originally expecting a polished patent leather-like surface, but at second thought such a surface would be like stropping on plastic and not work well.
The surface isnt 100% perfect, but as perfect as any natural skin off an animal and hand finished can be. I suspect I would need to drop 150 percent more cash to get a flawless surface...but I am a finish carpenter so I can spot cellulite on a fly's ass at ten feet :). Looking at it from normal distances, it's flawless and well worth the price. This may sound overly critical, but your money is all in the leather- unlike a TM with handles, caps, and edging. I am ignorant as to whether Kanayama works the leather or buys it already finished. I am hopeful he works each piece as I enjoy the thought that his craftsman's "spirit" is in it.
Stropping on it felt eerily similar to my TM Notovan leather...until I stropped them back to back. The Kanayama has less draw than the Notovan. The Notovan feels "pebbly" for lack of a better term, while the Kanoyama feels "sandy". It is hard to describe a draw that is very light, yet has a definite textural feeling under the blade.
The TM horsehide feels slippery and fast, Latigo feels hard yet with medium draw, and his steerhide feels soft with medium/light draw. I like them all, and in terms of draw it would be more than horsehide, less than Notovan.
I must say it feels really nice and holding the cut ends do feel luxurious. It works well enough for Kamisori, but I suspect full hollow users would LOVE this(I eased the heel on my Takami to avoid scratching the cordovan). Once I get up the nerve to wantonly strop with abandon I will update my thoughts on this Strop. YMMV ;)
I would like to give a shout out to Craig and Alfredo, without whom, none of this would have been possible.