Straightforward

I recently received an email asking why there are no straight razor leather sharpening strops being made in the US anymore.  I think the answer is because no one uses straight razors anymore?  What the email enlightened me to is the fact that straight razors are enjoying a bit of a resurgence.  And there still is at least one honing strap still made here.  I’ll admit to only ever getting a straight razor shave from the barber, but I did go digging through the leather goods archives here and turned up some old strops.  After all, Horween Leather used to do their primary cordovan business for the making razor strops.  Clearly, the invention by good ol’ Mr. Gillette didn’t do a lot to help that business.

Two razor strops that belonged to my great grandfather - they feature two different sides for sharpening and honing.

Two razor strops that belonged to my great grandfather - they feature two different sides for sharpening and honing.

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11 Comments

Filed under History, Products

11 responses to “Straightforward

  1. I was just asking this question last night. My father-in-law advised me that there still is a shop in Beverly Hills that gives shaves using a straight razor and sharpens the blade on the horse leather strap.

    • I’d say give it a shot – lean back and enjoy the hot lather. If you hear if one in Chicago, pass the address my way…

      • Mike

        I think that both State Street Barbers & Truefitt & Hill offer hot lather shaves in Chicago. The State Street Barbers on Webster is not real far from you.

  2. Jamie

    My grandpa had a Horween horsehide razor strop just like those pictured, and passed it down to my dad. Neither grandpa or dad used it for sharpening a razor though… but it worked very well for another purpose!

  3. Pingback: Shaveblog » Lifehacker: You Suck At Shaving Tips

  4. Scott

    There is one U.S. company that still makes razor strops – the Illinois Razor Strop Company of Chicago. IRS Co is now called Fromm International and produces a large inventory of barbering and salon supplies, including several razor strops. Illinois Razor Strop Company was founded in 1906, and as I understand it, obtained their strop leather from Horween. I was also told that the founders of both companies were good friends. I noticed on the Horween website that Fromm Int is not currently included amongst the retailers using Horween leather.

    As far as current straight razor use, there has been a resurgence of use amongst a small group in the U.S and abroad over the last several years. I myself have used a straight razor for over 30 years.

  5. geezerpussrex

    Brother Toar and I fought over who would claim Pop’s old razor strop. As it was used on Toar’s backside more than on any razor, given that our late father took up safety razors sometime between the wars, he got to keep it. Your information will allow me to obtain my very own strop but, unlike Pop’s, it will never be used to discipline unrulely offspring.

  6. It would be great to see Horween reproduce these strops themselves. No-one could do it better or more authentically. Would I need to beg for a Horween online store?…
    great blog and great work.

  7. I know this is an old thread, but I’m actually a straight shaver here in Chicago and am considering making my own strops. I would love for it to be a total Chicago creation…who would I talk to at Horween about this?
    Thanks

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