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Strop review: Scrupleworks "Custom"

March 30, 2011 — R

Logo and handle"Custom", while consisting of six letters, is actually a four letter word.

So, why go for a custom strop? By accident, in fact. I was looking for a replacement for the non-leather side of my SRD Premium I extra long strop. The webbed fabric never really appealed to me, despite its good performance. The linen I got instead came from a member of Coticule.be (name: Torolf, nick: tm280). Linen, or pimp your SRD strop contains the details. Then pictures were posted of a complete strop, and I thought, "that is a very nice looking strop, I think I would like one of these, too." So Torolf and I exchanged a few messages, and came up with a solution that works very well for me. Enter the Scrupleworks Custom Strop - just for me.

Custom vs Premium IVThis strop is not for sale, and I am not sure that it should be, either. Torolfs materials are of such high quality that his strops ought not to be wasted as learning tools. Thus, the need for modular hardware is a non-issue. My strop only ended up like this because I actually wanted to replace the non-leather component on another SRD strop. You may ask yourself why anyone would want to do that. Simply because I have no use for more than one linen strop - and because I like experimenting a bit. And because I could not get a 3" strip of the leather used for The Different Scent's Old Traditional strops. There are many strops out in the market, most of them good, some quite outstanding, some ridiculously priced. If asked for a high quality, all purpose, no-nonsense strop, I would recommend the Premium IV without reservations (except, maybe, that the default webbed fabric looks, feels, and sounds tacky).

Scrupleworks "Custom" and SRD "Premium IV" side by side. Two different approaches to the same subject. No winnerUntil now, however, no other leather came close to the Old Traditional's in terms of feel, and draw. It is velvety smooth without suffering from the excessive draw often found in latigo strops. At the same time it is supple, yet firm, but without being as slick like the Premium IV. De gustibus and all that, but for me, it is perfect. But, as stated previously, it does not come in 3" width, and I have come to like that size a lot. Enter Scrupleworks. Without going into any details, it would have been more efficient to simply buy a complete strop. But for reasons beyond the scope of this article, I ended up with a modular strop instead. This needs mentioning because it puts the strop's only two drawbacks into perspective:

  1. The strop is quite thin. While making it the perfect travel strop, it has a slighly negative impact on its stability. Not that this would impair its performance, but being used to sturdy strops like the Premium ones, this one is very lightweight. This obviously would not quite be the case if it had a linen backing, like the ones actually being sold.
  2. Not being marginally as good with my hands as Torolf is, the strop does not quite fit the hardware. My fault entirely, courtesy of my first attempt at using punch pliers in twenty years.

But,  those are cosmetic issues. On the up side, the strop is very much perfect in feel, and performance. Whatever leather Torolf uses, it out-performs all my other strops, with the possible exception of the Old Traditional. Unlike the latter, however, it is as long as the SRD extra long strops, and 3" wide. These dimensions make it perfect for my requirements. After the first use, it immediately became my daily strop. Not least because it did not need any breaking in. Its draw has not changed in three weeks of heavy use, and I consider this a definite advantage. The 7/8 Friodur I have been using since then for testing purposes has not lost any sharpness. For me, this is the only test for a strop's performance I care about. And, the Scrupleworks custom has passed it with flying colours. 

To sum up this review, I can highly recommend Torolf's services and the materials he uses. All examples of his craftsmanship I have seen so far (three leather strips, two linen strips) are flawlessly executed, and look and feel extraordinary. I do not know what his "stock" strops cost, but I would be more than happy to pay €90 for one (which is what the Old Traditional costs). There is, however, one caveat: do bring some patience. Torolf's is fastidious about the quality of his products - even my individual pieces of leather, linen, and hardware. If you are looking for a quick buy, and can live with a mass produced strop, get one of those. My recommendation would be the SRD Premium IV extra long - simply a fantastic strop, with tremendous value for money. If, however, you are looking for something out of the ordinary, and have patience, do drop Torolf a note. You will not be disappointed.

Comments (1)

Excellent strop!

After 6 months of waiting, I have a strop, albeit in a different configuration, similar to yours.  I couldn't be more impressed with it so far.  I finally have a fitting compliment to my Premium IV.   Well done, Scrupleworks!