I’ve been testing this product since last summer when I got some samples of this product from Keith ‘de Grau. I hope most of you can forgive me for keeping this silent, but it was a request from the leather Master!
It’s leather… What’s the difference?
Oh if you only knew… Compression, grain, finish, etc… all play an important role in leather when it comes to stropping on it. It’s a great substrate, but it’s softer than paper on glass or balsa so it has a certain amount of give. How much depends of the leather you have. Regular bovine leather is a bit softer and does have a nice feedback. But for a super crisp v-bevel, this isn’t perfect. It will always round the edge a little bit. Not a big problem, but there are moments when you want things to be CRISP. Razors come to mind, but I like it on some knives too. This leather is amazingly stiff. It has almost no compression and I can’t feel hardly any difference between this and balsa.
Then there’s the grain. There’s some difference between the leathers. But between horse leather one would assume the grain is fairly similar. To the naked eye, that’s true, but if you look under the scope there are some noticeable differences.
Let’s look at regular horse first:
Here’s a 20x picture:
Regular horse 400X
Especially the 400x reveals some bumps and that’s normal for regular leather. It’s nice and smooth, but has a more pronounced grain.
Then there’s the hard rolled leather. It looks fairly similar at 20x, but notice the bigger even surfaces and less grain wrinkles.
But the 400x is really where the difference is noticeable. The grain is compressed (as expected) and you can see the hair follicles but that’s about it.
Overall, this leather beats pretty much everything including Balsa. It’s insanely firm, has a nice even grain and works with every compound I’ve tried (CBN, CrO, Boron Carbide, Diamond spray). Especially for razors it’s incredible. Nothing I have comes close to this stuff.
I’m very glad I can finally let the cat out of the bag. I’ve been using it for nearly 6 months and keeping my mouth shut was quite the chore, but now that it’s out in the open, you guys better get this stuff fast!