Made by a multiple-generation, family-owned Solingen company for nearly a century, the Herold strops represent the majority of the production you’ll find for calfhide strops from Germany bearing the SOLINGEN trademark.
The ‘181’ means that it is 8cm (3.1″) across, and the “Ri” here refers to the thinner, more flexible first cut (these are what’s referred to as split-side hides, meaning the ‘rear’ of the 181J represents the exterior of the calf, and this “Ri” is the portion closest to the muscle tissue). The personal preference of the The Superior Shave ownership’s actually for this “Ri” version, but you’ll find more agreement in that the “Russian” type leather sells better.
There’s over 15″ of meaningful stropping zone between the boot-stitched sewn endcaps, the top of which has a swiveling ring and the bottom a stationary D-ring to get a good grab. The 3.1″ 80mm width of the leather allows you to go straight up and down the strop without having to master the X-pattern (or simply oscillate between the railings with the razors mindlessly as you go up and down, as the author here does on strops which are narrower than a razor’s cutting edge span).
Herold’s calf hide’s vegetable tanned in traditional methods that have not meaningfully changed in the entire company’s history.