Ah, Star Shaving. I had a Big Daddy strop for quite a few years, and the first strop I made was essentially a shameless copy of it. You can of course save the Chicago screws and the D rings, and simply cut another piece of veg tanned cowhide, put it all together, and there you go, risen from the dead, FrankenBigDaddy! ZombieStrop! Another thing you might consider is using roo hide. Apparently it works quite well. I never tried a roo strop but those who have, seem pretty happy with it. Oil tanned leather is almost as good as veg tanned. Latigo is more or less an oil tanned leather, after all. Chrome tanned leather might disappoint.

But you can probably bring your old leather back to life. I have never seen saddle soap and a soft toothbrush cause any real damage to a piece of leather. Even Iwasaki-San's gasoline treatment is worth considering. As is, the leather is ready for the trash, right? So what do you got to lose? And it's not like you will be doing it every week or month or even every year. You will probably never do it again. So I say if you have an attachment to the old strop, knuckles in the grass, gitter done! I would proceed thisly:

1. A preliminary scrub with toothbrush and saddle soap, rinse well, dry in the shade, laying on a flat object, turning occasionally as it slowly dries. You need most of the water out for the next step but if it starts to curl, immediately segue into the next step before it stiffens into a warped, curly board.

2. Treatment with gasoline, naptha, dry cleaning fluid, acetone, any solvent that will dissolve and displace water, and in turn, evaporate, leaving little or no residue. Soak, agitate, roll out with a rolling pin or a bottle, work the solvent in and out of the leather. This should pretty much kill any mold or fungus in the leather, too, though you could consider adding a fungicide treatment. Soak for an hour in clear water, pour off the water, repeat.

3. In a double boiler, melt a chunk of beeswax about the size of a golf ball. Add a tablespoon of pure neatsfoot oil. Add a few drops of boiled linseed oil. Not too much, as it hardens when it oxidizes, glazes the leather, and makes it crack. Mix it all well. Remove from heat, and as it cools, thin it down with about twice the volume of acetone. Mix, mix, mix. It will be really hard to mix good. I find a small and expendable wire whip is about as good a tool as there is, for that. Oh, watch your eyes. Goggles are a good idea with all that thrashing and splashing to get it mixed up. This is your basic witches brew for treating starving leather.

4. As the leather dries, brush your brew on, front and back. lightly. Rub the hair side (slick side) vigorously with a bottle, using a lot of pressure. This compresses and burnishes the surface of the leather and gives it a vaguely Cordovan feel and look. What you are doing is replacing the solvent with water, then gradually replacing the water with neatsfoot oil, linseed, and beeswax. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

5. Next day, rub some more, without adding any more secret brew. The strop is now over-oiled. That's okay. Tomorrow is another day. Hang it where air can circulate around it, not in the sun and not in an excessively dry nor damp environment.

6. The NEXT day, bury the leather in sawdust or clay type kitty litter or garage floor oil absorbent. Take it out every day, brush it off, rub the strop by hand, re-bury it. Do this for a week.

7. Remove the leather, brush it good, wipe it down with a dry soft rag and then a damp one. Sprinkle a few drops only, of neatsfoot into your damp rag and rub some more. Finish by rubbing with the palm of your hand. Reassemble your strop. Soften some beeswax and rub it on your palm and then rub the strop down again. You are trying to transfer only a trace of beeswax to the leather. Strop, and see how you like it. If you want a stickier draw, repeat with the beeswax a few times over the next few weeks. For a faster draw, just leave it alone, and use it a lot. Or you could maybe rub it down with the absorbent a few times and skip the beeswax when you hand rub it clean.

That's an awful lot of bother for a simple piece of veg tanned cowhide that you can probably replace for about $15. But apart from the aggressive treatment with saddle soap and solvent, this is more or less how I treat a piece of leather that I will use to make a strop. Sometimes the results are underwhelming but usually it makes for a very nice strop piece. My favorite strop is one I made using that method and I like it about as much or more than my Kanayama.

Remember that most of the substances named above are flammable. Just sayin. And the State of California has probably declared them to be carcinogenic.