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How do I make a Leather Strop?


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#1 candyleather

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Posted 21 June 2007 - 11:47 AM

Does anybody has a pattern or the measures (thickness, length, width) for make a leather strop?

What kind of leather is better for a leather strop, horsehide or cowhide?

Do I must to use the same kind of leather for make a hanging leather strop than for a hand held leather strop?

Do I must to apply any dye or finish to the leather?

Does a leather strop needs any upkeep, any cream or similar?

Thanks for your answers.

#2 The Major

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Posted 21 June 2007 - 12:32 PM

Does anybody has a pattern or the measures (thickness, length, width) for make a leather strop?

What kind of leather is better for a leather strop, horsehide or cowhide?

Do I must to use the same kind of leather for make a hanging leather strop than for a hand held leather strop?

Do I must to apply any dye or finish to the leather?

Does a leather strop needs any upkeep, any cream or similar?

Thanks for your answers.



Veg-Cowhide for sure, The dimensions are really dependant on the size of the tools you are stroping.

You can use the same type of leather for the strops.

Keep the strap natural. I will add a tad bit of oil to my strop, the same honing oil I use on my sharpening stone.

I will also use red rouge on it tool

You should oil it often.

When I made mine I used a piece of 2" wide 10 oz leather and the finished length of the strop is about 8 inches overall.
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#3 barra

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Posted 21 June 2007 - 12:33 PM

Good topic Candyleather. learning to shave with a cut throat is on my list of 100 things to do before I die. I have one and used it with varying degrees of blood splatter. I made my strop out of scrap bridle leather 2" wide by about 18" long. As the cut throat shaving has been put on the backburner I put an eyelet in the strop and screwed it to the bench for general knife stropping. I just cut out a little at one end to fit my hand. I also have scrap leather glued to a board on the bench. BTW the cut throat is in the travelling tool kit and makes an excellent skiver.

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#4 yaklady

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Posted 21 June 2007 - 10:29 PM

Buenos Dias, Candyman! Como esta?

I use veg-tanned cowhide, like the Major said, for my strop. It's best to use the grain side, the firm leather won't round the edges of your tools. Glue that to a piece of hard wood for best results. I have never oiled my strop, but that's only because I never thought of it. I just use rouge on it, and reapply it often. The size does depend on the tools you want to strop.

The thought of horse hide scares me, as horses are my favorite animals. When you go to Fort Worth next fall, be sure to go to Tandy's headquarters and go into the office area. They have a hair-on horse hide hanging there. I'll take a yak hide over that any day!

Adios, Amigo!

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#5 gruntpain1775

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Posted 25 July 2010 - 12:16 PM

Good topic Candyleather. learning to shave with a cut throat is on my list of 100 things to do before I die. I have one and used it with varying degrees of blood splatter. I made my strop out of scrap bridle leather 2" wide by about 18" long. As the cut throat shaving has been put on the backburner I put an eyelet in the strop and screwed it to the bench for general knife stropping. I just cut out a little at one end to fit my hand. I also have scrap leather glued to a board on the bench. BTW the cut throat is in the travelling tool kit and makes an excellent skiver.

Barra



I shave with one every day. between the saving soap and the razor, I spend about 10 bucks a year to shave.

#6 Romey

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 02:54 PM

I actually have a couple boards of strops. Epoxied to 2x2 on all 4 sides is different leather thicknesses and harnesses as well as different compounds. The softer the leather the more its going to roll the edge which is fine for a convexed edge on a head knife. Some is vegtan, some is harness and some is thin split. The idea is certain hardness of leather along with the correct compound grit for certain secondary edges allows you to sharpen knives to edgers.

Edited by Romey, 27 July 2010 - 03:13 PM.

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#7 newfiebackflip

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 01:26 PM

I would like to bring this post some what back to life.

I just went for a shave at the barber the other day and he used a nice dovo blade to give me a nice shave.

Now I am go hard on learning how to use a straight razor and hopefully not cut myself like I got a shave from Sweeny Todd. I know a strop is going to have to be made in order to hone the blades.

I have seen many different topics about strops on various sights. Some say only latigo leather should be used.

Would i be completely out to lunch if I were to carve some sort of design on the leather just to customize it a little better? Or would it just get ruined from honing the blade?

#8 Chef niloc

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Posted 25 March 2012 - 10:35 AM

I have acutely been experimenting and reading a lot on the subject lately. To give you my best advice I need to know one thing that is very important when making a strop, What is the strops intended use?I.E. straight razors, woodworking or leather tools, kitchen knives? "tool strops" this includes strops for most knives should always be mounted/ glued to a perfectly flat hard backing. The thickness of the leather depends greatly on what you are stropping, thicker softer leather will give a convex micro bevel to a blade, this is good for some knives ( hunting knives come to mind) but bad for others like kitchen knives and chisels. For those tools harder thinner leather is better. Also if the strop will be used with honing compound for a slight degree of sharpening or kept "clean" (no compound) for a truer form of stropping.
If compound is used the type of leather is not as important, it doesn't even need to be leather at all! You see with compounds the abrasive is doing the work the leather is just a substrate to hold the abrasive, so something like balsa wood would work fine and be easer to make then a leather strop.
Most important is that the leather or any substrate be completely flat! No leather I have ever come across right from the store or tannery has ever been flat enough to make a good strop. There are different ways to go about flatlining the leather, each creates a different surface to the leather that lends its self better in one way or another depending on what's being stropped. In general if the strop is to be mounted and abrasive compound used then the type of leather is not as important, good veg tan cow hide is fine.
Straight razor hanging strops are a whole different ball game! Much harder to make and very little helpful info out there on how to make them. It's kind of a lost art, do to the disposable and safety razors that are now the norm these days. It's only been recently that "wet shaving" has come back in fad. I just spent a good 2 months of research, experimentation to figure it out, I'm close but still not 100% there. IMHO most of the straight razor strops being sold out there are compleat garbage and most people being new to wet shaving just don't know any better. I can think of only two or three makers out there that make a quality straight razor strop. All cost more the $100.00 and after making some I can see why. For a hanging razor strop I like horse hide. The best "old world" strops were known to be made from cordovan or Russian leather. From my research the "recipe" / art for making "true" russian leather has been lost, and shell cordovan is way to expensive for most to use for strop making. I have herd of people making good strops from latigo leather, i have not tried this my self yet but is sounds like it would make or a good strop. I bought a few expensive "old/antique" and new strops to see what was going on. I made one with true shell cordovan just to see if it made a big difference between using it and horse but straps. The answer I found was yes it made a better strop but not "better" enough to warrant the cost. But straps make great strops they just require a LOT more work to get into "good" strop condition compared to shell cordovan.

#9 azrider

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Posted 25 March 2012 - 12:06 PM

I have been experimenting with strops for a while. I make different strops depending on what they are being used for. I have five or six hanging by my bench. I have a very nice straight razor, but don't use it often enough to be good with it. I tend to think of strops like I do sharpening stones. There are different hardnesses and compounds you can use to get a great edge. For many people, the main purpose of the strop is to remove the burr after a blade has been sharpened. This can be done with vegtan, harness, latigo, or horse strip leather. I haven't used cordovan due to the cost, but I have one on the way from Horween to find out. Most people's perceptions of how the strops are not right either. Here are a few things I figured out:

Draw: How much it "feels" like the leather is gripping the knife when it pulled over the strop. Horse strips have very little draw, soft latigo has quite a bit more. Most people can feel more draw on the softer leathers, so they think it is doing more. A hard horse hide will remove the burr faster than a soft latigo, but people like the feel of the latigo.

Paddle vs. Hanging: For tools and most knives, a paddle strop mounted to a flat piece of hardwood works best. Hanging strops are used almost exclusively for straight razors.

Hard vs. soft leather: Hard leather works great for razor or chisel grinds. For a convex grind with the last part of the blade that is rounded, a softer leather works better

Compounds: A strop is used to align the micro ridges in the steel. Once a compound is added to a strop, it is a final step in polishing and sharpening a blade, and will polish these away rather than align them. My charged strops have an aluminum oxide/ silicone wax compound from here, green polishing compound, and red polishing compound. (There are also diamond powders and pastes that work really well, but they are a pain to use.) I finish with a different strop that is oiled about twice a year. All of these strops are mounted to hardwood boards. The flesh side of leather takes compounds and holds them better than the grain side. The grain side is the best side for stropping with no compounds.

I have found that using a couple of different strops for my knives means less time spent on sharpening stones, as the compound charged strops do some very fine grit sharpening. If someone is looking for a strop to use on leatherworking tools, I would suggest making several and seeing what will work the best for your tools.

Edited by azrider, 25 March 2012 - 12:09 PM.

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#10 cdf

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Posted 25 March 2012 - 05:50 PM

Check out "Badger and Blade " forums , in as far as shaving is concerned . I have an assortment of paddle mounted strops for different styles of tools . One trick I've heard reported is diamond paste , smeared on a straight square , closegrained hardwood .

Some Old Skool barber's strops have wierd stuff on the rear face of the strop , ie: hard felt , linen , fire hose canvas . No clue about their reasoning .

Chris

#11 Chef niloc

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 11:12 AM

1332695216[/url]' post='240909']
I have been experimenting with strops for a while. I make different strops depending on what they are being used for. I have five or six hanging by my bench. I have a very nice straight razor, but don't use it often enough to be good with it. I tend to think of strops like I do sharpening stones. There are different hardnesses and compounds you can use to get a great edge. For many people, the main purpose of the strop is to remove the burr after a blade has been sharpened. This can be done with vegtan, harness, latigo, or horse strip leather. I haven't used cordovan due to the cost, but I have one on the way from Horween to find out. Most people's perceptions of how the strops are not right either. Here are a few things I figured out:

Draw: How much it "feels" like the leather is gripping the knife when it pulled over the strop. Horse strips have very little draw, soft latigo has quite a bit more. Most people can feel more draw on the softer leathers, so they think it is doing more. A hard horse hide will remove the burr faster than a soft latigo, but people like the feel of the latigo.

Paddle vs. Hanging: For tools and most knives, a paddle strop mounted to a flat piece of hardwood works best. Hanging strops are used almost exclusively for straight razors.

Hard vs. soft leather: Hard leather works great for razor or chisel grinds. For a convex grind with the last part of the blade that is rounded, a softer leather works better

Compounds: A strop is used to align the micro ridges in the steel. Once a compound is added to a strop, it is a final step in polishing and sharpening a blade, and will polish these away rather than align them. My charged strops have an aluminum oxide/ silicone wax compound from here, green polishing compound, and red polishing compound. (There are also diamond powders and pastes that work really well, but they are a pain to use.) I finish with a different strop that is oiled about twice a year. All of these strops are mounted to hardwood boards. The flesh side of leather takes compounds and holds them better than the grain side. The grain side is the best side for stropping with no compounds.

I have found that using a couple of different strops for my knives means less time spent on sharpening stones, as the compound charged strops do some very fine grit sharpening. If someone is looking for a strop to use on leatherworking tools, I would suggest making several and seeing what will work the best for your tools.

Are you doing any king of surfacing, or grain correction (sanding, boneing, carding, combing ext) to the leather?



#12 newfiebackflip

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 03:27 PM

Thanks everyone,

I guess I should of said what I was intending on making the strop for. I am making it for my Dovo Straight Razor.

I guess I could go with a thick piece of latigo and then make the ends out of vegtan as they will not be used for the honing itself. Carve something fancy in that, i suppose lol.

CDF the reason barbers have the canvas/linen fabric is to warm up the blade before they start on the strop.

Silly question, is Cordoven leather from Cordoba Argentina? If so I allllmost got a bunch of it last year for free. Reason I didn't get it is because my mother in law couldn't fit it in her luggage on her way back from there lol

#13 azrider

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 12:33 AM

Are you doing any king of surfacing, or grain correction (sanding, boneing, carding, combing ext) to the leather?




No, I haven't done any grain corrections. I cut away scars and such, but just use the natural grain for mine. I found gdliechty@alliedhightech.com that sells oil based carrier poly diamond that can be used to charge a strop, but it is sold in 16 oz containers. I bought some diamond powder last year, but its messy to get into the leather. It does a great job when it is in there though. I got mine from www.diamondtech.com for a straight powder.
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#14 Chef niloc

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 01:30 AM

1332826421[/url]' post='241081']
No, I haven't done any grain corrections. I cut away scars and such, but just use the natural grain for mine. I found gdliechty@alliedhightech.com that sells oil based carrier poly diamond that can be used to charge a strop, but it is sold in 16 oz containers. I bought some diamond powder last year, but its messy to get into the leather. It does a great job when it is in there though. I got mine from www.diamondtech.com for a straight powder.


I got the diamond powder from the same place. I found mixing it into Blick #3 leather condisaner works great, you can really work it into the leather that way.

#15 Chef niloc

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 01:33 AM

Another good place to get different diamond compounds http://www.advancedabrasives.com/





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