candyleather

How do I make a Leather Strop?

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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.

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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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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

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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!

Kathy

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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.

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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

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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?

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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.

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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

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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

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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?

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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

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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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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.

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What size grit powder did you get ?

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This is a very interesting subject. This is the first thread on this site that I've seen on the subject of razor strops. I've been wanting to start shaving with a straight for a while, and have been very interested in making strops. I've been shaving with old Gillete safety razors for a few years now. I've been lurking on "Badger and Blade", and "Straight Razor Place" for a bit. Are any of you members on either of those sites?

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

Chef, when you talk about "grain correction," specifically sanding on the grain side, what grit of sandpaper are you using? I would imaging it would have to be very fine. Also the other methods are unknown to me. Are any of them similar to slicking with a glass slicker?

In regards to horsehide for a hanging straight razor strop, I remember reading somewhere that soft rolled is better than hard rolled. What are your opinions on this?

Have any of you used bridle leather? I would imagine it's draw being lighter than latigo, and heavier than horsehide.

Paul

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1333129381[/url]' post='241691']

This is a very interesting subject. This is the first thread on this site that I've seen on the subject of razor strops. I've been wanting to start shaving with a straight for a while, and have been very interested in making strops. I've been shaving with old Gillete safety razors for a few years now. I've been lurking on "Badger and Blade", and "Straight Razor Place" for a bit. Are any of you members on either of those sites?

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

Chef, when you talk about "grain correction," specifically sanding on the grain side, what grit of sandpaper are you using? I would imaging it would have to be very fine. Also the other methods are unknown to me. Are any of them similar to slicking with a glass slicker?

In regards to horsehide for a hanging straight razor strop, I remember reading somewhere that soft rolled is better than hard rolled. What are your opinions on this?

Have any of you used bridle leather? I would imagine it's draw being lighter than latigo, and heavier than horsehide.

Paul

I haven't perfected it yet but here are some of the things I have learned both from reading very old leather working text and a lot if trial and error.Start with as thick and even piece as you can.

Give yourself extra inches on all sides so you can trim to the right size when done. I have been working with 8x30" pieces, then trim to two 3x28" strops

I case/quick 5 min soak in very warm water about 120-140 F Then I slick it to a piece of plate glass, grain side down bathroom shelf I bought at hardware store for $20.

So far I have had the best luck with a random orbital sander, I have beef thinking a drum sander may be better but I don't have one.

I start with 80 then , 120,220,400,600, 800, 1000Then I hot soak it again (note I have not let the leather dry all the way yet since the 1st soak) and slick it grin side up. Sad to 120 to get velvet texture.

Now I have a French top stove that when off states about 140F so I put the leather on the glass grain (velvet Side) up and work 1 micron diamond mixed with Blick #3 considerer. I work it in with a 1" hard wood stick " bottle necking" the rubbing on a hot surface helps work the compound into the cells as well as giving the flush side a glass like look and finish. I then hit grain side ( still a little damp) with a brass brush to lift the cell back up. Then back to the sander with a 220 grit. It should be almost dry by nowLet it sit over night then "beam" it over something, back of chair, broom stick. This softens the strap up.Now trim to size

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Thanks for the reply Chef niloc. So if I understand it right, your doing the progressive sanding on the flesh side, then 120 grit on the grain side? This would remove the grain and leave it a velvety texture? I haven't had a razor strop before, and thought that it was glass smooth on the grain side, with the grain intact, but it sounds like I was wrong. I assume this is the procedure you use on regular veg-tan cowhide, not latigo or bridle.

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1334000362[/url]' post='243056']

Thanks for the reply Chef niloc. So if I understand it right, your doing the progressive sanding on the flesh side, then 120 grit on the grain side? This would remove the grain and leave it a velvety texture? I haven't had a razor strop before, and thought that it was glass smooth on the grain side, with the grain intact, but it sounds like I was wrong. I assume this is the procedure you use on regular veg-tan cowhide, not latigo or bridle.

Yes the flesh side is the side I make glass smooth. The only razor strop I have an thus used as reference is a kanayama strops, but from what I have been told they are high let regarded as being top quality? I use horse but straps but made one out of shell cordovan as well. Knowing that shell is the polished flesh side I only thought it logical to polish that side. To get leather glass smooth takes a lot of sanding to working the "rougher" side can only result in a more finished looking strop as the grain side is much much easer to get a nap like texture to. I like the draw of the velvet side too. If you only wanted a one sided glass like strop it would be easer to just polish the grain side, but I found it hard to get a truly flat uniform strop without finishing both sides. The way I did the above give you a strop that looks and feels like it was made from shell cordovan.

I love horse hide and use it almost exclusively for all my leather work. I have not tried or worked with latigo leather at all, for anything, never had a pice p, been wanting to get some. I have herd that it makes for a great strop.

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Thanks for the reply Chef niloc!

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Ya I am a member on that site. Just joined it a few weeks back, lots of good info and lots of good members.

From what I gather is that .25 micro's is all around a perfect paste for stropping straights.

This is a very interesting subject. This is the first thread on this site that I've seen on the subject of razor strops. I've been wanting to start shaving with a straight for a while, and have been very interested in making strops. I've been shaving with old Gillete safety razors for a few years now. I've been lurking on "Badger and Blade", and "Straight Razor Place" for a bit. Are any of you members on either of those sites?

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

Chef, when you talk about "grain correction," specifically sanding on the grain side, what grit of sandpaper are you using? I would imaging it would have to be very fine. Also the other methods are unknown to me. Are any of them similar to slicking with a glass slicker?

In regards to horsehide for a hanging straight razor strop, I remember reading somewhere that soft rolled is better than hard rolled. What are your opinions on this?

Have any of you used bridle leather? I would imagine it's draw being lighter than latigo, and heavier than horsehide.

Paul

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This is an old thread, but I'm wondering what grid for diamond paste works best for stropping?

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This is an old thread, but I'm wondering what grid for diamond paste works best for stropping?

This would depend on what you are stropping. General stropping for every day knives I'd go with anything from a 3-7 micron. 7 micron is bout 2800 grit, this would remove burs and "fix up" a edge pretty quickly. I might get flamed for suggesting such a course compound but if you think about it not many people take their knives 2 a 3000 grit stone. If the knifes you strop are the use a finer grit/ micron. I use kitchen knives the most (Hence Chef in the title of my name) And I keep them scary sharp, taking them to at least a 8000 stone if not 50,000+, After trying many (all?) different mesh/ micron sizes I found that I like the 3 micron (8000 grit) the most. However I do know from experience that most users like there diamond compound in the 0-.05 range (60,000-100,000 grit). While I can see this fine a compound being useful to finish a freshly sharpened blade if you don't have stones that go over 10k in grit size. I don't see it of much use for edge maintenance, Let's face it by the time you refresh your edge with your strop your 50,000+ micro bevel is long gone. So unless where talking about strops for straight razors I'd say somewhere between 3 to 7 micron would be best.

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thank you very much for clarifying this for me :D

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