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How do you make a leather strop?

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Ok, I have watched just about every how to make a leather strop video on youtube. Man what a nightmare. single sided, smooth sided, rough sided. Double sided with a smooth and rough side.  white or green compound, oil no oil,  and which compound on which side. What weight of leather? I just want to keep my swivel knife and pocket knife sharp. I imagine not everyone has the same preference but how about a baseline?

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Man you have far more information than i will ever have on the subject, I just take a piece of veg tan leather, stick the flesh side to a piece of flat wood, Rub Jewelers rouge over the top surface and strop, does me. 

Edited by chrisash

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5 minutes ago, chrisash said:

Man you have far more information than i will ever have on the subject, I just take a piece of veg tan leather, stick the flesh side to a piece of flat wood, Rub Jewelers rouge over the top surface and strop, does me. 

Yeah, but what side of the leather do you stop rough or smooth? and what weight leather? 

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Check this thread

 

Harry

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    Yes, I've watched videos on strop making. They're OK but it seems to me that you can get far too involved and obsessed about things

Making a strop is just about the easiest piece of leatherwork you can do. I've made several, for myself and for friends  ---

take a piece of wood about  12"/30cm long by 3"/8cm wide by 1"/3cm thick, but it doesn't have to be precision carpentry by any means, adjust the size to suit yourself or whatever you have available

Take any piece of scrap leather about 2mm thick or thicker; veg tan if you have it; slightly oversize for the wood

Cut it roughly to shape, then glue it to the wood, with the flesh side uppermost. I've used general purpose glue like UHU or Bostick, and PVA wood glue. Place it on a bench with the leather facing down, and stack some weights on the wood - a few books; or some cans; or a small toolbox. Leave it to set overnight

Next morning trim the excess leather to the wood, and you're done

I used to use Autosol for a stropping compound, but changed to a proper stropping/honing compound. I use Veritas honing compound # 05M08.01 but there are others 

It will take a little while to get the strop broken in. Whatever compound you use, when it changes to black that shows the strop is working as the black colour is steel that is being removed from the knife edge

Edited by zuludog

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Strops aren't exactly rocket surgery but certain people seem to have a particular talent at spending 10 words where 1 will do. Such people seem to gravitate towards making Youtube videos. ( @JLSleather may have an opinion on this... :rolleyes:;))

I've made strops from chrome and veg leather, canvas, MDF and manilla card before. All worked. Here is the strop I use on my leather knives and the backs of edgers and skirt shaves. (There's also a narrow strip of leather I use for the inside of my skirt shaves and a piece of string for edgers, both rubbed with the same abrasive as my strop.) I also use it on my wood chisels, pocket knives, wad punches and even to polish paint and platings off "other" stuff.

strop.jpg.9522c50bb9eb38a327571c30ff342e97.jpg

It's a scrap of marine ply, roughly 17x3", with a piece of 3mm tooling shoulder glued to it. One side has abrasive compound rubbed into it, the other plain apart from a little leather dressing. Leather is smooth side up. There's nothing special about this size -- I literally pulled it out a cabinetmaker's bin. Ideally I'd like one a bit larger and a proper handle would be nice but this'll do me a while longer.

I've used all sorts of abrasive compounds and most of them work well. I like chrome polish but the carrier is rather volatile and dries out quickly, leaving a chalky residue that can be revived with spit or oil but this gets messy and is inconvenient. Right now I use valve grinding paste as it seems to have a grease base which lasts ages without drying out.

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You can make  a Leather Stropping Wheel. If you have extra veg tan leather in your scrap box they are easy to make and work awesome. Use Jewelers Rouge on the wheel and it works well. I sharpen all my cutting tools on it. There are YouTube videos on how to make them..

 

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I have been told by a few people that the different colours of the polishing compound tells you what grit it is, and (so they have told me) for stropping leather tools, I should always use the green.

On the other hand, some other people have told me the colours are not the same across all the different manufacturers, so green might not be suitable from each and every supplier.

I use the green compound, and I have had no problems with it either way.

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Scrap 2x4.

Glue one side on grain out.

Other side on flesh out.

White jewelers rough on the flesh/rough side. 

Flesh side first, then grain side, then cardboard with jewelers rouge on it.  

Been doing it that way for years.  

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