Alaisiagae

Making a strop - which leather to use?

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Hello, I'm going to make a small strop, and I was wondering what kind of leather to use. I have read on these boards that "hard jacked horse butt" is supposed to be good, but I don't have that and I'm not sure how to get it. I have some thick (8-10oz) veg tan cow belly, and was thinking of using that - or would it be too smooshy and soft? I plan to eventually order some veg tan from Springfield Leather, so I could order a small piece of thick, regular veg tan. Or, should I use thinner leather (I have some 4 oz and thinner scraps on hand)?

As for glue, I have Fiebing's basic leather craft glue that looks like elmer's white glue, regular rubber cement, and superglue. My dad likely has more potent adhesive chemicals that are not designed for leather - would those be better options? 

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As it is, its probably too soft for a good strop.

Cut a piece at least twice the width and about 50% longer than you need. Soak it in really hot water, then lay it out to dry in a very warm place. Put something on it to keep it flat. You'll find that the leather has shrunk and stiffened up considerably. 

I would use a contact adhesive  on both the leather and board to glue them together. Again put something on the leather to keep it flat until the adhesive has set. After that trim the leather and add your rouge if you are going to use any.

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Yeah what he said.  Take a rolling pin to it while it's wet.  Compresses the leather making it denser

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The usual way of making a strop is to glue leather to a piece of wood - Search YouTube for 'making a leather strop', there are several videos. 

The rubber cement or the white glue would be OK Have the leather bigger than the wood, then trim it when the glue's dried Have the flesh side of the leather showing; place it on a bench with the wood uppermost; put a couple of pans of water on top and leave it overnight to set

FREDK's advice on soaking the leather first is good

Treat yourself to some proper stropping/honing compound, like Veritas green compound. A bar isn't that expensive, and it will last for ages

Edited by zuludog

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I would use a light coat of neatsfoot oil on it just before the compound.

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Thank you all for the advice. However, none of the videos I watched (I watched 3) mentioned boiling the leather at all. @fredk Why does the leather piece have to be so stiff/hard? :unsure: That hard, why use leather at all and not some other material? 

Edited by Alaisiagae

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1, Not all YouTube videos are the gospel.  2, Hard equals less rounding of the edge.  3, Use another material such as a cereal box on a table.

Your questions have been answered.

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2 hours ago, Alaisiagae said:

Thank you all for the advice. However, none of the videos I watched (I watched 3) mentioned boiling the leather at all. @fredk Why does the leather piece have to be so stiff/hard? :unsure: That hard, why use leather at all and not some other material? 

Leather, with or without rouge is traditional. You can use rouge on cardboard, or some wet & dry grit paper glued to a board or something. As said above. hard = less (or no) rounding of the edge. The videos probably didn't mention the 'boiling' the leather (do not boil it! ) as they started with a thick stiff bit of leather and had no need to make it stiffer

 

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Just get you a piece of plywood, Mine is 4''' x 6'''   or  101 mm x 152  mm       

glue a piece of  6 or 7 OZ  veg tan     to the wood

if you want he leather thicker, glue another piece to it

                                                                                                                                                                           

20200729_103059.jpg

Edited by Frodo

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At the risk of me sounding like a slow, stupid child: Did you harden your leather with hot water, @Frodo ? 

@fredk How long does it take for the leather to dry after being soaked in water (and soaked for how long?)? Is there a leather thickness you think is good - 6 to 7oz? Thinner? I did buy some neatsfoot oil (100% pure, but I think I overpaid for it, oops), so I've got that now.

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All you need to know is here,

https://leatherworker.net/forum/topic/36221-how-to-make-a-strop-for-knives/

 

Funny enough i have just made myself another strop using pretty much the same method only i used Tandys saddle skirting leather managed to run 4'' width through my pull through splitter and no did not give myself a hernia, just did not try to take to much off in one go, made it a double sided strop.Only i  loaded mine the traditional way for saddlers in the uk 

 

Hope this helps

JCUK   

 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, Alaisiagae said:

At the risk of me sounding like a slow, stupid child: Did you harden your leather with hot water, @Frodo ? 

@fredk How long does it take for the leather to dry after being soaked in water (and soaked for how long?)? Is there a leather thickness you think is good - 6 to 7oz? Thinner? I did buy some neatsfoot oil (100% pure, but I think I overpaid for it, oops), so I've got that now.

I do not soak my leather in hot water or cold water in making my strop

i simply glue a piece of leather on a board ,  works for me

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There's the easy way and then the difficult way.  One is better than the other.  Best advice is to read and figure it out then ask questions with some knowledge so you will better understand what you are asking and what folks are recommending.  That way you won't have to "risk" anything.  Then you can answer the next persons' question about strops.  If you really want some good schooling check out some blade or razor forums.  They seem to know whats best.  That's where I learned.  The link "jcuk" posted above is an excellent one. 

Hell, send me ten bucks and I'll mail you a 2" x 6" compressed horse butt strop.  But no more questions about strops for one week.  Consider my snarkiness as a trade off for giving you the strop.

Edited by mike02130
added last paragraph.

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I'm certainly not expert on making strops, and I don't think anyone have to be an expert.

So let's start with the question, what do you want from a strop? 1. A surface that is relatively flat 2. Something that isn't to soft (It will round over your edge very quick if it's too soft.

I bought some wood with an even finished (planed and sanded? woodworking terminology is not my thing) I used it to build a stitching horse and a leather strop. And I used 1mm leather with a flat a relatively stiff surface, glued it with contact cement and use a roller from the middle and out. Cut the excess leather off and used some neatsfoot oil and green compound (chrome oxide) Is this the correct way to do a strop? Yes, ALL the ways that work good to strop your knives are the correct ways. 

Edited by Danne

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For my strops, the only leather that does the job is panel hide,  glue it grain siode down so the underside is facing up,  dont need to boil it etc, cut to size of your board, glue it down, I glue a bit on both sides, one soide I smear jewellers rouge for cutting and de burring, then the othersid eof the strop is left as is,   I use the plain side after I have done a blade on the jewellers rouge for the finla polish.  If ther eis burrs on a blade, I will use a fine wet and dry paper first, then go onto the jewellers rouge then the plain side.

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