Leather Strop

  • Advertise with us

« back to Hand Tools forum

Forum topic by hiswillus posted 03-23-2013 12:10 PM 2275 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View hiswillus's profile


70 posts in 2183 days

03-23-2013 12:10 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Just wondering if anybody knows if the smoothness of the leather is a factor when purchasing a strop. I’m looking at picking one up on ebay and wondering if the leather is a little roughed up from being used it will be a big deal.



16 replies so far

View 1978's profile


167 posts in 3844 days

#1 posted 03-23-2013 12:17 PM

I use a strop that is about 1/16 thick. The compound, I believe, is the most important.

I have been told that you can put compound on a straight piece of wood and still keep a good edge on a knife.

If you are looking on e-bay, just look at the condition of the strops. Looking at the picture above, I would stay away from the bottom one.

View Brandon's profile


4152 posts in 3186 days

#2 posted 03-23-2013 12:20 PM

These are so easy to make, I’m not sure I’d buy one and pay shipping for it, unless you’re looking for a vintage strop. If you have a leather store nearby, just cut a piece of leather and attached it to a flat board with contact cement. Plus, if you make your own, you can make them nice and wide to easily accommodate a #8 iron (2 5/8”).

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2521 days

#3 posted 03-23-2013 12:47 PM

I use old belts for stropping my carving chisels. The leather should be kinda stiff and kinda smooth but not too much of either :)

And the compund is really what’s doin most of the work anyways. For some of my really small profile carving chisels I actually strop them on MDF that I’ve routed channels into that correspond to the profile (round, vee, etc)

View JoeinGa's profile


7739 posts in 2242 days

#4 posted 03-23-2013 01:06 PM

A friend of mine has been a barber for almost 40 years and he told me once that he buys his strops at a western wear store. Said he finds the thickest, widest belt on the rack that has NO carving or decorations on it, and then he asks for a better price to buy it without the buckle. Says he gets them for 6 or 8 bucks, versus buying “Professional” model strops for upwards or $40.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5148 posts in 4195 days

#5 posted 03-23-2013 01:22 PM

I lucky enough to have an “old time” hardware store here in Tupelo. Tupelo Hardware (where Elvis got his first guitar). They had a honkin’ big hunk of full grain leather several years ago. Bought it, used it for stops, bench vice faces, tang chisel cushions, etc. Still have a bunch for future use.
You can sure built a lot a stuff from that kind of leather for fewer bucks than buyin’ premade.


View Tyler's profile


52 posts in 2247 days

#6 posted 03-23-2013 02:40 PM

if you want to get a scary edge on it after you strop it, barley run it over the edge of a sheet of glass….

-- You can get alot further with a kind word and a hand gun, than just a kind word alone

View Tugboater78's profile


2764 posts in 2427 days

#7 posted 03-23-2013 03:28 PM

I cut up a pair of my old boots… plenty of leather.. you know what they say about big feet..

-- "....put that handsaw to work and make it earn its keep. - summerfi" <==< JuStiN >==>=->

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2521 days

#8 posted 03-23-2013 03:39 PM

big socks?

View JoeinGa's profile


7739 posts in 2242 days

#9 posted 03-23-2013 03:42 PM

Big hands, warm heart.

Big feet, smelly farts!

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1317 posts in 2170 days

#10 posted 03-23-2013 04:31 PM

I don’t believe the roughness of the leather has any effect on the sharpening qualities of the strop. My strop is pretty rough and still puts a wicked shine on my chisels. That answers your question, but I have a few more comments on the topic if you are willing to read them.

I’m with Brandon W. I made my strop from heavy duty leather I bought from my local leather crafts store (about $20 for about a 6 square foot piece). I contact cemented it to some left over maple about the size of my other sharpening stones. I made it based on this Paul Sellers video.

I’d encourage you to make one. I am really pleased with it and I have never gotten a polish like this with my 8000 waterstone. I also have tried the sharpening method in the video above and really like it.

If you are thinking it would be a waste of money to buy a bunch of leather just to make a strop, I beg you to reconsider. That big ugly piece of leather has been very useful around the shop and has tons of different uses. Kind of makes you feel nostalgic too, which I enjoy. That’s my 2 cents.

Good luck

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View Brandon's profile


4152 posts in 3186 days

#11 posted 03-23-2013 04:35 PM

To complement what the WoodenOyster said, I not only use leather for strops, but also in my woodworking vises, burnishing stuff on the lathe, or even make-shift tool holders.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3883 days

#12 posted 03-23-2013 05:34 PM

The strop just holds the polishing compound. Some people
put the compound on the rough (fuzzy) side of the leather.

There are some gimmicky old strops out there. There’s
not much way to improve on a strop though so I’d just
say make sure you get some polishing compound with it.

View waho6o9's profile


8539 posts in 2812 days

#13 posted 03-23-2013 05:47 PM

Compound on MDF works as well.

View EPJartisan's profile


1122 posts in 3360 days

#14 posted 03-23-2013 07:45 PM

One of my favorite quick sharpening tools is a board of MDF with 600 grit sand paper on one side and smooth leather glued to the other and a little polishing compound. I can make them any size and sometimes use the suede side with diamond powder for my gouges. BUT having a stash of leather around is handy.. I use leather wrapped around dowels for the inside of my turning and carving chisels. Like my scraper cards… my strops are all different and I change them to suit my needs.

-- " 'Truth' is like a beautiful flower, unique to each plant and to the season it blossoms ... 'Fact' is the root and leaf, allowing the plant grow and bloom again."

View DavidNJ's profile


389 posts in 2228 days

#15 posted 03-24-2013 09:53 AM

Does using a strope help after using 3 micron or 1.5 micron grit (8000-13000 on Japanese water stones)? Are the diamond pastes better on leather or just directly on a flat hard wood?

showing 1 through 15 of 16 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics