Overpriced strop

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Forum topic by BJODay posted 10-11-2013 12:36 AM 2378 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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526 posts in 1965 days

10-11-2013 12:36 AM

Pardon my rant:

I’ve been using my chisels to make M&T joints. I’ve been taking breaks and honing them every 10-12 mortises. I thought, well I should really get a leather strop and chrome oxide to make a finer edge. I went to woodcraft and picked up the chrome oxide, < $10, pretty cheap.

The strops started at $28, and went up to $45. Are you kidding me? I bought a piece of leather at a craft store, $6 and that was probably over priced. Took it home and glued it to a piece of pine. I have enough leather left over to make 2 more.

I’m willing to pay for a tool. I’ll pay for a convenience if it saves me enough time and gas. But this was too much.


Rant over!

21 replies so far

View Tim's profile


3812 posts in 1983 days

#1 posted 10-11-2013 07:08 PM

But, but it has a flat piece of wood and a piece of leather glued to it. You need to spend $45 on that.

Seriously though, I’m with you, I found some leather scraps at a garage sale. I’ve heard they improve with washing, but haven’t tried it yet. I think I have enough extra that I could mail someone a piece if they need it.

View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3670 days

#2 posted 10-11-2013 07:19 PM

Marketing 101 –
Get the customer in for 1 cheap item (and have low profit margin on it) – but get them to buy that other item that they ‘need’ NOW which is overpriced (and make your money on that one to cover your loss of profit on the other ‘cheap’ item)...

just saying… been working retail at some point in my life (or 2…)

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View 7Footer's profile


2569 posts in 1970 days

#3 posted 10-11-2013 07:38 PM

Agreed BJ I did the same thing, looking at those strops at Woodcraft I just kind of thought ‘are you serious?’ .. I had some leather scraps I got from a lady who has her own Tack shop nearby, took a piece of the thickest leather in the bag, and used some 3m spray adhesive and glued to a piece of granite I had left over from a kitchen remodel last year. This is my first strop, and as I am a sharpening noob I don’t really have anything to compare it to, but I know its a flat surface and it seems to work well enough for me!

Maybe we should get into the homemade strop business! I could cut Woodcraft’s prices in half and still make $$ on it!


View theoldfart's profile


9736 posts in 2473 days

#4 posted 10-11-2013 07:39 PM

7”, talk to Red

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View MisterInquisitive's profile


32 posts in 2118 days

#5 posted 10-11-2013 09:00 PM

The best strops are made from horse butt shell leather, which is difficult to obtain these days and therefore more expensive. For chisels and plane blades you can probably get by with thick vegetable-tanned cow leather available online. But the straight razor set only use horse butt. One somewhat expensive strop that is probably well worth the money is from Tools for Working Wood, here.

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 2993 days

#6 posted 10-11-2013 09:11 PM

There is definitely no shortage of horse butts. Have they looked in Washington?

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 2945 days

#7 posted 10-11-2013 09:14 PM

I find this senario applies to a lot of items. It pays to shop around.
Good point.

-- Life is good.

View Hammerthumb's profile


2853 posts in 1997 days

#8 posted 10-11-2013 09:45 PM

crank49 – you crack me up!

-- Paul, Las Vegas

View Benvolio's profile


148 posts in 1953 days

#9 posted 10-12-2013 02:46 AM

if anyone is reading this and thinking of the cheapest way to buy leather online – I picked up book binding leather super cheap. It’s really thin and will do you a number of strops

-- Ben, England.

View Tedstor's profile


1643 posts in 2654 days

#10 posted 10-12-2013 03:04 AM

I bought nice piece of 3×9 strop leather off an ebay seller for less than $10. I glued it to a piece of scrap maple. I use it, gleefully, on a regular basis. See here:

View Hinge's profile


79 posts in 1710 days

#11 posted 10-12-2013 03:46 AM

What’s a strop?

-- The Jesus is my Savior

View Scott's profile


121 posts in 2246 days

#12 posted 10-12-2013 04:23 AM

That’s how Woodcraft operates. Honestly I only tend to buy the stuff they have on sale because that seems like a fair price.

I was looking at buying a mallet the other day. Figured they should be about $20-$25. They were $75. Went home and turned my own.

Was looking for a straight edge a couple months ago. They have a 24” Woodriver aluminum chunk that wouldn’t stand on it’s side for $40. Ordered a 36” Veritas one from Lee Valley for the same price.

View ColonelTravis's profile


1797 posts in 1916 days

#13 posted 10-12-2013 04:46 AM

Scott, I was talking to a guy who works at Woodcraft a while back and he was telling me what he pays for with his discount – it’s insanely low. Wish I could remember, and it varies with the stuff. I do remember thinking that the markup was more enormous than I had thought. You don’t get anywhere near the same kind of discount for a bandsaw as you do for chisels or whatnot, but the discount on the non-machinery made me want to start working there immediately. I like my store and the guys who work there are terrific but when I do buy there – like you – it’s almost always when stuff is on sale.

View waho6o9's profile


8204 posts in 2598 days

#14 posted 10-12-2013 04:55 AM

Here’s a strop with different compounds. Most folks use
green compound.

View BigRedKnothead's profile


8517 posts in 2004 days

#15 posted 10-12-2013 06:03 AM

Doh. I’m outed! I’ve given several Ljs strops as a gift. Partly because I find them so useful, and partly because they are waaaay cheaper to make than to buy. I just get a big chunk of tooling leather from my upholstery buddy or like this on amazon. I wouldn’t use anything thinner than 8oz leather.

Btw, LJ Mafe made a great blog on making strops here.

-- "At the end of the day, try and make it beautiful....because the world is full of ugly." Konrad Sauer

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