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Hides for Strops

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Forum topic by Don Broussard posted 01-19-2014 01:34 AM 912 views 1 time favorited 43 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Don Broussard

1954 posts in 889 days


01-19-2014 01:34 AM

I’ve seen a few mentions in the fora recently about strops. Do animal hides other than cow hides make for good strops? Like pig skin, deer hide, etc. From my reading of advice posted here, it looks like the material of the strop is immaterial (pun intended) and it’s the loading with compound on a base material that make the stropping work. Am I close?

Also, my wife and I went to a few flea markets today and I almost bought a leather weight lifting belt to cut up an use as strop material, but they were asking $10 for it and wouldn’t budge.

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!


43 replies so far

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

14727 posts in 2313 days


#1 posted 01-19-2014 01:47 AM

Don’t know for sure, but shoe shop or Tandy leather should have scraps.

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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TheWoodenOyster

775 posts in 572 days


#2 posted 01-19-2014 01:55 AM

Don’t think the material makes much of a difference. I bought a large piece of split cowhide and it is working great. It is the pretty rigid stuff that is about 1/8 to 3/16” thick and very light tan. I love that freaking thing. Best bang for the buck of ANYTHING I own other than my cast iron pan. By the way, I strop on the rough side even though many say to use the smooth side. Rough side seemed to work better after testing them both.

Ditto on the tandy scraps. That is where I bought mine.

Do yourself a favor and make yourself a strop. You won’t regret it.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

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Don Broussard

1954 posts in 889 days


#3 posted 01-19-2014 02:01 AM

I’ve already picked up some leather scraps from a local saddle shop, some of which I need for projects. I will make a strop for my chisels and plane irons though. I do need to pick up some compound for the strop while I’m out too.

Thanks for the quick feedback!

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

View Mauricio's profile

Mauricio

6811 posts in 1789 days


#4 posted 01-19-2014 03:46 AM

Don those scraps should work fine, I think almost anything would work.

I picked up a bag of scraps from Hobby Lobby for like $10, I’ve used it for strops, vise faces, etc and still havent used half of it.

As far as compound I use Flexcut Gold and it works great. Red has been using it too and seems to like it a lot.

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

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terryR

3069 posts in 946 days


#5 posted 01-19-2014 03:21 PM

Don, I would stick with cow…pigskin is too textured, never seen it tanned very smooth. Deer hide is too valuable. LOL. The cow scraps from TL are the best! Sometimes they have belt blanks on sale cheap!

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

View Mark's profile

Mark

404 posts in 612 days


#6 posted 01-19-2014 03:27 PM

Don I’m using a piece of an old belt. 1 1/2” wide, about 10” long. I stapled one end to a 8 X 1 1/2” piece of pine ,stretched it tight down the length of the pine and stapled again. I tacked a long flat piece to the bottom for a handle. Load it up with yellow stropping compound and it works like a hot damn.

-- Mark

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Don Broussard

1954 posts in 889 days


#7 posted 01-19-2014 03:29 PM

@Maur—I’ll have to check out Hobby Lobby for a bag of leather scraps. Also, thanks for the recommendation for the Flexcut Gold—do you know where you got the compound?

@Topa; @terryR—I sorta ruled out pig skin due to the texturing, and I was thinking that deer skin was too thin, and I wondered about the value too. I looked online and the closest Tandy Leather to me is over 2 hours away (in Metairie, across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans). Looks like it’s Hobby Lobby for me.

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

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Don Broussard

1954 posts in 889 days


#8 posted 01-19-2014 03:30 PM

@Mark—Are you using the smooth or rough side?

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

View Nicholas Hall's profile

Nicholas Hall

348 posts in 744 days


#9 posted 01-19-2014 04:06 PM

I use the green polishing compound from harbor freight. Paul Sellers who generally recommends the green compound from lee valley says that it compares favorably. It’s $5.00 a stick, and it will last for years. I’ve been using it with an old strip of welding apron and it puts a mirror polish on anything. I use the rough side not the smooth side. It’ll take any steel you put on it to a 15,000 grit polish. If you’re near a Harbor Freight its a cheaper option than getting in one mail order, where the shipping costs more than the compound itself. Another place you might look to avoid shipping charges is an autobody shop.

-- Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. -Groucho Marx

View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

1954 posts in 889 days


#10 posted 01-19-2014 04:23 PM

@NicHall—Thanks for the HF tip. I do have a HF relatively close to me, so that’s a good option.

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

View Planeman40's profile

Planeman40

472 posts in 1398 days


#11 posted 01-19-2014 05:06 PM

After much reading before making some various sizes and shapes of strops I found that horse hide is the traditional favorite. It is a little hard to find though so I used some cow leather from Tandy. Kinda wish I could have found some horse hide though. A little payback for the numerous times I was bitten, kicked, stepped on and thrown when I was stupid enough to ride horses when I was young.

Planeman

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

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waho6o9

4860 posts in 1214 days


#12 posted 01-19-2014 05:10 PM

View mtenterprises's profile

mtenterprises

822 posts in 1330 days


#13 posted 01-19-2014 07:42 PM

I have used cowhide and suede, oil tanned leather, chrome tanned leather both the rough and smooth sides. I have also made strop wheels from just MDF and it seems that it is just what you charge them with that does the work not the material itself. I charge all my strops with jeweler’s rouge. Works for me.
MIKE

-- See pictures on Flickr - http://www.flickr.com/photos/44216106@N07/ And visit my Facebook page - facebook.com/MTEnterprises

View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

1954 posts in 889 days


#14 posted 01-19-2014 09:33 PM

More good ideas.

@planeman—I like the idea of a traditional strop, but I don’t know where I could get horse hide.

@waho—Thanks for that resource. I think I’ll try the HF green compound and see how that works for me.

@mt—I’ve seen someone post the MDF wheel before. It does look like it’s the compound that does the work and not the base material.

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

View Tim's profile

Tim

1251 posts in 599 days


#15 posted 01-20-2014 12:51 AM

I’ve read that you can get leather at a tack shop, and maybe even horse hide, though horse hide is rarer now than it used to be. Now people like to act like horses don’t die and would rather their bodies aren’t utilized for anything. So apparently most tanners in the US won’t handle horse hide anymore.

Oh and here’s a source for the hide but you may have to tan it yourself.

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