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Thread: How to strop an edge

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Tidewater, VA

    How to strop an edge

    Iíve seen and read a lot of comments on stropping edges as a final step in the honing process and Iím interested in trying that.

    Can someone please describe the type of leather preferred? Is it hard like a barberís strop? I have some deer hide that is like suede on one side and is smooth on the other but overall is soft. Is this acceptable if adhered to a backer board?

    How much do you strop? I guess Iím concerned that there is the possibility of rounding the edge.

    Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Memphis, TN
    I have the Lee Valley double sided leather strop and honing compound and really like it. I really don't think you have to worry about rounding over the edge as it wouldn't be aggressive enough for that.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Bucks County PA

    Leather may not be needed

    While other , more knowledgeable wood workers may weigh in here, you may not need to use leather.

    I used a piece of 3/4" MDF that has been charged with Lee Valley's Veritas Green Honing Compound. On a tip from a fellow wood worker, I added a drop of mineral oil to the surface of the MDF before I "drew" on it with the Green Honing compound. This helped the MDF to accept the charge better. Just a note, you don't need a lot of the honing compound. Just a couple scribbles.

    A couple of nights ago I sharpened and honed all my chisels (in prep for a project). After I sharpened (using the Scary Sharp method) I honed the back and bevel on my stropping board. I was amazed at how quickly the wire edge appeared, crumbled, then left a SUPER SHARP edge! I was totally impressed and have since been on a sharpening binge. I sharpened and honed a Butcher iron from one of my Woodies last night and was rewarded with an improved performance from this plane.
    Dominic Greco

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    When I was a kid,we never had money,and I used a piece of paper as a strop. Took a while,but paper is abrasive and will strop. I don't recommend it !! Some like to use a clean piece of aluminum as a strop. Aluminum has a transparent layer of oxide on its surface. It only appears to be corrosion resistant,actually corroding very quickly to make this layer. AL0 is very hard,and can strop tools. I don't use it,but some do. As an experiment,some may want to try it.

  5. #5

    Leather Strop Use

    I use a leather strop hide glued to a piece of plywood, with 80 grit glued to the other side so it won't slip on the bench.
    I use Herb's Yellowstone compound as recommended by Gary Rogowski, you cab get it from Craftsman Studio.!000001.htm
    Works great and easy to use.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Huntsville, AL
    It all depends.

    My current setup is a Horse Butt Strop from TFWW ( ) and some green chromium oxide paste. I recently picked up diamond paste, but don't have enough play time to comment on stropping with it. The strop I have is very stiff leather. I didn't put it on a backer intentionally so that I could use paste on one side and bare leather on the other. In retrospect I think a backer board is of more value than being able to use both sides of the strop. I say that because with it loose I find that I apply more pressure than I should to ensure the leather flattens as I run the blade over it. If it was glued to a flat backer less pressure would be used.

    I would also recommend checking out Derek's site, lots of great information and personal experience compiled there.
    and a strop specific page:

    Most use hard leather, but not everyone. I have heard that some like softer hide and a very light touch (just the weight of the blade). For a new stropper the hard leather is a safer bet for avoiding rounding the edge.
    Quote Originally Posted by James Carmichael View Post
    I suspect family members are plotting an intervention.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    I agree,Douglas. Soft leather,or suede is going to round the edge. And,BUFFING is right out!!! Every time I have tried the leather wheel on a Tormek,at a dealership,it has messed up my pocket knife's edge.

  8. #8
    I usually use scary sharp down to 2000 grit silicon paper. I don't have a lot of experience with this, but I have found that I can get a sharper edge from stopping, but for chisels and plane irons, I haven't found that it makes much of a difference. My suspicion is that after a little use, the edge is broken down to the same place it would have been without the stropping.

    I have had good luck stropping a carving knife though, but I think if done repeatedly it would round the edge.
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Laguna Beach , Ca.
    I don't strop just sharpen with stones and the LV Mark II power sharpener
    "All great work starts with love .... then it is no longer work"

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