Belt strop

Feb 10, 2016
I have a broken belt, but the leather is great and is black on one side and brown on the other! Can I start stropping or should I do something to it like add polish, if so anyone know where to get a free sample or a small amount for cheap! Thanks say it's brown on one side and black on the other. Is this a reversible belt dyed on both sides? If so, don't use it. You need raw leather.
You can strop with lots of 'fabrics' without adding anything.

But some are better than most.
You can use any material since its essentially a holder for whatever mild abrasive medium you're applying to it. When you're dealing with shaving razors you're using leather or fabric strops as a polishing and edge straightening function which is where quality really comes into play (we will use chromium oxide on fabric strops for about a 30,000 grit polish as well. No need to ruin a leather strop with abrasives ;)). I say for knives, use what you've got and if it works for you... its good.
I don't think the dye will matter. Although I now use a Strop Block for just about all my stropping, I still occasionally use an old black belt that was dyed on both sides but only smoothly finished on one side. I use the back, unfinished side. The Strop Block is more convenient and works better for me but the unfinished side of that old belt will still do a good strop job.
I use a strop block now. But I used to and sometimes still use a flat plate of glass salvaged from a shelf with strips of the thin dense cardboard used on cereal boxes with what ever compound applied. Works very well and we always have cereal boxes in the house :thumbup:

The point I'm getting at is you can use MANY things to strop with! say it's brown on one side and black on the other. Is this a reversible belt dyed on both sides? If so, don't use it. You need raw leather.

Not necessarily. If the dyes used to color it were natural (as with veg-tanned, bark tanned, etc) the color won't be a problem by itself. Other tanning methods using chemicals, such as chrome tanning, are known to strip the natural silicates out of the leather, and those wouldn't work as well for a BARE strop, used without compound. If used with compound, none of them would be an issue, based on color alone; only the leather's smoothness, surface uniformity and ability to hold the compound would be relevant, in that case.

Some dyed/colored leather belts do have a wax/plastic coating on them, however. And that can sometimes get in the way, either with or without compound. Some coatings on leather belts can be very 'gummy' when used for stropping, and can leave a waxy/plastic mess on the blade and reduce or almost nullify the compound's effectiveness. If there is a coating on the belt, just scraping the surface with the blade will usually reveal it, leaving the residue on the blade.

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Yes it is a dyed belt, is there anyway I can make it raw?

If you have concerns about the color or coating on the belt, you can always sand it a bit. There's a good chance the dyed color is throughout the leather, though; especially if the color resulted from the leather tanning process, which is thru-and-thru. The color may not change, but lightly sanding the leather can bring up some 'nap' which can hold compound more effectively.

Bare-leather stropping is sometimes a toss-up with old belts and such, varying widely in quality and results obtained. But with compound, it's pretty easy to get some good use out of them.

When I first made a strop it was out of a dickies belt of regular leather. Smoother on o side than the other. Tried mothers mag wheel polish and it worked pretty good or do I thought. Until I used green compound and balsa wood on an aluminum backer. I seldom strop now
Guys, all I'm saying is if I had a choice between a dyed belt and a raw leather belt, I'd use the raw leather for stropping. Smooth or roughout side, doesn't matter. It's too easy to find raw leather these days.

I want the edge on leather, not any kind of dyed surface. When speaking of the "average" leather belt out there, I'd say most of the dyed sides are not conducive to quality stropping.