How to clean old strops?

Cliff Stamp

Oct 5, 1998
I recently obtained a couple of well used very long strops (canvas / leather with a swivel loop at the top - very nice). The only problem is that they are excessively loaded up with metal. The look like someone tried to actually sharpen blade on them.

I have used them a little and they increase the polish on an edge slightly, but I think that the excess metal is hampering the process just like is seen on a loaded up stone. Any suggestions on how to clean them up?

Cliff, I remember my Grandfather used to strop his razors and knives, and he cleaned his strip with a sponge and saddlesoap. Just got the soap foamy and rubbed the foam in the strop and then a damp sponge to clean off the foam. Never did he get the leather soaking wet. Then hung to dry.
In a related question, on the Knifecenter there is a well written article by Author Boon on stropping :

Does anyone know where to find the yellow paste that is mentioned to be used on the leather. The KC sells the white, but Boon says to use this on the canvas side and the yellow stropping paste on the leather. In opposite to this, the KC says to use the white paste on the leather and makes no mention of what to put on the canvas.



[This message has been edited by Cliff Stamp (edited 04 June 1999).]
Ive found that when i get my stop loaded up i just ust a cheap knife that is fairly sharp and scrape it along the strop(holding the knife almost perpendicular to the strop). It peels off the old shiny stuff and freshens up the surface. Hope this helps

[This message has been edited by yoda4561 (edited 04 June 1999).]
I scrape 'em with a table knife or a putty knife. I often use saddle soap on leather but I don't think I've ever used it on a strop.

I charge my strops with tripoli compound, available at some hardware stores. "Compound" means it's mixed with wax to help it stick to your strop (or buff or whatever). Recharging is very seldom necessary; you could go a year or more....

-Cougar Allen :{)