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Inexpensive steel/aluminum backings for hand strops?

Discussion in 'Maintenance, Tinkering & Embellishment' started by OhioApexing, May 19, 2019.

  1. OhioApexing

    OhioApexing Sharpener Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Apr 17, 2018
    I’ve been thinking about making small hand strops to sell/give away to folks that purchase sharpening services from me. Just a little something to help maintain the edge between sharpenings.

    I’m thinking like 2” x 4” or 6” x 1” leather mounted on a flat piece of aluminum or steel with some 1 micron diamond emulsion/spray on it. I can buy some suitable leather for about the cost of a ham sandwich but I can’t seem to find a cost-effective (pre-cut) backing. I also do not have the tools to cut the metal myself, otherwise I’d just buy a sheet and go to town. I have a tool steel hacksaw but that could get real messy real fast.

    I could always buy EP stone/lapping film blanks for about $5 a crack though I’d like to go cheaper. I’d really like to keep the total cost per-strop to about $3-$4 so I could comfortably give them away or sell them for $5.

    Ideally, the backing would be hard and flat with a thin strip of leather on top so the novice would really have to work hard to roll the edge.

  2. David Martin

    David Martin Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    You can obtain metal backing at any decent hardware store. Just go out on the front of back porch and cut it with your hacksaw. Everything
    does not come prepackaged these days. DM
  3. Rob Skinner

    Rob Skinner

    Feb 25, 2019
    Admin wants me to pay ten dollars to protect my identity.
    I don't think so.
    Last edited: May 23, 2019
  4. Ace Rimmer

    Ace Rimmer

    Jul 4, 2017
    Check one of the "big box stores" -- you can buy 1/8" aluminum stock either one or two inches wide and 96 inches long for about $20 - $25. Easy to cut to length. Or look for the K&S Precision Metals display in a hardware store, but they will be pre-cut and packaged so more expensive.
    Rob Skinner likes this.
  5. cbwx34


    Dec 27, 2004
    Yup... you can buy the aluminum in strips... and they're very easy to cut.

    But, I recommend trying a small "test sample" first... 'cause I doubt your customers will use them.... and they'll most likely end up in the junk drawer. I gave or sold ceramic rods to customers over the years, and even taught them how to use them (and that's easier to use and works better than a leather strop IMO, especially a small one)... and even then, most would just use the knife until dull and have it resharpened. "Did you try the ceramic?" "Oh, I forgot..." "Oh, didn't want to bother...." etc. (p.s.... if it's "free", they'll see little value in it).

    Teaching good knife use and care, (print some "rules" on the back of a business card, or a magnetic refrigerator card with your contact info and give them that) will probably be of more benefit and use.
    Mr.Wizard and brando555 like this.

    NORTHWEST_KNIFE_GUY KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jul 14, 2017
    Ever think about using acrylic? You can get it any thickness/color and have it cut to size, the more you buy the cheaper each will be.
    Tjstampa likes this.
  7. Tjstampa

    Tjstampa Basic Member Basic Member

    Mar 25, 2019
    I had some extra pieces of 1/4 inch acrylic and made a stop this weekend. It cuts with wood blade in a jig saw. If have decided on metal jig saws are around 20 or 30 at Walmart.
  8. wade7575


    Apr 3, 2013
    What about MDF I have been using that and gluing it to aluminum blanks and using the MDF as a strop,I think you could get by with using MDF as a blank and then gluing the leather to it.

  9. Diemaker


    Apr 28, 2017
    If you get 1/8"x1" 6061 aluminum at a metals supplier in 12' lengths it should cost around $5.40 each. It cuts just fine with a chop or miter saw with a $20 aluminum specific blade, which is how I do it. I think this is the best value for what you are looking for.
  10. willc

    willc Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 13, 2013
    This what I have done in the past and it works great with a bit of contact adhesive.
    It probably isn’t necessary but I would lap the aluminum to flatten and rough it up with SiC powder.
  11. sickpuppy1

    sickpuppy1 Basic Member Basic Member

    Sep 27, 2018
    Wow! I’m sure it’s not 6061, but after reading that I went up to HomeDepot and picked up some 1”x1/8”x36” aluminum plate for $3.86. Will use it for a few strop plates on the Hapstone. Coolness! Thanks!
    Ace Rimmer likes this.
  12. Aerosmith101


    Oct 28, 2018
    Your best bet is just to buy a 6ft piece at a hardware store and cut it down yourself with a hacksaw, reciprocating saw, band saw, dry/cold cut saw, etc

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