Strop question...

May 24, 1999
Hi all,
I have a friend who just bought a leather strop. It has two, uh, surfaces, for lack of a better word. There's a band of leather. There's also a piece of nylon webbing, along the lines of a seat-belt, or something to that effect.

Now I know what the leather's for. What's the nylon surface for, if anything?

Thanks for putting up with my lack of experience with such things.
Hi, I have one of those, my leather says it's made from Horse hide, the other side that is corded material is supposed to be the Coarse side, use that first and the leather last to polish the blade off.

One thing to becareful of is not to roll the blade as you turn to come back on the back stroke, what I'm trying to say is to lift the knife clear of the strop before twisting the knife over to bring the other side back towards yourself. You can roll the edge and make it a frustrating effort.

I glued a small section of soft leather to a flat board about 15" long and rubbed in buffing compound onto the leather. I use that as a final strop after sharpening and also to touch up the edge during use.

Some folk say that you shouldn't strop at all as it polishes the edge too much and you lose the Bite from the sharpening process, me, I like the razor sharpness the strop brings to my blades and so I do....

hope that helps,

It ain't those parts of the Bible that I can't understand that bother me,
it is the parts that I do understand.
Mark Twain

I use the Green coloured bar of stuff, bought it from Texas Knife Makers, not sure of the grit value, contact them and tell em' I sent ya...


It ain't those parts of the Bible that I can't understand that bother me,
it is the parts that I do understand.
Mark Twain

The fabric side is probably canvas. When you strop a straight razor the canvas is treated with a chalk-based white compound for course stropping and the leather is treated with a yellow fat-based compound (with virtually no intrinsic abrasive component) for fine stropping. I quote from the knifecenter razor sharpening web page :
XV. STROP TYPES Leather only Leather on one side and canvas on the other side: this is preferred above leather only because you first pre-sharpen on the canvas. Leather glued on wood and adjustable strops: for the un-experienced and for flat-ground blades. If you let a hanging strop hang through while stropping, you will blunt the knife. This may be a reason for the unexperienced to buy this latter type of strop. Juchten-leather: is more durable, and of better quality than Rind-leather. Pre-pasted strops, either with red, or with green paste. The strop should be reserved exclusively for the paste it has been treated with. Hanging strops with leather handles are more expensive but more comfortable than those with metal clamps.

XVI. PASTE TYPES White: chalk-containing paste for on the canvas-side of the strop ('Hanfseite') It is difficult to find it, it is in no catalog but it is available for ordering. Yellow: paste for on the leather side to make it sticky and souple, it is just fat. Red and Green: coarse and very coarse abrasives. They have never been designed for use with straight razors originally and should and need NOT be used. They will spoil the edge and are illogical, because any razor hone will be finer. When stropping is not enough effective, just hone. Black: a polishing paste almost without cutting effect, just as the white and yellow ones. You don't need this for sharpening results, but might want it to get a shine. However, the silicate in the leather strop will have an even better polishing effect, when used with the yellow inert paste, so black paste has no place here as well.
See the knifecenter link below:

I have experimented with a cheap (real cheap) strop and a white chalk-like substance on a hard flat surface.
I have not experienced any benefit using this with my knives.
Perhaps the use of a strop applies more to razors, or I should try a more expensive, hanging strop like I used to see in the barber shop.

Luke 22:36, John 18:6-11
For knives I use green chromium oxide buffing compound which is much more abrasive than chalk. Chalk compound is just for the extremely thin softer straight razor blades.
I use an old leather belt with alittle Flitz polishing paste. It works great.

Ray Carr