Strop upgrade

Discussion in 'Maintenance, Tinkering & Embellishment' started by Edgeoflife, Jun 29, 2019.

  1. Edgeoflife

    Edgeoflife Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Oct 11, 2018
    I have been maintaining my folders dry stropping on a old thick leather belt on the smooth side and am ready to just buy a strop. Anything specific to look for or is a leather strop a leather strop? Leather thickness, width, length matter? Is a $30 strop functionally better than a $5-10 strop and should i buy from a knife specific dealer or grab one on a big auction site or amazon or something? from what ive read vegetable tanned leather is preferred so im thinking a piece mounted to wood or a paddle or something. Just a basic strop is ok with me nothing crazy or exotic (budget). I own knives with all types of steel from budget to m390. Maybe im just over thinking this but Any recommendations are most welcomed and a decent compound to go with or preferably comes with the strop or from the same place. I know this has probably been asked 100s of times but theres alot of info on strops out there!
    Wilfred17 likes this.
  2. GrimRepo


    Dec 26, 2018
    FK and Edgeoflife like this.
  3. cudgee

    cudgee Gold Member Gold Member

    May 13, 2019
    Just a suggestion to try. You don't want to be spending money if you already have the answer. Try some Flex-cut gold stropping compound on the rough side of your belt, and some green stropping compound on the smooth side. I have tried this on a belt i bought for one dollar in a thrift shop, works really well. A lot cheaper than going out and buying a new strop.
    Edgeoflife likes this.
  4. Edgeoflife

    Edgeoflife Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Oct 11, 2018
    I have not tried using any compounds which i imagine will improve results and speed things up. The belt works ok but I would like to try something wider and mounted as the belt slides around and has to be repositioned, is only an 1-1/4" wide, and is not flat everywhere anymore. The strop im looking at is double sided veg tan leather, comes with compound, and is 2.5"x8" and mounted to a flat planed piece of pine hand made by a company in Florida and is 16 dollars shipped. It comes with a rubber mat to stop sliding also. Its actually less expensive than the belt was so i dont mind spending a little money considering all thats included. I guess ive answered some of my own questions lol.

    I know next to nothing about strop
    Compounds and was wondering What type/brand of (green?) compound do you like for maintaining the edge between sharpenings and a good place to buy other compounds that are reasonable to work with and how long does a container last roughly?
  5. cudgee

    cudgee Gold Member Gold Member

    May 13, 2019
    Try to get a belt from a thrift shop with a rough side and a smooth side and use the buckle to loop it to something solid, i just use the handles of a kitchen drawer. 1-1/4 - 1-1/2 inch are wide enough if you mainly sharpen folders. The reason i use the belt is, if you find the thread from about 2 weeks ago bye "wootz" who is very well known for his sharpening knowledge, for carbon, stainless steel and the less hardened steels a hanging strop supposedly works best. As far as where to get the compounds, i'm in Australia, but people on this forum will be able to help you. That being said for $16 shipped i would definately look at getting one of them, then you can have 2 ways of stropping. The stropping compound's themselves will outlast you. I keep mine in a small jar so as they don't dry out, but will last forever. You do not put too much on which is a common mistake " LESS IS MORE". I am no genius when it comes to stropping, and i am always learning. But one rule i always stick bye is Don't overthink it or make it a complicated process. Just get the angle fairly close to your edge degree bevel, not too much pressure, and most importantly - TAKE YOUR TIME. Once you get into it, it is a lot of fun and satisfying. Hope i have not confused you with all this stuff. If i can help you in anyway, just post me in this forum. But there are alot of people on this forum who know alot more about this subject than me. Good Luck.:thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:
    Edgeoflife likes this.
  6. David Martin

    David Martin Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    I use one strop to remove burrs, not toward refining the edge. I use SiC grit on that strop in 3-400 grit. On another that I use
    for razor blades I use the green rogue. Because those steels are simple. I work it in with mineral oil as the carrier agent. This helps the strop to work much faster. DM
    Edgeoflife likes this.
  7. FK

    FK Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 15, 1999
    I also much prefer the horse butt leather,,, it is hard and will minimize the rounding over of the apex if too much pressure is applied to the blade.
    Diamond spray works fantastic and needs very little pressure to maximize the apex formation.

    Uncle Timbo and Edgeoflife like this.
  8. stitchawl


    Jul 26, 2008
    You can have the world's best strop for about $10- $15 and 30 minutes of your time.
    Search on line, or your local hobby shop if you are in a city, and buy a piece of vegetable-tanned leather. The grade or quality is irrelevant as you are going to turn it into your strop.
    Cut the leather to the size you want. Run it under water for 10-20 seconds, then wrap it in plastic wrap for 30 minutes. Take it out, and let it 'begin' to dry out. When you see the color starting to lighten up, take an ordinary rolling pin (best) or just a wood or plastic pipe, and on a flat, smooth surface, roll that leather, smooth side up, until it gets as thin as it's going to get. 10-15 minutes should do fine. Now let the leather, smooth side up, lying flat, dry slowly. When it's dry, use contact cement to glue it to a wooden board. (If you want to carve a handle or bevel the edges, that's fine.) When the glue is dry, rub in a few pea-sized gobs of ordinary shoe cream (cream... NOT wax polish) to revitalize the leather. Let that soak in over night, and wipe off the excess.
    You now have a strop with leather that's the equal to virtually ANY cowhide strop sold, regardless of the price. The ONLY way to make this better would be to use horsehide, and then only use it without compound. Your cowhide strop is perfect for any compound you want to use. There is NOTHING you can buy that will work any better regardless of price. You can get expensive strops with fancy handles, fancy hardware, or pre-coated with compound if you want to spend money... but they won't work any better than this one. Make it any size you want. It's yours, treat it well and it will last a lifetime.

  9. cudgee

    cudgee Gold Member Gold Member

    May 13, 2019
    I can vouch for stichawl, i have used his method after getting help from him before, and it works and is a GOOD and cheap my of making your own strop. The key then is LESS is MORE, DON'T apply too much compound to the strop. Have a good week end everyone.
    Edgeoflife likes this.
  10. Edgeoflife

    Edgeoflife Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Oct 11, 2018
    Thank you for the very informative tips! I went ahead and ordered the inexpensive strop i mentioned above so i can have one ready to go when it arrives but will end up making one also in whatever size/design i end up preferring and using your detailed instructions so i can have different compound setups without needing to clean first to switch abrasives. Very useful info and thanks for shedding light on pricing vs quality. Super helpful!
    stitchawl likes this.

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