How to: Make a Leather Strop to Help Sharpen Everything in Your Shop

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My highschool workshop instructor had a saying that is at all times caught with me: Preserve you edges sharp and your powder dry. Whereas I do not pay a lot consideration to the dryness of my powder lately, I take lots of curiosity in my instruments. Sharp edges are safer, extra exact, much less irritating, and simply much more enjoyable to work with. Right here is one in every of my secrets and techniques to maintain them slicing at their greatest. You’ll have seen a strop in an previous barber’s store. It was that lengthy, slender piece of thick leather-based hanging on the wall. The barber would take his straight blade razor and slap it up and down the floor a number of instances earlier than turning his consideration to the lathered face of his buyer. This straightforward motion was truly a essential a part of protecting that blade honed, because it straightened out the microscopic curl of the steel edge.

Studying: the best way to make a strop

As a result of that is what occurs while you’re instruments get uninteresting: the skinny edge steel folds over or will get rounded off, and it must be handled earlier than you damage a reduce, or push too onerous and slice up one in every of your fragile fingers. I’ve had a easy piece of leather-based belt hanging in my store for some time, and it really works wonderful as a makeshift model of that barber’s strop. However this picket strop undertaking makes for a a lot simpler method to preserve my instruments honed, and it seems higher too.

The Supplies

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  • Hardwood Backer Board – The principle concern with the backer wooden is that it’ll keep flat and stage, so select a bit of hardwood like maple or walnut, and go along with quarter-saw if doable for stability. I sliced ​​off a bit of walnut from a bigger piece of inventory on the band noticed. MDF may also work.
  • Leather-based Strip – The leather-based for this undertaking ought to be onerous, untanned leather-based if doable. I picked up a bit from right here ($15) that I’ve been utilizing on a few initiatives for the previous few months. The leather-based ought to be tough to carry on to a little bit of honing compound, or you possibly can sand easy leather-based with a little bit of 300-400 grit sandpaper to assist it alongside.
  • Glue – You should use normal yellow wooden glue or 5-minute epoxy ($10) to safe the leather-based to the wooden.
  • Honing Compound – This offers the leather-based a bit of additional effectiveness. You should use both honing compound stick ($12), or a diamond paste ($8). Both means, it is efficient for months of regular use, so a bit bit goes a good distance.

The Steps

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Lower and stage the backing board – As I stated earlier, it is necessary that the backer board is steady and stage. I sliced ​​a 3/4″ thick slice of walnut off of a bit of inventory wooden, then squared it up on the desk noticed. To ensure it was stage, I gave it a fast sanding on a sheet of 100 grit sandpaper tacked to my workbench.

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Make the notch – That is an elective step, as you possibly can glue the leather-based on to the backer board. However I wished the piece to really feel a bit extra completed so I notched out the thickness of the leather-based from the board with a crosscut sled and stops on all sides.

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Lower the leather-based and safe – This is a vital step, so use a recent and really sharp knife blade for it. I reduce the leather-based a bit bigger than the completed dimensions and laid it in place to trim for a great match. You may positively realize it if this piece is just too small or crooked so take your time. As soon as I had the match good, I used 5-minute epoxy (yellow wooden glue works simply as properly) to safe the leather-based to the backer board.

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End with mineral oil – All the piece, wooden and leather-based ought to get a great coat of mineral oil to complete off the undertaking. The mineral oil protects the wooden and costs the leather-based in order that the honing compound can stick and be efficient. I hand rubbed the oil on all the piece, then wiped it clear with a rag.

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Add honing compound – The final step is a little bit of honing compound or .5 micron diamond paste. If utilizing a stick, rub the leather-based a number of instances from prime to backside. If utilizing a paste, add a bit to the middle of the strop and rub across the floor with a flat steel device like a putty knife.

Whereas a strop will not change the necessity for a great set of water or oil stones within the store for routine sharpening, it’ll positively lengthen the lifetime of these edges throughout every day use. As soon as you discover how efficient they’re, you might make a number of extras so there’s at all times one in attain.

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