How To Make a Strop

For this, you will need:

  • Leather (any processed leather will do, this can for instance be a scrap from leather clothing or a leather bag)
  • Piece of wood or plywood 3” (76mm) wide x 10” (254mm) long (any type of wood you can spare but needs to be flat on the top face)
  • Double sided tape
  • Buffing compound
  • Knife

  1. Start by covering the top face your wood with double sided tape to hold the leather, make sure nothing gets caught underneath the tape as you want to keep this as flat as possible.

  1. Stretch the leather over the tape. If the leather has a shinier side use it with the suede side facing up. You can use any processed leather. Leather is used as it is the only material tough enough to hold the buffing compound (chromium oxide suspended in a wax block). Press down firmly to ensure the leather is stuck to the wood.

  1. Flip the strop over and cut around it to remove the excess leather using a knife.

  1. Cover the leather surface of the strop with the buffing compound, this action is called ‘charging’. This turns the leather into a 15,000 grit surface which sharpens your blade to another level while polishing it.

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  1. I remember the first time I had used a strop…Wow what a difference it made! I immediately made a second, and a box with a sliding lid to store them along with the wax abrasive sticks, to keep them clean after use. I sharpen up to 5000grit oil stone , then strop. I have compared the difference with a 100x microscope and was quite surprised as to how much smoother it is after stropping. The real difference is using the tool after stropping.

    1. Hi Greg,

      Thank you for getting touch, Paul says:
      No, it has no abrasive. What we use is abrasive suspended in a wax. However you could add abrasive particulate, if you can find it, to the beeswax if your concern was wanting to work with a completely natural product.

      Kind Regards,

  2. I have a 3mm thick piece of horse butt leather which is too thick to stretch on the wood base. Is it okay to glue it on the wood base and clamp it or is this considered too thick to use well? One side is too smooth but one is a little rougher but not like suede. I’m also questioning if the thickness is too much cushion but it is pretty hard when you push on it.


  3. Can we use some kind of fake leather to make a strop? I can’t find leather piece at home and it’s kinda expensive for me to buy. Would suede work? That would be good to know too! Wish you all healthy days.

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