How to Make a Leather Strop

Written by kaite mitchell
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How to Make a Leather Strop
A strop is the traditional method of sharpening barber's razors, but it has many applications for crafts that use blades. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Strops are used by many who work with blades -- bookbinders, leatherworkers, barbers. A strop is simply a strip of leather, rough-side out, attached to a board and coated with a rubbing compound or a powdered sharpening compound. Blades are then run over the surface at a shallow angle, about 20 degrees, to sharpen them. Making your own strop at home is a simple task.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Measuring tape or ruler
  • Wood board or stiff cardboard
  • Box cutter, craft knife or scissors
  • Leather
  • Glue
  • Small paintbrush
  • Weights
  • Rubbing compound or powdered sharpening compound

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  1. 1

    Measure your board and cut a piece of the leather that will cover the surface you wish to use as your stropping surface; at this point you don't have to be precise, you can trim it later. You can leave a piece of the board or cardboard exposed to use as a handle, if you like. Simply cut one edge of the leather straight to lay across the board.

  2. 2

    Brush the glue across the surface of the wood or board in a thin layer. Lay the leather across it, skin-side down so the rougher surface is exposed, and firmly smooth it over the board and glue to make sure it fully adheres.

  3. 3

    Turn over the strop and lay your weights on top of it. Leave it to dry. Depending on the type and amount of glue used, this may take up to 24 hours, or as short as 20 minutes.

  4. 4

    Trim the leather edges to your strop surface, if any are hanging over or are untidy.

  5. 5

    Coat your leather with the rubbing compound or dust it with the powdered sharpening compound. Make sure the entire stropping surface has some of the grit or rubbing compound.

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