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Thread: What kind of leather to get for a homemade strop?

  1. #1

    Default What kind of leather to get for a homemade strop?

    Hi all,

    I'm looking to make my own double sided paddle strop by taking a 2 and 7/8ths by 8 inch piece of sandblasted plate glass and gluing leather to either side. That way the thing is going to be dead flat and it will be the same width and length of a Norton 4k/8k so i can use its holder for the strop if I so choose. I intend on treating one side with .5um Chromium Oxide for polishing / finishing, and the other plain for stropping in between shaves. My problem is that I don't know what kind of leather I need to use, or where to get it for that matter. Hopefully, it will work out to be as cheap and effective as I have hoped.

    Thanks and best regards,

    Mike

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Salt Lake City, Utah
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    Making your own strops - A+ way to get nice stuff, functional stuff, save a lot of money, having a good time all the way (I’m easily amused). Matter of fact, I just walked out of my local Tandy Leather Craft store. Just got parts for my third strop adventure. $3 for the leather after 10 minutes pawing thru the barrel of leather scraps that nobody else wants. But I digress. The First strop adventure was just what yours is. Paddle strops, one for paste and one plain for everyday use – perfect to learn on. Leather from the cow hide scrap bin at Tandy Leather Craft Store. This stuff is thick (1/8 inch), stiff, and hard, I was not sure it would be OK. It has been great. You can also get latigo type leather, much softer and more appropriate for hanging strops. I think you will be OK as long as you stay away from any suede type leather, anything soft and spongy, any textured leather, anything fancy for special purposes. Horsehide is supposed to be the best, but I doubt you will find it casually. I glued it up using epoxy onto wood cutting boards I got cheap from T.J. Max, ripped to size after leather applied. (make sure you can actually glue to that glass if you go that way!) Sanded it down to flatten out any irregularities in the leather and tone down the glossy finish, giving better draw on the blade. Make them longer than 8 inches, mine have about 15 inches draw length. Also, make them 3+ inches wide so you can strop your blades without angling if you feel like it. Finished up conditioning with Neat’s Foot oil, stay away from mineral oil. .5 micron CrOx powder is great for what you want to do. Mix it with a little Neat’s Foot oil and smear it on your paste paddle, as little as possible to get complete cover. It will spread with use. I spent under $10 for leather for two paddle strops Do you want both surfaces on one substrate? Remember, one side is always going to be down. That clean side will get dirty fast. That CrOx side will make everything it touches green! PS – Strop Adventure #2 is a hanging strop made out of this thick cow hide. It has worked well but it is a little too stiff and I’m wanting to try a softer leather that will conform to the blade better, hence Strop Adventure #3. All this is assuming you have a Tandy store locally, of course. If not Tandy, there is apt to be some other craft store specializing in leather. Just ask for their scrap bin! You can mail order leather but it will be EXPENSIVE because you will probably have to get the whole hide or purchase prime strips for belts, etc.
    Last edited by kahunamoose; 01-22-2009 at 08:37 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Texas
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    Yup, Tandy Leather for me too. I got a really really long strip of horsehide (3" wide, so it was perfect for me) and then sold the rest on the B/S/T
    Hunter

  4. #4
    Thread Starter

    Default

    Thanks for all the help! I don't have any of those Tandy stores up here in Canada. I was able to find a company called Halford Hide. Here is the link to their leather selection:

    http://www.halfordhide.com/catalogue...t-supplies.pdf

    For the plain portion of the strop, I'm thinking of using the latigo leather that they offer. However for pasted portion of the strop, I'm not sure what leather of theirs to use. Please visit the link above and present your recommendations.

    Thanks and best regards,

    Mike

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    Texas
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    Hmm, I don't see horsehide. Maybe cowhide?

    The best bet is to go there and tell them that you're getting into sharpening and ask what they would recommend. The guys at my leather store knew all about knife and tool sharpening, and they recommended horsehide.

    If they don't know, then just feel the different types of leather by running your hand up and down them. Use the latigo that you're going to purchase as a baseline, then find something "faster" (smoother, with less draw) than that.

    Hope that helps! Maybe another Canuck will chime in and give us some insight.
    Hunter

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Salt Lake City, Utah
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    Neat stuff they have at Halford, Ill bet it would be a blast to wander thru their store. There in is the problem, I sort thru scraps until I find what I think would be a good candidate for my purpose. Latigo on page 3 would be a good bet but they are selling sides that average 20-25 square feet. Id look at the 5/7 oz thickness. Lots of money down the tubes if its not right! Hope you can use the rest even if it is perfect! Id call them and ask about the leather pieces listed just below the Latigo. Describe what you need to make and maybe they can pick out a bag of scraps that has something appropriate in it, or cull out reasonable pieces from somewhere they can sell to you by the pound. At this point Id do the pasted and unpasted strop with whatever comes from that call.

    Close as I can tell, the 9/10 oz carving/tooling stuff on page 1 is about what I have on my pasted strop. Its hard and sandable and what the fellow at Tandy uses for his tool sharpening. He recommends it each time I wander in there. It has been OK in my limited knowledge of razor honing. Again, it looks like you would have to get a lot more than two strops worth. But read on..

    Last night I got a piece of leather to make another hanging strop. It is in the 7oz range, much thinner than my current pasted or hanging strops. It has a hard finish, but not as shiny as what I think of for latigo, and not dyed. I stropped a razor on it for laughs, and the results were much better than my current hanging strop which I thought was fine. My current hanging strop is also made from the same cowhide as my paddles, sanded down so it has a good draw. However, now I am down on it! So, Im still evolving, for what its worth. Go for what they can sell you from the lighter weight latigo.

  7. #7
    Thread Starter

    Default

    Hi all,

    Many thanks for all your help. It has provided me with much assistance.

    Best regards,

    Mike

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Salt Lake City, Utah
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    136

    Default

    Here you go, this is your best bet. Horse hide is supposed to be the best for strops. I'll be ordering one shortly. It even refers to shipping to "parts of Canada".

    http://www.handamerican.com/horse.html

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