loading

Ah, the heartwarming task of sharpening blades! Once you've learned how and developed a bit of a technique, it really is rewarding. There's nothing like using a freshly sharpened blade, and aren't we all here because we love that I-did-it-myself feeling? Yes, yes we are.

So why a strop? A strop can help you keep an edge sharp longer, helps to straighten thin blade edges, and polishes the blade. After years of sharpening without a strop, mainly because (a) I rarely thought about it except when jealously watching others use one, (b) no scraps of leather came my way, (c) and I'm too cheap to buy one. So, finally, I decided to make a quick and easy strop block for polishing my chisels. (Not so much for keeping an edge as making them pretty and shiny!)

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

To make this strop block, or one like it, you'll need the following items:

Scrap wood block
Strip of canvas (at least as wide as the wood block)
Scissors
Heavy duty stapler
staples
Wood glue
thin cork sheet (mine was 1/16" thick)
sharp knife
a clamp or weight for pressure

Step 2: Cut Your Canvas Strip

Cut a strip of canvas a little wider than your block of wood, and fairly long. Because you will want to fold it up a few times, make sure the strip is several times longer than your block. I didn't measure mine when I cut it, but the block is about 6" long, and the canvas strip is about 36", just to give you an idea of the length you'll need -roughly 5-6 times longer.

Step 3: Glue the Cork to the Wood Block

First, glue the cork to the wood. Make sure you spread the glue over the entire surface of the board, so the cork doesn't lift off at the edges, or bubble up in the middle. Lay the board, glue face down, onto the cork and apply even pressure. Follow your glue's instructions for clamping duration.

I used clamps and and another scrap of wood, but you can use practically anything. I included a couple of examples of alternative clamping solutions

Pro tip: Don't use your coffee. Oh sure, it'll work, but you won't be able to drink it while you're waiting for the glue to dry.

Step 4: Trim the Cork and Attach the Canvas

Once the glue has set, take your sharp knife and trim the cork flush to the edge of the block

Then take your folded canvas strip, making sure there are no wrinkles, and staple it to the board, first one side, and then -pulling it tightly- the other side.

Step 5: Use It!

And you did it! Honestly, it's that easy.

Pro Tips:

1. Hold the bevel against the surface of the strop with light pressure and move the blade away from the cutting edge. Turn the blade over and do the same on the other side. The process is the same on any stropping surface, with or without a honing compound.

2. Never move the blade toward the cutting edge as it will cut into the strop, resulting in dulling of the edge and damage to the strop. A few strokes is usually sufficient.

<p>What stropping does is remove the, &quot;wire edge&quot;. What the wire edge can do is fold over, and make an edge seem dull. Well, I guess it more than makes an edge seem dull? It covers the edge and makes it actually dull. I use a red jewelers rouge charged leather to strop blades on myself.</p>
<p>For thin blades, like straight razors, etc., that is absolutely true. When sharpening chisels or thicker blades, I remove that burr edge as the last step in sharpening without a strop by dragging my chisel, flat side down, backwards about 1&quot; (or less). It comes off very cleanly with ease, and should actually be done prior to stropping your blade. Paul Sellers has a great video out there that clearly shows how this is done -with a camera much better than mine that can actually show the burr edge on the blade, and being removed. If you don't remove the burr edge you absolutely need a strop to do this. My chef's knives -I was a chef in a past life- are kept sharp with diamond steels and stropped with two strokes on my pant legs. I'd love to try a leather strop one day, though!</p>

About This Instructable

1,611views

30favorites

License:

More by ChrisR393:Cake Decorating Organizer Trays. Canvas Strop Block for Blade Polishing Ratchet strap winder tool for drills 
Add instructable to: