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If you've ever wondered how to make a knife sharp enough to shave with, here's the answer: you need to strop it. Using a wet/oil stone will only take the process so far, as would a honing steel. This instructable will show you how to make and use a leather strop out of conventional household items: an old leather belt and toothpaste.

Step 1: Cut Belt / Wood Preparation

To Cut the Belt, Consider:
  • Use a paper cutter, they make nice cuts and go through leather well.
  • Alternatively, a utility knife works well if used slowly.
To Prepare the Wood:
  1. Cut the wood so that it has about 1 cm margin (up to you really), I used a spare piece of softwood (not balsa!)
  2. If you need to cut the piece in half, use an index card to find the center, it's faster than measuring.
  3. Blunt all of the edges. An easy way is to rest a piece of sandpaper against one's leg or a couch cushion and to move the wood across it. I used my leg and 80 grit sandpaper.
The last picture shows the difference between an un-blunted piece of wood versus a blunted piece of wood.


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<p>Re toothpaste--are you specific abiut the whitening kind? Either way, gel or actual toot PASTE?</p>
<p>Are nails useable instead of glue?</p>
<p>no you need the leather to be as straight as possible. nails will bend the leather. thats not helpful</p>
<p>As an alternative to toothpaste, use one of the buffing compound sticks, white or green, (try Harbor Freight) or auto paint rubbing compound or valve grinding compound from a parts store. </p>
I was told years ago that the used girth of a horse saddle made the best strop.
One of those &quot;why didn't I think of that&quot; ideas, Thanks !!
A wet/oil stone and a honing steel serve two different purpouses. Stropping is needed to break the microscopic &quot;saw tooths&quot; that the grain of the stone leave on the edge and a excess steel that did not come off during the stone sharpening
great tutorial! try to use carborundum powder instead of the toothpaste. well done

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Bio: I'm an Engineer. I like hiking, flea markets, and electronics.
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