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.

I was told years ago that the used girth of a horse saddle made the best strop.
One of those "why didn't I think of that" ideas, Thanks !!
A wet/oil stone and a honing steel serve two different purpouses. Stropping is needed to break the microscopic "saw tooths" 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

About This Instructable


96 favorites

Bio: I'm an Engineer. I like hiking, flea markets, and electronics.
More by vreinkymov: Blade Honing Kit Fix Broken Glasses by Soldering Tailstock Chuck
Add instructable to: