How to Use a Strop

After creating the strop board I was eager to show you all how to use to get the best cutting edge possible. To show this process I wanted to use a chisel that a tad bit under the weather. The one I found looked like it had been sharpened on the concrete. The scratches were horrible. You could actually feel the different scratches while running your nail across the metal. This had to have been the worst chisel I’ve laid my hands on personally. Before even attempting to use the strop I had to fix it and get it to a somewhat sharp state. This required me to pull out my quick method of sharpening called “the scary sharp” method. This is just using different grits of sandpaper with spray adhesive on the back attached to a piece of glass. I started with 80 grit. This revealed even more about the condition on the chisel. It had a concave section on the chisel tip and also in the middle of the back. Getting the back completely flat was going to be a challenge I will leave for later. The important thing though is that all the edges on the back were flat. I could have left the chisel tip in the same manor as the picture shows, but I did want this completely flat for the purpose of this video.

After dealing with the original scratches, I was able to go up to 600 grit in the sandpaper and then go to my Xmasis Stones to finish the sharpening. The first side was the 1000 grit and the second was the 3000 grit. Now it is time to move over to the strop.

The first thing you need to do with your strop is to charge it with a compound. The compounds are just abrasives and wax. These can also come in a paste form, just depends on the brand or maker. Woodworking stores do sell compound for honing, but I was able to find a cheap compound at Harbor Freight for under $4! You can’t beat that price. The way to use the compound is by rubbing it lightly on the leather like a crayon. Don’t put too much on and friction is your friend. Heating it a bit by rubbing at a faster pace helps adhere the compound to the leather. After you have the leather charged, you continue the sharpening just like you would on a stone. Keep working it until you have a nice mirror finish.

Woodworker and blacksmith

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