Stropping (honing on leather) post

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Project by mafe posted 11-14-2011 03:14 PM 4979 views 12 times favorited 44 comments Add to Favorites Watch

honing on leather, thanks to Div

For those who never heard of stropping, it is simply to hone the edge of your iron on a piece of leather with some compound or paste as the honing material, just as you have probably seen a barber do on his leather strap with the razor knife.

A long time ago I read about the term stopping and woodworking, I was really exited but when I told this to a Danish woodworker he just laughed at me and said that that he never heard of this, no one did this, and all his fellow woodworkers was laughing at this when they heard of it, and so I put this out of my head for a while.
But my friend Div then one day told me that he always stropped, he stropped his chisels regularly while using them and also his plane irons got a fast tour on the stop once in a while, and since I have a big respect for the words of Div and know he normally do nothing without a reason, I decided to make some strops and give it a try, the worst that could happen was that I would waste some leather.

After having used stop for a good time now I can say; ‘I will probably never go back’, I love the fact that you during your work can make a fast stopping and have this razor sharp edge right back, and after i started stropping – paring with a chisel is a new world, I am completely in control and I can leave a perfect surface on the wood.

Read more in the blog.

So any bad sides? No!
Is it magic? No, just a wonderful fast way to hone your chisel back to razor while you work. It cannot sharpen a chisel, just hone it when you slowly wear down the edge, when the edge is worn down you still need to go back to the stone.
In a way it feels like using a Japan knife, you just strop instead of breaking of the blades as you go, and then at some point you have used the full capacity and need to take the full tour.

The post is pictures from the blog:

1. In use for honing.
2. A handle is made.
3. Clamping.
4. The different versions.
5. One side without compound.
6. One side with compound.

_Hope this can inspire others to try honing on strap, together with a water stone system you will have razor sharp edges and so much more joy in your woodworking.

Thank you Div.

Best thoughts,


-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

44 comments so far

View Maveric777's profile


2694 posts in 3440 days

#1 posted 11-14-2011 03:20 PM

Well, you got my attention….lol. Need to head over to the blog and learn me something.

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

View RGtools's profile


3372 posts in 3018 days

#2 posted 11-14-2011 03:47 PM

Always wonderful to take a peek into your shop Mads.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3478 days

#3 posted 11-14-2011 04:17 PM

I can see you are ready for a game of rundbold …. just say when :-)


View Ken90712's profile


17659 posts in 3552 days

#4 posted 11-14-2011 05:06 PM

Mafe first off I hope all is well friend! Been a while since we chatted.

This is a great way to sharpen no doubt. I have done it for a while as well as a buddy at work whos a great carver does the same thing. Nice post and tools talk to you soon.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Don W's profile

Don W

19170 posts in 2931 days

#5 posted 11-14-2011 05:58 PM

I strop after if inish sharpening, but use just leather, no compound. At the point the process is meant to remove any final burr. I’ve tried with and without compound and not seen any difference. I leave the right on the jig if sharpening a plane iron.

When stropping in between the sharpenings like you describe the compound makes an improvement.

As always Mads, great post. It did remind me I’ve been meaning to make a couple more of these.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View waho6o9's profile


8639 posts in 2940 days

#6 posted 11-14-2011 05:58 PM

stropping totally rocks, do both sides of the chisel for those that don’t know. Watch out for the razor sharp edge!

View DS's profile


3145 posts in 2783 days

#7 posted 11-14-2011 06:02 PM

I just assumed everyone strops their chisels… hmmm….
The strop is my constant companion when carving.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View SASmith               's profile


1850 posts in 3350 days

#8 posted 11-14-2011 06:27 PM

Thanks for sharing.

-- Scott Smith, Southern Illinois

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 4036 days

#9 posted 11-14-2011 06:32 PM

Nice work, Mad. Thanks for sharing.

View lanwater's profile


3111 posts in 3297 days

#10 posted 11-14-2011 07:44 PM


I did similar on the worksharp honing disk. But I think I am going to buil my self one following your blog.

It will be easier to use then pulling the machinery everytime, Which I dread to do.

Thanks for sharing.

I have not seen div online for quite some times. I do know he is busy with his new house. I hope he is doing well.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View Dez's profile


1167 posts in 4440 days

#11 posted 11-14-2011 07:59 PM

I’ve been using a strop for many years! My father used them for his leather working knives as well.

-- Folly ever comes cloaked in opportunity!

View twokidsnosleep's profile


1106 posts in 3337 days

#12 posted 11-14-2011 08:00 PM

I made a stropping board a while back and just purchased some compound for it. It was planned for leather working tools, but really no difference in using it to hone a wood chisel.
I like your strop’s resemblance to a cricket bat, mine is much more pedestrian.
Cheers, Scott

-- Scott "Some days you are the big dog, some days you are the fire hydrant"

View Bertha's profile


13567 posts in 3056 days

#13 posted 11-14-2011 08:04 PM

Perfect timing, Mads! I just made a strop a couple days ago. I’m subscribed!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View ETwoodworks's profile


92 posts in 3056 days

#14 posted 11-14-2011 08:18 PM

I have been doing this for years but never thought to use any compound maybe I will give that a shot. Thanks

-- Building quality in a throw away world.

View Brit's profile


7682 posts in 3206 days

#15 posted 11-14-2011 08:43 PM

Anyone for cricket? Nice strops Mads.

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

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