LumberJocks

All Replies on Do you use a strop when sharpening hand plane blades?

  • Advertise with us
View distrbd's profile

Do you use a strop when sharpening hand plane blades?

by distrbd
posted 11-20-2015 03:42 PM


1 2 next »
59 replies

59 replies so far

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5311 posts in 4872 days


#1 posted 11-20-2015 03:46 PM

Leather strop here. It gets used after final honing. Green compound.
Bill

-- [email protected]

View JayT's profile

JayT

6414 posts in 3122 days


#2 posted 11-20-2015 03:47 PM

Leather strop with green compound for me, too.

-- https://www.jtplaneworks.com - In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

View WoodNSawdust's profile

WoodNSawdust

1417 posts in 2088 days


#3 posted 11-20-2015 03:47 PM

No, I tried it once and did not see an improvement in performance. So why spend the time?

-- "I love it when a plan comes together" John "Hannibal" Smith

View Richard H's profile

Richard H

490 posts in 2592 days


#4 posted 11-20-2015 03:50 PM

I’m not sure it’s completely necessary after 8000 grit to use a strop but I tend to just take a couple strokes after honing to polish the blade a bit. It is useful to extend the amount the time between having to go back to the stones. If the chisel/plane iron starts to feel a bit dull take it to the strop and clean it up rather than back to the stone. I can usually do this several times before I have to go back to the stones and it helps keep the edge very sharp longer.

I use a leather strop attached to a handle myself but I don’t know why MDF with very fine polishing compound wouldn’t work just as good if you prefer that method.

View mahdee's profile

mahdee

4291 posts in 2679 days


#5 posted 11-20-2015 03:50 PM

If I want it that sharp, I use automotive rubbing and then polishing compound over brown paper stroking away from the edge toward me on both sides.

-- earthartandfoods.com

View Tedstor's profile

Tedstor

1691 posts in 3544 days


#6 posted 11-20-2015 03:52 PM

3-4 strokes over the strop with green buffing compound.
I do this during sharpening AND once in a while while using the tool (to freshen up the edge).

View distrbd's profile

distrbd

2252 posts in 3358 days


#7 posted 11-20-2015 03:59 PM

The strop I’m using for my chisels is an old leather belt stapled to a piece of wood, the problem is,the belt is only 1.5” wide so I could not use it for my hand plane blades (I don’t think), haven’t found a piece of leather wide enough for the blades yet.

-- Ken from Ontario, Canada

View PtboJim's profile

PtboJim

10 posts in 3010 days


#8 posted 11-20-2015 04:04 PM

What!!! Without reading too much into this, does mean your coming over to the dark side, going to unplug and start using hand planes Ken?

-- "Everything should be made as simple as possible...but not simpler." -- Albert Einstein

View mahdee's profile

mahdee

4291 posts in 2679 days


#9 posted 11-20-2015 04:10 PM

With the hunting season in full force, it would be nice to have a moose/elk or deer hide to make a strop.

-- earthartandfoods.com

View distrbd's profile

distrbd

2252 posts in 3358 days


#10 posted 11-20-2015 04:11 PM



What!!! Without reading too much into this, does mean your coming over to the dark side, going to unplug and start using hand planes Ken?

- PtboJim


Lol, to be honest I find it very challenging to hand plane anything and do it right but I’m willing to learn, I should have asked you for a few tips when I had a chance .

-- Ken from Ontario, Canada

View distrbd's profile

distrbd

2252 posts in 3358 days


#11 posted 11-20-2015 04:16 PM



With the hunting season in full force, it would be nice to have a moose/elk or deer hide to make a strop.

- mahdee


I thought it would be easier than it is to find a decent piece of leather,tried ebay but $30 for a small vegetable tan leather? that’s crazy, anyhow,I located a boot maker near the city of Peterborough that I might try.

-- Ken from Ontario, Canada

View PtboJim's profile

PtboJim

10 posts in 3010 days


#12 posted 11-20-2015 04:40 PM


What!!! Without reading too much into this, does mean your coming over to the dark side, going to unplug and start using hand planes Ken?

- PtboJim

Lol, to be honest I find it very challenging to hand plane anything and do it right but I m willing to learn, I should have asked you for a few tips when I had a chance .

- distrbd


I am still here….drop me a line if there is anything I can help with.

-- "Everything should be made as simple as possible...but not simpler." -- Albert Einstein

View distrbd's profile

distrbd

2252 posts in 3358 days


#13 posted 11-20-2015 04:50 PM

Thanks Jim, I will be in touch.
Mahdi, it’s good to know about automotive polishing compound /brown paper, I have tons of those.

Thank you all for your quick replies, it looks like using a strop especially for quick honing is the way to go.

-- Ken from Ontario, Canada

View Awlsome's profile

Awlsome

7 posts in 1879 days


#14 posted 11-20-2015 04:51 PM

I do. My philosophy of stropping though is that I only want to take the wire edge off from the last step – not add curvature to the edge. Thusly, I only make one or two passes on the strop (green compound), being careful to not apply too much pressure on the back side of the plane (and keeping it FLAT). Strop too much and you’ll change the edge geometry. Whether this is relevant in practice for planes, I do not know. It is certainly relevant for chisels and knives.

View iminmyshop's profile

iminmyshop

339 posts in 2905 days


#15 posted 11-20-2015 05:01 PM

+1 on the strop. It takes the sharpening that extra little step. It takes VERY little time and is definitely noticeable. The safest and most effective tool is a very sharp tool.

-- http://www.alansfinewoodworking.com/

View distrbd's profile

distrbd

2252 posts in 3358 days


#16 posted 11-20-2015 05:02 PM

Awlsome, I learned I could use a secondary edge on the side where the wire edge is , it would make the job of sharpening hand plane blades much easier especially for a novice like me.
I got the hang of sharpening chisels ,well, almost but I find bigger blades a bit more difficult.

-- Ken from Ontario, Canada

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

16975 posts in 3530 days


#17 posted 11-20-2015 05:22 PM

Ken, I claimed a beat up (green) leather recliner that had be set curbside. Cut the leather arm coverings from it, lots of shop leather. Contact cement to a piece of hardwood, instant strop base. And cheap, too.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

View Tim's profile

Tim

3859 posts in 2873 days


#18 posted 11-20-2015 06:17 PM

Ken, I heard lots of people saying leather could be had cheaply from a wide variety of places, but everywhere I looked I found none or very expensive. I ended up buying a bin of leather scraps from a garage sale. I can cut off a piece and drop it in an envelope for you if you want, just pm me.

View Aj2's profile (online now)

Aj2

3490 posts in 2709 days


#19 posted 11-20-2015 06:24 PM

Old leather belt makes a good strop.

-- Aj

View Tedstor's profile

Tedstor

1691 posts in 3544 days


#20 posted 11-20-2015 06:31 PM

With the hunting season in full force, it would be nice to have a moose/elk or deer hide to make a strop.

- mahdee

I thought it would be easier than it is to find a decent piece of leather,tried ebay but $30 for a small vegetable tan leather? that s crazy, anyhow,I located a boot maker near the city of Peterborough that I might try.

- distrbd

This would work. $20. Would last for decades. I bought a piece of appropriate leather for ~$10, and glued it to a hardwood scrap. I’ve been using it for 3-4 years now.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Wood-Handle-Leather-Sharpening-Strop-12-long-8x2-leather-Knives-arrow-heads-/111623625874?hash=item19fd495c92:g:QJIAAOSw7NNT0fRK

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

10861 posts in 2397 days


#21 posted 11-20-2015 06:32 PM

Leather and green. I strop the hell out of my tools. Found a couple sq feet at a flea market for a few bucks.

Edit: craft stores usually have leather too.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View Jerry's profile

Jerry

3488 posts in 2559 days


#22 posted 11-20-2015 06:58 PM

Absolutely, and the reason is that once you establish that edge, you will need to resharpen frequently to keep it that way. Stropping is the quickest and easiest way to keep the edge razor sharp without having to go through the grits again. Go to your local leather shop, most cities have one, and get yourself a piece of cowhide. Cut a piece of generous size, and glue it to a granite slab with the tanned, or smooth side up. Use the green compound to charge it. You will hardly ever have to sharpen again if you strop it frequently.

-- There are good ships and there are wood ships, the ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships and may they always be. http://www.geraldlhunsucker.com/

View hhhopks's profile

hhhopks

663 posts in 3288 days


#23 posted 11-20-2015 07:06 PM

Hobby stores typically would have scrap leather for sale. Check it out. You could make a lot of strops with one of those scrap bundles. Just cut the leather & epoxy on to a piece of wood scrap.

-- I'll be a woodworker when I grow up. HHHOPKS

View mahdee's profile

mahdee

4291 posts in 2679 days


#24 posted 11-20-2015 07:15 PM

I found a leather couch on the side of the road which has given me more leather than I know what to do with. I used a big portion of it for when I need to put a finished surface on a solid ground to work on the bottom side.

-- earthartandfoods.com

View chrisstef's profile

chrisstef

18119 posts in 3918 days


#25 posted 11-20-2015 07:33 PM

Try Tandy leather Ken. I just bought some vegetable tanned bellies for a very reasonable $13. That covered the jaws of my moxon vice and the vice chop on my bench with enough scraps left over for multiple strops. Fuzzy side up.

I strop my plane irons and chisels often during use. Green compound here.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View distrbd's profile

distrbd

2252 posts in 3358 days


#26 posted 11-20-2015 10:26 PM

Thank you all for your comments, I always thought the proper leather for a strop was the thick (~3.5mm or thicker) kind which is used to make boots,saddles, holsters, etc. but it looks like a few of you have been using the thinner leather form a couch/chair .
I have an old leather portfolio binder ,if the leather from a couch is good enough maybe I’ll use that binder then, someone mentioned an alternative would be a chamois for polishing cars but I’ll try the binder I have first.
Wow you live and you learn.
Tim , Thank you for your kind offer, I think I’ll be alright now.
I don’t have that green honing compound yet,will get one from LV, for now I’ll try a grey polishing compound that I didn’t know I had! or Mahdee’s idea of car polish.
I’m off to my shop trying to sharpen my blades,Last week I sharpened all my chisels and have no hair left on my hands!
Thank you all again for reading my thread and all your feedbacks.
Ken.

-- Ken from Ontario, Canada

View paratrooper34's profile

paratrooper34

915 posts in 3863 days


#27 posted 11-21-2015 01:41 AM

I always strop after sharpening and I do it to keep the edges fresh between sharpening. I have a WS3000 that is pretty much primarily used with the stropping wheel, so it is quick and easy to turn it on, strop whatever, and done.

-- Mike

View Julian's profile

Julian

1605 posts in 3602 days


#28 posted 11-21-2015 01:45 AM

I use MDF loaded with polishing compound. Makes a mirror finish on the edge which is not necessary. Just a personal preference. If you watch youtube videos of Peter Sellers; he doesn’t go to such extremes sharpening and still gets great results with his tools Do what works best for you.

-- Julian

View Robert's profile

Robert

4129 posts in 2392 days


#29 posted 11-21-2015 01:56 AM

Yes, its good enough.

I’ve tried it and never seen a discernable difference between a blade polished to 8000 or 12,000 vs taken one step further on a strop. I do, however strop my carving tools and I touch up a chisel when working with softwood.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View bandit571's profile

bandit571

26936 posts in 3594 days


#30 posted 11-21-2015 02:27 AM

Saved the belt from my nail bag rig. Cut a short section of it, and loaded it up. Belt was 2” wide. About ready to cut another “fresh” section. When I’m using the chisel, though, a quick touch up for me would be a few strokes along the jean’s pant legs. Three or four times, each side, and back to chopping.

When running through the grits i use, I stop at 2.5K grit, then the strop…done. Maybe ten strokes each side….

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View ElChe's profile

ElChe

630 posts in 2248 days


#31 posted 11-21-2015 02:29 AM

Been thinking of trying the mdf with green compound myself.

-- Tom - Measure twice cut once. Then measure again. Curse. Fudge.

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

2658 posts in 2901 days


#32 posted 11-22-2015 05:30 AM

-1 on the strop. Here is my reasoning.

View Brad's profile

Brad

1147 posts in 3651 days


#33 posted 11-22-2015 03:51 PM

Yes, leather strop charged with green compound. I find that it makes a noticeable difference. As in, so sharp that it painlessly shaves hair off my arm. Without it, it would hurt (pulling my hair a bit) before cutting it off my arm. I use this step for sharpening my jointer, smoother and moulding plane irons as well as my paring chisels.

-- "People's lives are their own rewards or punishments."

View Planeman40's profile

Planeman40

1523 posts in 3672 days


#34 posted 11-22-2015 07:28 PM

Try Tandy Leather (http://www.tandyleather.com/en/). I bought a nice large piece I have made strops from of various shapes and sizes. I really could some more. Its good for wood hammer faces, hand ends for wood chisels, and a host of other things.

Planeman

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View distrbd's profile

distrbd

2252 posts in 3358 days


#35 posted 11-22-2015 11:53 PM

Planeman, thank s for the link, Chrissteff also seems to be happy with the package he got,they have a Canadian site with very reasonable prices,good to know if all else fails.
OSU55, very interesting method,,thanks. I still want to try that MDF strop myself but for some reason I think a leather strop will be easier to use.
Thank you all again for continuing to share your wisdom with the rest, I enjoyed reading every one of your replies.

-- Ken from Ontario, Canada

View bearkatwood's profile

bearkatwood

1829 posts in 1923 days


#36 posted 11-23-2015 12:25 AM

No, but I wouldn’t mind trying it. I would like to get some stropping compound either. My sharpening is all done on DMT diamond plates and they shave well when sharpened. The extra extra fine does a great job.

-- Brian Noel

View SFP's profile

SFP

36 posts in 2167 days


#37 posted 11-23-2015 04:07 AM



Absolutely, and the reason is that once you establish that edge, you will need to resharpen frequently to keep it that way. Stropping is the quickest and easiest way to keep the edge razor sharp without having to go through the grits again. Go to your local leather shop, most cities have one, and get yourself a piece of cowhide. Cut a piece of generous size, and glue it to a granite slab with the tanned, or smooth side up. Use the green compound to charge it. You will hardly ever have to sharpen again if you strop it frequently.

- Jerry

I strop my edges much more than sharpening with stones. I rarely pick up a chisel without stropping it first. Before a larger project the planes that will be used get a stropping as well. Much faster than using my stones and the edge is more sharp as well; which means they should stay sharper, longer!

View Robert's profile

Robert

4129 posts in 2392 days


#38 posted 11-23-2015 12:35 PM


Yes, leather strop charged with green compound. I find that it makes a noticeable difference. As in, so sharp that it painlessly shaves hair off my arm. Without it, it would hurt (pulling my hair a bit) before cutting it off my arm. I use this step for sharpening my jointer, smoother and moulding plane irons as well as my paring chisels.

- Brad

What grit are you stopping at? If you honed to 8000 you would get the same result without stropping.

I’m not “anti strop” but it appears some people think this is an indispensable step in the honing process.

But it is not unless you are only honing 800 or 1000 (or 600 ala Paul Sellers). And, I would add, if not done properly will actually dull a blade.

If there is any research proving a stropped blade holds its edge longer, then theres a very good reason to do it.

Bottom line is whatever works for you do it. Just wanted to dispel the notion stropping is a necessity for those reading the threads who may be working through the sharpening vortex.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View Roger's profile

Roger

21031 posts in 3715 days


#39 posted 12-04-2015 12:52 PM

My .02: Put a little white compound on the inside of a cereal box or any cardboard similar, and draw your edge across it a few times, and presto, you will not believe the edge. Of course, be sure the cardboard is on flat glass or anything that is totally flat.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View LakesideWoodworker's profile

LakesideWoodworker

24 posts in 982 days


#40 posted 03-27-2019 05:28 AM


Try Tandy Leather (http://www.tandyleather.com/en/). I bought a nice large piece I have made strops from of various shapes and sizes. I really could some more. Its good for wood hammer faces, hand ends for wood chisels, and a host of other things.

Planeman

- Planeman40

Thanks for the tip on Tandy leather. I took a look at the Tandy website and it looks like they have different thicknesses of veg tan leather – Some less than 2 mm and some between 2 and 3 mm. What did you find works for you vice faces and for your strops?

-- Lakeside Woodworker

View LakesideWoodworker's profile

LakesideWoodworker

24 posts in 982 days


#41 posted 03-27-2019 05:35 AM



Try Tandy leather Ken. I just bought some vegetable tanned bellies for a very reasonable $13. That covered the jaws of my moxon vice and the vice chop on my bench with enough scraps left over for multiple strops. Fuzzy side up.

I strop my plane irons and chisels often during use. Green compound here.

- chrisstef

Hi Chris, thanks for your post. I checked Tandy and it looks like they have different thicknesses. What thickness did you find works for jaw covering on your vices? For the strops?

-- Lakeside Woodworker

View WoodenDreams's profile

WoodenDreams

1176 posts in 822 days


#42 posted 03-27-2019 05:37 AM

View CaptainKlutz's profile

CaptainKlutz

3825 posts in 2405 days


#43 posted 03-27-2019 06:18 AM

This is an antique thread, but here goes something to help anyway:

Thanks for the tip on Tandy leather. I took a look at the Tandy website and it looks like they have different thicknesses of veg tan leather – Some less than 2 mm and some between 2 and 3 mm. What did you find works for you vice faces and for your strops?

- LakesideWoodworker

For vice faces I like thickest ‘whole grain’ veg tan leather I can find. One leather industry name is ‘sole’ leather. Usually at least 10oz, preferably 12oz+ or 5mm+ thick.

Strop leather can be most any thickness. Although something less than 1/16 thick, or 4oz will wear out much faster than thicker skin.

PS – Any color other than plain veg tanned leather has dye added. It will leach out when wet, and mark on even kiln dry wood. :-(

PPS – Cowhide is split to make various thicknesses sold. Thick sole leather is un-cut, and not as easy to find as thinner materials online. Since wood working use of leather doesn’t care about color consistency, and doesn’t need meter long belt pieces; best way to buy it is from the seconds bin at a retail Tandy store. It is stuff you won’t find on internet (except when buying small scraps on feabay). I picked up a 1/2 hide (life time supply) for less than 25% of normal retail, because of a couple small holes and too much color variation across skin.
Works perfect on my refurbished Wilton vices (see projects for bench post)

Best Luck.

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

View LakesideWoodworker's profile

LakesideWoodworker

24 posts in 982 days


#44 posted 03-27-2019 06:20 AM

Thanks WoodenDreams. This video answers one of my questions. I watched Rob Cosman who suggests using 16000 ceramic stone as the final step but doesn’t use a strop. I currently have the 3 DMT diamond stones with the finest one being 1200 grit. I was trying to decide if I should get the 16000 (I am not getting the edge I would like with my current approach) or if I should go to a strop. Sounds like the 8000 water stone and strop (much cheaper) would give the same result as the 16000 ceramic stone.

-- Lakeside Woodworker

View LakesideWoodworker's profile

LakesideWoodworker

24 posts in 982 days


#45 posted 03-27-2019 06:26 AM

Thanks CaptainKlutz. That is really helpful. I will check to see what I can find locally.

I am new to LumberJocks but am finding so much help here. Great group of people willing to share expertise and experience.

-- Lakeside Woodworker

View Offgrid_WoodButcher's profile

Offgrid_WoodButcher

11 posts in 607 days


#46 posted 03-28-2019 03:36 PM

I use 3 or 4 strokes on a leather strop with green polishing compound each time I sharpen a plane blade and also every time prior using a chisel. Take less than 30 second and keep the edge always fresh and sharp.

-- The Off-grid Wood Butcher [ https://offgrid-woodbutcher.blogspot.com/ ]

View LakesideWoodworker's profile

LakesideWoodworker

24 posts in 982 days


#47 posted 03-29-2019 04:35 AM

Thanks Offgrid. You have a very interesting project on your blog. It was also fun to read how your family heritage got you interested in woodworking. According to my late grandmother, my Great-Great Grandfather was also a furniture maker and local coffin maker in Germany but I never got to know him as his children immigrated to the US. Great you have some tools passed down from your Great-Grandfather.

-- Lakeside Woodworker

View Offgrid_WoodButcher's profile

Offgrid_WoodButcher

11 posts in 607 days


#48 posted 03-29-2019 12:13 PM



Thanks Offgrid. You have a very interesting project on your blog. It was also fun to read how your family heritage got you interested in woodworking. According to my late grandmother, my Great-Great Grandfather was also a furniture maker and local coffin maker in Germany but I never got to know him as his children immigrated to the US. Great you have some tools passed down from your Great-Grandfather.

- LakesideWoodworker

Thank you Lakeside, my great grand father sawmill is still up there, I wish I was able to use it and conserve it but life is what it is. I feel lucky to have met him and I keep very good memories about that even if it was a looooong time ago.

Regards,

-- The Off-grid Wood Butcher [ https://offgrid-woodbutcher.blogspot.com/ ]

View Wintergreen78's profile

Wintergreen78

96 posts in 650 days


#49 posted 03-29-2019 03:39 PM

I go to 8000 on a water stone and then strop. I don’t think the strop is necessary after going that high in grit. but I’ve convinced myself that the edge is better. It only takes a few seconds, so I don’t see any harm.

Now you’ve got me curious. I may stop at 1000 next time then strop and see what the edge is like.

View Offgrid_WoodButcher's profile

Offgrid_WoodButcher

11 posts in 607 days


#50 posted 03-29-2019 06:23 PM



I go to 8000 on a water stone and then strop. I don’t think the strop is necessary after going that high in grit. but I’ve convinced myself that the edge is better. It only takes a few seconds, so I don’t see any harm.

Now you’ve got me curious. I may stop at 1000 next time then strop and see what the edge is like.

- Wintergreen78

I also sharpen to grit 8000 but still give it a few strokes on the strop and later use the strop as the regular “maintenance” between sharpening sessions.

-- The Off-grid Wood Butcher [ https://offgrid-woodbutcher.blogspot.com/ ]

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

1 2 next »
59 replies


DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com