For more information on the Strop, see our beginner site Common Woodworking.
Hannah and I used up some scrap leather and scrap 3/4″ plywood to make a half a dozen strops. I usually make them in small quantities and toss the ones that get gouged up straightaway because once gouged there’s a tendency for them to worsen quite quickly. These are my favourite size of 3″ by 10″ and whereas people say use only this leather or that or this part of the animal hide over another, my experience is that almost any hide or scrap of leather will work just fine. That said, the stretchier ones tend to keep stretching and then bulb up on the surface. This hide that we used had zero stretch and I can only remember buying in a batch of leathers I picked up for a fiver from a flea-market some time. The plywood is a result of me using cupboards from my old workshop. ~So we had three strops each in under half an hour. That should see us both good for a few years.
Steps are simple:
- Cut base plywood pieces to size and plane edges
- Apply contact cement to sheet of leather or individual leather pieces cut slightly over size and apply adhesive to plywood pieces.
- Apply a second coat to the leather once first coat is dry and leave to dry for 10 minutes.
- Apply plywood pieces to the leather and press firmly.
- Turn over and cut individual sections from the leather.
- Trim neatly to the edges of the plywood with sharp knife.
- Clamp two strops face to face in the vise and squeeze fully on them.