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Storing Leather Strops With Compound – Top Tips

How To, Blog

If you want to enjoy your strop for a long time…

….you must maintain it…

…you need to know how to store a leather strop with compound.

Read more to know how to maintain…

…and how to store a leather strop with compound.

Leather strop
credits: kitchensamurai.co.za

Let us hear Adam’s experience…

My main concern is cross contamination from other compounds,

not dust on my strops.

The particles we deal with are really small,

and we use progressively smaller,

finer compounds to improve our edges.

A finer strop can be ruined by getting some larger grit particles on it.

I’m absolutely baffled by the idea of a double-sided strop,

much less those four-sided ones!

I find them to be worse than useless

unless they are hung up when not in use or storage.

Turn one over on a bench,

and you’ve completely ruined the particle size!

We can make four large bench strops for under $15

so there is no need to bother with smaller double sided ones that cost over $25.

When I store a leather strop in my closet, I throw a clean cloth over them,

or a sheet of cling film, just to keep them clean.

What is a strop, however? Let’s take a closer look…

What Is A strop?

Leather strop
credits: kitchensamurai.co.za

The strop is used after the finest stone for the final stage of sharpening.

Strops are used to polish edges and remove burrs left behind by sharpening stones.

Strops are most often made of leather, although other materials may also be used.

Suede and smooth leathers…

…technically known as flesh side and grain side, are both used.

“A strap; more specifically a piece of  leather or a substitute (notably canvas), or strip of wood covered with a suitable material, for honing a razor, in this sense also called razor strop.”

A definition of strop from Wiktionary.

Strops can be rigid, such as leather on wood paddle strops…

…or flexible, such as leather and linen razor strops.

How do I use a strop?

With honing compounds, abrasives of extremely fine grain…

…strops are frequently used to polish edges to a mirror finish.

Start by applying the compound to the surface of the strop.

There is no need to cake on too much compound;

a little goes a long way.

Move the blade away from the cutting edge…

…as you press the bevel against the surface of the strop.

Do the same on the other side of the blade.

With or without a honing compound…

…the process is the same on any stropping surface.

Avoid moving the blade toward the cutting edge…

…as it will cut into the strop…

…dulling the edge and damaging the strop.

Usually, one or two strokes are enough.

It is best to use a strop before you realize your edge is dull.

When used consistently, it is one of the keys…

…to maintaining a razor-sharp edge.

Keep reading…

What Is the Purpose of Using A Strop After Sharpening A Blade?

Leather strop
credits: burrfection.com

Sharpening and maintaining a knife is best done with stropping…

…according to knife experts.

Knife owners can keep their knives sharp…

…and ready to use by using the right strop and skilled technique.

Strops are used at the end of the sharpening process…

…to turn the blade into a tool.

Blades appear smooth to the human eye.

But the situation is more complex than it appears.

When viewed under a microscope…

…the blade appears to have thousands of tiny “teeth.”

Over time, these teeth bend out of alignment, dulling the knife.

Stropping is the solution to this problem.

By bending the little “teeth” into place…

…stropping refines the blade, not sharpens it.

By running the blade over a smooth…

…porous surface, this can be accomplished.

After sharpening your blade, it will last longer if you wrap it.

Leather is the best surface for stropping.

For stropping a straight razor, the suede side of the strop is best…

…and the smooth side is best for stropping larger blades such as carving knives.

Go on..

Check out our best recommendation for knife strops here!

How to Maintain Leather Strop

Leather strop
credits: alibaba.com

As a result, it’s a good idea to remove the compound…

…from your strop now and then and apply some leather balm.

This sounds a lot more interesting than it is…

…(and it didn’t seem all that exciting to begin with).

You can use a rag or an old t-shirt to lubricate it and let it impact the strop.

On our website, we have a variety of pastas and balms.

Some people like to do it with their own hands since it is more fun.

It’s a personal choice.

If you feel the balm effecting the strop extremely rapidly…

…repeat the rubbing if necessary.

Continue until the strop is completely soaked…

…then wipe it clean with a dry cloth to massage the balm…

…into the strop and remove any excess.

Allow the balm to do its job by leaving the strop on overnight.

You can keep your leather strop flexible by giving it a refresh every now and again.

This method also prevents (micro) fractures.

Here’s the real deal

How to Store a Leather Strop with Compound

The strop should be stored in a sealed plastic bag.

The bag must be clean and large.

Consider zipping the file if possible.

You could also wrap the strop in a towel…

…but the downside is constant transfer of the coarser stropping compound…

…to the towel, which will eventually cross-contaminate the finer strop.

Even if you wrap and store it properly…

…it will be hard to prevent cross-contamination completely.

A clean paper towel can be used to remove looser compounds grit…

…from each side of the strop after each use and minimize that build-up.

In this way, you avoid dehydration…

…but more importantly: you keep your strop clean.

When moving a finely polished cut across a strop…

…imagine that a grain of sand is on it.

As a result, your blade will soon be covered in an extremely deep scratch.

It was a nightmare. Don’t let it happen!

During the use of multiple strops with different grain sizes…

…we advise against polluting the air with the grains.

You should not use a micron 5 strop on a micron 1 strop.

If your fine strop contains larger particles…

…you run the risk of producing larger scratches.

It’s getting more interesting…

Making An Improvised Strop in An Emergency

Leather strop
credits: knivesandtools.co.uk

What if you already know how to store a leather strop…

…with compound but it still broke somehow.

We have a solution.

Field expedient strops can be fashioned from the back of a leather belt…

…layers of felt or denim, or cardboard…

…and newspapers glued or stapled together.

Your granddad didn’t use a bunch of fancy colored compounds…

…when stropping his straight razor, some of the ingredients…

…used to tan leather also make the leather sufficient for stropping.

(These chemicals are why you never store your knife in a leather sheath.)

Bare leather polishes slowly and is mostly used…

…after the blade has already been gritted…

…but it is possible to use the leather from beginning to end.

When leather is not an option, cardboard is a surprisingly decent alternative.

Although it takes a very long time, it is possible.

We’ve tried toothpaste, baking soda, and metal polishes…

…all of which worked surprisingly well for adding grit to a cardboard strop.

Make Your Own DIY strop

Strops are easy to build with some leather, flat wood…

…and glue because of their simplicity.

Homemade strops can be just as effective as store-bought strops…

…if you use high-quality materials…

…and are old enough to avoid consuming more glue than you apply.

While denim and felt aren’t as durable as leather…

…you won’t notice much of a difference in performance…

…once you load them with compound.

We have some recommendations of the best leather strop in case you need a new one!

Check out our best recommendation for knife strops here!

Sum Up!

Store a leather strop the following way is recommended…

…ensure that the strop is regularly cleaned.

The file should be sealed in a plastic bag or zipped up.

Only use one type of strop for all tasks.

Before using, wash off any loose material.

Strops of different types should not be mixed.

The same strop should be used for every task.


There are many ways to store a leather strop.

We recommend using a clean, dry, sealed plastic bag…

…or wrapping it in a clean, soft cloth.

Hopefully, this article would help you with storing a leather strop.

Please feel free to comment below if you have anything to say!

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