340 S Lemon Ave Walnut CA 91789

Leather Strop Mastery: Plain or Compound?

Product Reviews, Blog

YouTube video

The common question when someone starts using a leather strop is..

..should they use compound or no?

which one is better, strop plain leather or with compound?

Straight razors are usually stropped with the strop’s smooth or plain leather side.

So strop plain leather or with compound?

This smoother leather has a softer stropping surface.

The texture of the surface is ideal for softly polishing straight razors’ low-angle edges.

By gently resetting the minuscule teeth on the blade into place..

..the smooth leather aids in the creation of a beautifully sharpened blade.

Before we start..

Let’s hear it from Pance story’s

I bit the bullet and bought a new knife in celebration of my recent promotion.

Now, I want to be able to maintain that factory edge as best as possible..

..and I’m forced to consider stropping..

..after years of just using diamond sharpeners and ceramic rods.

Ceramic rods, with a careful eye, have given me some ridiculously sharp edges in the past..

..but that is with quite a bit of attention to detail.

Stropping, I’ve heard, requires a little less exactness, gives a mirror polish..

..and will work out microscopic edge damage without removing much steel..

..or accidentally changing edge geometry.

So, if that’s accurate, I really should invest in one.

I’ve noticed most people say they use different grit compounds on their strops ..

..is that entirely necessary?

Read more to know about which one should you use strop plain leather or with compound

Check this out!

Strop Plain Leather Or With Compound

When stropping a straight razor, whether or not to use a compound..

..with the smooth side of the strop is a question of personal preference.

Strop plain leather or with compound
Credit: zoodmall

The strop’s smooth leather provides a fine polish..

..and removes any stray burs without the need of compound.

Those who choose to sharpen with a compound appreciate the even..

..fine edge that the compound, combined with the smooth leather..

..gives the blade after it has been sharpened.

Strop is a short rope with its ends spliced to form a circle and usually leather band for sharpening a razor”

Merriam-Webster, An Encyclopædia Britannica Company

The abrasive particles accomplish this by forcing the blade teeth back into position.

Sharpeners who use the smooth leather side of the strop..

..often don’t use many compounds, if any at all.

The leather’s grain size lends itself to an incredibly delicate polish for the blade.

In case you need recommendation for best leather strop, we have a list for you.

Presents you Amazon’s Best Choice for Leather Strop and Polishing Compound!

Why the Suede Side Is Used to Polish a Knife Blade

After sharpening..

..most carvers and knife sharpeners polish their blades on the suede side of the strop.

The suede’s soft surface compresses under the blade..

..assisting in the rounding of the blade’s bevel.

Strop plain leather or with compound
Credit: Chef’s Vision

The smooth side of the leather strop produces superior results..

..with several woodworking tools including chisels.

If you want to fine-tune the stropping process using a compound..

..the suede side is also a fantastic option.

The suede’s nap absorbs the compound well and provides more grain to the leather.

Some sharpeners prefer the enhanced finish that a suede..

..and the compound combination produces.

The change may be insignificant but to the perfectionist..

..even the smallest nuances make a difference in the knife’s sharpness.

Suede and smooth leather strops are available.

The last but not least…

How To Effectively Strop Your Knife Blade

Strop plain leather or with compound
Credit: Knives and tools

For the sharpest blade possible, follow these steps:

  • Place the strop flat and secure it.
  • Apply a little amount of compound to the surface if you’re using one.
  • Place the knife on the suede and lay it flat.
  • Maintain a safe distance between the bevel and the cutting edge.
  • Pull the knife toward you, but keep the sharp point away from you.
  • Repeat the procedure on the other side of the blade.
  • Repeat this process 4-5 times for best results.

Before your knife goes dull..

..strop it as soon as it doesn’t feel as sharp as it should.

A dull knife is more likely to cause an accident..

..therefore sharpness is important for more than just cutting outcomes.

It also reduces the likelihood of cutting yourself.

The best way to acquire the smoothest blade after sharpening a razor is..

..to strop using the smooth side of the leather.

Stropping the razor on a regular basis will keep it sharp and prevent cuts when shaving.

You might also love these!

Sums it up

A “strop” is a leather strip over which a blade is dragged lightly..

..to sharpen the edge through polishing.

Experienced knife users typically use a stone for the bulk of “grinding,”..

..then use a strop to polish the knife thoroughly.

Nonetheless, over the last few years the practice of stropping knives..

..which eliminates the need for stones, rods, or other sharpening instruments..

..has become increasingly popular among bushcrafters and knife enthusiasts.


Some people even have both on a rant at the same time.

Naturally, this prompts many people to ask which is the best alternative.

While suede in combination with compounds..

..and smooth for plain stropping is a frequent procedure..

..it is by no means universal.

We’ve discovered that the decision is a mix of personal preference..

..and the sort of edge being sharpened.

Stropping a straight razor on smooth leather is a tradition.

Straight razors have delicate, low-angle edges, and the grain side surface is ideal for them.

Suede straps are used by many carvers and knife sharpeners.

The suede’s nap grips compound nicely, allowing the strop to be loaded quickly.

The softer surface also gives the bevel a slight rounding..

..when the suede compresses under the blade, which some people prefer.

In emergency preparedness..

..knife experts state that strops are the ideal way to sharpen and maintain a field knife..

..but the process takes practice and the right materials.

Check out more of our posts like this one here!

I hope you can now take care of your knife carefully and maintain it well!

Thanks for reading this article! Bye!

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!
Item added to cart.
0 items - $0.00