How we make them.
KNIVES PLUS ® Leather strops are the best thing in the world for finishing the edge of your knife. Here in Texas, saddle and boot makers use them everyday to put that slick edge on their leather working knives.
Our strops won't cost you a fortune and should last you the rest of your life if properly cared for. We manufacture these here in the KNIVES PLUS ® shop and have experimented for about 10 years to come up with the finest finishing tool available.
We hand pick leather from a little home owned leather supplier here in Amarillo. We have found that a good quality chap leather is the best.
Chaps are the soft leather that Cowboys wear over their Levi's to keep the Mesquite bush thorns and prickly pear cactus from eating their legs up. It's soft but tough.
We use contact cement to glue this leather down to a 2 1/2" X 8" (approximately) particle board base. When the glue is dry, we raise the leather's nap by scraping with a razor blade to allow the polish to penetrate the leather and give it a "bite" when used.
Next, we melt down a high chrome rouge in olive oil until it is the consistency of thick vasoline. We smear and work this preparation into the leather surface with a hard rolled shop rag until the surface of the strop is thoroughly saturated and coated. Then we let the polish sink in and set for two days under low heat.
Finally, we rescrape the surface of the strop to remove excess polish and reset the nap. We run the edges of the base on a Burr King grinder to smooth and round the sides for comfortable use, and remove the green polish that gets on everything.
Remember these strops are hand made and are not the prettiest things in the world. They are also subject to the availability of the right piece of chap leather, and making them depends on what materials are available.
We use particle board base material. Width may vary from to 2"-2 1/2" and length may vary from 7"-8". Leather color may vary from cream color to dark brown which will affect the color of the finished product. Each strop is hand checked for "nap and grab" before being packaged.
How to use them.
All edges come off of your sharpening stones with a fuzzy uneven edge. The edge can be straightened out with a fine ceramic or steel, if you have the right touch. The problem is, with too much pressure, a hard ceramic or steel will roll that edge to one side or another and possibly break it off. To get that shaving sharp edge, it helps to have a soft polishing surface that "gives a little" as you straighten that fuzz out. The surface of our leather strop cushions your finishing strokes to prevent rolling your finished edge, as you might on a hard ceramic or steel. Always be sure to pull your knife edge backward four or five strokes on one side, and then on the other. Always make sure your knife is clean before stropping as a dirty knife will clog up the strop surface.
Remember! Always pull the knife edge backward to strop and be sure the knife is clean. A dirty knife will clog up the strop surface!
EDITOR'S NOTE: HERE'S A QUOTE FROM A NEWLY PUBLISHED BOOK BY STEVEN ROMAN, WHO WE WOULD LIKE TO THANK FOR HIS REVIEW AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE KNIVES PLUS STROP BLOCK.
“First, I want to mention that I am partial to a pre-fabricated stropping product called a Strop Block from knivesplus.com. Each strop block is tested before it is shipped and you can see from the block itself that much care has been taken in its preparation. … I own several and use them often.” From A Primer on Folding Knives by Steven Roman (www.knifeprofessor.com).
KP-STROP8, STROP BLOCK