What side of leather for a strop?

Discussion in 'Edged Tools' started by leaf and lightning, Aug 11, 2018.

  1. leaf and lightning

    leaf and lightning Guide

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    I was looking at some strops online to get some ideas for the one I plan on making for my carving kit, and most of the ones I'm seeing are the rougher "flesh" side up. I've always made mine with the leather "skin" side up. Is there an advantage to doing it the other way around? Or does it not really matter?
     
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  2. hlydon

    hlydon Scout

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    I assume the rough side holds compound better. I never use the smooth side, and my knives are hair popping sharp.
     
  3. 1066vik

    1066vik Guide

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    most commercial woodworking strops are made from skives - so there is no smooth side before it's glued to a board.
    sanding the rough side smooth allows it to hold more compound but still gives a flat surface.
    lightly sanding the smooth side w/120 grit lets you do the same thing.
     
  4. anrkst6973

    anrkst6973 Scout

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    Mine is just an old belt, rough side is loaded with green compound, smooth side is clean. I can use both sides but "whittling sharp" or paper slicing is sharp enough for me.
     
  5. Ptpalpha

    Ptpalpha Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    That's a great idea on lightly sanding the smooth side.
    Thanks!
     
  6. ChrisOCLM

    ChrisOCLM Knife Addict Supporter

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    I’ve always used the flesh(rough) side for the coarser compounds like black and green, then moved to the skin(smooth) side for the high grit compounds like white and red. I also finish the knife on just plain leather smooth side up.

    Probably doesn’t work any better or worse either way really, but that’s just the way I like the feel of the best. My grandpas leather strop he used with his straight razor was horse hide and labeled coarse on the flesh side, and fine on the skin side, which is what I based my strops on.
     
  7. DomC

    DomC Retired Old Scrub Stomper Supporter

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    I always build a two sided strop, one side flesh side up and the other side smooth side up. The fleshy side gets loaded with green compound. The smooth side is kept without compound and used to fine tune the edges of my knives.;):dblthumb:
    Dominick........
     
  8. buckfynn

    buckfynn Old Geezer Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I build my own strops. I have tried them both with the rough side and smooth side of the leather. The rough side seems to hold the compound a bit better on the initial loading of the strop.

    At one time I used two separate strops, one with white compound on rough side and smooth no compound, another with black and green on the rough sides. I found I didn't use the white and no compound strop that much as I didn't need that refined of an edge. The other with green and black is used to finish almost every knife that I sharpen.

    Any way a person goes, after stropping a knife for a while using the wax based compounds, the strop is going to look smooth whether one started with rough or smooth leather.

    Just my 2 cents.
     
  9. NevadaBlue

    NevadaBlue Graybeard Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    Yep, what he said.
     
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