A strop is essential for maintaining a razor sharp edge to your tools.
What you will need.
Fig.1 - Good automotive factors will stock valve paste.
A piece of good quality vegetable tanned cowhide. Size at least 40mm wide and 100mm long.
A piece of wood for the handle.
PVA or impact adhesive.
Valve grinding paste, carborundum grit with oil or Jeweller's Rouge
See Fig.1 right.
Putting it all together.
Fig.2 - Apply the carborundum paste.
Glue the leather flesh-side-up to the handle.
The fibres of the flesh side will hold onto the carborundum paste or rouge when it is applied.
Apply the paste or rouge liberally and rub it in well.
See Fig.2 right.
Your strop is now ready for use.
Using the strop.
Fig.3 - The finished strop showing signs awl blade polishing.
You will need to keep a rag or cloth handy to carefully remove any traces of paste from your tools after stropping.
You can polish awl blades by rubbing vigourously along the strop. The blade should be moved only backwards and forwards in the direction of normal use. You will feel the micro-scratches being removed as the resistance to movement decreases.
See Fig.3 right.
Knives can be stropped between uses by dragging up and down the length of the strop and flipping the blade over at the end of each stroke.
Do not lift the blade off the strop when flipping it over.