Making a Double Sided Paddle Strop (Short Instructionals 2)

My old strop needs a replacement, so in this video I will make a brand new double sided paddle strop using basic woodworking techniques. Both sides will have vegetable tanned leather attached to it: top grain up on one side, suede side up on the other side. This paddle strop takes a coarse and fine polishing compound on either side, so you can hone your blades and tools to give the razor sharp edges after grinding on a stone. It’s a relatively easy project that can be finished in a few hours, so don’t hesitate and watch this video to see how you can make your double sided paddle strop so you can have razor sharp knives as well. It’s worth it!

Video transcript:

Hello ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the second Tony Needs Hobbies short instructional video. My old strop needs a replacement, so let’s get right to the point. When you work with tools that need to cut, it is important that they have a sharp edge. And when I say sharp I mean razor sharp. Working with tools with a properly maintained edge is so much more easy and more fun than working with dull tools. That is just frustrating.

To get the finest edge, I use stones for grinding after which I hone the blade on a leather strop. The strop that I have been using for a while was a piece of an old leather belt glued on to some scrap plywood. In this video I will make a proper double sided leather paddle strop. Please follow me along with this project.

I’ll start by measuring and cutting a piece of ash. You want this to be as flat as possible. I had my piece planed on a drum sander at a local wood store. You can make the paddle as big as you’d like. I prefer it a little on the long side, so when I’m sharpening kitchen knives, I can make very long hauls. But please choose the length that suits your needs.

Using the jigsaw I cut it the piece of ash as straight as I can after which I coarsely cut out the handle. With a small disc sander I round the end as well as the top of the handle to make it nice and smooth. Then I drill and countersink a hole so I can hang this strop on my tool rack, close to where it is needed the most. With coarse sandpaper I clean up all the edges before shaping the handle with a rasp. It takes some effort to get this nicely rounded and to get the rasp marks removed. I started with 40 grit sandpaper and moved up to 200 grit to finish. It doesn’t need to be shiny, so 200 will do.

Then it is time to glue the leather to the paddle. Using the strap cutter that I made in my last video I already cut out a couple of wide leather straps. After cutting a straight edge at the measured length this can be glued to the paddle with contact cement. To make it adhere better for durability I scuff the wood with a sharp Stanley knife before applying the glue. When the glue is applied on both surfaces to be attached you have to wait for it to dry for 5 minutes or so. Then I press the leather on the paddle and clamp it tightly.

As mentioned in the beginning of the video, this will be a double sided strop. One side will have the top grain facing up, the other side will have the suede side facing up. That’s the side I will glue onto the paddle next similarly to how I glued the other side, but I will also scuff the top grain side of this piece of leather for better adherence. Then it is clamped together securely for about an hour before shaving off the excess leather with a sharp blade to make it sit flush to the wood.

Then we’re almost there. To make the suede side a bit softer I sand it with 240 grit sandpaper until all the fibers are softened. Then I put my mark on it with this branding iron and apply the polishing compound to test if this brand new paddle strop actually works. On the suede side I apply the more coarse compound, the fine compound is applied on the top grain side.

Let’s test it out on two of my favorite blades: a Victornox Swiss army knife and a Japanese Stainless steel Damascus Sanmai Gyuto: a lot of words for what is a chef’s knife. Let’s see if they are razor sharp again…

A really simple project but it works wonderfully. Please drop me a comment below with suggestions for upcoming short instructional videos. Subscribe if you want to stay up to date on my projects, check out some of my other videos as well, and be sure to hit the like button if you have enjoyed watching this video. That’s it. Thank you for watching. Bye, bye

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