Sunday, January 6, 2013

A Quick and Easy Upgrade to The Sharpening Center

I finally got around to making a strop.  If you haven't added this last step to your sharpening process, I definitely recommend it.  I could easily shave arm hair before.  The difference is the same as changing out your shaving blade for a new one.  Where it had started to pull hair a bit as the blade wore, a new blade glides with no resistance and leaves a baby smooth surface.  For woodworking this means a cleaner cut for longer periods and when that blade does start acting a bit dull, just strop it.  With the strop you can go much longer in between actual sharpening sessions.
The upgrade is extremely easy.  I took a piece of good quality plywood and glued two pieces from an old belt onto the surface.  In this case I used Power Grab by Loctite,
 which is a favorite "construction" adhesive of mine.  I like it because it cleans up with warm soapy water and doesn't have the horrible off gassing that many other construction adhesive create. 
I used a J - roller to makes sure the leather was solidly affixed to the plywood with no voids and as flat as possible.  A bar of jeweler's rouge and you're done.
You will be able to create a beautiful mirror surface and as you've been taught, a sharp edge is the junction between two dead flat surfaces.  So, the fewer scratches in the surface the more likely you will achieve a good edge.  This was easiest upgrade I've done yet.  If you haven't already, go do it now.  Totally worth the small amount of time.


Anonymous said...


I had someone (an old hands at tools) recommend just using mdf, no leather at all. That way there's not chance of rounding over the edge.

I tried it and it works pretty well.

Unknown said...

I use MDF with profile for my craving tools and it works great. I plan on making a sharping machine using MDF one these days. Happy Stropping

Vic Hubbard said...

Thanks, Joe and Marilyn! I'll have to try that. I have some scrap MDF. It certainly makes sense that it would be less likely to round my edges. I go with very light pressure on the leather anyway, but that does seem to be a real possibility.