Preparing and using the strop When you get a new strop it will need a bit of preparation. Take the sharpening compound and rub it diligently into the leather. At least 50 strokes around the entire surface, pushing down fairly hard, to work the compound into the leather. Commence with stropping a few tools, watching for 'dry' spots that will inevitably appear. Rub in more compound, strop tools, repeat until it has an even appearance. Before long it will need very little compound re-applied. Long term re-apply just a couple of strokes of compound after every 2 or 3 uses.
Compound for strops is a formula of super fine abrasive powder sometimes mixed with various waxes or used in powder form. Sometimes called 'rouge' it can be confused with jewelers' rouge, (which is generally made of very mild abrasives good for only gold and silver, not for hard steel). There are many brands of compound to choose from that can work well- just check that the leather is turning black as you strop. Discoloration indicates that the compound is strong enough to be removing metal - (remember that stropping is sharpening, simply polishing the final stage) - but it must also leave the tool shiny (not dull) as this proves that the abrasive is a super fine 'grit'.
When stropping, lay the tool flat on the leather and draw it backwards away from the edge. Use a fair bit of pressure, the finger tip turns a little white. This is needed because the compound is so super fine. Do not flip the tool up and away at the end of the stroke
Stopping is especially good for hollow ground tools, or any tool not having a micro bevel. When stropping or honing start the stroke with the pressure at the bottom of the blade and slightly raise the handle as the stroke reaches the tip.
This short video shows how to properly finnish you broadhead using a strop
Thanks to Del and Mary Stubbs of Pinewood Forge for sharing this information!
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