Paddle-Style Honing Strop

This Time Suede Up


About two weeks ago I made a honing strop for the workshop.  Almost immediately after making it I realized I wanted another, but a bit different.  Okay, really - different in just about every way.  It's not that I don't like that first one, it's more that after I made it, I wish I had done it differently is all.

The first one

When I was refurbishing my Stanley No. 4 bench plane, and it came time to put a mirrored shine on the brass screws for the tote and nob, I had to use the bottom of my leather shop apron as a strop.  That's when it occurred to me that I needed an actual strop.  So I ordered a piece of leather off Amazon, glued it to a piece of scrap oak and here it is after a few uses:

The idea was, when it was time to use the strop I would just clamp it it the workbench and have at it.  In the couple times I've used it so far it's worked fine, but honing a knife is near impossible in this configuration.  Like I said - almost immediately I came to realize I needed a different configuration.

A few sites with ideas for old furniture
Non-affiliated sites - just some good ideas

10 New Ideas for Old Dressers - Bob Vila
Repurposed Furniture Old Dresser Ideas - Gail Wilson
15 Ways to Upcycle an Old Dresser - This Old House
Repurposed Dresser Ideas - The Idea Room
You might also like my little Accent Table post

Sometimes we fail

Because I would be stropping chisels, plane irons and the like, for the first strop I thought hardwood would be much better than somethings like pine, so I used a piece of scrap oak I had from an old, beat up dresser I grabbed from the side of the road on trash night.  I thought I'd do the same with this strop - start with a piece of scrap oak:

Then use a small bit of pine to fill in the dado where the old drawer bottom used to sit...

And when that was done, I would just glue it to a piece of pine.  I had a scrap of pine lying about, so I thought maybe I'd cut a handle into it, then glue the strop board down.

Then I had an epiphany.

An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail. - Edwin Land

The epiphany!

As epiphanies go - this ranks in the rather minor ones, but while laying out the handle that it dawned on me - heck, there's no reason I can't just make the paddle for the strop out of pine.  I mean, I'm no professional, so the hardness difference between the pine and oak won't make that much of a difference, and if it does I'll just make another!  So I looked around the shop for a little scrap of pine and found a piece left over from when I did the front stoop railings.  As a matter of fact, it's the board I used to sort out the handrail angles...

So I just cut off a little piece, trimmed it to the right width and laid out the plan for the handle.

The (blasted) handle

See the picture above?  The handle is of very simple design, piece of cake to cut right?  And before you answer - I agree.  Simple.  There's nothing complicated about the way it's drawn.  And my rough cuts started out okay...

But while I was trying to sneak up on the pencil lines on the drill press, I must have had a lapse in attention, cuz it all got a bit lopsided.  

But I didn't want to waste that little scrap of wood, so I kept trying to make it symmetrical again.  I spent probably a half hour on that little handle.  I finally decided to just make it smooth and comfortable, and call the asymmetry and imperfections "character."

Some other times I used amber shellac
∙ The snow sled rebuild - September 2019
Dining room details - April 2018
∙ Some hallway details -  May 2018
∙ The little hallway accent table - January 2020
Totally random 173 post: Of Wisteria & Wobblies

Putting it all together

Just like with my first honing strop (and because there really isn't much other option), I glued the leather to my newly hewn chunk or wood...

I know I might have done this a little backwards, but I wanted to stain the board but I didn't want to risk the glue not sticking to the oil based stain.  But after the glue dried I put on two coats of Early American stain, and a coat of amber shellac...

With the handle cut, the leather applied and the board stained, it was pretty much finished.  But from the beginning I had this pièce de résistance in mind...a little leather strap with which to hang my new tool...

And with that, I have a strop that I can either hold or lock in my vise.  A nice little piece.

Stay safe out there!
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