Bespoke Shoes Unlaced – a shoemaker's blog

Friday, 19 April 2019

Shoemaker's Strops



Hello to one and all and a warm, Springy welcome to our blog. And please let us wish all of you a peaceful and joyful Easter. We are looking forward to a much needed four day weekend and some warm Spring sunshine - bliss

This week we have a brand new product in the Tool Shed which we have developed in the last few weeks with the help of our pals at Barnsley in Sheffield

I reckon the shoemaker's knife is the most important thing in my tool box and keeping it sharp is the most important thing in making shoes by hand.

There are many ways to sharpen a knife - wet stones, oil stones, grinding wheels, dry stones and, the way most English shoemakers do it, with a strop

Shiny new strops

Our new strops are made from a specially milled hardwood which sits comfortably in the hand.




On one side is a piece of calf leather with the flesh side up. It is glued in place and then impregnated with jewellers rouge and a little oil. Any oil will do but in this case we used some 3 in 1.

Some strops with just the calf leather and some with the jewellers rouge aded


Jewellers rouge is a mild abrasive which helps to take the burrs off the cutting edge.

Jewellers rouge
The other side is covered with a piece of our specialist 120 grit electrocut sharpening paper which is ideal for this purpose. You can use regular aluminium oxide paper, but it doesn't last as long, so you will be changing it much more regularly.



If you want an idea of how we use the strop, please take a look at this post from a few years ago.

You'll notice that my strop has four sides which has the advantage of allowing the paper to wear to different levels so that you can use progressively gentler sides to fine tune your knife. But that is only worth doing if you are doing a lot of shoemaking. Out two sider is perfect for most people.

Hope you like the strop and if you are interested in buying one, please visit our webstore where you can buy one for £28.50 - bargain!

And that is it for this week, we hope you have a great Easter and until next time, happy shoemaking!