I am sure a lot of you folks have already discovered this little shop hint but for those of you who haven’t I thought I would bring it up. Strops are often mentioned as being essential for putting that final fine edge on tools and are handy for refreshing an edge between full sharpenings, however, they tend to be expensive to purchase or finding leather and making a strop can be time consuming.
I have found that a simple piece of medium density fiberboard (MDF) is flat and the surface takes polishing compound to provide a perfect stropping surface. Most of us have a piece of MDF around the shop or it is available at nearly all “big box” home improvement stores at very low prices. Another advantage for carving tools is that it can be carved (even though it is very abrasive in its own right) and can be shaped to match inside surfaces of tools by the tools themselves. Just charge them up with a little polishing compound and you’re good to go. These cheap and simple strops are so inexpensive and quick that I have made and give away many of them to my woodworking buddies.
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