Ever since I started enjoying wood carving, I’ve been trying out different leather strops for sharpening knives. I found that the key to the best leather strop is good quality leather. Commonly, the horse butt leather is used in practice, as it is giving great results.
The best leather strop for knives can be one of the two types of stops: a simple leather strip that you swipe your blade against, or a loaded strop. Loaded strop is essentially a stropping compound on top of a base material, leather strip onto a hardboard that makes it easier to use.
- Knives Plus Strop Block
- Durable leather strop block for the final glow of the blade. More expensive than it’s worth.
- BeaverCraft LS1P1 Leather Strop
- Best value. All-in-one strop for sharpening dull knives to a razor-sharp quality. Ergonomic handle makes it very easy to use.
- HUTSULS Double Sided Strop Paddle
- Good strop for sharpening and honing. Handy for bigger knives such as kitchen knives.
- SHANZU leather sharpening strop
- A steady block with a non-slippery surface on the bottom. Easy to use on smaller knives. It works for polishing, but not as well for sharpening.
- Price not available
- BeaverCraft Stropping Leather Strop for Sharpening Knife LS2P1
- Best price. This is a piece of good quality soft leather with a green stropping compound that you can carry with you. You can stick it onto a paddle if you want to.
- Leather Strop Block 3 inch by 8
- Great quality leather with pre-applied green compound. Easy to use, but not very durable. Additional compounds have to be bought separately.
- Price not available
If you are still debating which knives to use for your whittling project, check out my experience with whittling knives – What is the best whittling knife in 2020.
Carving knives have to be well kept and sharpened frequently. If you wish to take a break from knives and try out power carving tools, check out Best Power Wood Carving Tools in 2020. I had a lot of fun experimenting with electric toolsets.
How do you choose the finest leather strops to take care of your tools?
What I really like are double-sided strops because I can apply two different compounds and sharpen my knife to perfection. I also like bigger strops that I can use for blades of any size, plus the bigger leather surface will last longer, in general.
When it comes to choosing the strop design, I personally find the paddle strops to be the easiest to use because I can control the strokes of the blade completely. Wooden blocks with leather on the top side are not practical, especially if they have no rubber on the bottom to prevent slippery effects that can be very dangerous when playing with knives.
What stropping compound colors mean?
If you are new to this, you have probably noticed there are three colors of the stropping compound that you can apply to the leather. The color tells us everything about the stropping blend “grit size” – how much metal does it take off the blade in one stroke.
Black blend means a rough grit, used especially for dull blades that you need to sharpen from scratch. This is used for the first phase of sharpening (instead of sharpening stone, for example).
The green blend is used for polishing, and it is in charge of achieving the “razor-sharp” stage of your blade’s sharpness.
White blend implies a fine grit, for the final touch, to make your blade shine and be extremely sharp. It is not used as often in wood carving.
Knives Plus Strop Block – The strop for a final touch
This is a handmade strop block with a green compound on one side of it. Once it is overused, you can revitalize it with olive oil, and it will last you for a few more years.
The green compound has a fine grit, and it is best used for finishing-up a knife that has already been sharpened with a black compound that is rougher. This block on its own wouldn’t be enough to get the job done if you use it for sharpening dull blades.
Unless you use it every day from day one, this material won’t ever get you to the razor-sharp stage, so on one hand it’s not very practical for experienced craftsmen. On the other, it could be useful for children who are learning how to wood carve.
- Long-lasting leather that can easily be revitalized with natural olive oil.
- A nice addition to the set if you already have a black compound strop.
- Handy to use for children’s toolset.
- More expensive than it is really worth.
- Cannot sharpen dull knives, so you’d have to use it regularly.
- Not as practical as a leather strip or a paddle strop.
To Sum Up
This strop comes in handy as an addition to your stropping leather tools. It cannot sharpen dull blades, but it is good for the final stage of stropping a blade. The green stropping blend is not enough to make your blade razor-sharp, but this can be a plus if you need it for a child.
BeaverCraft LS1P1 Leather Strop – All you need for a razor-sharp knife
This leather strop has around 14.5 inches in length. The leather used is of excellent quality and very durable, which is exactly what I am looking for in the best leather strops.
This sharpener is bigger than most, which is suitable for longer blades. It is easy to hold with either hand and the bigger the stropping material surface the longer it will last.
BeaverCraft leather strop set also arrives with a green honing paste, so you wouldn’t need to buy it separately, to finish up your sharpening.
- This is one of the best strops for knives, in my opinion, for many reasons.
- Firstly, it has two sides with different surfaces, so you can choose which one you need at the moment.
- Ergonomic ash handle, comfortable for use.
- It can be used for larger and smaller blades.
- It needs to be cleaned after each sharpening, as it gets dirty easier.
- Perhaps it’s too big if you only use small carving and whittling knives.
To Sum Up
With both black and green compounds on two sides of the paddle strop, this knife strop kit is going to satisfy your sharpening needs. The black side of the leather strop knife sharpener will sharpen even the dullest tools you haven’t used in a long time, and the green honing strop side will make it shiny and ready to use.
HUTSULS Double-Sided Strop Paddle – 2in1 leather strop sharpener
These leather sharpening strops are about 14 inches long, with two sides, for complete treatment of the blade when sharpening.
It comes along with a leather honing strop, to help you out with polishing the blade. Both sides of the paddle can be used for honing, by applying the green blend onto the rougher or smoother side.
Using a strop is quite easy, although the handle is not as comfortable as BeaferCraft’s, in my opinion. Two stropping blend colors are a definite plus to this strop, but I would recommend that you choose only one side (the smoother side) for honing and stick to it.
The stop arrived in a box in which it can be held for safekeeping, to protect the leather, and ensure long-lasting usage.
- It has two sides and includes a knife polishing compound.
- Big paddle useful for bigger knives.
- It can be stored in the box it arrives in, for protection.
- Not the most comfortable paddle for use.
- It is not very durable and the surface is hard to recover after the green compound is being applied.
To Sum Up
Overall, it is a good choice for the money. It contains all you need, and it will definitely help you out in sharpening your tools. I wouldn’t really say that it is the best strop for knives, as the surface can get damaged sooner than you expect.
SHANZU leather sharpening strop – Good quality leather for blade polishing
This one-sided leather strop is made of quality cowhide leather, and it is more durable than a lot of other strops in the same price range.
This knife sharpening stropping is designed to help you with the final sharpening of the blade after it’s been sharpened with a stone or sandpaper. It contains a green compound for polishing, and it is covered with anti-slip mats on the bottom of the block, so the block stands still while you use it.
Because of the non-slippery aspect, it is quite practical to use. It is 10 inches long, and practical for chisels, carving and whittling knives, and pocket knives.
- Durable good-quality leather material.
- Green compound for polishing.
- Non-slippery rubber on the bottom, which keeps it steady.
- Easy to use.
- Not as practical for larger knives.
- The blade needs to be pre-sharpened with a stone or sandpaper.
To Sum Up
If you are used to using other tools for sharpening your blade and are looking for leather strops to achieve razor-sharpness, then this is a good choice. According to the knife you use, you can adjust the stropping compound grit, and play with sharpness levels while polishing the blade.
I don’t like using it for other blades such as big kitchen knife blades. Because the block is designed to be fixed on the table, I find it impractical to sharpen any large blade.
BeaverCraft Stropping Leather Strop for Sharpening Knife LS2P1 – Basic leather strop with multiple uses
The essence of blade stropping is good quality leather. The key to the best knife strop is the type of leather used – if the leather is of poor quality, not even the best stropping compound can fix that.
This BeaverCraft strop is made of a vegetable-tanned leather strap, made with one of the best leather for strop techniques. The leather is soft and easy to carry with you, so you can use it whenever you are in need of a sharpening strop.
It is of good quality and very durable. It is cheaper than any other option, and you can always design your own block or paddle by sticking the leather in a DIY project and make your own best leather strop for knives, according to your preferences.
The green stropping compound is included, so you got all you need in a small starter-pack, that can become a part of your traveling gear.
- 8 inches long, which is an excellent size to carry with you.
- Excellent price.
- Genuine leather, great quality, and very durable.
- The green compound is included for stropping.
- Not fitting for large tools.
- The wooden block or paddle are not included, you would need to make your own.
To Sum Up
This is a great quality piece of leather with a green compound at a really good price. Great for flexible use and good for carrying with you. If you need a block or paddle holding the leather, you can easily make one yourself, and save money that way.
Leather Strop Block 3 inch by 8 – Stropping-ready leather strop
This product arrives ready to use straight out of the box. It is hand-made, with a green blend already applied onto the vegetable suede leather while it is still warm. The blend is spread evenly onto the surface of the block, with no lumps or spots.
The leather used is vegetable tanned cowhide, on top of the wooden block, handy to use on knives of different sizes and shapes. The dimensions of the block are 3×8 inches, easy to hold for an average hand.
The leather layer is thick, and the green compound is already absorbed by it while manufacturing. However, the blend itself does not arrive with the strop, so you would need to buy it separately for future use of the block.
- Good quality leather, thick and tanned.
- The green compound is spread evenly in the manufacturing process.
- It is easy to use when I need to sharpen a knife quickly.
- The block is not ergonomic - the sharp edges are not that easy to hold.
- The size of the block is too big for hands smaller than average.
- The compound for re-applying should be bought separately.
To Sum Up
The block and leather with the compound that is spread in this way are a great product on their own. The problem occurs when you need to freshen-up the material, as you can never spread the compound as well as the manufacturer did. Plus, the compound should be bought separately.
- A simple BeaverCraft leather strop that you can use on its own or make your own stropping tool can be bought for under $10, which is the top price on the market.
- If you are stropping your knives on a daily basis, get the BeaverCraft LS1P1 Leather Strop. It is easy to use, and it comes with two stropping sides for two different compounds.
- Green stropping compound for honing is the most common one. But, if you are taking your wood carving seriously, you should consider using at least three different stropping compounds.
To wrap things up, it took me some time to figure out what type of leather strop for sharpening knives I really needed. I had to take everything into consideration – the size of the strop compared to the knives I use, the quality of the leather, and what kind of compound I need with it.
My preference, and in my opinion the best leather strop for knives is BeaverCraft LS1P1 Leather Strop – double-sided, comfortable to use, big enough for all my needs, and very durable.
For initial sharpening, I still like to use a sharpening stone, as I am used to it. I finalize the sharpness with a leather strop to which I apply green compound, and that achieves razor-sharpness that is enough for all my projects.
What would you say is the best leather strop?