Where can I find leather for a strop?

  • Creator
  • #555575
    Jacquelyn Griffin

    Hello all,
    I’ve never posted before but have followed for some time. I’d like some advice on leather for a strop. Where can I find leather that’s appropriate for making a strop and isn’t too expensive? I’ve looked on eBay and only found pre-made strops (stuck to pine) that are too narrow or short, or that don’t have the suede side up. I’d rather buy the leather and make the strop myself with a plywood backing for stability. Also: how thick should the leather be? I’m in the Houston area, in case anyone knows of a particular place here.

    I can’t cut up my leather purse just yet and have no other leather lying around the house.


Viewing 14 replies - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)
  • Author
  • #555576
    Henry van den Top


    Hello Jacky,

    I got my leather from an upholsterer. Just asked if he had some scraps lying around. Turns out that upholsterers that do big couches and armchairs have decent sized scraps. The finish and the color on the outside don’t really matter, because that side will be glued anyway. If it is really slick, you can rough it up with some coarse sandpaper for the glue to have something to hold on to.

    The leather on my strop is around 2mm thick (5/64″ for you imperial folks), so I’d say anything between 1/8″ and 1/16″ is probably fine. You’ll want it to compress a little under the blade, but not too much.
    The leather is glued to an 18mm (just under 3/4″) plywood backing using a contact adhesive.

    Another place to get leather would be a place that repairs shoes and other leather items, but their scraps might be too small. I’d try the furniture people first.


    Love is not a feeling, it's a decision you have to make everyday if you want your relationships to last

    Keith Walton


    michaels craft store

    Jacquelyn Griffin


    @henryvandentop @keithmw

    Thank you both, Keith and Henry! I’ll get to it.

    Harvey Kimsey


    Search eBay using “butt leather” and you’ll find all sorts of options. I use this grade of leather as it’s thicker than normal. Also, I use the finished smooth side for stropping. A friend got me started on this long ago and it holds rouge just fine. The leather is also great for clamp pads and holdfast pads. Best of luck!

    Jacquelyn Griffin


    Thanks very much, Harvey! I’ll have a look now. Much appreciated!

    Dave Ring


    Charity thrift shops.

    Large craft stores.

    Charge it with green polishing compound from Harbor Freight.


    • This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by Dave Ring.


    Tools for Working Wood sells a horse butt leather strop that can either be used as is, or glued to a wooden base. Also, as noted, craft store leather will work as well, and can also be used for other purposes as well.



    It’s worth visiting a Leather Sofa shop and asking for an outdated swatch of leather samples with last year’s colours.
    Or try a secondhand thrift shop for old leather goods that can be cut up.

    Jacquelyn Griffin


    Thank you, everyone! I went the ebay route last night after searching for “horse butt” (and not understanding some of the decidedly non-equine listings that appeared). For $14, I’ll have enough for two strops to get me up and running.

    I’ll be checking out the places you’ve suggested because I’ll need leather for jaw vise linings and such, and want to spend less.

    Again, thank you all very much!



    If you are in the US you can find a tandy leather store either in town or online. They have anything you want and tou could probably get a side for what you pay for a small part in a hobby shop.



    Whatever leather is chosen for a strop, it needs to have a degree of hardness to resist compression, otherwise the result is a sharpened edge that becomes dubbed over at the final stage, losing any crispness from the stone.

    What hasn’t been mentioned is a relatively new alternative as a final stage in sharpening that works very well – MDF.. awful stuff to work but good for this purpose.

    Use a piece of MDF about 10 to 12 inches square as thick as you can get it – about 1 inch – or back
    thinner stuff onto plywood.

    Thicker MDF is usually very flat. What works for me is to lightly oil the surface first then to smear a very thin layer or two of stropping compound of your choice in strips in descending degrees of abrasiveness finishing with Autolsol which is a metal polish, extremely fine grit equivalent. Use it as you would a strop.

    Not only does it work well on removing the thin filament of metal at the edge, its main advantage is that it allows you to polish the backs of blades to a high level – something that cannot easily be done with a leather strop without dubbing over the edge. A clear section at the edge also serves to burnish the metal when you are finished.

    Conrad Aquino


    Hobby Lobby (lots of them in the Houston area) sells 1-Lb Assorted Leather Remnant Packs, consisting of a variety of thicknesses and types for about $6.

    With their sale coupons, you can get a bag for around $3-4, that will not only yield pieces suitable for strops, but other workshop projects such as the woodworking vice jaw face covering, as Paul shows in episode 9 of the “How to Build a Workbench” videos.

    Contents of these remnant packs vary greatly, be sure to sort through the packs on the shelf and choose one that looks to have more the leather type that will be useful.

    norman jansen


    I have made my strop from the leather of an old TIG welding glove. The part that’s over the fingers/palm is made of very thin leather that usually wears first and is useless. But the ‘sleeve’ part, that goes over the wrists and lower part of the lower arms, is made of a thicker leather. In the image below, it’s the part that’s printed with ‘Longevity’


    I cut that leather off, cut it roughly to size and glued it on top of a piece of plywood using contact-adhesive, then trimmed to final size.

    I don’t think it’d be wise to buy new gloves just for this leather but it’s what I used because I had a few old, worn-through gloves lying around. The sleave-leather was undamaged, just a little dirty. I also used the same leather to repair the nose of my steel-nosed work boots.

    I have another bit of thin, black leather, about 80×80 cm, that I got at a thrift store. They cut off the leather of old couches that are otherwise unsellable. The leather cost, if I recall correctly, 1 euro. I use that for all sorts of small projects – cutting leather-seals for petrol/kerosene blowlamps, sewing a pouch for my dumb-phone and for dozens of other small projects.

    Leather is a very useful material to have around. Wouldn’t dream of buying new when used leather is available for so little money. And for a strop… well, let’s just say it won’t look as new for long anyway….

    Mike Shipman


    I use the reverse side of an old leather belt, 2” wide , cut a length of about 10”. works very well.

Viewing 14 replies - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.