Using a strop is the key to keeping your carving tools razor sharp
When woodcarving keeping your tools sharp will produce clean cuts and makes the carving experience more enjoyable. The key in keeping your tools polished and razor sharp is the strop. A “Strop” is a piece of leather that is glued to a flat board. Polishing compound is often applied to the leather, this action is referred as “Loading” the strop.
Since my early days of carving I have always been told to never get oil on your strop as it will remove the needed abrasiveness from your strop. Well I recently ran across the idea of mixing mineral or baby oil with your polishing compound to make a paste that has a consistency of peanut butter. You guessed it I have to give it a try, and I highly recommend that you do not, unless you want to spend an hour making the paste and then another hour cleaning the mess off your strop.
I have to admit the baby oil did smell good, and the paste made loading my strip easy. But as far as performance in sharpening my tools, it stunk! The other issue is that the paste was messy and ended up everywhere the strop was laid.
So take if from me, just load your strop with dry compound and spend your time carving instead of messing around mixing baby oil and polishing compound.
Need a strop, don’t buy one make one! Here is a little video on just how to do it.