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Jul 11, 2012 08:13 AM

Leather Strop

I have a leather strop that had been covered with some chromium oxide (looked like a crayon.) The green stuff is flaking off in big chunks. Should I stop this from happening? How? Or, should I just let it fall off and then apply more? The whole thing looks dry. Should I add a little mineral oil to the surface? I only use it right after I'm done sharpening (which is not that often.) Just curious, could a leather strop be used for honing or is it not abrasive enough and best kept for polishing?

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  1. Hi, sherri:

    You just need to relax and add some more green rouge.

    The leather merely serves as a carrier/substrate for whatever cutting/coloring compound you choose to use. A cutting rouge certainly can be used for honing.


    1 Reply
    1. re: kaleokahu

      Thanks Kaleo,
      The problem is that the store I bought the thing from is now sadly closed. I don't even know what he used!

    2. Never had the chrome ox flake off of a strop, personally. That said, I don't think it's anything to really freak out over. You can probably just strop on the surface as it is now, as long as it's flat. If you're really worried this is what I'd suggest:

      Gently scrub off any flaky chromium oxide crayon - use maybe a soft toothbrush. Look at the strop - is it still more green than not? If so, you're good to go. You don't need a thick, solid layer of green rouge on your strop - instead you just want it colored in. Being able to see the underlying leather in spots is fine. If you're seeing mostly leather, than you might want to reapply the green crayon.

      Here's how I recommend applying it - take your strop and heat it up with a blow-dryer. Get it nice and warm and then color in the strop with the crayon. The heat should open up the leather's pores and make the crayon bond much better with it.

      I wouldn't use mineral oil.

      "Just curious, could a leather strop be used for honing or is it not abrasive enough and best kept for polishing?"
      Yep, you can use it to hone. It won't straighten out a badly warped or folded edge like a steel will, but it's good for minor imperfections/warping and restoring a fairly sharp knife to scary sharp.

      1. I agree with cowboy. You may have a very thick layer of chronium oxide which leads to flaking. As long as you have some of the material on the leather, then you are good. You can apply a bit more if you like. As cowboy said, you can use a blowdryer to warm up and help ease the application.

        Even a bare leahter strop can be use for honing, so you are perfectly fine.

        Oh yes, I also won't use mineral oil on a leather.

        1. Thanks Cowboy and Chem,

          I'm going to leave it on my counter now and use it very often. Any suggestions as to what crayon I should use or where I should get it from? CKTG seems to only carry a paste. Is that interchangeable?

          1 Reply
          1. re: sherrib

            The CKTG products are reputed to be good, though a little more expensive. Some of the diamond sprays are especially popular with the guys on the knife forums, though I haven't used em personally.

            You can find more green chromium oxide crayon cheaply on I find it works well enough for me, and it's pretty close to dirt cheap, so I use it. Eventually I'm sure I'll try something else just for the heck of it.

          2. sherrib, if it's flaking it's probably too thick a layer. You can do as cowboy suggested and warm with a hair drier and smooth it out. You can remove with mineral oil and even sand paper if you get too many nicks in the leather. Personally I prefer the liquid or powder chromium oxide over the stick. Much easier to apply. After sharpening I get a big boost in sharpness with a couple of passes on a chromium oxide charged leather strop. I'm using balsa wood as a substrate instead of leather these days since it has less give and will less likely roll the edge but used leather for several years.

            When edges loose their razor edge, a few passes on the strop will bring it back. When it doesn't it's time to resharpen.

            1 Reply
            1. re: scubadoo97

              <I'm using balsa wood as a substrate instead of leather these days>
              I've switched to balsa as well.Bought a big chunk(15"x3"x3") for about $6.00, and cut it so it fits into my stone holder.Still use the "green crayon stick" but I think I'll try the powder or spray next.