Razor strop

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A straight razor with a hanging strop.

A razor strop (or razor strap) is a flexible strip of leather, canvas, denim fabric, balsa wood, or other soft material, used to straighten and polish the blade of a straight razor, a knife, or a woodworking tool like a chisel. In many cases stropping re-aligns parts of the blade edge that have been bent out of alignment. In other cases, especially when abrasive polishing compound is used, stropping may remove a small amount of metal. Stropping can also burnish (i.e. push metal around on) the blade.[1]

The strop may be a hanging strop or a hand-held paddle. Various abrasive compounds may be applied to the strop to aid in polishing the blade while stropping to obtain a mirror-like finish. Common abrasive compounds include: half-micron diamonds, green chromium(III) oxide, white rouge (aluminum oxide), and jeweller's rouge (iron oxide).

Use[edit]

Stropping is traditionally associated with straight razors used for shaving, as these are the thinnest blades in everyday use, and therefore require frequent stropping. Kitchen knives may be straightened on a honing steel if less sharpness is acceptable. In principle, any blade may be stropped to polish it. Custom strops are made to hone irregularly-shaped tools, such as chisels or gouges, and nearly any piece of smooth leather or heavy fabric infused with abrasive compound may be used for stropping.

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