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Strop Cut Repeat

stropping a swivel knife

The exciting world of learning to carve leather starts with something like this: strop, strop, strop… practice, practice, practice. Repeat. This is the theme this past week or so as I begin to hone all of the smaller, but important, skills of carving and tooling leather goods. My goal, several months from now, is to create a few custom pieces with carved vinework and foliage.

I need to first get the hang of this swivel knife and that means cutting over and over again – straight lines, tapered lines, curves in either direction and tapering s-curves. Most importantly I need to keep that blade sharp and that means a lot of stropping. I am using a green chromium oxide compound. This is the one that is most recommended between all of the different varieties (white, red). Stropping a swivel knife cleans the gunk off that develops after several cuts through the leather.

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