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  1. #1
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    Default How to put together cloth bench and hanging strops with cheap, easy to find materials

    Figured I'd add this as there seems to be an interested, or perhaps even a need, for the people here to be able to put together strops easily, without anything unusual or hard to find (where I am, even balsa wood is a long drive to the outskirts of town), and with a minimum of tools. All materials used are available at walmart, Lowes and chain fabric stores. You may not even need to go to the fabric store. An old pair of jeans will work. Another option is a thrift store, and some walmarts carry fabric.

    Ok first off, the paddle strop

    Materials needed:

    Cloth
    Glue
    Board or plastic plank
    Liquid stitch or other cloth adhesive
    various other junk you should have around the house.




    The cloth in this case is canvas, purchased from a fabric store. You can use any thick tough cloth. As stated, denim works well. I made two cloth hanging strops from the legs of an old pair of blue jeans. You can actually keep the top part of the jeans and use them for cut offs.

    The glue I'm using to attach the canvas to the board is gorilla glue. I used wood glue the first time and had part of the fabric come off. However, other parts of the fabric held on well, so I think wood glue would be ok as long as you use enough. Even if the cloth comes off you can just go to walmart and get some gorilla glue later.

    The board is just a piece of poplar from Lowes, cut in half. Its about 14X 1.5, I think. This is the only thing that really requires any tools, but you can get by with a cutting wheel from a dremel in a pinch.


    This stuff is the real star of the show:




    The problem with most fabric is that it isn't thick enough to make a proper strop. A single piece of canvas or denim mounted on a board makes for a poor strop. This stuff lets you paste the pieces of fabric together so that you get the equivalent of a very thick piece of fabric. You can buy liquid stitch at Walmart. Another cloth adhesive might work better, but this stuff has worked fine for me.

    Ok, enough preamble. First step- measure out the fabric that you're going to cut. You'll need at least three layers. I'm using four in this, so there are four rectangles I marked off (one is underneath the board). Cut the marked shapes out. You don't want any wrinkles or creases in the fabric. If there are some there, wet the strips and hang dry them over something thick, like a shower rod.




    Now, apply glue to the board. Since I'm using gorilla glue, I wetted the board and fabric before applying the glue. Its isn't a bad idea to wet the fabric even if you use wood glue. It should help the glue distribute more evenly, and will also help when you're getting the fabric flat.



    Put the fabric on the glued board. Forcefully run a dowel or something similar over the first layer of canvas to make sure that it is flat and level. Smooth out any bumps or air pockets. You'll notice in the pic that part of the fabric is curling up. That's no big deal. G glue takes a little while to adhere, and as long as the fabric has been stretched in the right shape it should be fine. Just make sure its properly in place before the next step



    Place another board on top of the glued canvas. Either clamp it or use weights to hold it in place. (You don't have to use actual weights as in the picture, anything heavy will do) Wait for the glue and fabric to dry. Liquid stitch does not work well with water when it is applied, so make sure that everything is dry before going to the next step.



    While we're here, I think I should mention I think this is the best cheap and easily available anvil you can use for peening pins. I've seen people drilling dents in hammers, but I'd just pick one of these up. Its just a 2.5 pounder, so its cheap, small and handy.



    Continued in next post.

  2. #2
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    Ok, when everything is dry, apply the liquid stitch over the surface of the fabric on the board. Add more to the edges. Canvas and denim both fray, and putting extra on the edges with help seal them and prevent this. Again, run a dowel over the surface to get it even.





    At this point you have two options. You can do each layer one at a time: run the dowel over, then apply the clamps or weight in between each layer while the L stitch dries. Or you can do all the layers at one time, being sure to run your dowel over each to get it flat, then just put the weights on top of all the wet and sandwiched layers at once (by "wet" I mean wet with the liquid stitch, not with water--water should not be used after the initial attachment to the board). Either method works fine, but the second has more potential problems. If you have faith in your problem solving abilities just do the latter.

    After that you're done. Maybe. I find the canvas to be really rough feeling on a paddle, so I'm experimenting with adding a smoother layer of cloth over the canvas. I also think that this will make the paddle more paste/compound friendly. The top cloth doesn't have to be put on immediately. You can test the strop and see how it feels, then add the top cloth afterward if needed. In this case I'm using part of an old bedsheet, but another type of thin cloth that doesn't have much give would prolly be fine. Due to the closeness of the weave, I prolly wouldn't need to add this extra layer with denim. On the other hand, denim might not be quite as durable as the canvas. Anyway, its your call, and this last bit is currently an unproven idea of mine. This pic was taken before it was pressed, so it looks a little uneven.





    One last thing, if the fabric still wants to fray at the edges, just apply some L stitch to your finger, and run your fingers along the edges of the strop. This should seal them.

    Well, this is actually the last thing. You might notice that some of the canvas overruns the edge of the board. Thats fine, you can easily trim down the sides of the fabric. You can just leave it that way as long as the fabric isn't rising up at the sides.

    Ok, that's it. If people seem interested in this I'll put instructions on how to make a cloth hanging strop together in the next few days and include it in this post. The basic principles are the same, you just sandwich fabric together using the cloth adhesive. You just have to figure out how to mount it and keep it taught, but that isn't hard.

    If there are any questions feel free to ask, but I won't be able to check here till Sun or maybe Mon.

  3. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to Pete_S For This Useful Post:

    badboris (06-23-2009), Johnny J (06-22-2009), Leighton (06-20-2009), MsBlackwolf (06-23-2009)

  4. #3
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    Pete,

    Stellar stuff - totally love it. I'm on an abysmal line at the moment. If somebody would please put this article into the Wiki? I have already renamed and uploaded the images, see File list - Straight Razor Place Wiki.

    Thank you!

    Robin

  5. #4
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    Thanks alot, Robin. I need to edit it again, it seems I started out with a typo, also I got to mess around with that last thing I mentioned a bit-"the experiment". I'll edit it tonight, I shouldn't need to do any edits after that... unless I get a case of "the stupids" and do something really dumb later... but I'll check it a few times to make sure I don't.

    ---------------------

    I guess there is a time limit on editing, I don't have an edit button for the big post. If you do decide to wiki this, let me know how and I'll be happy to edit it for you.

    If someone is happens to look on this thread, the main change I wanted to note was that adding the thin cloth cover seems to work out pretty well, and I'd recommend doing that if you're planning to put something like a diamond compound on the strop. I don't really think its necessary for something like chrome or cerium oxide. You want to add the final layer a bit differently then the other layers. You apply the cloth adhesive fairly thickly, then wet your finger and spread it out. Dip your finger again when the stuff seems really thick. You want to barely dilute the liquid stitch so that you get even coverage over the top canvas layer, then press the cloth into it with a dowel then press it with weights. This helps b/c the cloth may buckle up a bit when it gets wet. Even if it does buckle some, I don't think it will really hurt anything, it just wont look as nice.
    Last edited by Pete_S; 06-23-2009 at 03:24 AM.

  6. #5
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    :P I'm lazy and don't have tools, want to make me one? :P PM me if you do.

  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leighton View Post
    :P I'm lazy and don't have tools, want to make me one? :P PM me if you do.
    Heh, well, I've got the one I made for this. I reckon I can spare it. I figured I'd find a use for it, but haven't yet.

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete_S View Post
    Heh, well, I've got the one I made for this. I reckon I can spare it. I figured I'd find a use for it, but haven't yet.
    Awesome!

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