by Willard Anderson
I recently obtained a nice piece of leather about 1⁄4″ thick that I wanted to use as a strop for plane irons and chisels. And, I was looking for a simple hand-tool project. So I decided to make a “strop box” in the Queen Anne style.
The examples I studied all have cavities to hold sharpening stones. I needed a platform to which to glue the leather, so I adjusted my design to accommodate that – but the techniques shown here can be used for either type of box.
Most of the boxes I studied are mahogany, though a few are walnut and pine. They all appear to be made from a single piece of wood, or two pieces cut from the same section of stock.
The recesses in the box bottoms and tops are typically drilled out with a brace and bit, and usually to the same depth in both pieces. You can see the remnants of the bit spur and the center point in most of my examples.
Many of these boxes are squared off, but when they do have feet, they are often shaped as a mirror image ogee curve, cut with a band saw or bowsaw, or kerfed then pared out.
For my box, I decided on feet in the Queen Anne style, based on circles and ogee shapes. The strop is mounted on a wooden platform on the base, and the top fits tightly to the base over the strop platform. The top has moulded edges and features some traditional decoration scribed on the surface.
I had a block of quartersawn beech, so that’s what I used for the box shown here. It’s a tough wood; that’s great for wear resistance, but not so easy to drill. I recommend mahogany as perhaps a better choice for yours; it’s easy to work and is historically correct.
Website: Visit the author’s website at edwardsmountainwoodworks.com.
To Buy: “Choosing, Refurbishing & Using Moulding Planes,” with Bill Anderson.
Online: Visit Roy Underhill’s school site (woodwrightschool.com) for information on taking class on using or making hand tools with Bill Anderson.
To Buy: “Choosing, Refurbishing & Using Joinery Handplanes,” with Bill Anderson