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Four-sided strop

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Marko Tsourkan

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Hey guys,
I want to make a four-sided strop of my design. Can you help me out with dimensions? I was thinking 2" wide and 12" stropping surface. What do you think?
 

tk59

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I'd say that's perfect. I hardly get 2" of leather on my edge at any one time and I definitely prefer 12" over shorter ones. I haven't tried longer. Why four sides? Not that there's anything wrong with four but three seems like plenty. Two compounds and smooth leather or something like that.
 

Marko Tsourkan

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The strop will have 4 sides, but not all four have to be used. It's easier to shape a square than a triangle. :)
 

Salty dog

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Because a 3x12 balsa block is dirt cheap and the leather can be bought in 6x12 sheets in either split or smooth. Why 3 inches? Less chance of bending the knife over the edges than on a narrower strop. Wide control surface, less passes, you can feel the knife better.

I use all three inches of the width and 12 inches of length.

I've been using mine like a steel and to finish sharpening. I go to the stones far less often these days.

Only three sides would be a waste. IMO.
 

EdipisReks

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i have two 3w x 12l x 2h balsa blocks that i use for stropping. one with .5 CrO and the other with .25 diamond. i rarely hit the stones now, unless i really give a knife a workout. i have two others just like it, waiting for different compounds. only cost a couple bucks, i think.
 

Salty dog

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And you can come up with your own strop "cocktail" by mixing up the surfaces.

The best $18 knife related investment I ever made.
 

EdipisReks

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i haven't tried mixing compounds. what cocktails do you like so far?
 

tk59

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I definitely don't see how you wouldn't want to use all four sides if you've got a four-sided strop. I also see the fun in experimenting with lots of different compounds/substrates. I'm not sure what Marko is after here but his stuff is generally heirloom-type quality. As a buyer, I'd probably only buy one if I knew what compounds I wanted to put on. Personally, I'd do 0.5 micron Cr2O3 (smooth edge) and either 0.25 micron diamond or cbn (toothier edge) and a bare, smooth leather side. If I had a fourth side, I'm not sure what I'd do with it... If I was experimenting and I had a lot of room to store stuff, I'd go with something like the HA or Dave's strop or just a bunch of blocks with different substrates on each.
 

Marko Tsourkan

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I was thinking to build a strop that is easy to change sides and allows a least chance of cross contamination. I haven't finalized the design (might have to twick it further once I make the first) but I thought 3" wide might be too cumbersome. I see where Scott is coming from, I use 3" strop myself.
Will take a look at Balsa wood.

M
 

EdipisReks

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after using several surfaces, balsa is by far my favorite. i even prefer it to fine paper on glass. it yields just enough.
 

RRLOVER

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I have had good success with a 3 x 12 balsa strop too.The best thing about the balsa strop is I can true it on my granite plate if it gets damaged.
 

Salty dog

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One is set up aggresively with chromium treated split leather, plain smooth leather, .25 diamond and just plain balsa.

The other is all balsa with 1.0 micron boron, .5 chromium, .25 diamond and .125 boron.

Granted they aren't the most beautiful things in the world. But if you can come up with a compromise of form and function my guess is you'll make Nesmuck's $400 one look silly.
 

Dave Martell

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For a couple of years I've been contemplating making a nice 4-sided strop to sell but I always back off the project because of complications. I think it's an excellent idea though and hope that you can make it work.
 

tk59

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I haven't tried balsa but I get excellent results with leather. The thinner the better. Too much give is a problem. So far, I like the leather that comes with Dave's hone the best and I'm not trying to be nice to Dave either. I like the design, too since the metal backing keeps it flat. I like others, too but if I could only have one sheet of the stuff, I'd choose Dave's. I don't care for felt, either. It's way too porous.
 

Marko Tsourkan

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If it is to be covered with leather, and not stropped on the surface like balsa wood, I would probably look for wood that is stable but not too heavy. I might do a two tone construction to embellish it a bit. :)

I made some drawings, now need to put them in practice.

Marko
 

tk59

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What do you think of putting a bevel on the edges between the different strops? It would be a lot more work, I'd imagine but you'd see the wood and maybe be less contamination.
 

Marko Tsourkan

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What do you think of putting a bevel on the edges between the different strops? It would be a lot more work, I'd imagine but you'd see the wood and maybe be less contamination.
Sounds great. It is actually not that much work. Just a pass with a router.
 

heirkb

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Marko, are you going to try to have the base somehow hold the strop elevated? You said you were trying to avoid cross-contamination, so if you did something like Salty's strop, I could see how there could be a concern for cross-contamination since the four sided strop rolls over on a base that touches all the different sides and compounds (don't know if it has made any difference to Salty, but it seems relevant to what you posted earlier). Are you going to create a base that would hold the strop elevated above the base and never actually touching any surface except at the ends (where Salty put the handles on his strop)?
 

Marko Tsourkan

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...Are you going to create a base that would hold the strop elevated above the base and never actually touching any surface except at the ends (where Salty put the handles on his strop)?
That's the idea
 

Salty dog

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Sort of like the old oil stone where the protruding handle holds the stones up.

I have L molding on the ends of the block. So only the 1/2 inch at the ends cross. I also bevel the corners.
 

heirkb

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Sort of like the old oil stone where the protruding handle holds the stones up.

I have L molding on the ends of the block. So only the 1/2 inch at the ends cross. I also bevel the corners.
Good point. I guess yours are already elevated in a sense. If the L molding was taller, you could cut out notches that were the size of your handles and put the handles in those. Then it could be elevated as high as you like. Since yours is performing well enough to be cutting tomatoes with just the weight of the knife, doesn't seem like you need it.
 

Marko Tsourkan

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The prototype is in works. It will be a failry simple, but it will give me a chance to think of improvements. Most 12/4 lumber is slightly less than 3". With squaring, the final size is likely to be about 2 3/4" x 12 of stropping area.

Any suggestions where to get 3-4 oz leather?

Also, would it make sense to have one side lined with a deburring pad?

M
 

Tristan

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Keen to see what develops. Much respect for Marko's work. Have one of his sayas - need to add on to my collection. Been looking around for a strop setup too.
 

qvindtar

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Keen to see what develops. Much respect for Marko's work. Have one of his sayas - need to add on to my collection. Been looking around for a strop setup too.
Likewise. I feel as though I'm ready to get into the stropping game and this looks like it's shaping up to be pretty interesting.
 

tk59

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I think so. Or a spot on the base to store or mount a block of hard felt or cork.
I wouldn't mind the storage idea but an entire side seems excessive to me. I don't use a special deburring pad at all anymore.
 

JohnnyChance

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I wouldn't mind the storage idea but an entire side seems excessive to me. I don't use a special deburring pad at all anymore.
you prefer cutting into felt or cork to stropping on a felt pad? or do you not cut into felt/cork at all.
 
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