I would use a glass rod or possibly a ceramic rod for quick and dirty touch-ups in the middle of a shift. The difference between razor and knife maintenance is a razor edge isn't suppposed to be toothy. For that, you would only use fine stones and a strop. For a knife, you need some teeth so a light pass or two on a rod will generally be more effective. The other thing about strops is if you have a chip or a crack, you will damage your them whereas a rod handles this stuff without a problem.
I guess I hadn't thought of it like that. Good point.
Let me run this past you, as I suspect it relates to the op. Does it make a difference if the knives we are talking about are either western knives or Japanese knives purposely sharpened to have a toothy edge already? Stropping works really well for me, but I wonder if that's because my BBQ knife roll is full of knives sharpened only as far as 1000x. I guess I'm assuming that even with stropping there is plenty of bite to the edges. Does this make sense? If it does, then I suppose it would work for most kitchen knives because in my limited experience most folks aren't hardcore about their knives and probably have toothy edges without even knowing it. Many folks who give me knives to sharpen ask me to put a "scary sharp" edge on their knives, then they add "Like it was the day I bought it." For them, a knife out of the box with a 500x to 800x grind on the bevel is scary sharp.
Last night, just for fun, I destroyed the edge of a Sam's Club white handle cheapo knife, then I put an edge back on with my 500x. Then I stropped. It was a fun little experiment. The difference after stropping was huge, but still toothy.
With that said, I just like the process of stropping so I'm biased My ceramic hone is a thing of beauty and for $25 it is a real value!
I have a loose belt and I loved using it. The problem was/is that it is too narrow for me. Also, lots of folks believe that using a strop like that will inevitably convex your edge (more than happens naturally when sharpening with stones). After using Dave's set up for a while now I think that's probably true. The other thing I like about the magnetic strop stations is that you can use other pads. As much as I appreciate the firm leather with diamond spray, I am in love with the felt.
A quick question for everyone. For those who strop, precisely how often do you do this? Say after a few cuts? Twice a day? The thing is I don't strop a whole lot because I usually find that the knife seems to be too blunt to make a difference, unless I strop incessantly. It is something that has always puzzled me. I can strop the knife, use it for 10 mins then strop again and it makes no difference. That is why I use a ceramic rod, it instantly brings back the edge, sometimes I will strop after using the rod. I also tried using different compounds, I tried 3 micron diamond recently but I think it is too high, 0.5 and 0.25 seem to be more noticeable. I use balsa by the way
My fave strop is a piece of 1.5mm veg tan leather course side up stuck to a flat bit of mdf. It holds compound really well and gives some cut. I havent used it on a micro bevel yet though for fear of rounding it. I use light pressure on the smooth side for that.