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Strop or 8-12k stone?

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James

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I'm wondering which would be better for a home cook? My knives see action maybe 10-12 times a week...nothing really too heavy most of the time, just some light chopping and slicing. I have a 1k/4k combination stone which has serviced me pretty well for the past two years, but I want my edges a bit more refined. Would a stropping set or a fine finishing stone (I was thinking about the kitayama) be more useful to me?
 

monty

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I'm gonna put my money on the strop. It will be interesting to hear what the pros say!
 

99Limited

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Dave's All U Need Strop Kit should be right up your alley. Sharpening up to 4k is all anyone really needs, even though I've got stones up to 15k. Stroping really does refine the edge and Dave boiled down all the various stroping combinations into a single kit. There's not much of a reason to reinvent the wheel unless you want to.
 

tk59

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The strop would work fine but I find it is MUCH faster to put an 8k or so stone in there. My standard home sharpening job goes from 1k to 3-5k to 8k to strop. I spend 90% of my time on the 1k. If I'm sharpening for a pro, I spend maybe 80% of my time on a 400 or 500 stone and then go to a 1-5k and 8k and strop. If you are using a strop for refinement, it's like using an incredibly slow, soft stone. I like it more for clean-up duty (burrs, chips, realignment, etc.). I don't even really like a strop for "refreshing" an edge. I find the teeth it affords are short-lived. I love my Dave strop but I might die without my 8k SS, lol.
 

goodchef1

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get both, and play around with it. I don't know how much time you have, but for what you do, you can do a lot of experimenting and get pretty good fast :D
 

Seb

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HandAmerican bovine leather pad loaded with HA boron carbide 1.0-micron paste.
 

deanb

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get both, and play around with it. I don't know how much time you have, but for what you do, you can do a lot of experimenting and get pretty good fast :D
+1
 

Adagimp

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If it's in your budget, I'd also recommend getting both.

You'd be able to get more refined, and most likely sharper edges, with the step up to the 8k+ stone, but I think you'll find that a strop will really help with deburring and getting your knives to "scary sharp" levels. At least that was my experience after getting a strop.
 

James

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ahhh too bad I don't have more $$$. I will be ordering a strop shortly. Which medium and stropping compounds do you guys enjoy using?
 

WillC

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Its amazing what you can do with what you've got. With my razors and knives, For ages I've been going from a 1K hone to rough side of leather strop with starkie blue polishing compound. Then smooth side with compound then plain leather. The jump is big from 1K to blue compound but it can be done by being a bit cunning with the pressures and slurry you use.
I recently added an inigo Jones honing slate to the arsenal, (very cheap and rather good). I believe this to be about 5K with slurry maybe 7K on water and light pressure. This makes a nice progression to the strop for my knives and razors. Next I will add a chinese 12K and certainly use this before the strop as well. To be honest I think the better refined the bevel is on the hones the more ridiculously sharp a few strokes on the strop will make it. At least these are my experiences thus far, and without spending a load of money, (Inigo Jones slate is about $10)
 

99Limited

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How would you like for me to confuse you? Well yesterday I decided to sharpen my DT AEB-L 270mm gyuto starting with a Gesshin 4k stone. I went from the 4k to an 8k Snow White and then a 10k Chosera. I wasn't really pleased with the edge and I had two choices, get out my strop kit or use my Gesshin 15k stone already soaking in the sink. Well I took the quick and easy route and used the Gesshin. After about a half dozen strokes or so I tested my edge again and was very pleased with the result. This got me to thinking. How much difference is there really between using a strop or strops loaded with some compound or spray and having a very fine grit stone to refine your edge?
 

WillC

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For me its largely a cost factor. A strip of leather stuck to a piece of wood and a bar of starkie blue is my poor mans finishing stone.:tooth:
 

monty

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I am offering this with a huge dose of fear. I hesitate to show my sharpening to this group! However, it might add to the conversation. I made a video for BBQ folks where I took a cheap Sam's Club chef's knife and destroyed the edge. I then brought it back on a 500x stone and a strop. My point was to highlight how effective a few minutes with a waterstone can be as compared to any machine. I'm not claiming my technique is perfect, or even good, nor do I claim to make the knife as sharp as it could be. But I think it does a good job of showing how much some leather and felt can refine even the roughest edge. The cuts won't look too different because of the quality of the video. But pay attention to the sound of the cuts before and after stropping (and I didn't work on the strop too long so it could be even better!). If that can happen on a cheap knife with a 500x stone, imagine what it can do to a good knife with proper progression of stones. Anyway, FWIW:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=icALGEg58p0
 

jmforge

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Will, unfortunately we can't seem to get that soft blue Smurf poop over here. The stuff we have over here is hard and made for power buffing. i am doing a horse trade with Ian at Gembloux for a few tubes of the Brit stuff. I am currently using the white powdery stick of compound that they sell at Woodcraft and it works pretty well. For the benefit of the rest of the group Ian aka Longstrider is a guy from the UK who learned his sharpening skills from his grandfather who was a cabinetmaker who worked on, among other things, the marquetry and inlays on the queen's private rail car back in the day. Ian has taken those old school methods and broght them into the 21st Century. He freehand sharpens with the pocket DMT stones and then strops with the blue stuff on long strop made from leather and particle board and for a demstration, he sets a folded extra fine Rizla cigarette paper standing on its short end and cleaves it into with with swipe with his personal folding knife......which happens to be a crusty old Buck 110 made from standard 420 stainless. Pretty impressive!!! He has placed 5th and 6th in the world cutting comp championships at the Blade Show the last couple of years using a knife make from plain old O1 against guys using CPM M4 "race knives"
For me its largely a cost factor. A strip of leather stuck to a piece of wood and a bar of starkie blue is my poor mans finishing stone.:tooth:
 

Benuser

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Will, unfortunately we can't seem to get that soft blue Smurf poop over here. The stuff we have over here is hard and made for power buffing. i am doing a horse trade with Ian at Gembloux for a few tubes of the Brit stuff. I am currently using the white powdery stick of compound that they sell at Woodcraft and it works pretty well. For the benefit of the rest of the group Ian aka Longstrider is a guy from the UK who learned his sharpening skills from his grandfather who was a cabinetmaker who worked on, among other things, the marquetry and inlays on the queen's private rail car back in the day. Ian has taken those old school methods and broght them into the 21st Century. He freehand sharpens with the pocket DMT stones and then strops with the blue stuff on long strop made from leather and particle board and for a demstration, he sets a folded extra fine Rizla cigarette paper standing on its short end and cleaves it into with with swipe with his personal folding knife......which happens to be a crusty old Buck 110 made from standard 420 stainless. Pretty impressive!!! He has placed 5th and 6th in the world cutting comp championships at the Blade Show the last couple of years using a knife make from plain old O1 against guys using CPM M4 "race knives"
Unfortunately, I don't know the blue stuff some of yours are speaking about. But leather with Cr2O3 is extremely effective in removing all impurities without creating new ones.
 
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