Stropping... Stack of Newspaper Fine? Or should I get Leather?!

Discussion in 'Sharpening Station' started by TEWNCfarms, Apr 14, 2018.

Help Support Kitchen Knife Forums by donating:

  1. Apr 14, 2018 #1

    TEWNCfarms

    TEWNCfarms

    TEWNCfarms

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2018
    Messages:
    488
    I've been just using a stack of newspaper (per Korin's recommendation if you don't have a leather strop). But should I invest in a Leather Strop? if so what kind? I hear that you can sharpen a knife with Just a Strop? Like using a steel on a western knife almost, but instead you use the strop...
     
  2. Apr 14, 2018 #2

    JBroida

    JBroida

    JBroida

    Founding Member KKF Vendor

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2011
    Messages:
    6,573
    Location:
    Beverly Hills, CA
    newspaper works great... leather works great too, but leaves a very different feeling edge. If you prefer smoother feeling, leather is your friend. If you like a bit more bite (assuming no compound has been used on either), newspaper tends to do that. If you want to add abrasive pastes/sprays, then leather or similar is the way to go.
     
    adam92 likes this.
  3. Apr 14, 2018 #3

    TEWNCfarms

    TEWNCfarms

    TEWNCfarms

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2018
    Messages:
    488
    Awesome thanks for the help! How much more important are the additives? I definitely want a smoother finer finish.
     
  4. Apr 14, 2018 #4

    JBroida

    JBroida

    JBroida

    Founding Member KKF Vendor

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2011
    Messages:
    6,573
    Location:
    Beverly Hills, CA
    its less about being important and more about preference. I would advise against going too smooth for kitchen knives though. You can loose tactile feedback from the edge, and the kind of bite that is helpful with tomatoes, bell peppers, etc. But if you like smooth, high grit compounds or chromium oxide on a strop will do just that.
     
  5. Apr 14, 2018 #5

    K813zra

    K813zra

    K813zra

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2016
    Messages:
    1,738
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    I like newsprint. Works well and I can use it to light a fire in the pit outback when it is worn out. Plus I get it for free. (We get a free newspaper here, two in fact.)
     
  6. Apr 14, 2018 #6

    Jovidah

    Jovidah

    Jovidah

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2016
    Messages:
    1,086
    Yeah like Jon says you don't want to go too smooth and polished. Smooth is great for shaving, but most of us don't shave our tomatoes and bell peppers...

    Compounds come in a lot of different grit sizes. The really fine ones can be used for burr removal or edge polishing. The coarser ones can stand in as an alternative for sharpening stones. For example some people use stropping compounds after a 1000 grit stone instead of a 3k, 4k or 5k stone (you see this mostly in the shaving community). There's pro's and cons to it. The pro is that if you're already good at stropping (which is sort of a requirement for shaving), the technique is largely the same. The downside is that it's also very easy to round over your edge if you're putting too much pressure or screwing with the angle.

    I wouldn't obsess too much over diving into the stropping hole. There are a lot of roads to rome, but as long as you do at least some form of stropping (so you're not trying to cut with a wire edge) you'll generally be fine.
    For touchups you can also just use your finest stone for a quick touch up.
     
  7. Apr 14, 2018 #7

    TEWNCfarms

    TEWNCfarms

    TEWNCfarms

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2018
    Messages:
    488
    thanks both of you for the help! and nice to meet you Jon, I was actually just going through those videos again to see if I missed anything; like Jovidah said there are somethings I've seen so far that are slight differences than Korin that are nice.

    But to the smoothness of the knife... I prefer a polished smooth edge compared to anything with a bite. For instance if I have a soft pepper (because we buy cheap quality all the time!) the knife Stops and has to be pushed through or sliced through to get it to cut; hence I have to resort to a rock chop because I don't glide through the soft peppers or tomatoes.

    Now my smooth polished finish may be completely different than some of you all with much more experience and expertise, but when I have a Smooth Polished Edge it never bites in a piece of paper at all, every inch of the blade glides through. And if I don't polish it correctly, or even after a fine stone polish and don't strop it on newspaper then it will catch when going through the paper. And this makes a big difference for me and how I like to cut. Not saying an extra bite isn't fine and will get the job done, because for years I Never was going to buy my own knife when they were provided; but never say never, and once I was gifted a knife (a cheap stamped stainless) I was bit by the Knife Bug!

    But what do you two mean by "too smooth and polished"? Gliding through paper without any bite throughout the entirety of the blade? or is that common even if you have a "bite"?
     
  8. Apr 14, 2018 #8

    TEWNCfarms

    TEWNCfarms

    TEWNCfarms

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2018
    Messages:
    488
    haha yeah I know I just go up to the local grocery store and grab a stack of the ads.

    I have liked the newspaper so far, I definitely can tell a difference when not using it.

    Just wondering if with leather i'm missing something out.



    OH! And Jon and Jov, when you strop do you use the same exact angle as when sharpening or does it really matter? I guess it can if you're going crazy, but just for a few strokes does it matter if its the same angle?
     
  9. Apr 14, 2018 #9

    JBroida

    JBroida

    JBroida

    Founding Member KKF Vendor

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2011
    Messages:
    6,573
    Location:
    Beverly Hills, CA
    yeah... same angle. Angle consistency is rather important.
     
  10. Apr 14, 2018 #10

    TEWNCfarms

    TEWNCfarms

    TEWNCfarms

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2018
    Messages:
    488
    okay cool I appreciate that.

    do you understand what i'm saying about the smoothness though? Is the smooth polished when it glides through the paper? or is that just common regardless? maybe I haven't actually gotten my knife to a True Smooth Polish like some of you can obtain.
     
  11. Apr 14, 2018 #11

    JBroida

    JBroida

    JBroida

    Founding Member KKF Vendor

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2011
    Messages:
    6,573
    Location:
    Beverly Hills, CA
    i can get a 3k edge to move through paper with ease, but the higher grit and more refined you go, the less you feel any feedback doing that
     
  12. Apr 14, 2018 #12

    TEWNCfarms

    TEWNCfarms

    TEWNCfarms

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2018
    Messages:
    488
    ahhh see I don't know if im really getting that "extremely smooth" edge I think. when I do it right and the stones are flattened it goes through with ease, I can still feel it. but if its not flat or a minor flaw with my sharpening it will go through and then Catch and rip the paper then continue through the paper cutting... Is this what you are talking about? or do you not have any "catch"?
     
  13. Apr 14, 2018 #13

    JBroida

    JBroida

    JBroida

    Founding Member KKF Vendor

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2011
    Messages:
    6,573
    Location:
    Beverly Hills, CA
    what i mean is it going through and being able to feel it vs having no tactile feedback as it moves cleanly through the paper... ripping is no good... usually a sign of bad sharpening and/or a chip
     
  14. Apr 14, 2018 #14

    TEWNCfarms

    TEWNCfarms

    TEWNCfarms

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2018
    Messages:
    488
    Cool thanks
     
  15. Apr 14, 2018 #15

    Benuser

    Benuser

    Benuser

    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    Messages:
    6,020
    Black ink leaves a lot of bite.
    Stay slightly under the sharpening angle, and for sharpening, stay slightly under the angle which makes the edge to bite into the medium.
     
  16. Apr 14, 2018 #16

    Benuser

    Benuser

    Benuser

    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    Messages:
    6,020
    Listen to the sound it makes. I usually try with the finest cigarette paper. When it goes smoothly through it, and only whispering, I'm quite sure there is no more burr left.
     
  17. Apr 14, 2018 #17

    Jovidah

    Jovidah

    Jovidah

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2016
    Messages:
    1,086
    It sounds like what you're describing as a edge that isn't "smooth and polished" is rather an edge that hasn't apexed properly - so is effectively still blunt. Even on a lower grit stone you can get an edge that still that doesn't bite in paper. It may 'sound' rougher, but it should still glide through. Now if you leave an apex that still has some bite, that effectively means there's still some micro-serration there, which will give a longer lasting 'slicing' ability on tough stuff like tomato / pepper skins. If you polish it out until maximum smooth razor, it will work at first, but can lose its agressiveness extremely fast.

    It sounds to me like you might have been making one of the most common mistakes; moving up to higher grit stones too quickly, and relying upon them to apex your edge instead of doing that on your mid-grit stone.
    This video might illustrate the concept in a nice comprehensible way (though you should probably ignore his sharpening technique):


    And yes, stropping on same angle. If you start stropping on a higher angle you risk rounding over your edge. If you do it on a lower angle you're just polishing the shoulders of your bevel. Minor exception being if you want to add a microbevel, but you should probably just watch Jon's video on that.
     
  18. Apr 14, 2018 #18

    TEWNCfarms

    TEWNCfarms

    TEWNCfarms

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2018
    Messages:
    488
    Awesome thanks for the help on that! The video link didn’t show up though...
     
  19. Apr 14, 2018 #19

    Jovidah

    Jovidah

    Jovidah

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2016
    Messages:
    1,086
    Weird, works for me.

    Just google "Cliff stamp basic three step knife sharpening" and you should be able to find it on youtube.
     
  20. Apr 14, 2018 #20

    Keith Sinclair

    Keith Sinclair

    Keith Sinclair

    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 10, 2012
    Messages:
    3,813
    Location:
    Hawaii
    Cheap newsprint and junk literary material work well. National Enquire is premium stropping paper.
     
  21. Apr 14, 2018 #21

    TEWNCfarms

    TEWNCfarms

    TEWNCfarms

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2018
    Messages:
    488
    Crazy! Thanks so much for that video! So simple and yet informative! I’m still trying to figure out how to incorporate that into everything else I’ve learned so far... it’s almost the Complete opposite of Japanese sharpening...
     
  22. Apr 15, 2018 #22

    LifeByA1000Cuts

    LifeByA1000Cuts

    LifeByA1000Cuts

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2016
    Messages:
    2,780
    For chromium oxide paste, you can also use balsa wood (available from model building stores) as a carrier.
     
  23. Apr 15, 2018 #23

    Jovidah

    Jovidah

    Jovidah

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2016
    Messages:
    1,086
    Another advantage of using balsa wood is that because it's a hard surface it's a lot like stropping on a stone, and doesn't bring the danger of rounding over your edge.

    On the Cliff Stamp movie; I wouldn't necessarily try to incorporate his technique... I mostly gave it because I think it might help to understand concepts such as apex and agressiveness. As I said the most common issue is that people move up to higher grit stones too soon before they truly apex their edge. As a result they underestimate the results they could (should!) already reach with their medium grit stone.
     
  24. Apr 15, 2018 #24

    K813zra

    K813zra

    K813zra

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2016
    Messages:
    1,738
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    You can get balsa at big box stores sometimes as well, from the craft section. Not sure I would consider balsa hard though. Wonder if stropping on basswood would work. Same price at the craft store but harder and more dense. I use hard felt anyway...:lol2:
     
  25. Apr 15, 2018 #25

    Jovidah

    Jovidah

    Jovidah

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2016
    Messages:
    1,086
    Well it's hard compared to leather. :p
    And yeah I use felt too, but that's mostly because I just happen to have one. Plenty of roads to Rome when it comes to stropping!
     
  26. Apr 15, 2018 #26

    K813zra

    K813zra

    K813zra

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2016
    Messages:
    1,738
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Agree but I have some roo leather that is very, very thin and mounted on glass. It feels very hard, no give. But also smooth and it has that 'draw' in action that I love, compared to balsa.
     
  27. Apr 15, 2018 #27

    labor of love

    labor of love

    labor of love

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2011
    Messages:
    8,130
    How do you guys keep newspaper in place when used for stropping?
     
  28. Apr 15, 2018 #28

    swarth

    swarth

    swarth

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2013
    Messages:
    403
    I roll it up and use it like a steel.
     
  29. Apr 15, 2018 #29

    JBroida

    JBroida

    JBroida

    Founding Member KKF Vendor

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2011
    Messages:
    6,573
    Location:
    Beverly Hills, CA
    with my hand... is this a trick question?
     
  30. Apr 15, 2018 #30

    labor of love

    labor of love

    labor of love

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2011
    Messages:
    8,130
    Unfortunately it isn’t. I was genuinely curious.
     

Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page

Group Builder