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MadMel

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Ok so this goes out to all you guys who use your knives in a professional setting. I need some help in deciding weather to spend some $$ on a stropping kit and wonder if there is actually a tangible difference between stropped and un-stropped knives.

How does stropping affect your knife performance in the kitchen?
Does it benefit me to strop my knives for work in a professional kitchen?
Do you strop your work knives?
 

shankster

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I don't think there's a right or wrong answer to this question.It's all a matter of personal taste in edges.Some pros want a toothier edge in a work environment so stropping or even finishing on a really high grit stone won't give them the results they're looking for.Some want the sharpest/keenest edge you can possibly get, so stropping is part of their sharpening ritual.

Personal preference.
 

rockbox

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You can strop on anything that is slightly abrasive such as news paper. You don't have to buy a kit to do it. The kits may give you a better edge, but you test it out cheaply to see if it works for you before you invest money. Jon said that most chef's in japan go up to 6K and strop on newspaper.
 

tk59

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The most important thing to keep in mind is burr removal. How you do it and what is required to do it depends on the steel and your technique on the stones. Ideally, you'll have very little burr left by the time you finish sharpening so you just need something slightly abrasive and/or fibrous to finish grinding it off or actually pulling it off. You can do this on your finishing stone by raising the angle and stroking very lightly in either direction. In short, you don't need a strop. It does make things easier in many respects but as others have mentioned, not necessarily better.
 

Citizen Snips

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The most important thing to keep in mind is burr removal. How you do it and what is required to do it depends on the steel and your technique on the stones. Ideally, you'll have very little burr left by the time you finish sharpening so you just need something slightly abrasive and/or fibrous to finish grinding it off or actually pulling it off. You can do this on your finishing stone by raising the angle and stroking very lightly in either direction. In short, you don't need a strop. It does make things easier in many respects but as others have mentioned, not necessarily better.
this is the perfect explanation. i think a lot of people get confused on what stropping is or does. as i mentioned in your other post, i do microbevels for professional work and it gives me more strength and toughness i desire while working 8-10 hour shifts.
 

Eamon Burke

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I like the strops. It's easier, and with a good compound, will blend any mistakes or uneven convexity in your bevel. Also, you can't(or at least shouldn't) use a honing rod on really hard knives, so I strop to maintain between sharpening.
 

tk59

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I like the strops. It's easier, and with a good compound, will blend any mistakes or uneven convexity in your bevel. Also, you can't(or at least shouldn't) use a honing rod on really hard knives, so I strop to maintain between sharpening.
I agree with all of this except the honing rod part. I wouldn't have a problem with a careful honing on a ceramic or glass rod. Ridged metal rods and any sort of rough banging around is a definite no-no.
 

Jim

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The sanituff boards make a fair strop in a pinch as does a brown paper bag, getting a flat, hard surface is important.
 

Eamon Burke

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I agree with all of this except the honing rod part. I wouldn't have a problem with a careful honing on a ceramic or glass rod. Ridged metal rods and any sort of rough banging around is a definite no-no.
Yeah, I've taken the path of not telling people about the use of honing rods until they figure it out themselves, lol. I've never seen a borosilicate rod in a kitchen, so I figured someone should tell this dude not to rub his J-blade on a steel.

Soft steel, however, goes hand-in-hand with a good honing steel, and stropping is not a great idea...kind of a waste. If you're looking at lower-end sets of euro blades, and those will not get the benefit of a strop, and if the steel bends into a burr, you'll scuff up a strop and a strop won't straighten steel.

If you get a harder knife(or knives), and you are a home cook, you can get by with a decent strop setup and just get your knife to a pro sharpener once or twice a year. That's what I would do if I wasn't crazy.
 

dreamsignals

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The sanituff boards make a fair strop in a pinch as does a brown paper bag, getting a flat, hard surface is important.
you just strop normally, edge-trailing motion, on the sanituff? i slice on it for debburing but never imagined it having abrasive qualities. cool.

i've been trying to sharpen completely stropless these days, except for a couple of passes on whatever pants i'm wearing, to improve my technique. kindda the korin video. i think felt was becoming my crutch. i'm also trying to get the microbevel to actually happen...but i digress...
 

stevenStefano

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I like the strops. It's easier, and with a good compound, will blend any mistakes or uneven convexity in your bevel. Also, you can't(or at least shouldn't) use a honing rod on really hard knives, so I strop to maintain between sharpening.
Like tk, I disagree about the honing rod part. I work in a pro kitchen and I use a ceramic rod and it works very well. When it's real busy I don't really have time/space to strop and I use the rod, it brings back the edge very quickly. I strop as well, and I am a big fan, but I think honing rods definitely have their place
 

mpukas

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I agree with all of this except the honing rod part. I wouldn't have a problem with a careful honing on a ceramic or glass rod. Ridged metal rods and any sort of rough banging around is a definite no-no.
I agree w/ Tk as well - I find the MAC ceramic rod works nicely to bring back an edge very quickly. I've found the harder the steel, the less effective. On my Moritaka AS, it's not as effective as on white #2 or VG-1. I do find that on those steels it raises a bur and I need to run the edge through some cork a couple of times.

I also use a rod differently than anywhere else I've seen - I put the end on the edge of a counter or cutting board so the rod is horizontal. I run the knife along the rod like I would do on a stone, but with one hand. I have much more control over pressure and angle this way. I do edge leading and then edge trailing strokes to remove as much but as possible, but it still needs the cork.
 

MadMel

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Ok it seems that I do not really need a strop then. And I do not use honing rods except on the knives they provide at the workplace. Btw, I've been down to the knife shop and saw some ceramic rods. Apparently there are different grits to them? Most are really rough just like sandpaper, even rougher than my 2k bester. They feel more like 400-600 grit stones to me. What exactly are ceramic/glass honing rods suppose to feel like?
 

bishamon

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Haha, I've used a sanituff to deburr before, didn't think anyone else would try it.
 

tk59

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...What exactly are ceramic/glass honing rods suppose to feel like?
My glass rod feels and looks like etched glass (frosted and not totally smooth). The two ceramic rods that get good pub are the MAC (mentioned earlier at 2k pretty smooth) and the Idahone (1.2k not quite as smooth but still pretty smooth)
 

Lefty

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Mac also has a 1.2k rod for $25. It's the one I found/use every now an then. I pretty much only use it on my parers and folders, but it is also a great tool to maintain your edges on other knives if you're in a hurry.
 

MadMel

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Mac also has a 1.2k rod for $25. It's the one I found/use every now an then. I pretty much only use it on my parers and folders, but it is also a great tool to maintain your edges on other knives if you're in a hurry.
Yeah but can't seem to find MAC products in my country haha. And I wouldn't pay shipping for 1 rod. Prolly shop around.

Can anyone tell me the difference between a ceramic rod, a steel rod and a glass rod?
 

Seb

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Yeah but can't seem to find MAC products in my country haha. And I wouldn't pay shipping for 1 rod. Prolly shop around.

Can anyone tell me the difference between a ceramic rod, a steel rod and a glass rod?
In Australia, you can get Kyocera ceramic rods for $70-90... the Idahone is still cheaper even if you have it shipped from the States. I have the Idahone, the MAC and the HandAmerican borosilicate rod and I would recommend the Idahone and the HA. For stones, Bluewayjapan is currently the best vendor if you are not in the US.
 

MadMel

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Nice heads up there on the bluewayjapan store.
I kinda like the description of the borosilicate rod but won't wanna buy it before I can get an upclose look at it or possibly a feel haha.
 

Lefty

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Shipping is such a PITA!
I'm glad for you guys that you've figured out reasonable alternatives. What about JCK?
 

Seb

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Shipping is such a PITA!
I'm glad for you guys that you've figured out reasonable alternatives. What about JCK?
I never liked the look of JCK's stones. I bought a ton of stones from Metalmasterjp before he went AWOL.
 

stevenStefano

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I kinda like the description of the borosilicate rod but won't wanna buy it before I can get an upclose look at it or possibly a feel haha.
Is there an IKEA store near you? They do a decent ceramic rod that's super cheap. The others suggested here are better, but if you want to get a rough idea of how they are I'd get one of these
 

Lefty

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Is metalmaster still MIA?
 

Seb

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He seems to be back. But a few days ago he again cleared the decks of his ebay store. Yes, it's the same guy.
 

Lefty

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He does that a lot, it seems. Last time was around Xmas, if I remember correctly. He was gone a good month or so!
 

tk59

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...Can anyone tell me the difference between a ceramic rod, a steel rod and a glass rod?
Ceramic rods are relatively brittle and are fairly abrasive. They will "sharpen" and "realign" your edge.
Glass rods are also relatively brittle but are much less abrasive and mainly realign the edge.
Steel rods are less brittle but the grooved steels are far too aggressive and tend to damage edges unnecessarily while the smooth steels take forever to really make a difference. Also, they will scratch against very hard blades. I have a smooth steel that I use when I'm cooking away from home.
 

Willis

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I think lot of people get confused on what stropping is does.
I like the stropping.
 

MadMel

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I can't seem to do any ordering at metalmasters. my cart keeps going empty when I check out...
steven: I will check out the ikea one just to get a feel of it.
tk: Good info there. Thanks :) Can't find any smooth steels around here. They'r all grooved, the diff is just how much groove they have.

Is a bocosilicate rod the same as a glass rod? I think I'd like a look at a glass rod up close haha. So what do you guys actually use in your kitchens?
 

Eamon Burke

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Borosilicate rods are glass rods. The one from Hand American is very popular. For softer steel, where a honing steel is needed, I'd suggest the F Dick Multi-Cut. I think the time it takes to hone an edge with a steel is a good thing, because it doesn't change so much, so you have less chance of slipping and really screwing something up. But then again, I grew up with a set of French knives and a steel, so I'm partial to the concept when applied properly.


I strop my knives at home. I just take them home and deal with sharpening/maintenance/edge alteration there. If my edge can't survive a hard day's use, I screwed it up!
 
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