Strops

Kitchen Knife Forums

Help Support Kitchen Knife Forums:

Pie

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 23, 2021
Messages
718
Reaction score
1,309
Location
Edmonton
Idk if I do it right, but don’t you just basically edge trailing deburring stroke? I feel like you know a heck of a lot more than me about this sort of thing 🤣.

The way I do it helps clean up, but I’ve really started not stropping because I find it refines white steel a bit too much.
 

BillHanna

Tangle my rec, baby. You know how I like it.
KKF Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 20, 2020
Messages
1,534
Reaction score
3,019
Location
Pennsylvania
Not me. I’ve never stropped in my life. Too much diving in the forum combined with the strops for sale got me curious if it’s even up my alley.
 

Wagnum

Poor choice maker
Joined
May 18, 2020
Messages
131
Reaction score
165
Location
Canada
Not me. I’ve never stropped in my life. Too much diving in the forum combined with the strops for sale got me curious if it’s even up my alley.
Definitely worth messing around with. I use bare (no compound) leather for touching up harder steels in between sharpening and it works great. I'll use the rougher suede-ish (not sure what it's called) aggressively for de-burring soft/stubborn stainless then go back to the stones to finish. As far as videos go I've seen so much conflicting info in bits and pieces of different videos I don't know who to trust. One thing I've noticed is too much stropping with the right compound will remove toothy-ness, that's why I started using bare leather for touch ups
 

Pie

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 23, 2021
Messages
718
Reaction score
1,309
Location
Edmonton
+1 for no compound. The following is enough to take some of the fun out of a fine jnat edge. Mind you it becomes blinding sharp afterwards, but it may not be the edge I’m looking for.



Heh, this looks a lot more awkward when I see it from another point of view. Keep in mind I’m the last person who should be demonstrating how to strop.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Oct 24, 2020
Messages
3,561
Reaction score
6,960
Location
PNW USA
+1 for no compound. The following is enough to take some of the fun out of a fine jnat edge. Mind you it becomes blinding sharp afterwards, but it may not be the edge I’m looking for.



Heh, this looks a lot more awkward when I see it from another point of view. Keep in mind I’m the last person who should be demonstrating how to strop.


Nothing wrong with that at all. 👍 I typically prefer going tip first in both directions but that's just my style and lots of folks do it just as you demonstrated.

That's a pretty straight edge Bill so not much adjusting needed for a curved belly.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Pie

Pie

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 23, 2021
Messages
718
Reaction score
1,309
Location
Edmonton
How I strop:



I do this kind of motion at the end of every stone I work on.

My favorite kitchen edge right now is 3K (via SG3K or Naniwa Diamond 3K) followed by 1u stropping (on a diamond loaded strop or SG12K). Toothy with a very refined edge.


Do the stones go sideways too? The thought often crosses my mind that this would make sense. Also if that’s another MM, what is it doing looking so perfect? 😉

I feel some personal bias against strops, as I used them in the past as something to hide mistakes. The objective reality is that Stropping can give a wide range of results, and can fine tune your edge depending on the presence and type of compound. I believe there is something to be gained even by the highest level sharpeners, as the versatility is near unlimited.
 

esoo

living the patina
KKF Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2018
Messages
2,580
Reaction score
5,053
Location
Canada, eh?
Do the stones go sideways too? The thought often crosses my mind that this would make sense. Also if that’s another MM, what is it doing looking so perfect? 😉

I feel some personal bias against strops, as I used them in the past as something to hide mistakes. The objective reality is that Stropping can give a wide range of results, and can fine tune your edge depending on the presence and type of compound. I believe there is something to be gained even by the highest level sharpeners, as the versatility is near unlimited.

The stones go front to back (although I've tried sideways). One thing for me is that I use "western method" sharpening - so full strokes back and forth on the blade, so it would be easy to adjust to sideways.

And yes that is my MM210. It had been put away for a while after cleaning it up (the fiancee had use a scrubby on it and scratched the finish) so I could bring out the MM240. Not enough rack space to have everything out at once.

I would consider myself an average sharpener, and my edges have always improved by stropping. I think that the stropping motion helps avoid wobble which yields a crisper apex.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Pie
Joined
Oct 24, 2020
Messages
3,561
Reaction score
6,960
Location
PNW USA
Sorry about the angle Bill. I was struggling to get a decent top-down shot.

Anyway, here I do a suji, a nakiri, and a santoku. I employ slightly different techniques for each. The suji has a very low angle on the left side. For no strong reason, with knives like this, I'll go tip to heel on the right and then heel to tip on the left. The nakiri is pretty straight forward. With the santoku you'll notice I do sort of a little "J" step on the tip. I just feel like that helps catch the angle better. Does it? I don't know but I makes me feel warm. :)



Pressure is subjective. Here I was going pretty light with more or less just the weight of fingers on the knife. You can strop pretty hard if you want and some folks advocate it, just be aware that on soft substrates like this you can round your apex.

Anyway, not sure that helped but thought I'd toss it up.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Oct 24, 2020
Messages
3,561
Reaction score
6,960
Location
PNW USA
Alright. I’m gonna go no compound. Which leather?

If you mean suede or smooth, I'd recommend a combo so you have options.

If you mean animal breed, just get a quality strop. I recall reading one of Dr. Vadim's articles or one of his vids where he tested several types and determined the best was kangaroo tail. I seem to remember everything was about the same.
 

ModRQC

Insufferable Member
KKF Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2019
Messages
3,716
Reaction score
4,195
Location
QC, CA
I don't entirely advise fine leather with no compound. With various steels it just is too fine for kitchen use.

It think Jon says a bit of the same in the descrption of the stropping kit he sells IIRC.

You'll mostly just need some practice to find your grounds but you'll be fine. As for the method, it may just come down to your preferences in the end.
 
Joined
Oct 24, 2020
Messages
3,561
Reaction score
6,960
Location
PNW USA
You know you can also strop on newspaper, cardboard, denim, etc. if you just want to do some testing before spending any money.

A well respected sharpener that I know saves the mud from stones and uses it rubbed on newspaper wrapped around a stone for a strop. He also uses ashes from his grill. Swears by the method and is edges are outstanding.
 
Joined
Jul 4, 2012
Messages
758
Reaction score
1,010
I stopped stropping knives. Not razors, of course, you have to strop those, just knives. I stopped because I told myself that it was a crutch, that I should be able to do it all on the stones. And, I admit, because I enjoy sharpening on stones more than I enjoy stropping.

It's worked out, most of the time. Sometimes I find myself eyeing my strops, and then I get back to business. Long, arduous business, occasionally.
 
Joined
Oct 24, 2020
Messages
3,561
Reaction score
6,960
Location
PNW USA
I've never considered strops a crutch. I know many do but I just don't get that. It's just another tool.

Let's say a sharpener doesn't get the crispest edges off of the stone. Good but just a touch lacking. Yet, it's close enough that a strop brings it right up. I don't see that as a crutch or lacking. You still need to be pretty darn good off the stone for a strop to make a lasting difference and if that tool takes it over the edge for folks then, I say cool.

But stropping is also a great way to give final refinement to an excellent stone-fresh edge. There are many a great sharpener who use strops.

I also use a strop for routine maintenance.

To me, a strop is no different than moving up in stone grits. Again, it's just another tool.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jul 4, 2012
Messages
758
Reaction score
1,010
I'm not saying strops are bad, or a crutch, in general. I'm just saying that my inner goad voice tells me I should not need to ever rely on them.

I don't even know whether it's true. I'm just listening to that guy for a while, to see how it works out.
 

M1k3

Viva la what the .... Chef?!!!?¿¿
Joined
Jul 28, 2018
Messages
7,750
Reaction score
12,258
You know you can also strop on newspaper, cardboard, denim, etc. if you just want to do some testing before spending any money.

A well respected sharpener that I know saves the mud from stones and uses it rubbed on newspaper wrapped around a stone for a strop. He also uses ashes from his grill. Swears by the method and is edges are outstanding.
Sleeve of the Chef coat works also. Apron too!
 

Pie

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 23, 2021
Messages
718
Reaction score
1,309
Location
Edmonton
I stopped because I told myself that it was a crutch, that I should be able to do it all on the stones. And, I admit, because I enjoy sharpening on stones more than I enjoy stropping.
My thoughts exactly. Maybe I strop when I’m curious about peak sharpness, but I’d like to be able to get where I want to be just off stones.
 

Kawa

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 23, 2020
Messages
451
Reaction score
503
Location
The Netherlands
Guys, using a strop after sharpening isnt a trick to compensate for or hide 'bad sharpening'
When you didnt deburr properly, a strop won't do anything. It accomplishes a good deburred knife.


You can wash your car with shampoo and use wax after.
'No no, I want to be able to get the same level of gloss with only using shampoo'. Wax is cheating.'
Without a clean car, wax wont do anything.


It's a tool for a next step, if preffered
 
Joined
Dec 13, 2017
Messages
2,228
Reaction score
3,001
A kitchen towel.... jeans... newspaper... the carpet... Just dont use an actual strop - they dont work! 🤡

I havent found a need for stropping on hard steels (>62HRC ??). On rare occasions I have done it for fun. I recently purchased an old Sab (probably 54-56HRC?). I am still figuring out how to sharpen the damned thing using only stones. The fastest route to decent sharpness has been finishing the progression with stropping (on the carpet 😂).


I havent really explored compounds. Nothing wrong with it... but I dont really see a need. Perhaps it could be used as a touch up method?


Alright. I’m gonna go no compound. Which leather?

My experience with stropping kitchen knives is shallow - so there is no point me speculating which material is 'best'. Like everything else, personal preference probably plays a role. With razors, I prefer the feel of materials that provide a bit of resistance. A light/medium draw leather... is nice. Same with denim. I think I would even choose heavier feedback like wool felt or suede over slick surfaces like really hard/compressed leather for a kitchen knife. I am not saying one is better than the other... I just like to feel something (because I am so dead inside 😞).
 

Kawa

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 23, 2020
Messages
451
Reaction score
503
Location
The Netherlands
My experience with suede and hard, smooth leather:

Suede has less feedback. I've rounded my edge multiple times without noticing during stropping.

Hard smooth leather, which still has some visual give, gives a lot of feedback. Especially when you come to a part with some burr left: you really feel the difference in drag (resistence). After a few strokes, that resistence is gone as is the burr.
But you also have a clear difference in feel when you hit the shoulders instead of the edge.
 
Top