Strops

Kitchen Knife Forums

Help Support Kitchen Knife Forums:

Bobby2shots

Senior Member
Joined
May 8, 2019
Messages
818
Reaction score
436
Location
Lachute Quebec
When I wash my knife, I dry it off with a kitchen-towel that hangs on my oven door-handle,,, I give that a tug to pull it taught, then zip-zop, a few stropping-strokes on that towel and done. The result is always amazingly sharp. I've also used rolled-up news-print, lightly dampened, and that works well too. I seldom bother using my compound-loaded paddle-strop or my Tormek's stropping wheel. Sometimes, I'll just strop it on my jeans' leg, and so far, both of my legs are the same length. :)
 

BoSharpens

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2021
Messages
106
Reaction score
110
Location
Balboa Island, CA
The minimum amount of stropping & done at the correct shallow angle should be used on razor sharp edges or you may (might) push the very tip of the edge sideways if you use a 'heavy hand.' Then you have another burr to get rid of = much more work.

Now if a sharpener has left large burrs on the edge, he should NOT be stropping. It is time to go back to the Hard Arkansas stone & carefully flip back and forth to get the burrs off. Once I think I've finished my honing enough, I run the blade backwards, 'laid down' across my finger tips. If I feel a 'grip' on one side of the blade on my fingertips, I know I have not finished my honing! If you have heavy calluses on finger tips, this won't work as easily.

I've seen people strop an edge at high angles to the 'leather' & I cringe. Worse yet is when they do it multiple times HARD @ VERY HIGH ANGLES and you know the edge tip is going to be damaged.

I have a 200 power microscope and look at edges occasionally. Trust me you can see damage from bad stropping. Not a bad idea to get an inexpensive "loupe" or hand held magnifier to learn with.

People often don't know that the typical straight razor has the bulging thick spine which makes the proper angle for the edge to be honed, so that the barber touching the strop does NOT 'tip over' the fine razor's edge. That's the only reason the barber can strop quickly without looking at the razor. Knives are not like that.
 

M1k3

"Gigantoku" is just code for "Serbian Cleaver"
Joined
Jul 28, 2018
Messages
8,422
Reaction score
13,670
In all seriousness, I prefer harder strops. Like balsa putting or newspaper/cereal box cardboard on top of a stone, etc. No worries about rounding the edge. And it's cheap and easy to fix any gouges I might make.
 

M1k3

"Gigantoku" is just code for "Serbian Cleaver"
Joined
Jul 28, 2018
Messages
8,422
Reaction score
13,670
In all seriousness, I prefer harder strops. Like balsa putting or newspaper/cereal box cardboard on top of a stone, etc. No worries about rounding the edge. And it's cheap and easy to fix any gouges I might make.
And easy to put a different compound on.
 

deanb

KKF Supporting Member
Founding Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2011
Messages
233
Reaction score
58
I have at least a dozen strops loaded with CRo2, diamonds of various grits, and not loaded. My favorite is a pre-loaded 12” X 3” strop that I bought from Knive’s Plus. I use it exclusively now. I’ve been at this for 50 years and I’ve never seen anything this strop.
 

jjlotti

"eat it or wear it"
Joined
Mar 5, 2022
Messages
87
Reaction score
87
Location
Richmond Virginia
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?




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 😞).
Luftmensch I like your style, but please share your secrets with me. My wife puts up with my 600 dollar knife amusements, but showing her a new strop technique on one of her Persians....emmmm errrrrrr
 

Delat

Dazed & Confused
KKF Supporting Member
Joined
Dec 31, 2020
Messages
1,427
Reaction score
2,998
Location
Phoenix
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.

I stopped stropping for a few months for similar reasons. When I went back to it, I did notice that the feel of cutting through paper is a touch smoother; overall it adds just a bit of refinement. With food I don’t notice much difference with a freshly sharpened edge (stropped vs not), but for a slightly dull edge a strop brings back the edge with much less fuss than getting out a stone.

I’ve noticed refreshing an edge with a strop works really well with low-alloy high carbon steels, less so with my stainless R2 and VG10 knives.
 
Joined
Dec 13, 2017
Messages
2,304
Reaction score
3,133
Luftmensch I like your style, but please share your secrets with me.

😂

Yeah... i find that deburring doesnt work until about 500 kpsi.... and silk is much better!

Haha... no. My secret is to do it when the Mrs isnt looking 😝. In our new rental we have a galley/island kitchen in the main living space. The kitchen is a small tiled section that meets the carpeted living space. It must be a wool and polyester blend? Who knows!? Either way... carpet is never far away.... 😁
 

HumbleHomeCook

Whiskey for my men. Beer for my horses.
KKF Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 24, 2020
Messages
4,356
Reaction score
8,569
Location
PNW USA
In all seriousness, I prefer harder strops. Like balsa putting or newspaper/cereal box cardboard on top of a stone, etc. No worries about rounding the edge. And it's cheap and easy to fix any gouges I might make.

Never tried with bigger knives but for smaller ones, the free paint stir sticks you can get at hardware stores work well.

Balsa blocks of various sizes can also be had pretty readily at craft stores like Michaels. These type strops work well for higher-alloy steels.

I have some very nice diamond lapping film pieces in various grits that I was able to salvage for personal use and have them stuck on hard poly blocks. Very different and good experience. The ones I have right now are .5 and .1um and coupled with the hard backing they will polish a lower alloy edge in no time so I've only been using them on the higher stuff (R2, K390, etc.).
 
Last edited:

Tler

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2018
Messages
215
Reaction score
91
Location
San Francisco
Home depot has large paint stir sticks that I've loaded with cheap green chromium oxide. Works well when I'm too lazy to use higher grit stones. 1k stone and then a quick strop on chromium oxide will give me shaving sharp when I'm in a pinch (or sharpening someone else's knife).

My question: is trying leather and diamond worth it? I'm afraid my edge will become too smooth (not toothy) or it'll only be marginally better than my cheap setup. I've got some strops and compounds in my CKTG cart and I'm debating if it's worth it.
 

Kawa

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 23, 2020
Messages
505
Reaction score
583
Location
The Netherlands
Worth the try if you make a strop yourself.
Block of wood, piece of leather, clothingglue and diamond spray.
About 20,- dollar material?

Dont buy a fancy 80,- thing to try
 
Joined
Oct 29, 2021
Messages
253
Reaction score
520
Location
San Francisco
Just to throw something out there stropping also can convex your micro-bevel so there could be some situations in which you can go even thinner behind the edge than the steel would normally support and then strop on something aggressive like 5um diamond and get a preferable cutting geometry to a triangular edge. Although there hasn't been any real study in that area so I don't know for sure what the effects would be
 

Bobby2shots

Senior Member
Joined
May 8, 2019
Messages
818
Reaction score
436
Location
Lachute Quebec
Just to throw something out there stropping also can convex your micro-bevel so there could be some situations in which you can go even thinner behind the edge than the steel would normally support and then strop on something aggressive like 5um diamond and get a preferable cutting geometry to a triangular edge. Although there hasn't been any real study in that area so I don't know for sure what the effects would be

Leonard Lee,,, the founder of Lee Valley Tools, holds several patents for surgical tool design;,,, his book "The Complete Guide to Sharpening" probably covers the topic in depth.

 

esoo

living the patina
KKF Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2018
Messages
2,859
Reaction score
5,781
Location
Canada, eh?
My question: is trying leather and diamond worth it? I'm afraid my edge will become too smooth (not toothy) or it'll only be marginally better than my cheap setup. I've got some strops and compounds in my CKTG cart and I'm debating if it's worth it.

If you remove the tooth, you are stropping too much.

And yes it is worth it. I've take a knife off a 3K and cut paper towel, then stropped it on 1u diamond on leather and then cut paper towel again. After the stropping, it sounds and feels like a cleaner smoother cut. There was no loss of tooth, but the edge is definitely refined.
 
Last edited:

Bobby2shots

Senior Member
Joined
May 8, 2019
Messages
818
Reaction score
436
Location
Lachute Quebec
Leonard Lee,,, the founder of Lee Valley Tools, holds several patents for surgical tool design;,,, his book "The Complete Guide to Sharpening" probably covers the topic in depth. I bought a hard-cover copy,,, maybe 30 years ago,,, it's probably in my shop.

 

Tler

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2018
Messages
215
Reaction score
91
Location
San Francisco
Thank you. So i'll be buying some 1u and maybe .5u diamond spray (another thread said spray is easier than paste).
I also read some opinions that different leathers don't make a huge difference, so would buying something like this amazon leather work?
 

Kawa

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 23, 2020
Messages
505
Reaction score
583
Location
The Netherlands
I've tried paste and spray.
The thing is, spray is almost paste, like a fat mud coming out. You have to spread them both.

I've found it easiest to put a few spots on the strop and use a creditcard (or simular) to spread it out. Its flexible, straight, plastic and easy to clean.

Ive used (only) 1u and 0,5u.
My experience: the 0,5u is good fresh of the stone as is the 1.0. Can't really tell how they are different on the end result (tried about 10 times, but on different knives with different end stones. So its hard to scale the knives and results and compare directly)

But I do notice a difference when touching up with the strops after some dinner preps. The 0,5 tends to make edges too slick when used as a touch up, where the 1.0 does this less. You feel the 0,5 makes the knives sharper on newspaper again, but it skids easier over food. The 1,0 keeps some teeth.

As a touch up strop Im experimenting with red-rouge right now. No-one knows what it exactly is (different from brand to brand, originale it should be iron oxide) but it should be more fine then green chromiun oxide.
So far I like it for touch ups, brings more teeth to the knife then 1.0 diamond spray does.
 

ch_br

Careful man, there's a beverage here...
KKF Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2022
Messages
352
Reaction score
425
Location
Lost Angels USA
Worth the try if you make a strop yourself.
Block of wood, piece of leather, clothingglue and diamond spray.
About 20,- dollar material?

Dont buy a fancy 80,- thing to try

This is even an simpler option, if you choose to use compound (which I would only do on the coarse side)

$15 on amazonia, feels like stealing
 

coxhaus

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 27, 2020
Messages
1,560
Reaction score
1,819
Location
Texas
I use a leather strop on my Worksharp Ken Onion with green compound. I use trailing edge on low speed. I tried high speed but my leather belt broke. I have a couple on the way. I find my German knives cut better and hold an edge longer. When I cut into an onion it is smoother. It cuts tomatoes about the same less notice on them.
 

M1k3

"Gigantoku" is just code for "Serbian Cleaver"
Joined
Jul 28, 2018
Messages
8,422
Reaction score
13,670
This is even an simpler option, if you choose to use compound (which I would only do on the coarse side)

$15 on amazonia, feels like stealing
Even cheaper option is balsa wood and paste. Maybe a little sandpaper to prep the surface if needed.
 

spaceconvoy

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 7, 2011
Messages
1,398
Reaction score
2,851
Location
Florida
Thanks for pulling up this thread I missed. I got inspired to dig out the old strop, and remembered why I don't use it anymore.

I think strops make sense after synthetic stones because they're so abrasive-dense it makes deburring on them very difficult. But I don't see the point in using them after my cretan stone.

I just let the stone dry out at the end and it becomes a really nice surface for finishing. The feedback it gives is so clear and precise, audible and tactile. And if something's off you can just go back to sharpening.
 

Kawa

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 23, 2020
Messages
505
Reaction score
583
Location
The Netherlands
I don't feel like stropping often. But when I do, I strop like this.



Seems so effortless 👍

Which makes me think aswell...
This seems like denim with some compound on it? Green? If so, its kinda rough and really does abrade a little, right?

I'm not doubting your angle control skills, but I can imagine stropping (or sharpening) this way leaves a little more room for wobble or 'different angle every stroke'.

How do you counter 'too obtuse, too shallow' this way? Too shallow and nothing happens, too obtuse and the edge will be rounded and looses sharpness.

Are you just that good (which I really can imagine, doing knife stuff daily for years)) or doesn't it really matter? (if the latter, then why do I dull my knives sometimes with bad stropping 🤔)
 
Joined
Mar 11, 2018
Messages
2,277
Reaction score
6,530
Location
Richmond, VA
Seems so effortless 👍

Which makes me think aswell...
This seems like denim with some compound on it? Green? If so, its kinda rough and really does abrade a little, right?

I'm not doubting your angle control skills, but I can imagine stropping (or sharpening) this way leaves a little more room for wobble or 'different angle every stroke'.

How do you counter 'too obtuse, too shallow' this way? Too shallow and nothing happens, too obtuse and the edge will be rounded and looses sharpness.

Are you just that good (which I really can imagine, doing knife stuff daily for years)) or doesn't it really matter? (if the latter, then why do I dull my knives sometimes with bad stropping 🤔)
It is denim stretched and furniture tacked around a scrap of wood. I have tried lots of different compounds on it over the years so now it is a composite of crox/diamond/cbn. It would work fine without compound too. With the compound it definitely makes your bevel shinier. Not sure what it is doing at the true apex. I think I'm pretty good at hitting right on the bevel. Good enough anyways. I find that I like very stiff strops and hard stones for finishing knives. If you are worried about rounding the Apex or losing toothiness. Then hard media will give the crispiest edge. And when stropping on a very stiff medium you get good tactile feedback if you are close to that sweet spot. I don't know if you have seen this video. It might help for thinking about finishing a sharpening job. So much of the user experience is defined by the last couple of strokes in my experience. Playing around with different finishing touches can really make a big difference.

 
Top