Stropping

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TkoK83Spy
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Stropping

Postby TkoK83Spy » Sat Jun 29, 2019 8:55 am

So I just bought my first ever leather stropping board from KnivesPlus. I watched a few different videos and read up a bit and can't figure out if I should be using very light pressure when pulling back, light like the finishing touches on the Sharpmaker. Bascially the weight of the knife itself..or if I'm supposed to use a bit of pressure. What way is most successful for you guys?

I plan on using it after work today and just wanted to see what techniques some of you sharpening whizz's use!
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Re: Stropping

Postby p_atrick » Sat Jun 29, 2019 9:14 am

From Deadbox Hero's YT page:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oy4BgZUdsqI

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Re: Stropping

Postby bearfacedkiller » Sat Jun 29, 2019 9:23 am

The leather will compress if you push hard and you run the risk of rounding the edge over. With a light touch I like to match the edge angle and when pressing harder I lower the angle a little. The latter is more for when I am stropping convex edges like on my kitchen knives or other fixed blades and I want the backing to compress a little because the edge is convex shaped. After that I still always finish with a few passes with light pressure.

Rounding the apex off is the main thing to avoid when stropping so just keep that in mind.
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Re: Stropping

Postby Genotoxic » Sat Jun 29, 2019 9:47 am

I use like a medium light pressure, I find just the weight of the knife doesn't do anything so I'll just put a slight bit more force... you can feel by hand, no pressure the knife feels like its gliding along the top of the strop. With a bit of pressure you can feel some friction between the edge and the strop and that tells me its working

Like anything else though you'll learn and get better with practice. Luckily it's hard to really mess up an edge on the strop so dont overthink it.

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Re: Stropping

Postby kwakster » Sun Jun 30, 2019 5:17 am

This type of strop is what i sometimes make & give to people who regularly bring me a CRK or other quality (Chef-) knife for sharpening and/or some TLC, so they can maintain & keep the appearance of their new edge themselves for some time.
Even a few professional Chefs in my area with expensive gyuto's and santoku's in modern PM steel types are using these same strops with good results, so they keep telling me anyway.
I use them myself as well, and they are easy to make.

It's a new & cut-to-size piece of clean MDF coated with a thin layer of 1.0 micron (+/- 14000 grit) mono-diamond compound, and i put 4 self-adhesive rubber bumpers on the bottom.
These bumpers make the strop non-slip plus they elevate the working surface a bit more which makes the strop more convenient to use on a table (more room for your hands)
Due to the harder surface the chances of rounding your crisp apex are also greatly diminished when compared to stropping on compressible materials like leather.
The strop surface can also be cleaned from time to time with a microfiber cloth and some acetone, which will remove all or most of the swarf without removing the diamond particles, as these become (partially) embedded in the MDF surface during the stropping proces.

But this is (literally) the key element: the placement on rubber bumpers also provides the strop user with acoustic feedback by isolating the MDF from the table (a bit like the bars on a xylophone); you can actually hear when you're arriving at the very apex during stropping movements as the audible sound changes, which makes the stropping proces very easy, even for absolute beginners.

The CRK Nyala used as a prop for the pictures was reprofiled (from 35-40 degrees inclusive to an even 30 degrees inclusive) & sharpened (with 15 micron diamond compound on a Paper Wheel).
The owner only uses this quite expensive knife to cut oranges, about 5 each day, i kid you not, :D

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Re: Stropping

Postby JD Spydo » Sun Jun 30, 2019 7:49 am

Most Barbers I've seen use a Straight Razor and Strop do it differently than most guys I've seen use Strops to put a final edge on a knife. Barbers seem to just skim over the surface of the strop in a skewing motion with a relatively light pressure. They don't use a lot of pressure on the leather itself. Now that's not to say that stropping a knife might not be the same. But as thin as some edges are the danger of rolling the edge over on a knife edge would be easy if you were not careful.

In the past year I've been using my Spyderco Ultra-Fine 302 Benchstone and use light strokes on it for my stropping and that method is one I've had great luck with.

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Re: Stropping

Postby Pancake » Sun Jun 30, 2019 8:33 am

I have been using ,,traditional“ strops with leather (very hard leather) and I am still using them for my kitchen knives (made from simple carbon/tool steel) and it works good.

But for other knives I am using just a nice piece of wood with smooth surface and I apply diamond paste on top. I can get nicer edges of wooden strops.
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Re: Stropping

Postby bbturbodad » Sun Jun 30, 2019 10:10 am

I use what I would describe as light to medium pressure and angle the blade at a slightly more acute angle than sharpened to keep the apex from rounding. Usually a few strokes is all it takes. You can always do more strokes if you need, too many and you need to go back to your finishing stone so better to error on the side of not enough IMHO.

I like to hold the strop at a 45ish degree angle, match the bevel angle, lay it down a hair, make a few passes and then check the edge for "stickyness" with my fingers.

I remember the first time I stropped a kitchen knife...couldn't believe what a difference it made!

Good luck and let us know how it goes.
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Re: Stropping

Postby AccountDeletedUserRequest » Sun Jun 30, 2019 11:12 am

light pressure, and never strop an edge that doesn't already smoothly shave.

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Re: Stropping

Postby Pelagic » Sun Jun 30, 2019 11:33 am

Try to get it as sharp as possible before stropping. The cake with the best icing is rarely the best cake.

Light pressure on leather. On wood more pressure doesn't hurt so much.

Keep your desired edge finish in mind. Stropping too much will remove your micro-serrations on the edge (not good for slicing but good for push cutting).
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Re: Stropping

Postby Wartstein » Sun Jun 30, 2019 11:41 am

Vivi wrote:
Sun Jun 30, 2019 11:12 am
....and never strop an edge that doesn't already smoothly shave.
I always strop my edges just when they are shaving sharp already. But, to be honest, just cause stropping is the last step in my sharpening process anyway.

So what would happen if one stropped a not shaving sharp edge? Would it just not do anything for sharpening, or would it be literally detrimental for the edge?
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Re: Stropping

Postby TkoK83Spy » Sun Jun 30, 2019 11:53 am

Thanks for those additional notes about not stropping smoothly shaving edges and about stropping too much. Most of my knives are used for slicing over push cutting. Will definitely keep that in mind. I also held the block at around a 45 degree angle and that seemed to work nicely as well.

My Smock, UKPK (Both S30V) were rough/scrape shaving prior to stropping. 5 passes in each side and the hair was popping off no problem. Amazing the difference this thing can make even after using the UF stones. Very impressive, wish I got into this sooner!

I then did the same with my AEB-L Urban, which was also scrape shaving...but ended up making it more dull haha. Must have overdone it with pressure, wrong angle, too many passes. Went back to a few swipes with the Fine and UF stones and got back to sticky sharp. 3 passes for each side and hair was popping off for that knife too! Seems like a great buy for only $25.
19 :spyder:'s in 11 different steels
2 - ZT's - 0460 and 0470
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Re: Stropping

Postby cycleguy » Sun Jun 30, 2019 12:37 pm

OK stupid guy question here, but I am going to ask it anyway!!!!

What is the grit level of raw leather ... for both smooth leather and course leather???

I see compounds offered for strops that have ranged from 3K grit to 32K grit. I have tried leather strops raw and with 5K grit compound and found I can enhance as well as diminish with stropping.... regardless if raw or with compound.

I have a Case Moon Stone (I fully suspect it must be a genuine stone from the moon that has unobtainable qualities by anything here on earth but seems much like a fine ceramic stone). I do quick touch-ups with it and find the results impressive.

I hesitate to proceed to the strop so I may be falling to the side that isn't big on stropping.

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Re: Stropping

Postby JD Spydo » Sun Jun 30, 2019 1:29 pm

cycleguy wrote:
Sun Jun 30, 2019 12:37 pm
OK stupid guy question here, but I am going to ask it anyway!!!!

What is the grit level of raw leather ... for both smooth leather and course leather???

I see compounds offered for strops that have ranged from 3K grit to 32K grit. I have tried leather strops raw and with 5K grit compound and found I can enhance as well as diminish with stropping.... regardless if raw or with compound.

I have a Case Moon Stone (I fully suspect it must be a genuine stone from the moon that has unobtainable qualities by anything here on earth but seems much like a fine ceramic stone). I do quick touch-ups with it and find the results impressive.
You're the first guy I've run across in years that has one of those CASE Moon Stones. I'm certain that it was one of the earliest ceramic stones available. Because after I bought mine I"ve maybe talked to one or two others who also had one of those. I found the CASE Moon Stone to be quite a unique type of sharpening stone. I'm interested to know where you got yours and when. I got mine in the mid 80s and haven't even seen one for sale since the late 80s. I doubt if CASE made it so I'm curious as to what company made it for CASE?

The main reason I raise that question is that for the past year I've been experimenting using the finest and hardest stones to do my stropping with and I've had some really interesting results. And that CASE Moon Stone is a very hard ceramic stone IMO.

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Re: Stropping

Postby Pelagic » Sun Jun 30, 2019 1:31 pm

Bare leather will vary. Most likely some are rough and maybe 100k grit while others may behave like 10 million or more.

Warstein, it is possible to sharpen a knife with only a strop (MUCH easier on wood and with highly concentrated compound) but the more you strop the more you fatigue/jeopardize the integrity of the apex. Minimum stropping is best for a healthy edge.
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JD Spydo
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Re: Stropping

Postby JD Spydo » Sun Jun 30, 2019 1:39 pm

Pelagic wrote:
Sun Jun 30, 2019 1:31 pm
Bare leather will vary. Most likely some are rough and maybe 100k grit while others may behave like 10 million or more.

Warstein, it is possible to sharpen a knife with only a strop (MUCH easier on wood and with highly concentrated compound) but the more you strop the more you fatigue/jeopardize the integrity of the apex. Minimum stropping is best for a healthy edge.
When mentioning wood for a strop material I've talked to two guys on a straight razor Forum who had used "Balsa Wood" as a strop material with good results.

With all the new synthetic materials available I'm wondering if there isn't some materials that would be superior to conventional leather. Now I do have a strop that I got from a Barber supply house about 10 or so years ago. It is made with Russian Boar hide and I've always loved the results I get from that strop.

I also have a type of strop I got from the Garrett Wade company that has leather on both sides of a wooden paddle>> it also has hollowed out sections in the main part which makes it cave in when stropping. I've had interesting results with that set up.

I've kind of wondered why Spyderco hasn't come out with a strop of their own????

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Re: Stropping

Postby AccountDeletedUserRequest » Sun Jun 30, 2019 8:25 pm

TkoK83Spy wrote:
Sun Jun 30, 2019 11:53 am
Thanks for those additional notes about not stropping smoothly shaving edges and about stropping too much. Most of my knives are used for slicing over push cutting. Will definitely keep that in mind. I also held the block at around a 45 degree angle and that seemed to work nicely as well.

My Smock, UKPK (Both S30V) were rough/scrape shaving prior to stropping. 5 passes in each side and the hair was popping off no problem. Amazing the difference this thing can make even after using the UF stones. Very impressive, wish I got into this sooner!

I then did the same with my AEB-L Urban, which was also scrape shaving...but ended up making it more dull haha. Must have overdone it with pressure, wrong angle, too many passes. Went back to a few swipes with the Fine and UF stones and got back to sticky sharp. 3 passes for each side and hair was popping off for that knife too! Seems like a great buy for only $25.
You should have the edge hair popping sharp before moving from fine to ultrafine IMO.

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Re: Stropping

Postby AccountDeletedUserRequest » Sun Jun 30, 2019 8:29 pm

Wartstein wrote:
Sun Jun 30, 2019 11:41 am
Vivi wrote:
Sun Jun 30, 2019 11:12 am
....and never strop an edge that doesn't already smoothly shave.
I always strop my edges just when they are shaving sharp already. But, to be honest, just cause stropping is the last step in my sharpening process anyway.

So what would happen if one stropped a not shaving sharp edge? Would it just not do anything for sharpening, or would it be literally detrimental for the edge?
Bench stones produce a more uniform apex that strops do. They also do a better job of leaving microserrations that aid in slicing. Stropping is more likely to cause a rounded apex, and the smoother edge won't bite into materials as well during a slicing motion.

This is why I tell people not to rely on strops or high grit progressions to achieve high degrees of sharpness.

It's possible to get hair popping sharp edges using any of the sharpmaker stones and no strop. Even the diamond and CBN rods. Definitely the mediums, those are pretty high grit.

Polished edges have their place, but a lot of folks would be better served with a toothier edge for their EDC.

Get your edge to where it smoothly shaves off the mediums, strop it gently only once per side, then try out that edge. It will push cut through things just fine, but will have vastly superior slicing aggression.

TkoK83Spy
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Re: Stropping

Postby TkoK83Spy » Sun Jun 30, 2019 9:30 pm

Hmmm, so well noted in my warehouse environment for work and most of my knives usage...you think I'd be better off trying not to strop on those particular knives?
I'm definitely more of a slicer than push cutter, other than thick rope or plastic strapping.

Really appreciate all your help along the way these past couple years Vivi.
19 :spyder:'s in 11 different steels
2 - ZT's - 0460 and 0470
1 - Microtech Ultratech DE OTF

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Wartstein
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Re: Stropping

Postby Wartstein » Mon Jul 01, 2019 12:47 am

Vivi wrote:
Sun Jun 30, 2019 8:29 pm
Wartstein wrote:
Sun Jun 30, 2019 11:41 am
Vivi wrote:
Sun Jun 30, 2019 11:12 am
Pelagic wrote:
Warstein, it is possible to sharpen a knife with only a strop (MUCH easier on wood and with highly concentrated compound) but the more you strop the more you fatigue/jeopardize the integrity of the apex. Minimum stropping is best for a healthy edge.
Bench stones produce a more uniform apex that strops do. They also do a better job of leaving microserrations that aid in slicing. Stropping is more likely to cause a rounded apex, and the smoother edge won't bite into materials as well during a slicing motion.

This is why I tell people not to rely on strops or high grit progressions to achieve high degrees of sharpness.

It's possible to get hair popping sharp edges using any of the sharpmaker stones and no strop. Even the diamond and CBN rods. Definitely the mediums, those are pretty high grit.

Polished edges have their place, but a lot of folks would be better served with a toothier edge for their EDC.

Get your edge to where it smoothly shaves off the mediums, strop it gently only once per side, then try out that edge. It will push cut through things just fine, but will have vastly superior slicing aggression.
Vivi and Pelagic, thanks for your replies!

As said before, I can get all of my knives sharp enough, but I am not advanced enough to differentiate between polished and toothy edges to be honest.
So I´ll try out a "toothier" edge next time by doing the hole sharpening process just on the brown rods, that should do it, right? At least it should leave the edge toothier than by finishing on the fine rods and my strop.

But, question to both of you: Is it a bad thing necessarely rounding the apex by repeated stropping? Wouldn´t that be quite the same as convexing the knife, a kind of edge many people seem to believe is the best overall type anyway?
Top three going by pocket-time: Endura 4 in VG 10/Micarta-scales; Stretch 1 in VG 10; Endura 4 in HAP 40


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