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Strop vs steel - gimmick or real differences? Login/Join 
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Picture of konata88
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I've been using a worksharp to sharpen knives and a steel between sharpening sessions. Generally have been pretty happy with the results.

I saw someone use a strop w/ some green goop. The knife seemed to be very sharp, probably sharper than my knives (which I consider to be pretty sharp). He was attributing it to using the strop.

Dumb question: how much sharpness does stropping add above using a sharpener like the worksharp (he was using a similar rotating type of device). Is the sharpness more about sharpening technique (for which he is probably better)? And strop is just marginal benefit?

Or does a strop have material and noticeable benefits after sharpening? Will I (a novice) see a benefit in using a strop after sharpening w/ the worksharp?

If strop is useful, how is a strop better than a steel? What do I look for in a (paddle strop? leather strop?)? Brand? All basically good enough - just a patch of leather? Or is the strop brand, leather type actually important? Recommendations? BeaverCraft paddle strop on Prime okay?

https://www.amazon.com/gp/prod...A312E2U64V7XLE&psc=1




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Posts: 8313 | Location: In the gilded cage | Registered: December 09, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Lost
Picture of kkina
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A strop and steel do different things:

A steel is only for straightening the edge; that's why you do it between actual sharpening sessions.

A strop both straightens the edge and removes some of the metal, i.e. polishes/sharpens as well (especially if you're using abrasive compound).

So basically your friend is sharpening every time he strops, and always has a fresh edge.



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Posts: 13282 | Location: SF Bay Area | Registered: December 11, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of konata88
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Hmmm. Is a strop basically then a fine grit whetstone? Or are they two different things too?

Maybe I'll just buy one off Prime and try it. I have fine grit stones already that I use for Deba and Sashimi.

But for double edged blades, I use the worksharp and it's been pretty good. Haven't really needed anything more sharp. But the strop'ed blades do seem to be another level so it drew my curiosity.




"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." - B.Franklin
"Wrong does not cease to be wrong because the majority share in it." L.Tolstoy
 
Posts: 8313 | Location: In the gilded cage | Registered: December 09, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Lost
Picture of kkina
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quote:
Hmmm. Is a strop basically then a fine grit whetstone?

Well, no, it's not because a whetstone doesn't have a dual function like a strop (straightens and sharpens simultaneously).

Stropping is mostly when you need maximum sharpness for every use, for example shaving razors. But it means you have to bust out the abrasive compound each time. Also I don't think it would be aggressive enough for a heavy use blade. It's more for a blade kept at optimal condition all the time, like that razor. You don't strop a camp ax (or maybe someone does? Who knows....)

For general use, like kitchen knives, stropping would be excessive. Much easier to sharpen at intervals, and just hone with a few strokes from a steel before use.

But if you like doing it, more power to you.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: kkina,



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Posts: 13282 | Location: SF Bay Area | Registered: December 11, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of konata88
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Got it.

Okay, forgetting about strops. Sounds like not really indicated for my usages.




"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." - B.Franklin
"Wrong does not cease to be wrong because the majority share in it." L.Tolstoy
 
Posts: 8313 | Location: In the gilded cage | Registered: December 09, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Little ray
of sunshine
Picture of jhe888
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Yes. Strops with abrasive compounds are for super-fine polishing and sharpening. Razors are the perfect example of where they can be used.




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Posts: 48614 | Location: Texas | Registered: February 10, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
eh-TEE-oh-clez
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quote:
Originally posted by konata88:
Got it.

Okay, forgetting about strops. Sounds like not really indicated for my usages.


Do you like sharp things? You do? Then a strop is indicated for your usage Smile

Just get a strip of leather and glue it down to a piece of scrap wood, and rub some green polishing compound on it and strop away.
 
Posts: 11006 | Location: Orange County, California | Registered: May 19, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I use a Spyderco Sharpmaker with medium, fine, and ultra fine stones for general maintenance. After that a strop isn’t necessary but I can sure tell the difference when I do use it. The blade noticeably glides better through paper after the strop.



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Posts: 1416 | Location: Colorado | Registered: December 09, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hi Photoman,
I also use a spyderco sharp maker followed by a strop. I get to the white rods and raise a tiny burr, then strop with green compound to remove it and yes, the knife then glides through paper better with that burr off. I also feel it keeps it's edge longer.
 
Posts: 153 | Location: Nevada | Registered: May 12, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Sacramento Johnson:
Hi Photoman,
I also use a spyderco sharp maker followed by a strop. I get to the white rods and raise a tiny burr, then strop with green compound to remove it and yes, the knife then glides through paper better with that burr off. I also feel it keeps it's edge longer.


Exactly. You can see/feel that burr/wire edge. The stones never really get rid of it. Instead it seems to fold back and forth. The strop does away with it.


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Posts: 1416 | Location: Colorado | Registered: December 09, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
The Unmanned Writer
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Waiting for the only person on my ignore list to come in here and post something so stupid it's obvious to all that's how to kill an edge - and then argue the justification because "saw it done that way before."

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That is way too far to be walking after 5 weeks. Been there, done that.


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Posts: 214 | Location: Sacramento, California | Registered: October 30, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Well I will hope I’m not the guy on your ignore list, but here goes. Lol

You should get a strop. Firstly, by using the work sharp you are most definitely putting a convex edge vice a V grind like you would with stones. Once you go convex, which you have, using a strop is the natural progression. Plus, strips are wicked easy to use and once you get the hang of it produce scary sharp convex edges.

The strops I use are leather glued to both sides of a wooden backer. This allows a progression from a coarser abrasive to a finer abrasive. Try one, you will like it. Strops are very easy to use in the field as well which is a huge benefit. (A strop can literally be as simple a piece of cardboard with abrasive rouge spread on it)
 
Posts: 2591 | Registered: June 18, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of Perception
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Good stones will get you hair popping sharp. That's quite a bit sharper than most people need for anything. A strop will get you beyond that to hair whittling sharp. It wont be be a useful edge for most tasks, but it's sure fun to play around with.




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Posts: 2710 | Location: Two blocks from the Center of the Universe | Registered: December 30, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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My camping knives all have convex edges. I use a portable strop kit to keep them in shape.
Unlike my other knives, I have never needed to use my Worksharp on them. I just strop them before and after a trip. I take the portable kit along but have never needed to use it in the field.

Here is a starter kit, if you're interested:
https://www.dlttrading.com/eco...ening-hone-kit-3-bar
I'm sure other vendors sell similar types of kits too.
 
Posts: 2305 | Registered: January 15, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Non-Miscreant
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Like so many things, there's a book written about that.Big Grin I've read a good number, and a bunch of magazine articles. From back when magazines were published. I've never read one that seemed to be authoritative enough to convince me of much. Lots of opinions. Remember, opinions are like... well, you know, we all have them and they all stink.

So what it comes down to is almost any system or device will get you sharp enough for your needs, depending on what they are. For cutting steak or whittling wood, Most anything is good enough. Then the next question is how much metal will go away with each cycle, and how long will the knife last.

Background, any well made knife will last just about anyone a lifetime. I have a buddy who's uncle worked for decades for Randall Made. Not continuously, but whenever he was sober! Big Grin He was good enough they'd hire him back. Anyway, his sisters kids (my buddy included) were pouring a new back step on the house. When he heard about it he told them to wait, he'd come up from FL and help. So they had little to lose.

Most of it was just the grunt work of forming and mixing a bunch of concrete. It was the final part he wanted in on. They poured the steps and nearly everyone thought they were done. Except Jimmy.

His work included a little sand mix and some magic dust. Just a bag of grit. Added in before the steps dried too much. He mixed it up in a cut off milk jug and added it on top. Then a little extra effort to make it smooth and level. Dried up just fine.

He used it as his final step on sharpening a few Randal knives and other knives that didn't meet his standards (few ever did). Before he drank himself to death later on, he admitted there was nothing special about the grit. Just a garden grade compound. Added to the level step. More magic was included in the technique of holding the knife at a steady angle, and knowing what that angle needed to be.

With a little practice, anyone can make a knife sharp enough for most purposes. With a lot of practice, they can do it rapidly. Most meat cutters preach about how they need a really sharp knife. Then live their life with what most people would say is a moderately dull one. But they sharpen them to suit their task. Notice they're not brain surgeons. Doesn't matter if they or you can make your knife sharp enough to do your task. Any effort beyond that is just wasted effort and you'll end up throwing away blade steel. And your own sweat.

Most of us, me included, buy and use much better steel than we need. I know I don't need my hand forged Randall knives. My fathers hand made kitchen knives he made in the 1940s were made from nasty old saw blades. Easy to sharpen, easy to dull. Think soft steel. Works great.


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Posts: 17020 | Location: Kentucky, USA | Registered: February 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Throwin sparks
makin knives
Picture of sybo
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I’ll have to agree with rburg!
 
Posts: 5649 | Location: Nashville Tn | Registered: October 12, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Frangas non Flectes
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The suggestion of cardboard with compound was a good one. I worked in a lot of kitchens that didn’t maintain their knives very well, but there was never a shortage of cardboard.

Even without any compound on it, you can take a beater working knife, and using the open, corrugated end of the cardboard, manage to align the edge back to something fairly usable within 10-20 passes. Lay the cardboard flat on the table and with about as many passes, you can get even better.

You can do the same with non-glossy newsprint and get surprising results. Point being, even if you don’t have access to a stone, you can revitalize an edge somewhat without special tools.

Albert at Seattle Edge also recommended to me to strop instead of stoning until it was truly necessary, so I use it as my first step in edge maintenance as well as the last. It’s working out pretty well.
 
Posts: 11559 | Registered: February 10, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Non-Miscreant
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Instead of glue to a piece of wood, try using a piece of glass. You'd be surprised at how flat a piece of old glass will be.


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Posts: 17020 | Location: Kentucky, USA | Registered: February 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Frangas non Flectes
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quote:
Originally posted by rburg:
Instead of glue to a piece of wood, try using a piece of glass. You'd be surprised at how flat a piece of old glass will be.


Yep. Perhaps even better would be a granite tile from a hardware store. It’s what we used to use at my old job for sanding things that had to be absolutely flat and level. A can of mild spray adhesive, some sandpaper, and you’ve got the ideal flat sanding, or in this case and using leather, stropping surface. Might even be able to get a free offcut from a flooring and tile shop if you tell them what you’re looking for, and why.
 
Posts: 11559 | Registered: February 10, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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