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 Post subject: Strop questions
PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2014 11:41 am 

Joined: Wed Jun 05, 2013 2:48 pm
Posts: 173
I'm thinking about adding stropping to my progression. Right now I finish on a 5k rika. I'm curious if I were to add say horse butt at the end what type of benefit this might give? I'm not overly interested in getting into super high grit refinement, I find the rika gives a good finish for my home kitchen use. At most I would consider something like the Snow White down the road. Any suggestions, or is stropping overkill for my use?


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 Post subject: Re: Strop questions
PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2014 12:59 pm 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 6:20 am
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I haven't done an exhaustive study of the matter but as I understand it stropping helps remove residual burr, aligns the edge like a steel rod would, and is mildly abrasive so it adds a final measure of refinement.

Strops are also nice because they can be used in place of a honing steel and because they distribute the pressure across more of the edge they are less likely to damage the edge than a rod. I strop every time I use my knives.

I have found that my edges benefit from stropping and I have played with a number of stropping mediums. If you want to give it a try you can go old school and use a leather belt, some newsprint, corrugated cardboard, or even something like denim. I have had some success with all of these.

Of course the rabbit hole can deepen with compounds which add abrasive to the strop and make it act like a high grit stone.


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 Post subject: Re: Strop questions
PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2014 2:31 pm 

Joined: Wed Jun 05, 2013 2:48 pm
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Does horse butt on its own make a good option for maintenance on the edge?


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 Post subject: Re: Strop questions
PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2014 2:39 pm 
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Yes! I do it all the time and it works well.



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 Post subject: Re: Strop questions
PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2014 12:25 am 

Joined: Sat Mar 01, 2014 7:15 am
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Location: Raleigh, NC
I do horse butt by itself to good effect.


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 Post subject: Re: Strop questions
PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2014 12:37 am 
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So the Rika is nominally a 5k stone - 4k might be more accurate. That's equivalent to a 4 micron particle. An 8k stone like the Snow white is a solid 8k or 2 micron stone equivalent. So if you are going from a 4k stone, consider using a strop with 2 micron or even 1 micron Boron Carbide on it. If you are stopping at an 8k stone, consider a strop with either 1 micron or even half micron Boron Carbide. While horse butt will refine the edge a bit, it really is too big of a jump and not as aggressive for refining these relatively coarser edges. You could put these compounds on the horse strop, or use (ideally) nanocloth as a strop. For a 4 micron or 2 micron strop, you could also use Balsa or Bovine strops. Once you have achieved a half micron edge, you could follow that with the horse butt strop, or for an even finer edge the Kangaroo strop will give you a far superior edge.

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 Post subject: Re: Strop questions
PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2014 1:01 am 

Joined: Fri Feb 07, 2014 4:52 pm
Posts: 197
Ken, could you elaborate on what you think the effective range of each strop material is with regard to paste particle size?

i.e
balsa >2u
bovine leather>4u
horse leather >1u
kangaroo leather
nancloth

etc etc

Thanks!

(my example is just that, the numbers shouldn't be taken to mean anything)


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 Post subject: Re: Strop questions
PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2014 7:51 am 

Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2013 9:21 pm
Posts: 427
Yes you can strop on non loaded medium. It works the same as using a steel to align the teeth. It's not necessary at all to buy a bunch of stropping compounds to have a good edge. Stropping on bare leather is an effective way of straighten out the jaws of an edge...I call em jaws cuz they are teeth and they do bite.

If you are happy with the working edge you have there is really no need obsess about further refinement. Murry Carter uses simple 1k-6k king stones and he seems to have plenty of satisfied customers.

By all means try to take your edge to a higher finish. We can't tell you which edge is better because there is a strong personal preference as to how far to take an edge.

You may or may not have a knifegasm after you try stropping with compounds. Stropping on brown paper bags or newspaper is very good medium to use if you don't want to buy leather strops. It works just fine.


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 Post subject: Re: Strop questions
PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2014 7:01 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 6:46 am
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Location: Lake of the Ozarks, MO
I have been experimenting with news print and have enjoyed the results so much that I am looking into strops as well


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 Post subject: Re: Strop questions
PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2014 5:25 pm 
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"Ken, could you elaborate on what you think the effective range of each strop material is with regard to paste particle size?"

This is actually a tough question. I would have to divide it up into effective and optimal.

paper - depends on the paper. Finer paper works best for finer grits. You can use paper plain as it does have abrasive content, primarily from the clay content of the water used to refine it The pulp itself also has natural abrasives. Check the screens in your faucet if you think your water has no particulates in it :) For coarse grits paper tears up easily, so Balsa works good here. Real coarse and the grit won't stick to the paper - eg 80, 200 and 300 micron CBN. Copy paper used for printing is cheap and OK for mud samples in coarse to medium fine grits. For fine paper I like Bagasse - made from sugar cane pulp. Very smooth but a bit too thin. Relatively cheap. My favorite paper comes from Rhodia / Clairfontaine - durable and silky smooth. Even their card stock works well. There are also several Japanese papers that work well. I don't really notice a difference between Japanese and American newspapers. BTW Murray will sometimes strop on newsprint. His edges CAN be improved with a 10k Glassstone FWIW, but he does squeeze out excellent performance from a 6k King. Some say the Japanese ink is best (I think this is BS) and makes Japanese newsprint better. Even glossy paper has abrasive characteristics. Strop on a brochure. The downside of paper is durability for compounds - the compound outlasts the paper. The upside is flexibility. You can back it with soft backing for convex edges or hard backing for precise flat bevels. Or use the mud or compounds on it like a fingerstone.

I use Balsa for stone mud preparations, especially natural stone muds like aotos. It's pretty versatile. For coarse muds or CBN, the particles embed into the balsa and you don't get the full height of the particle effectively reducing the grit size a bit. Much more durable than paper. I have used it over a wide grit range but at the finer grits .25 and finer it begins to interfere with the abrasive. Not a great strop on its own without abrasive.

Horse is a bit finer and harder than cow and Kangaroo is finest by far. All have their own natural abrasive and surface texture. Kangaroo is thinnest and therefore gives the most precise edges. Cow is most widely available and cheapest. I use it for belts and strops. Belts have notoriously bad 'joins' so it gives an annoying 'bump' each time it goes around. The belts also stretch eventually becoming unusable. These days I prefer linen belts.

Kangaroo can be used with compounds as fine as 640,000 grit or as coarse as 2 microns. Horse is OK up to .25 but less so after that. Cow is a similar range to horse.

Linen - I use this with CBN and diamond as coarse as 80 microns and as fine as .25. I think it has a coarseness in it's own right so probably below 1 micron it is not optimal. A very durable substrate. I have linen belts for all the major grinder sizes from 2x72 inch down to all the Worksharp belt sizes - eg 1x30 and 1x42, etc.

Felt - I rarely use felt for much of anything. Some like it.

Nanocloth - Surprisingly most think of this for just the ultrafine grits and here it has no peer. You can use this well up to my 1.2 million grit polycrystalline diamond product. BUT you can also use it down to 80 and even 200 and 300 micron grit! It is THE most versatile substrate out there bar none. Works GRAT for natural stone slurries, etc etc. I consider it the king of substrates. Far more durable than paper. Holds a denser coat of abrasives than leather of all sorts. Superb with CBN, Boron Carbide sprays and emulsions.

Stones - the forgotten substrate. I like to match synthetic stone grits with compounds of comparable grit. Particularly effective for the coarsest grits. So from 300 microns to half micron (30k). For natural stones, I go with matching grits in the mid grit and coarse stones and with finer grits than the stone itself on finer grit stones (awasedo) So from 80 micron (Ohmura) to 0.025 (Ozuku, Nakayama).

This whole posting is a very rough or cursory overview. More detail would be a whole book.

---
Ken



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