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stropping - newspaper vs leather/other materials

Tue Mar 18, 2014 3:41 pm

I've only used newspaper to strop my knives and to me does a good job.

i want to know if and how much better a leather strop and other strops compare to newspaper and if they are worth the extra $$$

Re: stropping - newspaper vs leather/other materials

Tue Mar 18, 2014 6:12 pm

Worth isn't worth commenting on in my opinion.....it matters only to you in my opinion. I dread spending $50 on something that turns out to be something I don't like. Perhaps your threshold is higher or lower. Hope you understand.

That said, I strop on hard felt to remove burrs and wire edges. I've found it works as well or better than any other method. I also have a leather I strop that I load with a diamond spray that works well at putting a refined/toothy edge on.

Both are DIFFERENT than newspaper....but neither is "better" per say IMHO. It depends on what you're after really.

Re: stropping - newspaper vs leather/other materials

Tue Mar 18, 2014 6:31 pm

Listen to Adam, he knows of what he speaks!
Some people, myself included strop on balsa loaded with compound.
I usually do felt to remove burr, then balsa, then felt again, then finish up with leather.
Some people don't strop at all.
Simply there is more than one path to a great edge.

Re: stropping - newspaper vs leather/other materials

Tue Mar 18, 2014 7:44 pm

I just did it the chef way- Come home at 2.30am after a dinner service and clean down, touch up knives on the stones. Looks around for strop but doesnt find one cause he never bought any to begin with, and goes, "F*ck it."...Takes off belt from his pants, locks it into place by anchoring it between the door and the doorway, pulls taut and strops away like a boss.

Re: stropping - newspaper vs leather/other materials

Tue Mar 18, 2014 9:04 pm

i guess what i really want to know is what exactly one type of strop does better/differently to another. i know there are a number of methods of stropping - but any comparisons would be informative.

Re: stropping - newspaper vs leather/other materials

Tue Mar 18, 2014 9:37 pm

My own summation of stropping, based on my somewhat limited experience and what others here have said is:

Stropping can be used to do one (or more) of three things to your edges:

1) Straighten a rolled or otherwise non-straight edge of the edge on the bevel if it was previously very straight and correctly formed.

2) Refine an existing edge to a finer level of finish.

3) Assist in removing burrs, burr remnants, or wire edges on the edge bevel itself.

The stropping medium used, whether some kind of abrasive compound is used, the compound abrasive composition, and the fineness of the compound will all determine which one or more of these will take place and to what extent.

Basic examples:

Newspaper on its own on a flat surface will probably have little abrasive qualities and would probably just accomplish #1 above.

Hard felt w/ or w/o compound is used by many to accomplish #3 and also sometimes #2 as well. Sometimes both at once.

Hard balsa w/ a compound could definitely accomplish #1, #2 and possible #3 as well.

Nanocloth is used specifically to have little to no effect on it's own, so that just the compound influences the stropping effect. This is probably accomplishing mostly #2 and some #1.

I know TAZ (Tim Johnson) strops on leather to help deburr. He has success doing this.

I think you'll find that different people often obtain similar results and accomplish similar things using a variety of stropping mediums and compounds. That's clear as mud - ain't it ;-).

This is my take on stropping. Feel free to tell me I have it all wrong and then please enlighten me on your interpretation of stropping and it's effects :-).

Re: stropping - newspaper vs leather/other materials

Tue Mar 18, 2014 9:51 pm

Steve I think that's quite accurate actually. As someone who has little interest in stropping (I mainly have working edges on most of my knives, no rotation = more frequent sharpening) I believe this is correct. You can accomplish many tasks but the base and compound used will give you a variety of different effects. You can either chase and search for the effect you want, but IMO you'll be searching for a long time.

Re: stropping - newspaper vs leather/other materials

Tue Mar 18, 2014 9:54 pm

I was never a big fan of using newsprint. I found it to be slow and much less effective than bare leather (horse or Roo). I think for a compound substrate balsa works best.

Re: stropping - newspaper vs leather/other materials

Tue Mar 18, 2014 10:37 pm

Steve has offered a good post.

The late night belt strop works though, it is all about what you want to get out and put away. I use balsa, leather, and strop compounds, though not always at the same time.

I almost never use a steel to hone anymore, once a week I get out a finishing stone and some strops and go that way, my edges have began to last much longer without needing a complete sharpening.

Re: stropping - newspaper vs leather/other materials

Wed Mar 19, 2014 9:41 am

I like compound or diamond on balsa, also use horse butt bare as a final polish sometimes but often leave the diamond stopped finish cos I want some bite in the edge.
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