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 Post subject: To strop or not to strop... that is the question..
PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2013 4:40 am 

Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2013 3:45 pm
Posts: 104
Ok knife fans.. I work in a professional kitchen so I am using my knives everyday. I am confident for the most part on my sharpening ability... I use a ceramic steel to hone.. I have almost entirely Japanese carbon knifes..

I have yet to fully understand or embrace stropping.. whether with leather or some other application.. Can we start a discussion on the importance of stropping and how necessary is it? I use a high grit stone to finish my sharpening so how much of a difference will I notice... Will a ceramic steel do virtually the same trick? I am curious of your thoughts and scared that you will say it is necessary as I don't need another item in my wish list.. Please comment and let me know your thoughts.. I haven't seen a thread on this topic in a while.

Jason


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 Post subject: Re: To strop or not to strop... that is the question..
PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2013 3:03 pm 

Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2012 8:44 pm
Posts: 160
When I was just a youngin' I would hang out with my cousin, and his father, my uncle used a straight razor, and did wood working all the way to the finish. He taught us about stopping. The more I read, and the more I work with strops as I have bought them from CKTG, they are not a requirement, but they are not to be overlooked. Even a low grit stone will get you a sharp edge. If you want a razor, consider a strop. If you ust want a workable edge, you can get by with 1k grit.

At some point we all got obsessed with performance, but the truth is that if you just want to improve the sharpness of your knives, its really simple..


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 Post subject: Re: To strop or not to strop... that is the question..
PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2013 3:05 pm 

Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2012 8:44 pm
Posts: 160
I really need to proof read all my posts... You get the point I hope.


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 Post subject: Re: To strop or not to strop... that is the question..
PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2013 7:52 pm 

Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2013 7:48 pm
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Reposting this article on the physical changes that happen during stropping. Explanations, pictures and all...from 1931

http://blog.modernmechanix.com/wonder-p ... d-shaving/


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 Post subject: Re: To strop or not to strop... that is the question..
PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2013 7:25 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 29, 2013 5:46 pm
Posts: 217
Depends what you mean by "stropping," and what you're attempting to accomplish.

As a term, "stropping" can refer to using an edge trailing stroke on any surface. And/or it can refer to using specific surfaces referred to as "strops." Those surfaces can be charged or uncharged; hard, medium or soft; and either not-backed (as a barber's belt strop) or hard backed (e.g., glued to a piece of wood).

Kitchen knives and razors are very different things. Kitchen knives SHOULD NOT be stropped on a belt. It will roll the edge and dull the knife. Every. Damn. Time.

Strops are particularly effective for very fine polishes. For professional kitchen use, there's not much benefit to strops compared to stones, because there's usually not much point to taking a knife to a professional knife to an extreme level of polish.

Stropping is an effective method of truing. It's not as fast or efficient as a rod hone, but it's a helluva lot more gentle and is better suited to knives prone to chipping because of their asymmetric geometry or particular blade alloy.

For the same reason stropping works to true, it also works to chasing a burr and to deburr. Smooth but grabby strops (such as hard felt) deburr very well. On the other hand, stropping on just about any surface can result in tenacious wires if you're not careful.

There are at least a million ways to strop right, and probably two million to do it wrong. As a sharpening method, stropping on strops is probably best suited to guys who are very comfortable with screwing around. Just to give you some idea of what's not terribly unusual: I strop on charged balsa, charged leather, uncharged leather, charged 3M film, and uncharged felt. I've loaded (aka "charged") my strops with red jeweler's rouge, green chromium oxide, boron, and diamond in the past, but now use either CBN or diamond. If you think that represents a lot of money, it doesn't cover the jewelry, scarves and shoes bought as a way of keeping the heat off.

Hope this helps,
BDL


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 Post subject: Re: To strop or not to strop... that is the question..
PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2013 9:15 pm 
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boar_d_laze wrote: "As a sharpening method, stropping on strops is probably best suited to guys who are very comfortable with screwing around."


I'll screw around tinkering with anything to see if it works. As for my stropping on charged balsa/leather, I prefer to view it as a way of extending the time period between trips to the steel consuming stones. When I started using said mediums... yes, the edge they provided me off the strop were awe inspiring, but a working edge is what I'm concerned with. Before I stropped on these mediums, when my knives would dull I would go back to the stones. Bear in mind, I always finish every stone in my progression with a stropping sequence on that particular stone. Effectively, I'd end up sharpening all over again. I ate up steel for no reason. The balsa/leather saves me steel. I stay sharp with strops... and I "repair" [deformed edges] with stones.

boar_d_laze wrote: Just to give you some idea of what's not terribly unusual: I strop on charged balsa, charged leather, uncharged leather, charged 3M film, and uncharged felt. I've loaded (aka "charged") my strops with red jeweler's rouge, green chromium oxide, boron, and diamond in the past, but now use either CBN or diamond. If you think that represents a lot of money, it doesn't cover the jewelry, scarves and shoes bought as a way of keeping the heat off.


Good to hear to have a way of keeping the wife around...



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 Post subject: Re: To strop or not to strop... that is the question..
PostPosted: Fri Apr 26, 2013 9:55 am 
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Excellent post BDL! Especially that last point, LOL. And the first point regarding the confusion inherent in the term stropping.

I prefer to use the term abrading as a more inclusive term than stropping, but it is hard to completely abandon stropping as a term.

I would like to emphasize one point - that the grit used on a strop can overlap the grit on a stone.

Thus one can use a 16 micron stone - which is a 1k stone OR a 16 micron compound on a strop (leather. balsa, nanocloth, paper, etc.) Or going in the other direction, you can use a 1 or 0.5 micron compound on a strop or a 16k or 30k stone. Or you can actually apply a compound like CBN or diamond of a similar grit on a stone to make the stone cut more aggressively. I have compounds as fine as 0.025 microns, but a full sequence of compounds extending to as coarse as 300 microns. Given this range of compounds, the division between using stones and compounds on 'strops' is not a clear boundary at all.

I find that you can regenerate (and even create) a working edge quickly with a strop using 4 or even 9 microns - roughly a 4k or 2k edge. If you don't let your edges get too dull, I usually use a 0.75 CBN strop (24k edge) to quickly give a very serviceable and quite sharp edge.

As an aside for Arkansas stone fans, I find that a touch of 4 micron CBN sprayed on a Surgical black Arkansas stone gives you a wider range of steels that can benefit from using an Arkansas stone. Just a half pump or so, nothing excessive. With no ill effects on the stone. And when using a stone as the substrate instead of balsa, felt etc, you can do both edge leading and trailing strokes.

Not defining arbitrary boundaries among abrasion methods into subclassifications of sharpening, honing and stropping allows for a whole creative range of possibilities.

One caveat - only use formulations that are water soluble on stones - especially synthetic and natural waterstones.

---
Ken



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 Post subject: Re: To strop or not to strop... that is the question..
PostPosted: Fri Apr 26, 2013 3:38 pm 
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+1 with everything Ken said.

BDL


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 Post subject: Re: To strop or not to strop... that is the question..
PostPosted: Fri Apr 26, 2013 7:39 pm 
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Not to strop is DULL - to strop is SHARP......

:)



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 Post subject: Re: To strop or not to strop... that is the question..
PostPosted: Fri Apr 26, 2013 10:08 pm 
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Don't stop until you strop. Has a nice ring to it :)

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Ken



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