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What does stropping do you to your knife?

Wed Nov 13, 2013 5:33 am

What does stropping do you to your knife, that I a high grid stone can not?
What would be the difference between a knife that was stropped and the one that was polished on say 10K grid stone?

Re: What does stropping do you to your knife?

Wed Nov 13, 2013 7:00 am

Even a 1 micron strop is around 13k.

Check this out: http://blog.modernmechanix.com/wonder-photos-reveal-unsuspected-facts-about-razor-blades-and-shaving/

Re: What does stropping do you to your knife?

Wed Nov 13, 2013 11:56 pm

Amazingly interesting piece of history article!

Re: What does stropping do you to your knife?

Thu Nov 14, 2013 1:05 am

I'm not a huge fan of stropping. Not because I don't think it has its place, but because I can get a knife well more than sharp enough with a stone. If properly used, my Naniwa 10k superstone can make a knife just ridiculously sharp.

That said, a diamond spray on a strop can leave a different edge than the stone. The way diamond particles are, they have sharp edges that leave a toothy edge.

Other stropping compounds can leave similarly different edges based on their shape.

Re: What does stropping do you to your knife?

Thu Nov 14, 2013 9:41 am

What Adam said. Both a high grit stone and a strop serve to touch up or refine an edge, and will work differently based on what you are using. Hard stone will strop differently than Balsa, or felt, or leather, with different compounds (diamond, Boron Carbide, etc). Ken Schwartz should be able to fill you in if you post this in the sharpening forum!

Re: What does stropping do you to your knife?

Thu Nov 14, 2013 10:37 am

I think it is best to compare similar things. So first let's start with grit or particle size. So for instance let's look at a strop with 2 micron CBN (Cubic Boron Nitride). That's 8k grit. Or a 30k stone - that's a half micron particle. Obviously the 30k stone will give a finer finish than the 2 micron strop. So if you are using a 16 micron (1k) CBN strop, you will have an aggressive cutting strop. And so on.

So you can begin using a strop after a 500 grit stone using coarse grits on a strop - or go up to a very fine stone like a 30k before using a very fine grit strop - quarter micron tenth micron etc.

A first consideration is just how refined of an edge you need. This is largely a matter of personal taste and should be decided depending on a number of factors, the most important being the intended task for the knife.

My personal preference is to just simply think of stropping (a vague term) as what you usually switch to after your finest stone and just to think of honing or sharpening and stropping as simply abrasion. So I prefer to not make hugh jumps in abrasion from a coarser grit to a finer grit in any case. So for instance if you are using a 10k stone (about 1.75 microns) going to a 24 k strop (0.75 microns) is a nice jump. Still aggressive enough to continue the process rather than say jumping to a 0.25 micron or 64k 'strop'.

So the next time someone says they have a 6k edge but they stropped it on something finer - well it isn't a 6k edge anymore.

Other factors are the type of compound and the type of strop. So for instance a 0.75 micron CBN strop will cut surprisingly aggressively - especially so on abrasion resistant steels. I use this for touchups on a reasonably sharp edge on kitchen knives for my own use. It's a dry technique and quick. Quicker than splash and go - just Go :) I'm going to avoid going into detail here just to leave the emphasis on particle or grit size as the most important consideration rather than if it is performed on a strop or a stone.

---
Ken

Re: What does stropping do you to your knife?

Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:12 pm

Sidenote guys: Let's start moving these sharpening related questions into the sharpening section next time, thanks. ;)

Re: What does stropping do you to your knife?

Mon Nov 18, 2013 2:08 pm

And if we say no, what are YOU going to do about it? :o

p.s. Good idea!

Re: What does stropping do you to your knife?

Mon Nov 18, 2013 6:38 pm

:twisted:

Re: What does stropping do you to your knife?

Tue Nov 26, 2013 11:57 pm

Anything over 10k is useless for a real cook or chef. After 5 min of heavy prep the ultra fine edge would be gone
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