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When to hone and when to strop?

Wed Nov 27, 2013 6:19 am

How do you guys maintain your edge?

Do you hone before and after each use then take to a high grit stone once a month?

Do you strop instead?

Have both, just wondering what best system is to use here.

Re: When to hone and when to strop?

Wed Nov 27, 2013 9:29 am

With my softer steel kitchen knives I tend to run them on a steel every few uses, strop them if the steel stops being as effective, then sharpen them when stropping no longer brings them back. A true knife steel only straightens an edge, a strop can also straighten an edge but it can refine/polish it as well, and of course sharpening is the removal of metal.

With a very hard knife, like the ones that are mostly talked about here, you probably don't want to use a standard knife steel. Just a strop will work fine between sharpening sessions or a steel that someone else can recommend (and most likely will, lol) which can refine or touch up the edge instead of forcing it straight like an actual knife steel does.

Re: When to hone and when to strop?

Fri Nov 29, 2013 10:27 pm

Around our house I sharpen weekly. Maybe every two weeks if I'm lucky. No way around it. But I must say my wonderful lady Mary is coming around to proper use of knives and respecting them.

Re: When to hone and when to strop?

Wed Dec 04, 2013 6:30 am

I have pre-charged balsa that does a great job of cleaning up a knife edge. Usually stropping a few times brings the edge back where I want it. If not, I typically don't let my edges get bad enough to need a full blown sharpening, but just a touch up on a higher-grit stone (typically my finishing stone for that particular knife).

Re: When to hone and when to strop?

Wed Dec 04, 2013 10:39 am

As a home cook, I don't do either before each use.

I typically wait until the knife is noticeably duller and then strop it a few times on my higher grit stone. At some point (probably every third time) that doesn't work, so out comes the set-up and it's resharpened.

Re: When to hone and when to strop?

Wed Dec 04, 2013 11:01 am

My typical gauge is how well it cuts a tomato. If I am using tomatoes and the edge doesn't feel right (the skin will fight a rolled or deflected edge, a sharp straight edge glides right through), it is time to stop and steel the knife. That typically brings it back to good form with my cheaper knives. With my harder Japanese knives, I'll probably just run them over the strop a few passes on each side when the time comes. They're still new (had them two weeks today, with a week solid of use) so that time hasn't come yet, but I do know my other knives would have needed to be steeled by now.
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