Discover Knife Stropping

You want to do this without lifting the spine off the leather to prevent any damage and to keep your stropping consistent. Slowly turn your wrist in almost the same way you would start a car with the key in the ignition. At The Cook’s Edge, we use the suede side of our leather strop to remove any of the remaining burr and the smooth side for the final polish. This last step polishes the edge of the knife, removing any of the excess metal left over from the knife sharpening process. Stropping will make the difference between a sharp knife and a VERY sharp knife. The work the strop does is right along the cutting edge, so you use the same angle as you would for the micro-bevels when finishing work with a stone.

stropping a blade

Let the strop dry naturally or else it will shrink. When it dries you’ll be very pleased with the results. (Disclaimer, all secondary components are different. Please consult a professional before cleaning). Purchasing a brand new strop requires a break-in period that can range from a few days to months.

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Attach a sturdy anchor point like an eye bolt to a wall or counter, hang the strop by the hook from your anchor point and then grab the handle to pull it taut when using. Those who don’t use as much or any compound may prefer the smooth grain side leather. Sharpeners of woodworking tools such as chisels where a rounding of the bevel is not wanted find that the slightly harder surface works to their advantage as well.

Can You Use Any Leather Belt For A Strop?

Strops are most commonly made from either suede or smooth leather, though other materials are used in some cases. There are two main ways in which a knife can be honed – with either a honing steel or a knife pull-through. Honing steels are long, narrow, and rod-like tools made of metal. They are sometimes referred to as “sharpening steels”; however, this incorrectly implies that the rod can sharpen the knife.

For basic field knife maintenance, many people buy one paddle like this, load it with black compound, leave the smooth side bare, and they’re done. No need for other strops with other levels of compound. Some experienced knife users rely on a stone to do the bulk of the “grinding” before using a strop to do the finishing polish work. In harder steel the “mushroom” is usually brittle and can be stropped away with a rougher surface like denim, smooth leather not so well.