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Thread: How to strop an edge

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Tidewater, VA
    Posts
    537

    How to strop an edge

    Iíve seen and read a lot of comments on stropping edges as a final step in the honing process and Iím interested in trying that.

    Can someone please describe the type of leather preferred? Is it hard like a barberís strop? I have some deer hide that is like suede on one side and is smooth on the other but overall is soft. Is this acceptable if adhered to a backer board?

    How much do you strop? I guess Iím concerned that there is the possibility of rounding the edge.

    Thanks.
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Memphis, TN
    Posts
    112
    I have the Lee Valley double sided leather strop and honing compound and really like it. I really don't think you have to worry about rounding over the edge as it wouldn't be aggressive enough for that.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Bucks County PA
    Posts
    653

    Leather may not be needed

    Richard,
    While other , more knowledgeable wood workers may weigh in here, you may not need to use leather.

    I used a piece of 3/4" MDF that has been charged with Lee Valley's Veritas Green Honing Compound. On a tip from a fellow wood worker, I added a drop of mineral oil to the surface of the MDF before I "drew" on it with the Green Honing compound. This helped the MDF to accept the charge better. Just a note, you don't need a lot of the honing compound. Just a couple scribbles.

    A couple of nights ago I sharpened and honed all my chisels (in prep for a project). After I sharpened (using the Scary Sharp method) I honed the back and bevel on my stropping board. I was amazed at how quickly the wire edge appeared, crumbled, then left a SUPER SHARP edge! I was totally impressed and have since been on a sharpening binge. I sharpened and honed a Butcher iron from one of my Woodies last night and was rewarded with an improved performance from this plane.
    Dominic Greco

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Williamsburg,Va.
    Posts
    10,053
    When I was a kid,we never had money,and I used a piece of paper as a strop. Took a while,but paper is abrasive and will strop. I don't recommend it !! Some like to use a clean piece of aluminum as a strop. Aluminum has a transparent layer of oxide on its surface. It only appears to be corrosion resistant,actually corroding very quickly to make this layer. AL0 is very hard,and can strop tools. I don't use it,but some do. As an experiment,some may want to try it.

  5. #5

    Leather Strop Use

    I use a leather strop hide glued to a piece of plywood, with 80 grit glued to the other side so it won't slip on the bench.
    I use Herb's Yellowstone compound as recommended by Gary Rogowski, you cab get it from Craftsman Studio.
    http://www.craftsmanstudio.com/html_p/C!000001.htm
    Works great and easy to use.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Huntsville, AL
    Posts
    326
    It all depends.

    My current setup is a Horse Butt Strop from TFWW ( toolsforworkingwood.com ) and some green chromium oxide paste. I recently picked up diamond paste, but don't have enough play time to comment on stropping with it. The strop I have is very stiff leather. I didn't put it on a backer intentionally so that I could use paste on one side and bare leather on the other. In retrospect I think a backer board is of more value than being able to use both sides of the strop. I say that because with it loose I find that I apply more pressure than I should to ensure the leather flattens as I run the blade over it. If it was glued to a flat backer less pressure would be used.

    I would also recommend checking out Derek's site, lots of great information and personal experience compiled there.
    http://www.inthewoodshop.com
    and a strop specific page:
    http://www.inthewoodshop.com/Woodwor...mondpaste.html

    Most use hard leather, but not everyone. I have heard that some like softer hide and a very light touch (just the weight of the blade). For a new stropper the hard leather is a safer bet for avoiding rounding the edge.
    Quote Originally Posted by James Carmichael View Post
    I suspect family members are plotting an intervention.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Williamsburg,Va.
    Posts
    10,053
    I agree,Douglas. Soft leather,or suede is going to round the edge. And,BUFFING is right out!!! Every time I have tried the leather wheel on a Tormek,at a dealership,it has messed up my pocket knife's edge.

  8. #8
    I usually use scary sharp down to 2000 grit silicon paper. I don't have a lot of experience with this, but I have found that I can get a sharper edge from stopping, but for chisels and plane irons, I haven't found that it makes much of a difference. My suspicion is that after a little use, the edge is broken down to the same place it would have been without the stropping.

    I have had good luck stropping a carving knife though, but I think if done repeatedly it would round the edge.
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  9. #9
    I don't strop just sharpen with stones and the LV Mark II power sharpener
    "All great work starts with love .... then it is no longer work"

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