Without put compound, a strop still can be used. Straight razor sharpeners, for example, frequently prefer a smooth leather strop with no compound applied. The leather polishes the metal and removes any burrs from the edge, resulting in a crisp, sharp edge. If you need the best leather strop reference, you can check this list.
On the other hand, knife and tool users frequently use a compound on their strops. They discover it quickly and easily, and it provides them with a significant advantage that meets their requirements.
In our experience, it is a question of personal preference whether or not to use a compound. Excellent results are obtained with either method, but honing the compound with its abrasive particles shows faster than plain results. To be thorough, many of us use one stroke and apply a compound and follow the process with a couple of strokes on a simple stroke.
Best Compound Options
The compounds that you load your strand have a standard color scheme, which shows how much metal they take off each strike. It is called “grit”(or “mesh”). The compound is a very fine abrasive that is used for final sharpening polishing stages. Sometimes these abrasives are loose, but are often held in a medium like a wax bar, pulp or spray. The particles in our compound selection range from 6 microns (approximately equal to 2500 grain water stones) to 5 microns or approximately 30000 grain. Different materials, such as aluminum oxide, chromium oxide and diamonds, are used for abrasive particles.
Black: a rough gage, used to make the blade sharp enough, when starts with a stubborn blade. Black is the only phase in which many people use field knives as a stroke.
Green: a thin grain for a hair-clotting edge that is used to finish or touch an already sharp blade. If you regularly use green and don’t let your knife get sharp, then green is what you will need until the edge is damaged.
White: a very fine grain used to polish a straight nape or knife’s edge if you want to be very sharp.
More aggressive grit compounds and extract metal. This means that they work faster but produce less polished edges. Finer grain components remove less metal and work slower, but they are how the best results are obtained.
For a survival knife, which is hard to use, when you are not constantly stroking a sharp edge, probably 90% of the stroking that you do will be with the black compound.
Note that one compound color matches the surface of one strop. You won’t use white on the same strip later if you are using black on one piece of leather.
Then you’ll only use black if you have just one strop. But if you learn good stropping techniques, it is likely you find yourself doing it just because you can. Go from dark to white is too tired to survive.
A stroke from the back of the leather straps or a layer of felt, denim, heavy carboard or journal can be hacked together, either stapled or sticked to a board.
Although you don’t need compounds, some of the ingredients used in tan leather make leather also decent to punch, because your badass grandad didn’t use fancy colored compounds to strop his rasher straight. (You never store your knife in a leather sheath in these same chemical).
Bare leather functions slowly and is mostly used to finish up a thin edge after a blade is run over a red grit already, but only leather can be used from beginning to finish.
Cardboard, when leather is not available, is a surprisingly decent option. It will take a long time, but it works. You can load a card-strop with every finely polished compound for additional grain — we’ve experimenté with toothpaste, baking soda and metal polishes.