Different stropping compound grit and strop designs are available. The most popular strops are hanging strops (to strop a knife with a belt), bench strops, and paddle strops are some of the best leather strop. Running the edge of the blade over the leather’s surface removes waste and burrs left behind after sharpening with a whetstone or rod.
Will Soft Leather Roll Over My Cutting Edge?
People say that MDF is better than leather because its surface is hard, while leather is soft. A tool pressed against a soft material may compress and curl, dulling the edge you are attempting to sharpen.
It is possible that this is true in theory. Especially if you use a very soft leather that is easily compressed. Now let’s talk about the barber’s strop. Although he’s pulling it tight, there’s some technique involved in avoiding rolling over the edge. In any event, a leather belt will deflect more with each stroke than a stiff piece of leather on a flat surface will. How can a barber get an edge sharp enough to shave your face if he’s dulling it with each stroke?
Because blunting an edge isn’t the same as dulling it. The point where two planes meet is called a sharp edge. For those two planes to be perfectly sharp, the steel at their meeting point would have to be only atoms thick. What is the expected lifespan of an edge that thin? Absolutely not.
The edges of those planes will be more durable if they meet at a thicker point. I’m not talking about rounding your edge right over, I’m just saying that the deflection of the leather combined with the light abrasiveness of the honing compound will not cause the tool to become dull more than it already is.
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Get the Right Stropping Grit
We are going to begin with the roughest grit leather. You will probably find the black color infused into the strops you use. Green is the finest color, while white is the finest. After sharpening, you will need to run grit with black color to remove burrs and waste left behind. Lighter grits are better for polishing and finesse.
Remember which side of the leather you’ll be using. You should apply the green compound (mid-grit) on the smoother side and the black compound on the rougher side if you are applying the compounds yourself. The long side of the bench/paddle strop should be perpendicular to you when it is positioned on the flat working surface. Move on to the next step with your knife.
A finer grit strop (white color compound) is best for getting the sharpest possible finish (and a beautiful polished edge). Stropping sets should be done one or two times, and the tissue should be used to wipe down the blade. Now it’s not a good idea to touch the edge as it’s sharp enough to rip open the fabric and space. Despite the jokes, the edge will be exceptionally sharp, so tread carefully.
Stropping Compound Grit
As for adding abrasive compounds to your strops, there are quite a few options available. In my opinion, diamond pastes are a bit pricey, and as we’ll see shortly, stropping is a more cost-effective option.
Abrasive sticks are something I’ve used a lot before. Some of them can be identified by their color, as they are a mixture of minerals and wax.
- There are many aggressive races in black emory. A diamond stone of this size has a grit size of 800 microns. Black emory compound would be a step backward for me since I sharpen with a 1000 grit stone before I strop.
- Typically, white rouge contains aluminum oxide and is 8-15 microns in size, or comparable to a 2000-grit diamond stone.
- Tripoli brown is 4000 grit or approximately 8 microns in size
- It has a grit of 8000 microns, or 2-4 microns.
- These days, you might see a lot of green or gold sticks around 1 micron or smaller, which is comparable to 10,000 grit or finer.
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