Stropping is a technique that involves polishing the edges of a knife. Stropping removes the imperfections left after sharpening a knife and it leaves the edges with a cut shine like a mirror. For this reason, stropping is performed both for functional and aesthetic purposes.
If you are a beginner in the knife sharpening and stropping world, you may have a few questions about how to go about this technique. Here is how to use a strop and achieve a mirror-like look on your knife’s edges.
1. Choose Your Strop
The first step to stropping is finding the right stropping tools. A strop is usually a tool that comprises of a material that is mounted on a rigid base. The most popular material is leather. There are various kinds of leather for this task, and these are kangaroo leather and Russia leather. However, you can get a Nanocloth strop which is equally as effective as leather. Other popular materials are newsprint, Maplewood, or balsa wood. However, leather and Nanocloth remain the most popular and versatile strops for stropping various kinds of knives and achieving the perfect look.
2. Apply the Compound
You don’t have to use a compound with your strop. However, strops are frequently used with honing compounds. A compound is a form of abrasive that is applied on the strop to further sharpen the edge while giving it a mirror-like finish. With a leather or Nanocloth strop, you can use any type of compound and still achieve excellent results. Apply a little compound on the strop. You don’t have to use much of it to get great results. Most of the other materials such as newsprint and Maplewood require you to use a diamond emulsion before stropping.
3. Strop Your Knife
After applying the compound, you can now begin the stropping process. Hold the bevel against the surface of the strop and move the blade away from the cutting edge. Use light strokes and apply a little pressure. Turn the knife on the other side and do the same. Do not move the knife towards the cutting edge as you will damage the strop and blunt the knife. Note that whether you are using the compound or not, you should always stroke the knife against the strop as you move away from the cutting edge.
Follow this simple guide to properly strop your blades and achieve a perfect mirror-like look. Remember, stropping is usually useful after sharpening a knife. If a knife is dull or blunt, stropping won’t help — you need to sharpen it first then hone and strop it.