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Stropping


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My wife got me a strop for Christmas. She found it at a small woodworking place in Townsend, Smoky Mountain Woodcarvers. While I have never been in the place, my wife said it looked like he had at least one of every wood carving tool known to exist. My wife said he as a super nice guy and he also gave each of my boys a hand made wooden car and wouldn't accept payment. He just smiled and told them "merry Christmas". That alone means I'll be back at some point.   :up: 
 
First off, I've never been good at sharpening knives. Free-handed, I can easily make a dull knife sharp as a spoon.  I bought a Smith's sharpening system a while back and after bunch of sharpening, I think I've gotten the hang of it. I could even shave a bit of hair off the back of my hand when finished, so I considered that success.
 
I started with my cheapo pocket knife which is my guinea pig for trying stuff, mostly because it was free and if I bugger it, oh well.    I presume the blade is made of one form or another of cheap stainless. The edge wasn't bad to begin with, but I touched it up with the fine diamond and the Arkansas stone just because. I'd watched a couple videos on youtube about how to strop a knife so I decided it was time to have a go....
 
Wow. :stunned:    Now I know how people get those beautifully polished edges I see in pictures. It was reasonably sharp when I started but what a difference! Instead of feeling like I was half scraping the hair off the back of my hand, it was actually cutting it off with little effort.
 
Encouraged by that success, I raided the kitchen knife drawer and went to work. While sharpening those, I discovered that stropping a thin-bladed kitchen knife isn't so easy. The cutting edge is so small that it was hard to see if I was holding it at the correct angle. I had to re-sharpen the first one twice before I got the angle right so I didn't dull it with the strop. I had to cut up some chicken for supper last night and those knives sliced that bird like butter.  :woohoo:
 
Now I may tackle a couple other kitchen knives that just aren't quite as sharp as they used to be.  :cool:
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The people up there are great.  I used to go to that store when it was called "Nawger/'s Knob" or something like that.  Not sure if they've changed names or a different group all together.  Definitely go in though. You'll see things you didn't know existed.

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Stropping is good stuff. With that said, most, if not all of those picture perfect polished edges come from an Edge Pro or Wicked Edge system. Repeated perfect alignment, and working your grits up into the thousands.

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I hear tell a dull knife is more dangerous than a sharp one? If that be the case, you'll want Butter Knife Dennis1209 out of your kitchen drawers.

 

When my butter is very hard and I need two pats of it for my toast or something I use technology myself. I get out my sharpest knife and run the flame of a Bic lighters over the blade for about 15 seconds and... problem solved, repeat for additional pats.

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I hear tell a dull knife is more dangerous than a sharp one? If that be the case, you'll want Butter Knife Dennis1209 out of your kitchen drawers.

 

When my butter is very hard and I need two pats of it for my toast or something I use technology myself. I get out my sharpest knife and run the flame of a Bic lighters over the blade for about 15 seconds and... problem solved, repeat for additional pats.

 

If a dull knife is more dangerous, my in-laws kitchen is the most dangerous place I've ever been.    :lol:     I've used my pocket knife to cut stuff there before.  That said, a little heat solves a lot of problems. 

 

 

 

 

The people up there are great.  I used to go to that store when it was called "Nawger/'s Knob" or something like that.  Not sure if they've changed names or a different group all together.  Definitely go in though. You'll see things you didn't know existed.

 

 

Yep, the general area is still called Nawger Knob.  We've been to a few craft fairs there, but for whatever reason I've never gone in the wood carver's place.  Don't recall it even being there, which is a little worrisome.

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If a dull knife is more dangerous, my in-laws kitchen is the most dangerous place I've ever been.    :lol:     I've used my pocket knife to cut stuff there before.  That said, a little heat solves a lot of problems. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yep, the general area is still called Nawger Knob.  We've been to a few craft fairs there, but for whatever reason I've never gone in the wood carver's place.  Don't recall it even being there, which is a little worrisome.

It's at the far ish end of  the camping areas and shopping areas.

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With a dull knife you push harder and things happen, bag things.

I was a cook in the Navy on a sub. First week I went and sharped all the knifes, well the

other cooks did not know what a sharp would do. Lets just say I was told to tell someone when I sharpen the knifes.

I went to the mess deck and said in a loud voice, "I will keep the knifes sharp from now on".LOL

Stainless counter tops do not make good cutting boards.

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There are very few sharp kitchen knives in our kitchen. We used to have some. But after a few years of my wife cutting herself every time she picked one up....well you get the picture.

 

I now do almost all of the cooking, and there are two knife drawers. One for my wife to use, and a fairly decent set with frequently sharpened edges for me to use.

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With a dull knife you push harder and things happen, bag things.
I was a cook in the Navy on a sub. First week I went and sharped all the knifes, well the
other cooks did not know what a sharp would do. Lets just say I was told to tell someone when I sharpen the knifes.
I went to the mess deck and said in a loud voice, "I will keep the knifes sharp from now on".LOL
Stainless counter tops do not make good cutting boards.


Was being a cook on a sub as interesting as it sounds? I'm completely serious. I've always been fascinated by subs.
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The worst part of sub service, I am 6'3" tall, overhead was 5'10" to 6' high.

All racks were 5'10", so I walked around stooped over, and never slept well.

Other than that is was OK.

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I just discovered stropping in the past 6 months, and yes, it makes a huge difference. Plus, it's very relaxing to me. I can do it while watching the telly or just sitting and having a conversation with someone. The conversation tends to be more civil, too, depending on how large the blade is.   :pleased:

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I'd like a strop sometime. They may also serve double duty as child discipline devices. When grandkids would get too rambunctious on gramps farm he would threaten to use his razor strop on the hellions, ferinstance if he would catch them up on the barn roof. But I don't recall witnessing the strop ever used for that purpose, though old dad assures me that the strop did see some action in that regard. :)
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The worst part of sub service, I am 6'3" tall, overhead was 5'10" to 6' high.

All racks were 5'10", so I walked around stooped over, and never slept well.

Other than that is was OK.

 

 

Ah.  I'm 5'7" and have hit my head while touring subs.  At 6'3", I can see the problem you might have.  Ever find the guy who signed you up for sub duty and punch him in the nose?  :lol:

 

 

 

I'd like a strop sometime. They may also serve double duty as child discipline devices. When grandkids would get too rambunctious on gramps farm he would threaten to use his razor strop on the hellions, ferinstance if he would catch them up on the barn roof. But I don't recall witnessing the strop ever used for that purpose, though old dad assures me that the strop did see some action in that regard. :)

 

 

I have my dad's old "strop" and it's the only one like it I've ever seen.  It's a block of wood that has been covered with leather. Works great!

Has anyone else ever seen one like that?

 

 

Sounds exactly like the strop I got...  http://www.woodcarvers.com/sh138.htm

 

Best I can tell, they're quite common.  Most of the "how to" youtube videos show that kind.  The old fashioned thick leather strop with no backing (barber shop type) don't appear to be as common and are much more expensive.  Thin leather glued to a board is cheaper and probably easier to use than a big piece of leather.

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Would y'all post up pics of your strops? I'm going to make one, but I'm not sure what size/length would work best. Also, do you use your loaded or unloaded (with a polishing compound or plain leather)?

 

Something I have discovered, follow up your leather stropping with paper or an envelope doubled up. Just fold it over loosely and strop along that edge. It works really good.

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Would y'all post up pics of your strops? I'm going to make one, but I'm not sure what size/length would work best. Also, do you use your loaded or unloaded (with a polishing compound or plain leather)?

 

Something I have discovered, follow up your leather stropping with paper or an envelope doubled up. Just fold it over loosely and strop along that edge. It works really good.

 

 

The "Sharpening" section here has several different types of strop...  http://www.woodcarvers.com/PRODUCTS.htm

 

Mine looks like this...

 

sh138.jpg

 

The strop is 13" long and the leather is 7" long and 2" wide. The groove is there to help keep your knuckles out of the path of the blade, though I found it easier to sit it on a table rather than holding it.  I used the compound per the instructions.... rub a little into the leather and have at it. 

Edited by peejman
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The "Sharpening" section here has several different types of strop...  http://www.woodcarvers.com/PRODUCTS.htm

 

Mine looks like this...

 

sh138.jpg

 

The strop is 13" long and the leather is 7" long and 2" wide. The groove is there to help keep your knuckles out of the path of the blade, though I found it easier to sit it on a table rather than holding it.  I used the compound per the instructions.... rub a little into the leather and have at it. 

 

Yeah, I use a two sided one with coarse compound on one side and medium on the other similar to:

 

!CDQifpQBmk~$(KGrHqF,!l8Ez+0S,F42BNN7BRG

 

- OS

Edited by Oh Shoot
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Smokie Mountain Woodcarvers is an awesome place and I believe it's hawger knob. Not sure but I think that is what the sign says.

A well sharpened knife that is used correctly will only need stroping to keep sharp. I'm not talking about knives that second as a hammer. I have not sharpened any of my carving knives in a while. If they feel like they are resistant on cutting the strop makes short work in putting that fine edge back in place
I have an old PC of leather on a square PC of oak that my Grand Pa made many years ago. Works great
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I use an old belt that I no longer wear. Stropping makes a HUGE difference. I do it on all my knives, from my EDC to my Chinese vegetable cleaver.


good idea on the belt! i was up last night reading this thread and looking for a good piece of leather. my old belts never crossed my mind. Edited by surfabilly
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