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Thread: Is Stropping a Knife the best way to Resharpen it?

  1. #1
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    Is Stropping a Knife the best way to Resharpen it?

    Stropping a Knife

    At present I use the Edge Pro Apex to sharpen my knives. Most of the time on my new Spyderco knives that need touching up I start with the 320 grit stone and go up to the 6000 grit tape. This gives me a very sharp polished edge.

    At present I am carrying my para 2, but have not used it enough for it to need resharpening. In a few days when my Gayle Bradley gets here, it will be my carry knife. From what I understand, and the way I use a knife now, it probably will go forever without needing to be resharpened, but when that time comes, I would like to know the best way to do it.

    I am new at this, but from what I have read on this forum, the Internet, and other forums, I get the impression the best way to resharpen a knife, or to put a crazy sharp edge on a knife is by stropping as the final step.

    I would like to get some input from you experienced knife people. Do you agree or not with the above statement that the best way to resharpen a knife, or to put a crazy sharp edge on a knife is by stropping as the final step?

    I know there are several other methods to resharpen a knife, but I am leaning toward the stropping method for my pocket knives. If you like one of these other method better than stropping, please say so.

    I do not wish to start a heated debate. I just need some guidance. Please be polite in your responses.

    Bert

  2. #2
    Spyderco Forum Registered User DCDesigns's Avatar
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    Stropping is a good way to touch up a blade between sharpenings. If it goes too dull, stropping might not do a thing.

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    Your polishing tapesare basically stropping. When you need to touch up. Just run your 3000,6000 tapes and your good to go.

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    Quote Originally Posted by .357 mag View Post
    Your polishing tapesare basically stropping. When you need to touch up. Just run your 3000,6000 tapes and your good to go.
    Thanks .357 mag. That is the kind of stuff I wanted to know.

    Bert

  5. #5
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Evil D's Avatar
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    I see stropping as a less abrasive version of a chef's steel. You're standing up whatever fine teeth are left on an edge after sharpening it, and you're doing the same thing inbetween sharpening.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bert T View Post
    Thanks .357 mag. That is the kind of stuff I wanted to know.

    Bert
    Yep, no problem. Just do that until you can't get it sharp. Then just move down to the 1000 grit stone and work your way back up.

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    Spyderco Forum Registered User SQSAR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by .357 mag View Post
    Your polishing tapesare basically stropping. When you need to touch up. Just run your 3000,6000 tapes and your good to go.
    This is true. However, I tend to strop fairly frequently with a 1 micron loaded strop between EP sessions because it's just quicker than setting up the EP. When I do hit the EP, I will take it all the way to 6000 grit tape, and then lightly hit the edge with a .3 micron loaded strop. This seems to work well for me, and I suspect stropping regularly preserves the edge better and saves time in the long run.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SQSAR View Post
    This is true. However, I tend to strop fairly frequently with a 1 micron loaded strop between EP sessions because it's just quicker than setting up the EP. When I do hit the EP, I will take it all the way to 6000 grit tape, and then lightly hit the edge with a .3 micron loaded strop. This seems to work well for me, and I suspect stropping regularly preserves the edge better and saves time in the long run.
    Totally agree! I love the EP but it's more time consuming than a strop. The OP is just trying to save some money so working with what you have is the cheapest route.

  9. #9
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    Arrow Stropping is not a short cut to actual sharpening

    Stropping a blade is actually kind of a "final touch" to a very meticulous sharpening of your blade.

    It really only enhances a blade that's already sharp enough to shave hair off your arms. It's not a honing or abrasive method of removing stock as much as it is a polishing/cleaning and final touch to an edge that is in good shape for the most part.

    It's not a short cut at all. There are no good short cuts to sharpening a blade>> It's like being physically fit yourself>. In other words you have to put some time and work in on it.

    There are a lot of good internet resources on the use of a strop for knives and straight razors. And you want to be careful to do it properly to attain a good sharp edge.
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    I used to do a lot of wood carving but arthritis put a dent in that activity. Stropping is "must learn" for anyone interested in carving.

    Once sharpened, most carvers will strop often but only re-sharpen when a blade is damaged or stropping no longer brings back the edge.

    This link will bring you to a nice tutorial on how woodcarvers sharpen their blades but much of it will apply to any kind of knife. It's one big paragraph but does contain a lot of info.

    http://www.woodcarvers.com/sharpening.htm

  11. #11
    Spyderco Forum Registered User dbcad's Avatar
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    Hi Bert I enjoy using a strop. It can be a good way to take an edge to the next level of sharpness, especially if you're on a budget and can't afford an EP.

    What the previous posters have said is all correct. A strop is more a polishing tool rather than a material remover.

    When I fiirst thought about using a strop I spent a couple of weekends reading about techniques and do's and don'ts, then reread when I first started playing with the leather. Give it a shot and see how you like it
    Charlie

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  12. #12
    Spyderco Forum Registered User catamount's Avatar
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    I just started using a strop loaded with 1 micron diamond spray, both as the final step in my sharpening process, and to touch up edges between sharpening.
    I previously used green compound (chromium oxide?) on my strop. I am getting much sharper edges with the diamonds (especially on steels with hard carbides, like S30V, ZDP-189, CTS-20CP etc.)

    I got a Hand American strop base, split leather strop, and 2 oz. 1 micron diamond spray from Chefknivestogo, and am very pleased with the products and service.

    http://www.chefknivestogo.com/handamerican.html
    Tom
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    Spyderco Forum Registered User STAK's Avatar
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    Hello Bert-T . . . . I never strop my SPIDIES between 'reprofiles' or between 'sharpenings' . . . . I think stroping a SPIDIE can lead to a convex edge that i do not wish for my EDC SPIDIES . . . . After i 'reprofile' or 'resharpen' my SPIDIE the only thing i do is touch it up with a ceramic rod up to 1200grit, an EDGE PRO ceramic or usually UF SPYDERCO ceramic rod . . . . It takes up to 15 times at least before it is needed to sharpen again with my EDGE PRO (PRO) or my LANSKY . . . . As for the 'polished' edge it is another story already discussed to another SPYDERCO FORUM thread, but if you go up to 6000grit with your EDGE PRO it is like you finish with a 50.000grit Japanese water stone that i think your SPIDIE edge is way-beyond mirror polished . . . .

    http://spyderco.com/forums/showthrea...781#post684781
    Last edited by STAK; 11-15-2011 at 03:09 PM.

  14. #14
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Brock O Lee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by STAK View Post
    ...the only thing i do is to touch it up with a ceramic rod up to 1200grit
    I tried to like stropping, but I could never get consistent results. Maybe my technique sucks or my strop sucks...

    So I also use the Edge Pro 1200 grit ceramic hone for touch-ups, and it works really well for me. Like Stak I can touch-up my edges many times before I need to sharpen again.

    The ceramic will scratch and ruin a polished/hair splitting edge, but if a hair popping edge is good enough (which is the case for me), the ceramic fast and easy. It is fine enough to easily maintain shaving sharpness (not quite toilet paper slicing sharpness), and abrasive enough to remove a very small amount of metal, which I find is sometimes desirable for a touch-up.

    The key I found is to use it often - as soon as I can see tiny rolls/chips under a bright light. I also use light pressure, and a slightly larger angle than the edge angle.

    (Speaking of hones, I would stay FAR away from those grooved metal kitchen knife hones!! )
    Last edited by Brock O Lee; 11-15-2011 at 01:26 AM. Reason: rephrase
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  15. #15
    Spyderco Forum Registered User jackknifeh's Avatar
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    Stropping between sharpenings will depend on how much you use your knife. I think about this, when my knife will remove hair from my arm but it takes 3 or 4 passes to get a bald spot it can be stropped to get the sharpness to where one pass and the spot is bald. If you get your knife too dull during the day to shave arm hair at all you'll need stones. So, if you just use your knife a few times a day for light cutting then strop it a few strokes each night you will always have a sharp knife. I don't know when but there will be a time you'll need to hit the stones again. I like stropping between sharpenings and to get the hair-popping edge. Some people can get that edge with ultra fine stones but I'm not that good. I've gotten the hair shaving edge with the EP 220 stone also. But that is a toothy edge which is great if that's what you want. A toothy edge is great in the kitchen cutting soft food. All of this is my opinion based on my experience. It's amazing how many opinions there are on sharpening technique. Different people establish what they like and the end result is a bunch of sharp knives.

    Jack

    My EDC for a while. Stretch with carbon fiber handle, Chaparral 2, Dragonfly 2 with kirinite MOP handle, Manbug with bolster/red bone handle. Super blue/420J1 blades on all three (except Chaparral).

  16. #16
    Spyderco Forum Registered User SQSAR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jackknifeh View Post
    If you get your knife too dull during the day to shave arm hair at all you'll need stones. So, if you just use your knife a few times a day for light cutting then strop it a few strokes each night you will always have a sharp knife.
    Jack
    Well said Jack, , this is about how I look at stropping also.

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