Leather Stropping in Knife Sharpening
Why do we use leather for knife sharpening and how does knife stropping work?
A strop can be made from many different materials including leather, fabric and even soft woods, often used in combination with a honing compound. Leather belts, specifically ones that are not mounted to wood, offer the flexibility to adhere to the varying shapes and curvatures of different knives. The addition of an abrasive compound helps achieve a strop’s full potential, but may not always be necessary. A leather strop without compound will work fine for removing a very light burr and a gentle realignment.
But why is stropping an important part of knife sharpening? While stropping alone doesn’t sharpen, it does refine and complete a sharp edge. Stropping is important for your blade for many reasons; it realigns the edge, burnishes, and abrades. We’ll go into what all that means shortly. It’s also important to know that stropping is a critical step for prolonging the life of your blade. This is because keeping your knife's edge free of tiny nicks and imperfections will actually protect the knife while it’s in use. Stropping also removes any remaining pieces of a burr. These small fragments can actually dull your edge quite quickly if they are not removed.
Now, what is actually happening while stropping?
- Stropping realigns and reshapes the blade’s edge back into an even and uniform shape. This is useful especially when there are warps or dents on your edge. The stropping action pulls and straightens the metal.
-Burnishing happens as a result of metal being moved around on the surface of your blade. This polishing action smoothes and removes microscopic imperfections. This also gives a beautiful shine to your edge.
-Abrasion occurs removing the remaining burr you have after using abrasive sanding belts or stones. Small bits of metal are essentially wiped off and what’s left is a razor sharp edge. An abrasive compound will help with this process.
Our unique Premium Leather Super Strops are smooth surfaced leather belts that come in a variety of sizes to fit most belts or grinders. When used properly, they are a speedy way to finish a knife sharpening job. It’s modern sharpening at it’s best.
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Keep up the good sharpening!
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