It is currently 24 Oct 2020, 09:30

To Strop or not to Strop?

The place to talk about tools 'without tails', so come here with all your plane and chisel, burnisher and bradawl chatter.

To Strop or not to Strop?

Postby Woodbloke » 13 Oct 2020, 12:31

I have absolutely no wish to go down the the interminable 'sharpening' road :( so prevalent elsewhere :eusa-whistle: but puzzled I am, so please :eusa-pray: mods, knock this on the head if it shows any sign of degenerating!

I can get my hand plane and chisel blades pretty sharp with my current system ('scary sharp' from WH using 3M films) and I've often debated whether or not stropping actually improves the edge?

So I just made myself a new strop and stuck on a bit of leather onto it from one of SWIMBO's old handbags, dressed it with some very fine, green Chromium Dioxide powder and rubbed in a smear of Vaseline for a bit of lubrication.

I honed as normal my LN A2 blade from my No.51 shooter and tried the edge; pretty good. I then passed it six or seven times over the strop and finally polished the back with a 1 micron film on the SS glass plate. It's now significantly über sharp, bl*%dy lethal in fact :shock:

Stropping seems to work (at least for me) but what say ye? - Rob
I no longer work for Axminster Tools & Machinery.
User avatar
Woodbloke
Old Oak
 
Posts: 2219
Joined: 22 Jul 2014, 10:06
Location: Salisbury, UK
Name: Rob Stoakley

Re: To Strop or not to Strop?

Postby droogs » 13 Oct 2020, 13:08

stropping defo works in my experience. Even as a quick touch up while working and not wanting to go away from the bench. Just need to make sure you have a good "rouge" on it
droogs
New Shoots
 
Posts: 158
Joined: 09 May 2015, 10:35
Location: Edinburgh
Name: Alan

Re: To Strop or not to Strop?

Postby Woodster » 13 Oct 2020, 14:29

Not tried it but many folks swear by the Blue “Smurf Poo” for stropping. :lol:
User avatar
Woodster
Nordic Pine
 
Posts: 955
Joined: 26 Jan 2017, 13:17
Location: Dorset
Name:

Re: To Strop or not to Strop?

Postby Andyp » 13 Oct 2020, 15:28

I do not think that too many woodcarvers would consider not stropping. Whether or not it is necessary in all situations on all timbers for the other trades is another matter.
cheers

Andy
“Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits...” A.A. Milne

Doing my best to achieve Wabi Sabi
User avatar
Andyp
Sequoia
 
Posts: 6798
Joined: 22 Jul 2014, 07:05
Location: 14860 Normandy, France
Name: Andy

Re: To Strop or not to Strop?

Postby Cncpaul » 13 Oct 2020, 16:26

I find a bare piece MDF and some Solvol Autosol works a treat, no need for fancy expensive
trickery.
Cncpaul
Seedling
 
Posts: 45
Joined: 04 May 2019, 07:50
Location: End of the rainbow
Name:

Re: To Strop or not to Strop?

Postby Robert » 13 Oct 2020, 16:41

Cncpaul wrote:I find a bare piece MDF and some Solvol Autosol works a treat, no need for fancy expensive
trickery.


On the rare occasion that I try to get something as sharp as I can that is what I do too - MDF and solvol.
Robert
Old Oak
 
Posts: 1842
Joined: 21 Jul 2014, 19:31
Location: Woodford Green
Name: Robert

Re: To Strop or not to Strop?

Postby Malc2098 » 13 Oct 2020, 17:03

Robert wrote:
Cncpaul wrote:I find a bare piece MDF and some Solvol Autosol works a treat, no need for fancy expensive
trickery.


On the rare occasion that I try to get something as sharp as I can that is what I do too - MDF and solvol.



Me, too.
Malcolm
User avatar
Malc2098
Old Oak
 
Posts: 4473
Joined: 03 Jul 2016, 11:10
Location: Tiverton
Name: Malcolm

Re: To Strop or not to Strop?

Postby MY63 » 13 Oct 2020, 17:12

I am not any sort of expert in sharpening it was explained to me as polishing the edges of the blade, reducing friction between the blade and whatever is being cut.
Even though I have lots of leather around I often end up using a piece of card with rouge on it rather than leather, Old belts are very popular as the inside leather has been rubbed flat over the years.
MY63
Nordic Pine
 
Posts: 825
Joined: 17 Oct 2018, 20:41
Location: North East England
Name: Michael

Re: To Strop or not to Strop?

Postby Woodbloke » 13 Oct 2020, 17:50

Cncpaul wrote:I find a bare piece MDF and some Solvol Autosol works a treat, no need for fancy expensive
trickery.

I've tried that and and it don't work for me, but the strop seems to put a really wicked edge on a blade. Wasn't expensive either to make as it was a bit of SWIMBO's old handbag stuck down to an oddment of Douglas Fir with some Chromium Dioxide powder (I was given some years ago) sprinkled over the top - Rob
I no longer work for Axminster Tools & Machinery.
User avatar
Woodbloke
Old Oak
 
Posts: 2219
Joined: 22 Jul 2014, 10:06
Location: Salisbury, UK
Name: Rob Stoakley

Re: To Strop or not to Strop?

Postby Mike G » 13 Oct 2020, 19:03

Realising that stropping played an important part in sharpening was one of those breakthrough moments for me. I really couldn't believe the difference it made when I tried it 20 or 30 years ago. I have a plane which has an OK-but-nothing-special blade which has to be absolutely at its sharpest to work properly, and when I tried stropping I found that it was suddenly, and always, in good order.

The way I think of it is this. Imagine your front edge of your blade after honing is like a piece of thin metal which you have bent backwards and forwards until it broke. It's sharp, but jagged and untidy. On a microscopic scale I think that's pretty much what happens with the burr you raise. Polishing that off with a strop leaves it sharp but without the straggly and jagged bits. Whether that is true or not I'm not sure, but it's the way I picture it, and that explanation does help youngsters faced with sharpening for the first time.

Personally, I now use a long piece of leather fixed down to a bit of 3x1, smeared with T Cut (which is the same as Brasso). I don't make any attempt to keep the blade at the honing angle when I strop, but start low and end high. This means I have certainty that I have polished the edge. I also strop the back, flat, across the width of the leather. I used to use MDF but found it not as successful as leather, but also annoyingly prone to little accidents removing lumps of it. Leather accidents seem to self heal with the T Cut sticking them all back together again.
User avatar
Mike G
Old Oak
 
Posts: 4951
Joined: 30 Jul 2014, 22:36
Location: Somewhat less of a hovel
Name:

Re: To Strop or not to Strop?

Postby MattS » 13 Oct 2020, 20:44

I use scary sharp and then strop. Funny I thought most people did it? As I do some green wood carving I have the strop so just automatically use it for chisels and planes too. I use autosol on it and have previously used MDF with autosol but it didn’t work as well.

I know you didn’t want to get into a deep sharpening thread but.... :lol:

I have a suede and leather side tend to go scary sharp then leather but in between sharpens I will strop on suede and leather. Works for me, but getting geeky I think some say suede and thick leather rounds blades?!
MattS
New Shoots
 
Posts: 247
Joined: 04 Jul 2016, 10:05
Location: In the Weald of Kent
Name:

Re: To Strop or not to Strop?

Postby Doug » 13 Oct 2020, 20:54

Mike G wrote:
I don't make any attempt to keep the blade at the honing angle when I strop, but start low and end high.


Sounds perilously like rounded bevel sharpening :?
Doug
Old Oak
 
Posts: 1073
Joined: 21 Jul 2014, 22:22
Location: Location Location
Name:

Re: To Strop or not to Strop?

Postby Blackswanwood » 13 Oct 2020, 21:03

I did a weeks course at the late David Savage’s place ten years ago. David (great character that he was) had some strong views on sharpening and one was that faffing around with a strop was a waste of time. Being a bit awestruck I stuck with his view for about five years and then twigged on that there was more than one way to skin a cat and even more to sharpen the knife to do it. It’s possible that I got the piece of leather and T Cut idea from one of MikeG’s posts (I cannot remember) but I’m firmly in that camp. For me it makes a noticeable difference and I’ll even re-strop before resharpening.
Blackswanwood
Seedling
 
Posts: 22
Joined: 27 Jun 2020, 20:24
Location: North Yorkshire
Name: Robert

Re: To Strop or not to Strop?

Postby Mike G » 13 Oct 2020, 21:13

Doug wrote:
Mike G wrote:
I don't make any attempt to keep the blade at the honing angle when I strop, but start low and end high.


Sounds perilously like rounded bevel sharpening :?


I know what you mean, Doug, but I don't see stropping as shaping so much as polishing, and so long as the edge is polished I'm not much bothered if other bits are too. I think my approach simply guarantees that the edge makes contact with the strop at some point in the stroke, whereas if you try to polish just the edge by holding at what you think is the cutting angle, you may just be polishing the heel.

I'd also say this. It works. But so do many other techniques, and mine is surely no better or worse than most. The most important thing about sharpening (other than getting a sharp edge) is repeatability: does it work every single time, without too much faffing about? If it does, that's good enough for me. Mine does, and I've never had sharper tools than I'm getting now. But I'll bet almost every contributor here can say the same thing even if they do things quite differently.
User avatar
Mike G
Old Oak
 
Posts: 4951
Joined: 30 Jul 2014, 22:36
Location: Somewhat less of a hovel
Name:

Re: To Strop or not to Strop?

Postby Woodbloke » 13 Oct 2020, 21:54

Mike G wrote:I'd also say this. It works. But so do many other techniques, and mine is surely no better or worse than most. The most important thing about sharpening (other than getting a sharp edge) is repeatability: does it work every single time, without too much faffing about? If it does, that's good enough for me. Mine does, and I've never had sharper tools than I'm getting now. But I'll bet almost every contributor here can say the same thing even if they do things quite differently.

Your right of course Mike; it does work. What was puzzling me was that some time ago I saw a UToob clip from a certain 'Stumpy Nubbs' (if I've got the name right) from across the pond who mentioned that a stropping compound may be coarser than your final honing grit (a 1micron 3M polishing film for me) so to finish by stropping may actually be counter productive.

I've also heard the view that stropping may tend to round the bevel, particularly on leather if it's quite thick but the practical evidence of a super sharp edge doesn't support it.

Both of the above issues were puzzling me as I mentioned, so it's a pleasant surprise to feel a noticeably keener edge after a few passes on the strop - Rob
I no longer work for Axminster Tools & Machinery.
User avatar
Woodbloke
Old Oak
 
Posts: 2219
Joined: 22 Jul 2014, 10:06
Location: Salisbury, UK
Name: Rob Stoakley

Re: To Strop or not to Strop?

Postby Mike G » 14 Oct 2020, 07:59

If that were the case, Rob, it would be an argument that people are honing to too high a level rather than for not stropping, I reckon. And it's worth taking Stumpy Nubbs opinion with a small dose of scepticism.
User avatar
Mike G
Old Oak
 
Posts: 4951
Joined: 30 Jul 2014, 22:36
Location: Somewhat less of a hovel
Name:

Re: To Strop or not to Strop?

Postby Andyp » 14 Oct 2020, 08:46

Would you have shave with a cut throat razor that has not been stropped? Barbers must do it for a reason.
cheers

Andy
“Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits...” A.A. Milne

Doing my best to achieve Wabi Sabi
User avatar
Andyp
Sequoia
 
Posts: 6798
Joined: 22 Jul 2014, 07:05
Location: 14860 Normandy, France
Name: Andy

Re: To Strop or not to Strop?

Postby Raymedullary » 15 Oct 2020, 11:11

My process is:
Fine India stone
Hard black Arkansas
leather strop
Palm of hand final strop BEVEL DOWN move blade and hand at same time.
This final stage was taught to me way way back and produces the finest edge but maybe do not try at home!

Ray (zor)
Raymedullary
Seedling
 
Posts: 4
Joined: 20 Jan 2020, 14:15
Name:


Return to Hand Toolery

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest