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In the kitchen for touch-up: strop or stone?

Recent Forums Main Forum Techniques and Sharpening Strategies Task Specific Knife Sharpening Cooking In the kitchen for touch-up: strop or stone?

This topic contains 17 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  Josh 10/12/2015 at 7:54 am.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 18 total)
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  • #28880

    Mark76
    Keymaster
    • Topics: 179
    • Replies: 2760

    As a home cook I have a leather strop in my kitchen. Simple leather glued on wood. The strop is covered with 1 micron stropping spray (I like it a bit finer than most people). Before every use of a knife, I strop it.

    My rational mind says I should use a stone instead (like a Chosera 5K or 10K stone) for this purpose. A leather strop has pliability, one can inadvertedly round an edge, … A stone simply has more advantages.

    But… I still cannot get myself to use a stone in the kitchen. Is this pure emotional attachment or do you think there are also good reasons to use a strop instead of a stone? And what do you use?

    Molecule Polishing: my blog about sharpening with the Wicked Edge

    #28885

    tcmeyer
    Participant
    • Topics: 33
    • Replies: 1807

    I had been doing the 15 or so kitchen knives on the WEPS, taking them to 800 or 1000 stones. This last weekend I did the whole batch on my buffing stand. A single pass on each side first on my 600 grit wheel, then a single pass on my 4 micron diamond (Ken Schwatrz) wheel. Where there were visible dings and nicks, I take a couple more passes on the 600. With my double-ended buffer, I can do a knife like this in about 30 seconds. I looked at the edge on one of them with my 50X USB camera and it looks very toothy. I think the result is very much like the edges you get with the Worksharp Knife & Tool rig. Toothy to bite into whatever needs biting and the polish to remove the friction-causing scratches.

    I don’t think the polish is the equivalent of stropping, but you asked what we do with our kitchen knives.

    We’ve had very sharp (but inexpensive) kitchen knives now for more than four years, so we’re accustomed to taking care, but I slipped up this time. On bringing the box of just-sharpened knives up from the basement, I dumped them into my wife’s dirty dishwater. I reached in to retrieve one of the knives for washing and almost immediately noticed a red liquid oozing from the tip of my thumb. Quite a lot of it. I got a band-aid and within three minutes I had a similar occurrence with my other hand. The next day, my wife had a band-aid on too. These buggers reach out and touch you.

    I guess you could infer that a toothy edge is particularly advantageous when slicing flesh. The polish seems to complete the package.

    I think stropping (in the kitchen) is intended to touch up a refined edge, and the ability of the strop to work the edge in a convex manner is quite different from the fixed-plane effect you get with a stone. Would you have to make a number of passes at varying angles to get the same effect as the strop? For that matter, what stone would you use in lieu of the strop? Coarse? Fine? Very fine? I have a hard black Arkansas that I used before I got the WEPS. Seems maybe that would be a good choice?

    BTW Mark, what are your edges like before using them? Are they finished and polished all the way to the 1 micron you strop with?

    #28890

    Mark76
    Keymaster
    • Topics: 179
    • Replies: 2760

    Tom, thanks! The point was not so much how refined my edges are, but whether stropping on a strop or on a stone would be a better method of maintaining them. Of course I am aware of the differences, and rationally I should use a stone, I think. My edges are usually not convex, so why use a leather strop to maintain them? Or even a balsa strop when I have a stone available?

    What you say about an Arkansas stone is exactly what I was thinking about a Coticule stone. Both quite refined natural stones and sort-of local to where we live.

    The edges on my kitchen knives are more refined than most people like them. As I found out when I sharpened for a restaurant, it’s highly personal how refined people like their edges. It varied from 400 grit to 10K (Choseras). But at KitchenKnifeForums there seems to be some consensus that a good (Japanese, carbon) kitchen knife is finished at 3-5K.

    I actually have two strops in my kitchen: one with 4 micron stuff, for the knives I finished with a 5K Chosera and one with 1 micron stuff, for the knives I finished with a 15K Shapton Pro. So yes, the knives were finished already to the level I strop at.

    Molecule Polishing: my blog about sharpening with the Wicked Edge

    #28897

    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 58
    • Replies: 1794

    Mark I wonder if a length of 1″ or so wood dowel rod wrapped with glued on leather impregnated with the diamond paste might be the kitchen touch up ticket. Then we could use it similarly to a sharpening steel but with a edge following stroke.

    Marc

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-It)

    #28898

    Leo Barr
    Participant
    • Topics: 26
    • Replies: 812

    Thats an interesting thought a sort of leather steel I think I may make one.

    #28899

    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 58
    • Replies: 1794

    You make, I’ll patent it, we’ll be rich partners 😛

    Marc

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-It)

    #28900

    Mr.Wizard
    Participant
    • Topics: 5
    • Replies: 162

    What is the intended advantage of a round strop over a flat one, besides bird’s beak blades? Also before going to the trouble of wrapping leather how about pasting a sanded wood dowel directly?

    #28907

    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 58
    • Replies: 1794

    My though was for the quick strop touchup in the kitchen. I am just trying to quickly and lightly smooth the edge and I’d be able to replicate the quick motion I usually associate with the steel rod. It would be hand-held and I could do both sides of the knife without putting it down and maybe not even changing my grip. Right now with the paddle strop I have to find a clean dry place to lay the two sided leather strop. I have to hold the paddle so it doesn’t slide while I strop the first side. Then I have to switch hands or change my grip and move the strop then hold it in place to do the other side of the knife.

    The wood rod might work too. It’d be easy enough to try.

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-It)

    #28952

    CliffCurry
    Participant
    • Topics: 42
    • Replies: 461

    Would a ceramic rod also fit into this category? I just did a set of high end kitchen knives and in his fold out pouch he had a dark brown ceramic “steel” similar to this:
    http://www.amazon.com/Messermeister-12-Inch-Ceramic-Knife-Sharpener/dp/B002YK1RAQ/ref=sr_1_2?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1442696526&sr=1-2&keywords=Ceramic+Rod+Knife+Sharpener

    #28954

    Geocyclist
    Participant
    • Topics: 25
    • Replies: 524

    If you don’t use a WE you can inadvertently round or trash the edge on stone. I used to use heavy pressure hand stropping. When I got a WE I also use heavy pressure on strops. One day I really rounded the edge of a kitchen knife hand stropping. After that I use very light pressure for hand stropping and pay more attention to setting the right angle on the strop. My hand strop is like yours, 1″ leather glued to wood. I have found that very light pressure will straighten out minor edge deformations, so I try to strop back into condition as soon as I feel a rounded edge.

    To answer your question I would say stick with strop. I also try to strop after use. I can kind of feel if the edge deformed more and think about what/how I was cutting. Maybe use both. When I do have a more serious deformation and I am too lazy to pull out the WE I use a honing steel. This can sometimes fix more serious deformations, but also is more dangerous to rounding an edge.

    I have tried a ceramic rod (free hand) and get poor results. Sometime it comes out duller than when I started. May be user error.

    #29170

    Niels Gerven Van
    Participant
    • Topics: 0
    • Replies: 3

    I use a diamond sharpening rod first, then a ceramic rod(global) and then most of the time a set of strops with the bark river black/green/white compound. No stones, since my freehand sharpening sucks bigtime

    #29184

    Mark76
    Keymaster
    • Topics: 179
    • Replies: 2760

    Thanks NVG. But if your hand sharpening sucks. why do you use a strop? For a strop proper angles seem necessary as well?

    Molecule Polishing: my blog about sharpening with the Wicked Edge

    #29185

    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 58
    • Replies: 1794

    Thanks NVG. But if your hand sharpening sucks. why do you use a strop? For a strop proper angles seem necessary as well?

    If proper angle is indeed the case then how do leather barber strops work to sharpen straight razors? There’s no precise angle maintained there.

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-It)

    #29186

    Niels Gerven Van
    Participant
    • Topics: 0
    • Replies: 3

    Thanks NVG. But if your hand sharpening sucks. why do you use a strop? For a strop proper angles seem necessary as well?

    Im kind of an edgefreak, especially on my pocketknives(mostly Chris Reeve)
    I put a polished edge on with my WE, and then maintain that on strops, that seems to be very forgiving. My edges are nicely polished and even, and scary sharp.

    Sadly, after putting in very little effort, l gave up on freehanding!
    Switched to WE and recently a tormek-like device (Jet JTTS-10). Bought that to sharpen the kitchen knives of friends&family

    #29188

    Mark76
    Keymaster
    • Topics: 179
    • Replies: 2760

    I’ve been looking for a mechanical device for a long time. Large belt sanders just don’t fit in my small shed, so this looks interesting. But when I google it, it looks more like a saw table. Do you mean this device? http://www.axminster.co.uk/jet-jts-10-bench-top-saw-bench. How do you use it for sharpening?

    Molecule Polishing: my blog about sharpening with the Wicked Edge

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