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Leather looks flaky

Recent Forums Main Forum Stropping Leather looks flaky

This topic contains 10 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  MarcH 09/10/2018 at 7:46 pm.

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  • #47515

    James
    Participant
    • Topics: 2
    • Replies: 7
    1.  First time stropper, went the the videos and forums, followed all directions as best I could. But I’ve noticed that after maybe 6 knives my leather looks like it has flaked off in some areas and reminds me of a road in need of repair. Anyone know what this us or why it happens?
    #47516

    Mikedoh
    Moderator
    • Topics: 38
    • Replies: 560

    First guess is you used downward strokes (aka edge leading) and sliced the leather.

    Second guess is you sliced across the leather when stopping at the tip of the knife.

    2 users thanked author for this post.
    #47517

    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 58
    • Replies: 1794

    Hi James, like Mike said, it’s very important when stropping to use only edge trailing strokes.  These are up and off the knife edge.  When you strop the tip areas, as the knife tips generally curves down, there is a tendency to follow the curve when stropping causing you to loose the up and off stropping direction.   It is particularly easy to cut or gouge the leather when stropping the tip.  I did exactly what I’m warning you against when I first got my WE and with my first attempts at stropping.  Stropping does take an extra degree of care and attention to detail.  Also it has it’s own technique different then the sharpening technique.

    You may find it easier to strop in short sections of the knife blade as opposed to trying to strop the knife in one continuous stroke.  Then go back and blend together, the edge, across the short stropped sections.

    The good part is the strops will continue to work well despite the surface damage.  Even with years of experience I still cut or gouge my strops from time to time.  I don’t think I have a used set of strops without at least one cut in the leather.

    If you could post pictures of your leather strops it might help us to determine your difficulties.

    BTW: after you gain stropping experience and become comfortable that you can strop without doing damage to the leather, Wicked Edge does sell replacement strop leather strips at the on-line store.

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-It)

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    #47518

    Organic
    Participant
    • Topics: 17
    • Replies: 839

    I may be totally wrong here, but it sounds to me like you may be seeing the residue from the diamond emulsion coming off of the strop. If that is the case, this seems to be reasonably common and is not a cause for concern. The diamonds should be embedded into the substrate after a few passes and will continue to work even when the flaky residue from the emulsion comes off.

    Pictures would be helpful in diagnosing what the issue is.

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    #47519

    Mikedoh
    Moderator
    • Topics: 38
    • Replies: 560

    I may be totally wrong here, but it sounds to me like you may be seeing the residue from the diamond emulsion coming off of the strop. If that is the case, this seems to be reasonably common and is not a cause for concern. The diamonds should be embedded into the substrate after a few passes and will continue to work even when the flaky residue from the emulsion comes off. Pictures would be helpful in diagnosing what the issue is.

    I thought about it being  diamond paste coming off, but figured it would be fairly obvious. Emulsions, I have zero experience with.

    #47523

    tcmeyer
    Participant
    • Topics: 33
    • Replies: 1809

    Lacking photographic evidence, I’ll make a wild guess that the leather could have gotten some sort of finish applied which inhibits the penetration of the abrasives into the surface.  Instead of becoming embedded in the leather, perhaps the paste has formed a thin layer of compound which is now flaking off.

    A far more likely possibility might be that the abrasive compound was just applied too heavily, allowing it to form a surface crust, which is now being sloughed off.   (Slough, pronounced as “sluff” – meaning to shed, as a snake would slough its skin).

    I would scrape off any loose abrasives, scrub the strops thoroughly with alcohol and then reload them with a very thin re-application of paste.

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    #47527

    James
    Participant
    • Topics: 2
    • Replies: 7

    Wow, lots of info to digest. I will post some pictures tonight of the strops to see what ya’ll think. It is very possible I’m using the wrong technique.

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    #47542

    James
    Participant
    • Topics: 2
    • Replies: 7

    These are my strops. Like I said , I’m new to stropping and am pretty sure that I’ve done something wrong.

    Attachments:
    #47544

    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 58
    • Replies: 1794

    They really don’t look problematic.  They’re not cut or gouged hardly at all.  They almost look like something was applied to the leather that kept the strop emulsion or strop paste from absorbing and spreading into the leather.  I would just reapply the strop emulsion/paste and keep using it.  If you’re really bothered by the appearance.  Wipe the leather clean with a paper towel impregnated with rubbing alcohol.  Then after it’s dry just shake you strop emulsion well then reapply.

    Thanks for taking the time to post your pictures and your reply.

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-It)

    #47545

    James
    Participant
    • Topics: 2
    • Replies: 7

    Thanks for the help. I sanded them with 400 grit, cleaned with alcohol, let dry and tried applying the paste as light and even as I could. Always felt like the leather didnt accept it very well.

    #47548

    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 58
    • Replies: 1794

    On the WE strops the leather strops use the smooth tanned  side of the leather.  Other strops I own and use do have the rough side out to be used for stropping.  I don’t know that it matters except the rough side or the sanded leather may appear differently than the smooth side, especially after applying the stropping compound.  I have not heard of anyone sanding the leather, till right now, with you.  That doesn’t mean that’s it’s wrong to do it or that it would be harmful to the leather.  My concern would be the possible transfer of the 400 grit abrasives getting imbedded into the leather strop.  That would certainly scratch a knife you were intending to polish.

    I apply enough stropping paste to cover the leather evenly.  That is not necessarily, lightly.  If you’re using stropping paste that comes out of the syringes, that type of stropping compound does have a tendency to flake off the leather more, with use, than the thick liquid stropping emulsion that comes from a sprayer type of applicator.  The liquid stropping emulsion should be shaken well before applying it to insure the diamonds are suspended well in the emulsion.

    I’d clean the sanded leather again, well, to hopefully remove any high grit abrasives. Then I suggest you just reapply the stropping paste and use the strops more.  It was a recommended step, in the past, to spritz the leather with rubbing alcohol, just to moisten it, right before applying the paste type stropping compound to help it spread onto and into the leather.  Clay, the owner of WE spritzes his leather strop with alcohol when he is going to use them.  He likes the feedback feel he gets with the alcohol moistened strops.

    Just keep using this set of strops till you learn how and develop good stropping technique.  They’ll get cut and gouged as you learn.  When you get the technique down and these are really dirty and torn up, then I’d order replacement leather strips from WE.  I’ve been stropping for over 5 years now and I still manage to cut the leather every once in a while.  I’ve not noticed any difference in strop efficiency between new smooth leather and older beat up leather.  I do prefer to use the older strops because they are more saturated with the diamond abrasive and I’d like to feel that they’re more efficient.

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-It)

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