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Second set of strops?

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  • #58539
    Ribstabsheart
    Participant
    • Topics: 2
    • Replies: 19

    Hello!

    I was wondering which type of strop to try next — I have all the basic diamond stones from 60 – 1500, and the basic 5/3.5 micron strops that came with my WE kit. I know there’s different materials and compounds to use, and was wondering which would be the best one to try out next (if you could just pick one.. for now!). Not sure about the pro’s and con’s of the different materials, or what would make much of a difference compared to what I’ve tried so far.

    #58540
    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 73
    • Replies: 2721

    The strop mediums themselves range from smooth to smoother:    Cow leather> Kangaroo leather> Microfiber, are commonly used.

    I try to apply and use the finer grit strop compounds to the smoother strop mediums.

    As strop compounds go, I found the pastes are drier and may tend to flake off the strops with use. The emulsions are a smoother milky liquid and easier to apply to strops. The emulsions seem to feel smoother on the strops and stays put better.  The finest strop compounds are applied and used on the smoothest micro-fiber strops. The idea is for the strop compound’s grit to best match or hide the strop medium’s natural abrasion characteristics and contribution.

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-Its)

    #58543
    Ribstabsheart
    Participant
    • Topics: 2
    • Replies: 19

    <span style=”color: #000000; font-family: Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;”>Thank you, Marc!</span>

     

    <span style=”color: #000000; font-family: Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;”>I have noticed the pastes to be kind of flaky and tricky to work with, but I assumed that was mostly due to user error. Maybe I should give the emulsions a try next, and possibly the kangaroo leather? Since I have the 3.5/5 currently, I’m guessing I’d want the next emulsion down the line (maybe the 2 and 4, or 1 and 0.5?)? I am open to suggestions if a particular type of strop/spray would make a larger difference!</span>

    #58544
    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 73
    • Replies: 2721

    For stropping, IMO, the most important contributor is your preparation. Good stropping will not enhance or bring out the shine and sharpness of an unfinished knife edge.

    I believe good stropping technique is key. More-so than the strop type. I prefer to strop in a mostly vertical, up and off, edge-trailing strokes, with moderate applied finger pressure. I work the edge in small sections with alternating side overlapping strokes to blend the burnishing action.

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-Its)

    #58545
    Ribstabsheart
    Participant
    • Topics: 2
    • Replies: 19

    I can definitely tell the difference when I work slowly and alternate strokes (while I apply light pressure). At first, I was just kind of quickly doing it with long strokes, which is a very dangerous game to play when it comes to leather!🤣.

     

    If I wanted to try out the emulsions, should I get anothet set of leather strops first? Not sure what micron would pair best with the current 5/3.5 pastes I’ve tried so far. My girlfriend is hoping to get me a birthday present, so I wanted to send her a little WE shopping list 🙂

    #58546
    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 73
    • Replies: 2721

    This is the Rabbit Hole…. I use simply a 4µ/2µ on cow following every stone progression on every knife. That strop pair following good stonework done with an attention to detail gives me a very nicely polished bevel and very sharp edge. If you want more than this, you can increase the grit progressions, stone progressions and mediums you use with more steps. It’s endless the strop compounds and leathers to use. The more particular you are or how curious you are, to learn to achieve your elusive “perfect” bevel is up to you.

    I have tried and used many combinations. I own or have owned them all. Right know I’m finding through repeated tries that spending time and effort with each and every grit you are using, using it like it’s your last, will go further to contribute to your outcomes than anything else done at the end. Use what you have and use now as best you can. This will help you to decide what you want to add.

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-Its)

    #58547
    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 73
    • Replies: 2721

    If I wanted to try out the emulsions, should I get anothet set of leather strops first? Not sure what micron would pair best with the current 5/3.5 pastes I’ve tried so far.

    I’d add finer grits, like 2µ/1µ emulsions on new set of leather strops.

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-Its)

    #58548
    Ribstabsheart
    Participant
    • Topics: 2
    • Replies: 19

    Thank you so much!

    1 user thanked author for this post.
    #58549
    Ribstabsheart
    Participant
    • Topics: 2
    • Replies: 19

    <p style=”text-align: left;”>I dont see a “pack” of 1u/2u strops like the other ones, so I’ll probably get them separately. Given that I currently have 5 and 3, would make more sense to get those two vs the cow leather + emulsion bundles of 4/2 or 1/0.5.</p>
     

    Is the softer kangaroo leather mostly used for finer grits? It would be fun to try, but given that I’m still working on my technique, it’s probably better to stick with the cow leather for now.

    #58550
    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 73
    • Replies: 2721

    Yes, order the emulsions and the strop blanks separately to make that 2/1 pair.

    Yes, the logic is the pair to finer cmpds with the smoother leathers. I’ve read there are natural silicas or particles in cow hide making it inherently scratchy. This limits cow hides ultimate smoothness. Too scratchy for the finer grit cmpds??? I’ve also wanted to try the kangaroo but I haven’t yet.

    That’s the rabbit-hole…If you’re at this place in your W.E. sharpening experience where you’re wondering how to make improving steps, you’re already on the way. On my journey as I follow branches down the RH I have used most every medium. That’s a natural progression for those of us on this journey.

    Remember one grit builds on the last, starting with the very first stone.

    Enjoy

     

     

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-Its)

    #58551
    Ribstabsheart
    Participant
    • Topics: 2
    • Replies: 19

    You strop after every stone progression? If I recall correctly, you keep it at the same angle as the stones and take lots of care to not nick the leather.

    After talking with you last time, I realized that I was rushing through things and started examining my bevels with a scope and taking my time to remove all the scratches. That really made a big difference! Still working on my technique, but starting to get things dialed in a little more.

    I’ll pass on the kangaroo for now, and maybe pick up an extra strop down the road since I was accidentally sent 1/0.5u paste a while back and have nothing to put it on. The 2/1 seems like the logical next step for now!

    #58552
    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 73
    • Replies: 2721

    To quote Ret Det Joe Kenda, “my, my, my”.  You are down a rabbit hole.

    Once you add a scope to the routine it means you can really scrutinize your efforts. Working with a scope I began to see the inconsistencies. Checking and making micro-fine angle adjustments is my way to monitor my stone and knife positioning is rock stable. Also, I work with whetstones that can vary in thickness requiring the angle adjustments.

    I strop every knife I sharpen as the last step.

     

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-Its)

    • This reply was modified 9 months, 1 week ago by MarcH.
    1 user thanked author for this post.
    #58625
    Ribstabsheart
    Participant
    • Topics: 2
    • Replies: 19

    Well, my birthday came and went, and I ended up with the 2/1 emulsions and cow strops, as well as a bonus kangaroo strops! What can I say, she’s a keeper! 🤣

    Now I’m left with the crippling decision of what to do with what. I was thinking of ordering the 4u and 0.5u sprays, and then using the cow for 4/2, and the kangaroo for 1/0.5 after our discussion about using the softer leathers for lower grit compounds.

    I assume you cant really clean the strops and change grits after you load them up, so I haven’t used them yet. If something else might be better, please let me know! Whatever I do, I’m going to take my time and spend a lot of time with my microscope in hopes of getting better results over time!

    #58626
    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 73
    • Replies: 2721

    I use those four grits, (4/2/1/0.5µ) on cow leather with no issues. I thoroughly wipe down the sharpened blade with rubbing alcohol before using the strops and also between grit changes. This helps keep my strops clean for a very long time. Eventually, when the strops get black and shiny I wipe/scrub the strops with rubbing alcohol on a shop towel. I always reapply the same grits that were already used. If I want to use a strop with different grits I replace the strop leather first.

    Also, I wash my hands thoroughly after cleaning the sharpened blade before ever handling the strops.

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-Its)

    #58630
    Ribstabsheart
    Participant
    • Topics: 2
    • Replies: 19

    Went to go order the emulsions, and got to thinking whether I could use the low-angle adapter and some longer rods as well? I’m not looking to reprofile edges down to crazy angles — I’d just like to be able to sharpen very small and very tall knives more easily.

    I have the current pro pack 1, which has 8″ rods. I was just thinking of getting the longest rods so I could tackle anything; but since that’s almost 2x as long as my current ones it may be kind of overkill.

    Also, any good videos on using the angle guide cube? I’ve seen a few different methods, and I’m not sure what’s the right way to do it when youre working with the WE.

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