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Thread: Leather Strops - are they a sham?

  1. #61
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    You both make strong points.

    My question is this:
    Why are there "knife people" and "straight razor people?"

    Why can't they be the same people?

  2. #62
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    They can be the same people. Just like spin fisher people can also fly fish. They just understand the difference between feathers & metal.
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    I've sharpened knives all my life. Always tried to get the edge to "razor sharp" and made sure they would shave, on my arm but never tried my face. When I started honing razors, the method was entirely different and it took some time to get use to it. You can do both, but it's two different methods. I'm still not able to get the same edge on a razor as I'd like, but my knife blades are more than acceptable. I've always used leather to finish the knives, but never needed to strop them after use. Anyone not stropping a razor is missing the great shave, and probably using the stones way too much.
    Last edited by Shyster512; 08-05-2017 at 03:15 AM.
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    So, as it turns out, I was pressing too hard on the leather and my 10k stone is definitely garbage.

    It seems I need not press at all when stropping on the paddle strop. I've been concentrating on going extra extra extra slow and feeling for the "stick" that comes with a nicely stropped edge. Just letting the leather tickle the edge without adding any leverage or twist. That stickiness, seems to me, is unique to leather.

    +1 for a reason for leather.

    The 10k was brutal. I took the razor down to 1k, 3k, 4k, all the while looking for that insanely straight and precise bevel and edge. Totally fine, no problems, and then the 10k.

    It felt like sharpening on a wavy cheese grater.

    I was flattening each of these stones before I started, whenever a slurry would develop, and then more if I felt like it. I wanted to be 100% sure the stones were flat. The 10k would not get flat.

    As soon as I started noticing the bevel beginning to go wonky, I stopped.

    Fortunately it seems to be doing okay after the suede with CrOx and then a stropping... a careful stropping.

    Now I'm feeling a little more of the love for leather strops. I think I'm beginning to see the light.

    I can see now how stropping, day to day, is a game of fractions of microns. CrOx is quick to cut a new edge, but leather seems to be doing a good job of polishing off and aligning that fractional micron sized edge.

    I may have hope yet.

    Thanks for the finer points, gents. I see now where razors are insane precision versus knives that are a game of balancing tradeoffs.

  6. #65
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    I've used and maintained Japanese kitchen knives for many years, Shigefusa, Takeda, Mizuno Tarenjo (sp?)... the only one that I thought I could shave with was the Shigefusa, and only WTG, but it did surprise me that it did as well as it did, but it's no straight razor.

    Having come to razors from high end knives, I can tell you that trying to make analogies or parallels between knives and straight razors is more harmful than helpful. Look at the razor as a blank slate and learn it.

    The best razor hones aren't the best knife hones and the best knife hones are not the best razor hones.

    If CrOx improved my edge immensely, I would suspect that my finisher or technique could be better. Personal taste notwithstanding.

    And your using way too much pressure!

    Cheers, Steve

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bang0Bang00 View Post

    I was flattening each of these stones before I started, whenever a slurry would develop, and then more if I felt like it. I wanted to be 100% sure the stones were flat. The 10k would not get flat.

    As soon as I started noticing the bevel beginning to go wonky, I stopped.
    That's odd. Are you using a pencil grid on the 10k to estimate flatness. It shouldn't matter if it's not 100% flat.

    At 10k you should mostly be just polishing. Can't see enough metal coming off to upset the bevel... Unless they labelled the stone back-asswards. That's happened to me before . Kasumi 3/8k was labeled in reverse.
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    Yup. I would use the pencil grid at least twice on every stone. Sometimes more.

    It possibly could be mislabeled. Good thought! I'll see if I can suss that out.

    Almost right away on the 10k (versus the other stones) I could feel the waves on the surfaced of the stone through the straight razor. It felt like the steel was bending and flexing over tiny little arcs on the stone surface. I couldn't visibly see what I was feeling, but that's what I thought I was seeing show up on the bevel and edge.

    I remember reading or hearing advice (I think it was Lynn Abrams) to beginner honers to actually try to over hone to see how much it takes, since most noobs underhone. Your probably going to slap me, but I was honing so there was a tiny burr each step of the way, just like a knife, as a bit of an experiment. Again, all going beautifully until the 10k.

    At this point, I'm thinking my 10k is a defective anomaly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bang0Bang00 View Post
    Yup. I would use the pencil grid at least twice on every stone. Sometimes more.
    Can't picture any reason for that with the few strokes that are required on a 10k
    If that much lapping is needed on lower grits the stone is way too soft.


    It possibly could be mislabeled. Good thought! I'll see if I can suss that out.
    A low grit stone should show an obvious scratch pattern but it can be hard to detect in some cases especially if slurry is involved.

    Almost right away on the 10k (versus the other stones) I could feel the waves on the surfaced of the stone through the straight razor. It felt like the steel was bending and flexing over tiny little arcs on the stone surface. I couldn't visibly see what I was feeling, but that's what I thought I was seeing show up on the bevel and edge.
    Hard to imagine this if you mostly lapped out the pencil grid. Maybe the razor is just sticking & releasing to the stone /

    I remember reading or hearing advice (I think it was Lynn Abrams) to beginner honers to actually try to over hone to see how much it takes, since most noobs underhone. Your probably going to slap me, but I was honing so there was a tiny burr each step of the way, just like a knife, as a bit of an experiment. Again, all going beautifully until the 10k.
    Waste of steel but also if the burr breaks you end up with microchips. I think you may have misinterpreted Lynn's advice.

    At this point, I'm thinking my 10k is a defective anomaly.
    If the stone is flat & you do even up to 50 strokes on it, at featherlight pressure, there should not be any weird sensation .
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  12. #69
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    Leather strops are NOT a sham. For my EDC knife, I use a 1x30 belt sander, with a leather belt. This gets it crispy sharp.

    Burr removal is not what strops are for. A few light passes on a finishing stone should remove any burr. I "strop" my freshly sharpened knife on a Naniwa 5k Super Stone. This will remove any burr.

    Ceramic rods and steels are also good burr removers, and are excellent for touching up edges. They are only useful for maintaining a sharp edge. If the edge is rounded off, they do not have the cutting power to restore them.

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