How To Strop A Knife With A Belt


Knives—especially kitchen knives—need to be kept sharp with a strop primarily for safety reasons. Many people have been injured by their own knives while using them when they’re dull. Many people may have a kitchen knife for years without ever thinking to sharpen it, and the duller the knife becomes, the more dangerous it becomes.

stropping compound

Simply rub the bar evenly on the surface like a crayon. A little goes a very long way, so this small bar will last for a very long time. After applying compound to a strop, polish your knives and blades to a mirror, razor sharp finish. To achieve the best possible edge, finish honing by polishing your edge on raw leather. This compound is micro fine with a 0.5 micron particle size and will produce an edge equivalent to 60,000 grit. Chromium Oxide is a superfine, polycrystalline abrasive, it is the mineral that gives green polishing compound it’s color.

Strops & Stropping Compounds

In order to achieve the sharpest knife or tool edge possible, honing the tool with a strop after sharpening is mandatory. Without further refining the cutting edge of the tool with progressively finer grits you will never be able to achieve a super sharp cutting edge. If you already are ok with your polishing stone then you won’t necessarily need compound. The leather itself will “buff” the existing edge and have a slight polishing effect (technically it isn’t polishing since you are virtually removing no material from the edge itself). The compound will actually remove material from the edge. It is very minute compared to a whetstone however, but can be very helpful in finishing up an edge or maintaining an edge after use.

Product Types

If they do get real dull get some sandpaper and fold over the strop to get the main edge back. My BU blades typically have a 25 degree primary bevel and a high secondary/micro bevel (e.g. 50 degrees, to create a 62 degree included angle). The microbevel makes it difficult, if not impossible, to freehand strop accurately . This works well enough to give the blade a second lease on life. Note that this involved drawing the blade towards oneself, with the sharp end trailing.

What Is The Best Stropping Compound To Use?

So for prepping purposes, there’s no comparison to the durability and reusability of the traditional colored bars. Rougher grit compounds are more aggressive and remove more metal. Which means they work faster but produce edges that are less finely polished. Finer grit compounds remove less metal and work more slowly, but they’re how you get the best results. But, for obvious reasons (i.e. it plugs into a wall), it’s strictly a home or workshop option and overkill for most people.

The particles in our selection of compounds range from 6 microns, roughly equivalent to a 2500 grit water stone, down to .5 micron, or about grit. Various materials are used for the abrasive particles such as aluminum oxide, chromium oxide and diamonds. The green color of the GHC is just a dye, and there are several grades of it. All the woodworking vendors sell the same stuff made by Formax in the USA. Bar of a .5 micron mixture of Aluminum Oxide with some Chromium Dioxide in a wax crayon. Lee Valley sells the same stuff under their own Veritas brand.

I never really took notes or anything to really do it more scientifically. I just play around with what I find around at different places. I also found that lightly sanding the smooth side of the leather with some 220 grit really helps out on some leather. I’m a pro at hand sharpening but I have always had problems with stropping compound application. Also just the weight of the knife or the tool you are sharpening is plenty, restist the urge to put pressue on it like you do on stones, let the compound do the work. Be sure and listen to your knife on the strop too as you can tell by the sound when it is right.

Note that honing compound is the final abrasive used in the sharpening process. The abrasive particles are extremely small and will polish an existing edge to a mirror finish, but are not aggressive enough to bring a dull edge back to sharp. The edge being sharpened must have been taken through the finest sharpening stones before the compound is used for it to be effective.

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