Leather and Balsa Strop Instructions

Leather and Balsa Strop Instructions

Preparation - Applying the diamond paste to the leather or balsa strops

Always start with clean hands and a clean working surface when handling your strops to prevent contamination of the surfaces. Remove the strops and the syringes of diamond paste from their packaging. The strops are mounted in colored plastic trays attached to the handles and the handles are labeled with the correct grit number. In some cases, the handles are labeled Coarse/Fine. The syringes are labeled with their grit number. Compare the number on the syringe to the number on the handle in order to apply the paste to the correct side of each handle. If the handles are marked Coarse/Fine, apply the higher numbered grit to the side labeled Coarse and the lower numbered grit to the side labeled Fine. Start by applying the lower numbered, finer grit by squeezing a thin zigzag pattern of paste along the length of the strip on each strop. Rub the corresponding strops together to work the paste into the strip. The entire syringe is not meant to be used at one time. A small amount goes a long way and an excessive amount of diamond paste will result in a gunky surface that will be messy and difficult to work with.

Tip: Fill an empty spray bottle with isopropyl rubbing alcohol and lightly mist the surface or the strip after applying the paste and before rubbing the strops together. The paste will work in more easily and less residue will be left on the blade during stropping.

Using your strops

After completing sharpening with the stones, clean the blade thoroughly to remove any metal filings or other contaminants from the surface before starting with your strops. Exercise caution so as not to cut yourself. Start with the coarser, higher numbered grit and strop your knife using a slower up-and-away stroke. This stroke is similar to the motion used with stones but should be done slower with a more upward stroke to help avoid cutting of the strop material. Be very careful not to slide the strops down into the blade as this will cause the knife to cut into the strip. Be sure to clean the blade again before switching to a different grit to prevent cross contamination.

Tip: Lower the sharpening angle by 2 degrees for stropping to maintain the original sharpening angle.

Tip: Lightly mist the surface of the strip with rubbing alcohol before stropping.

Care and maintenance of your leather or balsa strops:

Always wipe the steel filings off of the blade you have just sharpened before using the strops.  Failure to do so will result in contamination of your strops with these steel filings, which can significantly reduce their performance.  Never allow strops with different diamond sizes to come into contact with each other.  Be sure to store them in a clean location and in a manner that prevents cross-contamination, such as in separate plastic bags.

If you have any questions about this process, feel free to contact us at support@wickededgeusa.com.