Strops - Preparation, Use, and Maintenance

Strops - Preparation, Use, and Maintenance




Strops work best when used with abrasive compounds, which we call Stropping Compounds. Wicked Edge offers several types of Stropping Compounds, including diamond emulsion, diamond paste, and diamond spray. 

*When comparing micron sizes of Stropping Compounds, the higher number is coarser. For instance, 4 micron is coarser than 2 micron. 


When handling Strops, always start with clean hands and a clean working surface to prevent the Strops from becoming contaminated.



Strop Preparation


Applying Diamond Paste to Strops

Remove the strops and the syringes of diamond paste from their packaging. Notice that the grit / micron sizes are marked on the Wicked Edge handles. In some cases, the handles are labeled Coarse/Fine. The syringes are labeled with their grit number. If the handles are marked Coarse/Fine, apply the higher numbered Diamond Paste to the side labeled Coarse and the lower numbered Diamond Paste to the side labeled Fine. Squeeze the syringe gently to apply a small amount of diamond paste to the Strop. Rub the corresponding Strops together to work the paste into them. You can also use your finger to spread the paste around and create a thin layer over the entire surface of the strop. You don’t need to use very much compound - just enough to coat the strop with a very thin layer. 

 

For reference, each syringe of diamond paste contains about 4-6 applications. The diamond paste will work itself into the Strops, so you only need to apply paste to the Strops approximately every 30-40 knives. 


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







Applying Diamond Emulsion to Strops


Remove the strops and the bottles of diamond emulsion from their packaging. Notice that the grit / micron sizes are marked on the Wicked Edge handles. In some cases, the handles are labeled Coarse/Fine. The bottles are labeled with their grit number. If the handles are marked Coarse/Fine, apply the higher numbered Diamond Emulsion to the side labeled Coarse and the lower numbered Diamond Emulsion to the side labeled Fine. Start by applying the lower numbered, finer micron size by spraying/pouring a small amount of Diamond Emulsion to the Strop (three drops is sufficient). Rub the corresponding Strops together to work the emulsion into them. You can also use your finger to spread the emulsion around and create a thin layer over the entire surface of the strop. You don’t need to use very much compound - just enough to coat the strop with a very thin layer. 

 

For reference, each bottle of emulsion contains about 15 applications. The emulsion will work itself into the Strops, so you only need to apply emulsion to the Strops approximately every 30-40 knives. 

 

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







Applying Diamond Spray to Strops


Remove the strops and the bottles of diamond spray from their packaging. Notice that the grit / micron sizes are marked on the Wicked Edge handles. In some cases, the handles are labeled Coarse/Fine. The bottles are labeled with their grit number. If the handles are marked Coarse/Fine, apply the higher numbered Diamond Spray to the side labeled Coarse and the lower numbered Diamond Spray to the side labeled Fine. Start by applying the lower numbered, finer grit by spraying a small amount of Diamond Spray to the Strop. Rub the corresponding Strops together to work the diamond spray into them. You can also use your finger to spread the diamond spray around and create a thin layer over the entire surface of the strop. You don’t need to use very much compound - just enough to coat the strop with a very thin layer. 

 

For reference, each bottle of diamond spray contains about 50 applications. The diamond spray will work itself into the Strops, so you only need to apply the spray to the Strops approximately every 30-40 knives. 

 


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



Using your strops


  • Make sure to thoroughly clean your blade before using your strops. Exercise caution when cleaning the blade. 

  • Start with the coarser, higher numbered micron size and strop your knife using an upward motion. Try to make your stroke a little more vertical than the strokes you do with yours stones. If you move the strops in a horizontal fashion along the edge, the edge of the knife will cut into and ruin the strops. 

  • Be very careful not to slide the strops down into the blade as this will cause the knife to cut into the strop. 

  • Be sure to clean the blade again before switching to a different grit to prevent cross contamination.

  • Use light pressure with the strops. 

  • If you notice the strops “sticking” to the blade as you use them, that’s a good thing. It means the strops are working very well. 

 


Tip: Leather strops are pliable, so it’s helpful to lower the sharpening angle by 1-2 degrees for stropping to maintain the original sharpening angle. That way, when they flex as you’re stropping an edge, they won’t roll over the edge and dull it. For your reference: 


  • Standard (cow) Leather Strops - reduce sharpening angle by 1-2 degrees

  • Balsa Strops - use at the same angle as stones 

  • Kangaroo Leather - use at the same angle as stones (kangaroo leather is much thinner than cow leather, and these strops also have an aluminum backing, so you don’t need to reduce your sharpening angle when using them)

  • Nano-Cloth Strops - use at the same angle as stones 

 

Tip: Lightly mist the surface of the strop with rubbing alcohol before stropping. This will open up the pores in your strops, and allow them to work more effectively. 

 


Care and maintenance

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 abrasive compound 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. Wicked Edge Stone / Strop Covers are a great solution to prevent contamination. 


Replacing Your Leather Strips 

If your leather strops are damaged, you can easily replace the leather strips instead of replacing the whole strops pack. Wicked Edge offers Replacement Leather Strips at a low cost. To replace the leather on your handles, follow these instructions: 


  1. Peel the damaged leather off the handles. 

  2. Scrape off any glue that may still be attached to the handles. 

  3. Reattach your new leather strips using a hot glue gun

    1. Run glue down both sides of the handle, longways. 

    2. Place the rough side of the leather strip into the handle, on top of the glue. 

    3. Hold with firm pressure for 10-15 seconds

    4. Scrape away any glue that may have spilled over the side of the handle

  4. Reapply your diamond compound to the new leather strips 



Peel off old leather strip



Scrape off old glue



Use a glue gun to run two beads of glue down the handle tray



Place leather strip into handle tray and hold with firm pressure for 10-15 seconds




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