For more than you would think possible to write or describe, for more
than you could possibly want to know, search this site:
Many there are professional knife/blade makers, and some have been
doing it for years.
Without fail, they will tell you a couple of things. One being that
while certain men's belts are OK for stropping, most are a waste of
time. They recommend a compressed or pressure rolled leather strip
from someone like Hand America.
Last, the guys that make their knives out of the really high
performance steels have found that NO compound is the way to go when
finishing an edge. There is apparently enough silica in a good piece
of tough shoulder hide to cut even the high performance steels these
guys are turning out at 60+ pts. Rockwell.
Some will use fine compounds to start the honing process, but none
finish with any of them. Some can literally shave their faces (arm/
leg hair is the defacto standard for a proper pocket knife edge there)
with their large hunting knives.
A little too much for me. For my smaller pocket knives I can do a
rudimentary strop on a piece of heavy brown cardboard that suits me
Refining the edge is much more than just removing the wire edge or
"burr" from sharpening. You can do that with a chef's steel. A honed
and polished edge reduces the friction of the cut as well as creating
a convex edge which provides better fine edge geometry/strength for
That's a fun site. I have been participating there for a while now
and it has really rekindled my age old interest in pocket knives,
especially the old fashioned patterns.
The irony I noticed is just how far behind woodworking tools are in
regards to what materials are being used. Probably the most common
steel used for a very fine forged chisel for a woodworker is 1095, but
more likely it is 1084, etc.
Yet those steels are considered the low end work horses of the blade
and cutting edge community. There are a lot of fine knives being made
from those steels, but it is not considered anything special.
I would love to see a set of high performance stainless chisels made
from some of the Swedish steels - no doubt they would be wonderful.
Unaffordable to be sure, but it would be great to have one super
chisel that was your prized bull.