I have been thinking about expanding my sharpening. I currently have a
waterstone with what I think is a 1200 grit side and 6000 grit side (It was
so long ago that I bought the thing). I'm pretty happy with the results. I
can shave hairs and all. Am I missing anything by never having tried
stropping as a final step?
If so, whts best for basic chisel, iron and lathe tools? Flat, powerstrop?
Does a powerstrop have to be leather or felt? Why not just turn a disk of
MDF and charge that with compound?
Actually Woodcraft.com just came up with that exact product, it should work
(in mdf blocks). but I wouldn't trust it for flattening a back, considering the
possibility of running the blade into the mdf. I think a steel Kanaban is the
idea for flattening, all around.
But... I do use a leather strop of horse butt hide, just rests on a piece of
and charged with Lee Valley green (0.5 micron) on one half and cheap blue emery
on the other half, as a starter. I use rendered beef fat boiled from chopped up
tallow, rubbed into the leather as a media for holding the grits, you only need a
very small amount at a time.
I think horse is not the best idea, too thin and soft. I would recommend thick
strapping hide from the beef industry as long as it is smooth with no niks, very
tough. Think "saddlery".
It works incredibly well, and if you use a micro bevel the strop will round it to
a safe degree. I cought myself with that one, and I pivot every joint from
to wrist to keep that bevel flat as possible on the leather. It will take it
6000 grit quite well, and you will find a micro hard bur there, not the kind that
builds up and breaks off, but like a razor. But takes a bit of "work", in which
you can make your own "wheel strop" for the drill press, and on that you can use
both the sides and the flat top. Lowest speed!
http://www.handamerican.com/ has some interesting things I havn't tried yet.
...hope this helps,
Alex - "newbie_neander" woodworker
A hand strop is all you need to finish up an edge. Mine is a 12" scrap
of saddle leather glued to a 3/4" X 2" scrap of wood. A few strokes
puts a mirror finish on chisels, planes, knives, etc.
Charge it with any iron or Aluminum oxide buffing compound. I mix a
little chunk with mineral oil and rub the mess into the leather.
Charging only needs to be done occasionally when it slows down the
Leather itself is a very fine abrasive. Adding any further abrasive to it
just brings it closer to a stone. Fine, if you are sharpening as you would
with a carving knife. For things like plane blades (and the finish on
carving knives), plain leather is plenty. Stone to sharpen with a few (and
yes, it only takes a few) passes on plain leather to give the finest finish.
I use a Smith's Crock stick on my Case pocket knives then do a few strokes
on an old barber shop strop. My knives probably equal a surgeons scalpels,
so much as touch the edge and you are bleeding. I hate it when someone wants
to use my knife, I know what's fixing to happen, even when I warn them they
have to see for them selves by testing the edge with a finger. RM~
If you have a Case that will take an edge like that, you got real lucky. I
quite buying them some years ago as the quality of their steel has gone way
down hill. Worth it to the company i'm sure. Probably saved them a whole
$.03 per knife to go to crap steel.
Haven't bought a new knife since 61, didn't realize they had a problem. I
have several Schrades and Case knives from the 50's and early 60's and they
all take a real nice edge. The Case (3 1/2 " blade) that I carry mostly I
purchased new in
61. I lost it once and found it a year or so latter laying in a flower bed
in the back yard. After a light buffing on the bone handle it looked like
new again and I still carry it daily. RM~
Since the first one about 57 years ago, the only pocket knife I've not been
able to lose is one I wouldn't of been caught dead with for most of that
time ... a *&$#*&% 'Swiss army' knife that keeps turning up in my pocket no
matter where I leave it.
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