A leather strop is a tool to sharpen and maintain the edge of knives, razors, and other cutting instruments. It is made of two leather pieces, one rough and the other smooth. The rough side removes any burrs or nicks on the blade, while the soft side is used to hone and polish the edge. To use a leather strop, begin by ensuring the blade is clean and free of debris. Hold the edge at a 20-degree angle to the strop and use light pressure to drag the blade along the rough side of the leather, starting from the blade’s heel and working towards the tip.
Make sure to maintain the angle throughout the stroke and use even pressure. Repeat this process several times, flip the strop over and repeat the process on the smooth side. It’s important to note that you should always strop the blade in the opposite direction of the edge. So, if the edge of your blade is facing down, you should strop it facing up. When honing, you should always start with the rough side and finish with the smooth side. It allows the rough side to remove any burrs and nicks while the soft side polishes and hones the edge. It is also essential to use a good quality leather strop and to keep it well-maintained. A leather strop should be kept clean and dry and treated with a leather conditioner every few months to keep it supple.
Another essential thing to consider is the angle of the blade while honing. The angle of the blade should be kept consistent, ideally around 20 degrees. It is the angle that will produce the sharpest edge. Additionally, it would help if you used light pressure when stropping, as applying too much pressure can damage the leather and the blade’s edge. Additionally, use good quality leather strop, keep it well-maintained, and use light pressure. After stropping, you can check the blade’s edge using the “hanging hair test.” To do this, hold the blade against a strand of hair and gently pull it through the edge. If the blade is sharp, it will easily cut the hair. Stropping is a simple but effective way to maintain the edge of your knives, razors, and other cutting instruments. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your blades are always sharp and in top condition.