Another sharpening question?

May 6, 1999
I have a strop that I use in the last step in my sharpening process. I have read many FAQ's on sharpening and stropping a knife. I read that it is better to use the green rouge on the leather side of the strop. My question is where can I get green rouge in paste form, or do I have to make my own paste? I found green rouge in liquid form for polising aluminum and stainless steels. But this liquid contains petroleum, and I do not think that this would be good for the leather. I have white stropping paste, but according to the FAQ's, the white is better used on the canvas side of the strop. Any help on this subject will be greatly appreciated. Thanks,

[This message has been edited by Big D1 (edited 13 July 1999).]

[This message has been edited by Big D1 (edited 13 July 1999).]
Dean, I can get the green rouge in stick form from just about any truck stop. But how would I use the stick? Would I shave some off the rouge stick onto the strop or is there a better way? Is there a way to make a paste with the green rouge stick?

[This message has been edited by Big D1 (edited 13 July 1999).]
You can e-mail Keith De'Grau at to order chrominum oxide made specifically for leather strops. He also makes excellent leather hones as I have one.
I understand that you can also get the chromium oxide at some paint stores. You would need the dry though. Perhaps some of the arts and crafts stores may have it in the dry form.
It is what is used to make green paint. I was reading someplace the other day about some of these things and it was metioned that some "old timers" would paint a board green and use it for dressing up chisel and plane blades.
I thought that was pretty interesting as I have glued sandpaper onto boards to make really big "whetstones" It works well and you can make it whatever grit you want too!


The civilized man sleeps behind locked doors in the city while the naked savage sleeps (with a knife) in a open hut in the jungle.
Polishing compounds (polish in stick form) are made by mixing a polish with wax -- just rub the strop with the stick and do some stropping to rub it in. It'll be a long time before you have to do it again.

-Cougar Allen :{)
Thanks for all the information posted to my question. And a special thanks Larry. He hooked me up with, and they have all the answers that I needed. He has some great combination flat strops and all the polishing compounds to go with it. And the kits also come with instructions. Plus you can go to his website and read about stropping. Thanks again, David Walker
Gramps (and his local grandson) got along just fine with the sole of his boot or any ol' scrap of leather. He might even have spent a buck or two for a real strop.

And what you put on it is truly "dressing." A strop doesn't sharpen and it really needs little other than the leather (or the back of a legal pad works nice too) to do its work.

Desert Rat

Leather will work without any polish as the final step after honing. Tripoli on leather will do that faster and it's much better for touching up between honings -- you can sharpen a moderately dull knife with tripoli in a minute or two. Plain leather has very little effect on a moderately dull edge; basically all it can do is remove that residual burr after honing.

"Moderately dull" is a relative term, I suppose.... If a knife is really dull it'd take forever to restore the edge by stropping with tripoli. I like to touch up the edge when it's still sharp enough to shave, along most of the edge, anyway -- restore it to full sharpness frequently and never let it get really dull. Touching up with just a few strokes and doing it frequently, I often go weeks without using a hone on my carry knife and it's never so dull it won't shave -- it varies from hair-popping to hair-scraping but never gets any duller than that.

That's my answer to people who say you should never use a knife you rely on for defense for anything else for fear of dulling it, by the way -- I usually carry only one knife and use it for everything, but I never let it get dull.

We all have our pet methods for keeping a knife sharp and I don't suppose we'll ever agree on the best way. All I can say is I've tried a variety of methods and the one I like the best for most purposes is to use tripoli on leather frequently, a fine diamond hone infrequently, and a coarser stone only when I first buy a knife and want to change the angle, or when I need to thin the edge after long use. YMMV; there are other methods that work.

-Cougar Allen :{)
Does a piece of leather made specifically for stropping, such as sold on the above website, actually work significantly better than a simple leather belt? (meaning: Is it really worth the extra money?)

Also, is it important to have this mounted (such as to a piece of wood) for a fixed angle, or is stretched from foot to hand ok?

The more I read on sharpening here the less I want to try it for fear of ****ing something up!!!

I guess I'll have to get a couple of cheapies and just go to town.
I can't see that commercial strops are any better than a simple piece of latigo cowhide.
I like to glue a thick piece of latigo to the back of a hone; that works better for me than stretching it out. With it glued to your hone you can really bear down on it. The "farmer's repair bundles" of latigo leather scraps that sell for around $5 a bundle are great, and so is an old belt -- a belt made of a single piece of thick leather. Or whatever you have around.... It makes little difference which side of the leather you use.

Don't be afraid to learn to sharpen! Especially don't be afraid to strop; there's no way you could fork anything up with a strop. You could scratch up a blade learning to use a hone, and the coarser the sharpening stone the worse the scratches will be. Just take some knife that's already scratched or one you wouldn't mind scratching to start with -- any old junky kitchen knife or throwing knife will do, or a good knife you love but it's a using knife and you don't mind scratches -- and plunge right in fearlessly. Just don't do your learning on a mirror-polished beauty that you keep on display in a glass case and would never use....

Seriously, the worst you can do is scratch the blade -- you will scratch the blade at least a few times before you learn not to -- but you're not going to do any worse to a knife than scratch it. After the first few minutes of trying to sharpen it the knife might seem duller than it was to start with, but just keep going; you'll figure it out soon enough.

We argue a lot about what's the best way to sharpen a knife because there are a number of different methods that work. If it were all that difficult, if there were only one right way to do it, we wouldn't have anything to argue about.

Anybody who hasn't read Joe's Sharpening FAQ, go to the Knowledge Base at this website and read it, and read the other FAQs too. With the FAQ and the information in this thread you're all set and there's NO EXCUSE not to start right now and learn to sharpen your own knives!!! Don't tell me you don't own a knife you're not afraid of scratching up -- look in the back of the drawers in the kitchen. Go to the Goodwill and buy a paring knife for fifty cents. Just do it!

In no time at all you'll be volunteering to sharpen all your friends' and relations' knives for them. It's fun! It's a relaxing thing to do with your hands while you're hanging around the house reading or sitting in front of the goddamnnoisybox (if you allow one of those things to squawk in your house; I don't). You can impress your friends, too. Your friends all have cheap pocket knives and kitchen knives that are horrendously dull, wouldn't cut warm butter, but they're made of soft steel and you can put a razor edge on one in a few minutes with a pocket hone and watch their eyes bug out when they see you shave your arm with it! :O You can be the life of the party! Just do it!

-Cougar Allen :{)
As for a 'real' strop rather than some other type -- as well as the need for miracle devices, please reread my post above.

Desert Rat