Best Grit for Maintenance Stropping?

Discussion in 'Maintenance, Tinkering & Embellishment' started by Chronovore, Dec 2, 2019.

  1. Chronovore

    Chronovore Basic Member Basic Member

    Aug 29, 2019
    Stropping isn't just for when you're finished with stones. Stropping can also be good maintenance between sharpenings. At least for me, it seems like just a little stropping after cutting up a few boxes can go a long way towards preserving an edge. As with anything though, I feel like I could get more out of it.

    So for this kind of general maintenance stropping, what grit or micron size emulsion do you all use? If you've got thoughts or experiences you'd like to share on the practice, I'd love to get them down here.
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  2. WhitleyStu

    WhitleyStu Keep'em scary sharp!!! Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 8, 2006
    I touch up our kitchen knives every few weeks and all I use is green chrome compound on a 2x72 leather belt. Just a few free hand passes on each side and the blade is razor sharp again. I can do ~ 20 knives in roughly 10 minutes.
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  3. David Martin

    David Martin Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    For general maintenance stropping, really back honing, I use 200 grit SiC slurry applied on a oak flooring board. It will work finer. After 3-4 workings I'll need to take it to a stone. Because the edge becomes finer with each working, to the point it no longer is able to cut cloth (cleaning patches) or rope. DM
  4. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    Most polishing compounds don't have an actual grit rating and are made using a fine "flour" of various-sized grit, so I'm not really able to say. But I like to use a black emery polishing compound followed by just stropping on a bare piece of pine sanded smooth.
  5. TRfromMT


    Jan 4, 2016
    Black compound then green on standard leather strops. Easy peasy.
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  6. miso2

    miso2 Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 19, 2014
    I use DMT EEF stone for edge maintenance. Not stropping, but gives a fresh edge every time.
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  7. HeavyHanded


    Jun 4, 2010
    I prefer something in the 10-12 micron range, a bit of added grit at about 3 micron is helpful - a blend really does do a better job than single grit. A hard backing is essential.
  8. The only stropping I generally do anymore is on the bare sueded side of one of my leather belts. For the minor edge restoration I otherwise do, just a handful of minimal & very light passes on a hone/stone serves most of my upkeep needs. This means a very light touch on an oiled hone/stone, maybe 5 passes or less per side. I feel this does a better job in preserving the edge exactly as I want it, leaving the bite intact as it comes from the stone (usually something in the ballpark between a Fine India and a 600-grit diamond hone). As an alternative to that, I also sometimes use a small grooved steel in a similar manner (very, very light touch and a minimum number of passes), to restore the bite in the edge.

    I used to do more stropping with compound, but always felt it polished the edge more than I wanted, reducing that bite I like as it comes from the stone itself.

    As it pertains to cutting cardboard specifically, sometimes the cardboard itself is quite good as a strop to realign a slightly rolled edge. So, as a matter of convenience while cutting the cardboard, I'll sometimes do that.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2019
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  9. Bill3152


    Nov 27, 2018
    I don't strop my kitchen knives at all. 325 DMT is all except the veggie chopper that I will refine to 1200 DMT. My edcs though I strop on either a 3.5 micron diamond slurry on balsa, then i have a 1 micron cbn and some leftover .25 micron diamond spray all on balsa. It's so easy to just touch up the edge on a plate. But whatever spins your wheel.
  10. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    To be clearer about my answer, I also typically don't strop, and finish on a sintered silicon carbide plate instead. But when I do, what I typically do is emery compound on a hard-backed strop.
  11. jpm2


    Nov 19, 2014
    Same here.
    If the edge doesn’t seem to be improving within 5 or 10 strokes tho, I step back to the coarse diamond.
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