Knife stropping can be done with a piece of leather, a leather belt, a boot, gun strap or a game galow. Some even use a piece of cardboard a newspaper, denim, wood or what else is laying around. Just coat the leather or what else you are using with polishing paste, and you are good to go. Knife stropping with polishing paste is really good to give your knife the final touch that makes a world of difference when it comes to sharpness. Stropping a knife is well known in the barber world where they use long leather straps to make their razors sharp. Polishing paste comes in many different varieties and colors, and you just have the find the one that suits your style and needs. I have been using Jeweler´s Rouge* for many years, and I am very happy with that.
Knife stropping with leather
Knife stropping with leather is basically just a polishing of the edge. When sharpening your blade you still end up with micro burrs on the edge. Stropping helps you remove that and makes it way sharper, and looking good. To strop you knife you have to hold it at a 15-20 degree angle on the leather. When you hold the edge of the knife towards yourself, you move the knife away from you. And when your holding the edge away from you, drag the knife towards your self. Do this 10-15 times with equal amount of strokes on each side, and you are done.
Tips and tricks
Instead of using your knife until its dull its a good idea to strop your knife with just 4-5 strokes now and then while working with it. This keeps you knife in good working condition, and it will stay sharp much longer. Nothing beats the pleasure of working with a sharp knife. A leather strap can as mentioned be made from almost anything, and be small enough to fit in your pocket.
Remeber a dull blade is more dangerous than a sharp one.
A knife is not a can opener, hammer, chisel, pry bar, shovel, axe or screwdriver. The fastest way to ruin your knife is to use it for a task for which it was not intended!
*It has been brought to my attention that Jeweler’s Rouge is classified by the CDC/OSHA as being potentially carcinogenic! /Thanks to Brian Arendes.