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Stropping your knife blade is the last step in sharpening a blade. Without stropping, you have not sharpened the blade as sharp as it can be.
Stropping is a process of polishing or smoothing the honed edge.
Honeing the edge of a blade properly is the first step in sharpening. Hone the blade until the two sides meet in a fine edge at the proper degree. At this point this is about as far as you need to go in the honening process.
Almost always a honed edge leaves a curl of metal on the edge. This seems to go from side to side. It always bends to the opposite side being honed. This is referred to as a curl or wire edge.
The tension is adjusted by twisting the handle. Adjust the leather band until it is fairly tight. No need to over tighten the band. This could cause damage to the expanding mechanism. You should be able to squeeze the middle of the two sides to within one half of an inch of each other.
In stropping, you lay the blade flat on the leather band, raising the back edge until the cutting edge is against the leather band. Draw the blade in a non-cutting direction holding the blade at the required angle.
There are generally two methods of stropping. One way is to stroke the same side several times and then turn it over and stroke the other side several times. The most used method is to aternate sides. Stroke one side of blade, turn it over and stroke the other side.
If you alternate stroking the sides, always roll the blade with the cutting edge coming over the top as demonstrated above.
Very Important To Remember
(1) Never stroke the blade in a cutting direction. This will cut the leather band and possibly yourself.
(2) Never roll the blade over while stroking. This may cause you to over strop the edge which will dull the blade.
I do not accept any responsibility for injury that may occur while stropping your blade. If it is done properly, the cutting edge will always be moving in a non-cutting direction.
Practice this until you can get the curl polished from the edge and not roll over the edge. When you accomplish this you can make your blade razor sharp.
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Photography by Weyer of Toledo