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Knife Sharpening Experts Stropping It





Youíre sharpening your knife and have tested it to confirm for sharpness. You know that youíve achieved it because youíve found a burr on the knifeís edge. This burr is how we know that the edge has reached the point of absolute sharpness. It confirms it. Should you stop there? Oh, but you must. Thereís only so much sharpening that can be done to an edge. To continue after that only results in unnecessary loss of metal on your blade edge. To continue gains nothing. Are you done then?

Youíve got a burr on your blade edge and it should be removed. Once youíve done that, the edge will usually have tiny bits of metal still clinging to it. These bits feel like sand on the edge. But youíd like to get it as fine as it can be, even slippery sharp at that.

Maybe youíve got knives that are going on display. Maybe theyíre going to be included in a ceremony of some sort. Or maybe youíd just like to show off your fine knives to your friends and family. Iím sure youíd want your edges to shine, to make them silky smooth. Well, then. Itís time to strop it.

Stropping is a technique used to clean off a bladeís edge after sharpening. It is meant to bend and twist those clinging metal pieces until they fall off. Itís also done to realign the microscopic teeth created on the edge while sharpening. Stropping is done by swiping both sides of your bladeís edge over a leather strap. When you can no longer feel clinging bits, you have successfully stropped your blade edge. It should be shining nice and bright at this point. This is how stropping was always done in the past, but times are changing.

Did you ever think that you might one day be able to electrically strop an edge? I sure didnít. The world of electric knife sharpening has come a very long way. Some electric knife sharpeners are quite amazing. Many of the high priced sharpeners are equipped with their own stropping abrasives. How about that? Itís true. Spend anywhere form over $50 to a few hundred on an exceptional electric knife sharpener and itíll both sharpen and strop your blades for you. Just like that. Yes, I know. It seems like an awful lot of money for just an electric knife sharpener. But if youíve got the means and donít care to diddle with it, electric knife stropping is surely possible now. It is entirely up to you.

Letís make one point very clear. Stropping is not sharpening. It isnít, really. But stropping with a polishing compound or an abrasive compound sure is. When you do this, when you add such a compound to the strap, the stropping has now become its own form of sharpening. Because it can now remove metal from the edge, it is a sharpener. All by itself, however, the strap can do no more than strop an edge. Therein lies the difference.

For fine knife sharpening, stropping is always the last step. It is done after absolute sharpness has been achieved. It makes each knife edge as fine as it can be. They will shine and shine. Isnít that special?
About Author Len Q. :

Len Q. is a master blade sharpener. If you would like to learn more about ª Knife Sharpening: How to Sharpen Knives, Maintain and Store Them ª Sharpening Other Edges (i.e. Chain Saws, Lawn Mower Blades, Gardening Tools, Axes) Find it at http://www.MakeKnivesSharp.com


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Article Added on Thursday, August 14, 2008
LD
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