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Thread: Stropping my chip carving knife

  1. #1

    Stropping my chip carving knife

    Over on the Neander forum here, we've had about 1000 discussions on stropping. But I want to share what is working for me as a beginning chip carver, just to get it into the archives to help the next person.

    This week I bought a copy of Dennis Moor's chip carving workbook. Very good book for the beginner - honestly, I was surprised to found it more helpful than Barton's. Anyway, Moor says to make a strop of 2 pieces of leather, each about 12" long. Glued one with the rough side facing out and applied Lee Valley green compound. Glued the other smooth side out and kept it plain (no compound).

    After honing the edge on ceramic stones, I stropped the blade about 15 strokes on each side, on the rough side of that strop. Then I repeated it on the smooth side. The result was able to slice a credit card receipt in half by simply touching the edge to the paper. On basswood, I get very smooth cuts even across the grain. I still want that kit that mychipcarving.com sells, but this is still a notable improvement in my knife edge.

    (When I stropped a plane iron this way, just now, I easily pulled shavings that were 0.002" thick. And I think I could have done better if I'd played with the adjusting wheel a little more.)

    Fred
    Last edited by Frederick Skelly; 11-22-2019 at 8:37 PM. Reason: Tried to add tags, but failed.
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    I got the same sort of results on some Flexcut knives I bought for spoon carving. I discovered strops a few months ago and have made a few. They work very well (as you've noticed) for plane irons and chisels. The polish they give my carving knives really smooths out the carving process. Green wood carves like soap. Dry wood carves like green wood. I sharpened a kitchen knife last night prior to dinner prep and gave it the strop treatment. It was like a scalpel when I was done.
    Last edited by Rob Luter; 11-23-2019 at 6:59 PM. Reason: Fixed a dumb typo
    Sharp solves all manner of problems.

  3. #3
    I know what you mean and scapel is a good description, Rob!

    The thing I learned from Moor's book was to put compound on the rough side of the leather and strop. I'd been putting compound on the smooth side and stropping. They got sharp - but not scalpel sharp. Until now.
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Michiana
    Posts
    1,480
    I did something similar. My knife strop is about 3/4 wide and mounted on a piece of oak about a foot long. I use it like a knife steel, but with the cutting edge of the knife trailing instead of leading. One side of the strop is regular cowhide I got from a saddlemaker. The rough side was kind of wooly so I mounted it smooth side out. The other side of the strop is horse butt, mounted smooth side out. The horse butt is hard and slick compared to the cowhide. The cowhide side gets regular green Veritas compound. The horse butt side gets a very light application of some Flexcut Gold compound I got with my Flexcut knives. It seems to be very fine and is a good match to the hard horse butt. After my stones, I strop the green side first and finish on the gold side. About 25 strokes per side. I have a similar setup for my chisels and plane irons, but have separate stropping blocks about 3" wide x 10" long. Next on the list to make are some contoured versions for my bent gouges.
    Sharp solves all manner of problems.

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