A strop is a type of knife sharpening device typically used in the kitchen. It’s usually made of leather and it’s used after knives come out of a sharpener, such as a stone wheel, sharpening rod, or even electric knife sharpeners. Stropping helps to refine and polish the blade edge, leaving it sharper than ever before.

To use the strop correctly, you’ll need to take some time and patience with the process. Start by anchoring the leather siding on a counter or board so that it won’t move around during stropping. Then use your preferred sharpening tool to put a slight angle on your blade from one side only. Carefully hold the angle while running it up and down the length of the leather part of the strop at least six times before flipping your blade over and continuing for another six to eight times on the other side. Finally finish with slow ‘x-pattern’ strokes in which you cross each pass over itself in an X fashion until you no longer feel movement within your blade’s edge while rubbing it against the leather surface. This will help make sure that all angles are consistent when done properly.

After you finish stropping your knife, test its performance on something like paper or a tomato before using: if it doesn’t cut cleanly then repeat both sides again until you achieve top performance with ease and precision! Keep in mind that this honing process can be done periodically to maintain an edge for optimal performance over time – so do not forget ungrinded kitchen knives! Of course, always remember safety tips when handling a sharpened knife as well as cleaning your strop regularly with light soap & water after use to avoid contamination build-up.

Overall, stropping differentiates itself from traditional methods of knife sharpening due to its ability to smooth out microscopic metal imperfections caused by grinding tools while also extending its life cycle significantly; ensuring that your blades never become too dull again! With that being said – set aside some time along with all necessary safety precautions when looking into proper stropping techniques…and get ready for perfect slicing results every single time with razor-sharp edges.

Types of Strops

Strops are great tools to Sharpen Knives and have a unique set of characteristics that lend themselves to different types of sharpening. Leather Strops provide the classic appearance and feel and can be used on both sides – one smooth leather side, and a rough side with an abrasive paste on it for more aggressive honing. Since these strops often come in flexible shapes, they allow for sharper angles when honing knives.

Synthetic Strops are manufactured from synthetic materials such as Cowskin or Manmade. These materials offer almost the same performance benefits as traditional leather strops, like flexibility and durability, however with an easier maintenance routine. Synthetic strops are best suited for very fine finishing work as they tend not to wear out as quickly as their Leather counterparts.

Ceramic Strops are designed for aggressive sharpeners who need maximum control over the cutting action of their knife. The main benefit is the smooth surface that ceramics exhibit compared to other materials which can make them much safer when in use because they do not cause micro-serrations due to friction heat build up like regular steel blades do.

Finally, Diamond Strops have large particles of diamond dust or grit imbedded into their surfaces making them extremely hard, although still not too abrasive to damage delicate blades in any way. This makes them ideal for people looking for razor sharp edges without a long period of time spent at the strop. That said, these strops may require more frequent truing (aligning diamond particles with paper) due to wear from prolonged use and require more care when handling than other materials normally would.

Preparing Your Strop

Safety is the most important factor when preparing to use a strop. Leather strops should always be handled with protective gloves and away from the face and eyes, as they can kick up dust or small particles of leather into the air. It is important to also select a quality strop that will yield the best results when sharpening knives. Leather strops come in different grades, and each grade has distinctive properties that lend themselves to different sharpening tasks. Lower grade leathers are good for finishing sharpening passes, while higher grade leathers are better suited for initial or heavy sharpening passes.

When the strop chosen is ready for use, it should be lubricated with a light mineral oil or honing oil in order to ensure smooth operation during knife-sharpening sessions. Depending on the type of metal being worked on and the desired finish, additional materials such as polishing compounds can be added to help facilitate an additional layer of cleanliness after each pass with the blade over the surface of the strop.

When using a strop, periodic checks should be taken to assess its condition after every few uses; looking for loss of hardness from moist conditions or from excess wear caused by too much pressure applied while honing with the blade on subsequent passes. If needed, additional material can be applied to restore stiffness and provide extra protection to preserve its life span. When done properly, regular use of a quality strop will keep blades sharp and serviceable over extended periods of time.

Sharpening Technique

1. Prepping the Strop: Before you begin, ensure that the strop is free of any debris. If necessary, use a clean cloth to wipe down the strop before and after use.

2. Laying Out the Knife and Strop: Place the knife on its edge directly in front of you so that the cutting edge points away from your body — this will ensure maximum control while sharpening your knife. To stabilize it, use one hand to hold it firmly against a work area or other surface. With your other hand, position the strop so that it runs perpendicular to the length of the blade — usually, this requires having someone else hold one end of the strop steady for you as you work.

3. Applying Some Pressure: Applying some pressure with your forefinger and thumb against both sides of your knife’s blade, move it forward with one arm as if using a sawing motion to slide it along the entire length of the strop. Give a few strokes in each direction – from handle to tip and back again – at an angle between 20° and 30° (you can use a chart or ruler tool for additional guidance). This ensures that both sides of your blade get equal honing attention for greater precision in work like chopping vegetables or cutting paper thinner than human hair!

4. Monitoring Blade Sharpness: After you’ve stropping once or twice, take out a microscope or magnifying glass to inspect how sharpened your blade’s been by viewing its reflection under bright light — which also provides an excellent opportunity to check for any nicks or other imperfections caused during usage…if corrections need making then repeat from step 1 above! Otherwise proceed onto using a fine abrasive stone for further sanding/polishing technique. Finally allow all metal surfaces touch water immediately after stropping for rust prevention before lubricating all moving parts if necessary again before storage/re-usage..

Maintaining Your Strop

Clean Your Strop: The first task in maintaining a strop is to clean it on a regular basis. You can do this by running a brush over the curved surface to remove grit and small pieces of metal that have built up over time. Alternatively, you can rub a damp cloth gently over the surface to help remove any larger buildup or stubborn particles. Once your strop has been cleaned, make sure that you wipe it with a dry cloth to absorb any excess moisture.

Store Your Strop: Once the strop is clean, you should store it in an area that is free from dust, dirt and direct sunlight. If possible, opt for a space that experience low levels of humidity; this will help prevent rust from forming on the strop and will preserve its life span for as long as possible. When not in use, wrap your strop in a soft cloth such as muslin or cotton.

Polish Your Strop: On occasion, you should follow up cleaning the strop with polishing it in order to keep its surface smooth and ready for use. You can do this by taking both sides of the strop and passing them over one another several times; this helps work out any harsh ridges which may have formed from hundreds of honings completed before. For best results, finish polishing by using either honing oil or paste compound; this helps reduce metal friction while also helping create an even smoother surface when using the strop in future sharpenings.


Conclusion: Taking the time to correctly use a strop on knives is an important part of keeping them sharp. By doing so, knives will keep their edge longer and allow you to use them more efficiently for food preparation and other tasks that require sharp blades. Here are some of the key takeaways from this guide:

• Strops are invaluable tools when it comes to honing your knife’s edge after a dulling or nicking has occurred.
• Take care when going over knives with strops too frequently or with too much pressure as this can lead toover-sharpening which can make your knives brittle and prone to breakage.
• As compared to water stones and traditional drystones, strops are relatively mess-free and can provide superior results without leaving a lot of residue behind.
• When using strops, make sure the lapping compound comes into contact with both sides of the knife’s edge in one smooth motion—avoid circular motions, as this can cause overheating which wears down the blade quicker than desired.

In conclusion, using a strop is an excellent way to achieve superior results when it comes to knife-sharpening. With enough practice and patience, anyone can sharpen their own blades with excellent precision at little effort or cost. Furthermore, dispelling common misconceptons such as manual stones or electric honing units producing superior edges is unnecessary, as both offer advantages depending on circumstances and user preferences.