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TOPIC: Stroke Direction

Stroke Direction 8 months 1 day ago #15653

  • razoredgeknives
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There seems to be done theories out there and much debate about stropping. I believe it would be beneficial to research this more...

Namely:
  1. repeated stropping for maintaining weakens the edge because you are bending the metal back and forth. Edge retention then goes down with each subsequent stropping as the metal gets weaker. But how does this affect a fresh edge that is stropped after lowering the angle 2 dps?
  2. strops are worse than stones because they: cut slow, load up and become ineffective, and fresh abrasive is never released
  3. "If stropping improves sharpness then your honing failed to produce a good edge."

If you're game Clay (I know you're busy) , or any of you guys that have a testing jig, I would like to experiment start looking into what place /roll strops are most effective at and how they affect the edge, in a positive or negative way.

References :

www.cliffstamp.com/knives/forum/read.php?7,6571
www3.telus.net/BrentBeach/Sharpen/Stropping.html
Last Edit: 8 months 1 day ago by razoredgeknives.
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Stroke Direction 8 months 23 hours ago #15654

  • wickededge
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Hey Josh,

Thanks for posting these links. There is some interesting discussion in Cliff Stamp's thread and he definitely gets great results with his methods. One thing that jumps out at me is that the kind of stropping and the types of abrasive compounds discussed in Cliff's thread are very different from the way stropping is accomplished on the Wicked Edge. Brent Beach's article suggests something similar in that he recommends using a jig and clearly asserts that a quality graded compound is needed for good results. That said, both bring up some great questions that I think we can test pretty easily. The sharpness testing machine may be of some use though the kind of edge wear it tests for is very specific and doesn't necessarily translate well for some kinds of daily use. It might be instructive to try and design an experiment that allows us to cut everyday materials while limiting the variance in force and technique as much as possible. One example to test edge retention of stropped vs. non-stropped blades is to sharpen two identical blades at the same angle and to the same level of finish e.g. 1000#. One of the blades should then be stropped (stropping angle and grit can be varied to test different combinations). The blades should then be used to cut same-length strips from the same batch of cardboard until they fail to cut cleanly. Once the blades start snagging on the cardboard, we could consider them to have reached failure. Counting the number of cuts until failure for each blade will tell us which had better real world edge retention. The cardboard should be held up by hand, not laid on a cutting surface so that pressure differences between cuts are minimized.
--Clay Allison
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Stroke Direction 8 months 23 hours ago #15655

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One thing that this thread, with all the observations of all the different contributors, highlights for me is that there are very many knife sharpening strategies, even within a single platform like the Wicked Edge. Different strategies create results that are optimized to specific tasks or goals. In mapping out a sharpening strategy for a given knife, it's important to consider a few factors:

How are you planning to use the knife? Which angle, finish etc... will give you the best performance?
How often do you want/need to touch up the edge?
Which is more important to you, extreme sharpness or edge retention (not necessarily mutually exclusive)?
What role does aesthetics play for you in the sharpening of this knife?

The decision of whether or not to strop, which grits and substrates you'll employ and with which techniques should be driven by the answers to these questions.
--Clay Allison
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Stroke Direction 8 months 6 hours ago #15663

  • KenBuzbee
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razoredgeknives wrote:
  1. repeated stropping for maintaining weakens the edge because you are bending the metal back and forth. Edge retention then goes down with each subsequent stropping as the metal gets weaker. But how does this affect a fresh edge that is stropped after lowering the angle 2 dps?
  2. strops are worse than stones because they: cut slow, load up and become ineffective, and fresh abrasive is never released
  3. "If stropping improves sharpness then your honing failed to produce a good edge."

I agree with these points, Josh. They reflect my experience. To that end I very rarely ever strop a blade these days.

Clay raises some great points in that the angle, finish, steel (did he mention steel?) and use are all factors here.

Most recently I've backed off going for that ultimately refined edge on my EDC knives. Primarily these are S30V or VG10. I tend to take them to 24°-26° inclusive and used to take them through the μ ceramics. These days I'm stopping at the 1200 Atomas and have been very happy with that edge... for a longer period. They "feel" just as sharp and they slice a bit better.

Now, on my most recent acquisition, a Super Blue Nakiri I'll go well into the Chosera/Superstone line to either 8k or 12K (haven't decided my preference there yet) as it tends to be mostly push cut. I might try stropping that one at some point, we'll see.



Ken
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Last Edit: 8 months 6 hours ago by KenBuzbee.
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