Proverbs 27:17 "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another."
The leather strop allows a finishing process to put a final edge on a knife. A razor strop is a strip of leather that sharpens and polishes the blade of a straight razor, a knife, or a woodworking tool like a chisel. Unlike honing a blade, in which a whetstone removes metal bent out of alignment from the blade's edge, stropping the blade re-aligns the indentations without removing any material.
The strop may be a hanging strop or a hand-held paddle strop. Jeweler's rouge may be applied to the strop to aid in polishing the blade while stropping to obtain a mirror-like finish. If you are in a pinch the same process can be done on paper, cardstock, or even cloth. It will not cut the edge significantly, but produces a very sharp edge with very little metal loss. It is useful when a knife is still sharp, but has lost that 'scary sharp' edge from use.
Strop paste should be applied to any new strop and completely worked into the leather. One small tube or stick should condition a strop for a year or more. The paste will make the strop a little darker in color and with a waxy and oily look to the leather. Every 3-4 four months strop paste should be re-applied once less drag is felt on the blade during stropping.
Even though leather stropping has been around for years in the straight razor industry, it has gained much popularity with those that want to keep a fine, mirror edge on their kitchen and sporting knives. If you have never tried this process before, give it a try and see how leather stropping can give you the edge!
To use the strop you begin by charging the leather with jewelers rouge or stropping compound. Rub the compound on the leather vigorously. Now, holding the paddle or strop, draw the tool on the leather until the blade tip is polished mirror smooth. That is the sharpest that the metal is capable of. The strop is easy-to-use and will align the micro-edge of any blade or razor.