Proverbs 27:17 "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another."
Using a Strop
Using a strop will put an amazingly sharp edge on your knives and straight razor. The strop is simply used to straighten and re-align the edge of the straight razor or knife. Using a strop does not remove any metal from the blade. With use, the extremely fine edge of any razor or knife will become microscopically bent from use. Every knife or razor’s edge must be straightened, re-aligned and/or redefined after use. Stropping is one the most important steps in keeping your blades razor sharp.
If you shave with a straight razor, it should be stropped just prior to and after shaving. Those individuals with coarse or thick beards my need to strop their razors during a shaving session. The better the quality of steel in the straight razor, the less you will need to strop during your shave.
Gently role the spine of the razor or knife so that the edge of the razor is lowered on the strop and now touches the strop. You will want to apply only enough pressure to keep the blade’s edge and spine in contact with the strop at all times. Excess pressure may cause damage to your edge.
You will be drawing the blade, spine first, up and down the strop. Remember that you want to move the razor away from the edge and in a direction that will not cut your strop.
When you reach the end of the strop do not lift the blade. Roll the blade on its spine to change directions. Lifting the razor from the strop while moving will decrease the effectiveness of the strop and could damage the edge.
You will want to repeat this process 8-20 times depending on the sharpness of your blade. Some individuals prefer to use a sharpening belt machine that rotates the leather belt at up to 3,400 RPM’s. This obviously makes short order of the stropping process and can be very effective if you have multiple knives to strop.
There are different styles of razor strops. They include the classic belt style with and without linen/cotton backing, the paddle style strops that incorporate 2, 3, or 4 sides with strop, stone, rouges, and single or double sided leather. French style strops are unique in that the strops normally are a paddle style with leather on both sides, one which strop paste is applied to and another side which is left untreated as a final strop. To begin the stropping process, make sure your knife or razor is clean. If you are using a belt strop, hold the strop handle with tension. The flatter the strop, the better the strop. Place the spine of the razor or knife (NOT the cutting
edge) on the strop about one-two inches from either end of the strop with the razor's edge facing toward the nearest strop end.