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First projects/ stroping

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  • First projects/ stroping

    Hello. Just getting into whittling and im hooked. Here are my first 3 projects.

    Also have a question on stroping. I do it every 20 30 min and it seems to be keeping my knives sharp but I get a high pitch squeak, is that normal? Not enough compound? How often do I need to apply more? Thanks.

  • #2
    Welcome. Your hearing is far bettr than mine.

    What is your strop made of?
    Which honing compound are you using?
    As long as the process restores the edge, keep carving.

    Make a second strop with honing compound. Does it work any better than #1?
    Brian T


    • #3
      Add more compound when the strop begins to become shinny as when the compound is applied it has a bit of a dull look. I have noticed the squeaky noise when first applying the DRY compound. IMHO most compounds are probably made of aluminum oxide (white) or chromium oxide (green) which will do the most work
      ( harder material )....
      Hell there are no rules here...we are trying to accomplish something. Thomas Alva Edison
      Blogging about it at...

      Direct link to my Woodcarving Illustrated Gallery


      • #4
        Glad you took the plunge into wood carving. Sharpening/honing is almost as important as the carving and well worth learning.

        Great start with the carving and also the painting. Looks like Tom Hindes book?

        Great tutorials on YouTube to learn from also. "Doug Outside" is an excellent one along with "Gene Messers." Both cover a wide spectrum of carving. Others are "Sharonmyart" and a multitude of others...just do a search and pick some that reflect your interests.

        Again, great start!
        Living among knives and fire.


        • #5
          Just remembered I didn't address the stropping. I've heard everything from 5 minutes to an hour or so. I find I need to strop around 1/2 hour or so, with basswood. Harder woods would be more often. I see online YouTube videos where they complete an entire project in about an hour and don't strop...basswood. Once you do enough carving you can usually tell when it needs to be done by how the tool is cutting.

          Others will hopefully chime in with their experiences and times...I'd be interested also.
          Living among knives and fire.


          • #6
            I like to carve mostly western red cedar. By hand, the effort to push a gouge in the wood goes up in about 30 minutes.
            A few swipes on the strop makes a world of difference. Mallet work, very hard to notice.
            Brian T


            • #7
              I think I've tried just about every honing compound there is on the market and I have found that personally I don't like or use any of the rub on stick/cake type compounds. They are mostly wax. They go on unevenly, build up quickly on the strop and become shiny, as you are finding out. The active ingredient in all of these compounds is aluminum oxide. So why not just use aluminum oxide and skip all the waxy greasy stuff? I use aluminum oxide powder which I buy in 2 oz. containers (lasts forever). Just sprinkle a tiny amount onto the leather and rub it in with my finger, and I'm ready to go. No waxy build up, no high spots on the leather and no squeaking! For my money, basic aluminum oxide powder is the way to go.
              Keep On Carvin'
              Bob K.

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              • #8
                Brett.....Rich Smithson, a master knife maker, from Helvi knives just posted a video on stropping on the Helvi YouTube Channel. I've been carving for over 25-years and I even picked up on a couple of tips. Rich doesn't try to get technical and he explains how, why and when in layman's terms. I sincerely recommend that you take a few minutes and watch it.


                • #9
                  Thanks for the replies everyone.
                  To answer a few questions:
                  its the yellow felxcut compound on a flex cut strop from Amazon. It does seem to get shiny pretty quick. I'll try making my own see if it helps.

                  I've been watching Doug outside for a bit. Love his videos. Made that old guy face from watching his stuff. The owl was an old project from a while ago I finished up.
                  Last edited by Brett_M; 02-05-2019, 06:51 PM.


                  • #10
                    Aluminum Oxides are all white as snow. It gets tricked up with dyes to make it pretty.
                    Blackened and shiny is still cutting metal.
                    Chromium Oxide is green. You can see that in Artists' Quality Chrome Green oil paint.
                    The waxy carrier in bars is 15% or less. Use the oil paint instead!

                    I fail to see how fine marbeled surface is inadequate for honing. Diamonds are lumps.
                    If you sharpen freehand, you should be sharpening from your knees, never from your elbows.
                    I scribble the CrOx/AlOx bar on a tennis ball for big adze sweeps = it is not smooth and does a fabulous job on a 7/75.
                    Brian T


                    • #11
                      I have also used most all the stropping compounds out there, they all do the job for the most part. I have settled on Tormeck PA-70. It is in a tub and has the consistency if tooth paste and it spreads very easy. You want to be careful to not use too much pressure on you strop. If you press down too hard the leather will roll up enough to dull your cutting edge. I have been using cardboard strips for some time and I am very happy with their results. I cut up cereal boxes or boxes the crackers come in. It holds the compound well and it does not compress as much as the leather when stropping. You do not have to clean it off. You just get a new strip of card board. Also be careful to lift your edge straight up off the strop and not roll it as you bring it up. Rolling it as you come off the strop can dull your edge,



                      • #12
                        I use file folders for honing and like Randy, they are disposable. I cut them in strips that will fit the knife. I do use Flexcut Gold but will probably switch to the Aluminum Oxide powder when the gold is used up. FYI
                        Living among knives and fire.



                        • #13
                          You have started out strong. Those are terrific--especially for first pieces. Carving is so much fun, it becomes an obsession real quick!


                          • #14
                            I use a green compound on cereal box cardboard. Squeaks occasionally, but no bother. I think it's just the fact that you have two flat surfaces rubbing together and the little metal particles may whistle as they glide... careful that you're not applying too much pressure, as others have said. Ensure you're holding the knife to the proper angle as well, plenty of videos on that subject.

                            I strop maybe every 30 min with bass. Used to use a leather strop but prefer the cardboard now.