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Strop compound preference?

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  • Strop compound preference?


    I know this is rudimentary, but I am truly curious. I picked up a new bench strop, and I am faced with a dozen different compounds and pastes; hard green stick (think Flexcut sticks), white Tormec paste, a bunch of Ryobi stick compounds, hard white diamond, red buffing compound, etc etc.

    I want something smooth; the last time I used the green stick, it was...sticky, lumpy whatever. It was not an easy draw that will give me a slick finish and be good for touch ups. What do y’all prefer?

  • #2
    Mostly a matter of personal choice.

    Natural colors:
    Chromium Oxide is green. Think Chrome Green artist's paint. 0.5 micron mean diameter particles works OK.
    Aluminum Oxide is white. 0.25 micron mean diameter particles works well
    note: not uncommon for CrOx and AlOx to be mixed in a waxy carrier bar shape.

    Copper oxides are usually tones of brown to black. 0.25 micron, if you can find it.
    Iron Oxides ( think rust) ranges from red-orange to nearly black. Red is jeweller's rouge.

    Other colors (eg purple) can be used as company markers for particle size ranges.

    For centuries, the only flat common surface was leather.
    The honing compounds would stick to that so that's what everybody used.

    In this day and time, there are all sorts of smooth flat surfaces.
    Glass, wood, all sorts of box card and filing cards, cotton wheels and so on.

    I use nothing but a stick of CrOx/AlOx, scribbled on box card. Flat or wrapped on metal tube mandrels.
    For the inside bevels of my elbow and D adzes, I use a tennis ball smeared with the same CrOx/AlOx.

    Brian T


    • #3
      I use all of them at some time, but the one I use most is the FLEXCUT Gold Polishing Compound, 6 Oz Bar.
      I use it with their stropping block when I'm busy carving. Other times when I'm just sharing a bunch of knives, it will kind of depend on their sharpen condition. Again just my 2¢.
      . . .JoeB


      • #4
        Perhaps we should also mention that many of us have abandoned leather strops because they tend to round a cutting edge if they're too thick. This may be because the waxy substance binding the compound softens the leather. I prefer cereal box cardboard and dispose of it if it gets soft - which hasn't happened yet.


        • #5
          I use green mostly, sometimes red or white, but I am mainly using a power strop and a buffing wheel. Try warming the compound up or adding a tiny tiny amount of mineral oil. I use what ever seems to work the best for me.
          'If it wasn't for caffeine, I wouldn't have any personality at all!"


          • #6
            I also use baby oil
            . . .JoeB


            • #7
              I use the Flexcut Gold compound and finish honing on a regular file box folder.
              Living among knives and fire.



              • #8
                The Tormek pa-70 paste smooths out great and doesn't build up on your strop like the waxy stick compounds do. It is my favorite.
                If I took the time to fix all my mistakes, I wouldn,t have time to make new ones.



                • #9
                  I use them all but do like Tormek paste or aluminum oxide powder both are easier to apply to the trop and with each you avoid the build up of clay on your strop. Flex cut gold or any stick compound seems to work a bit easier if you put it in your pocket a while before applying to the strop or in the summer time leave it in the hot car for a while
                  Last edited by uvawyo; 02-13-2020, 12:30 AM.


                  • #10
                    Helvi recommends white. Flexcut Gold is a good beginners compound. Smoky Mountain Woodcarvers used to recommend green. In my opinion any of the above will do the job. I use the helvi white and the green for my power strops and the Flexcut Gold for hand stropping.


                    • #11
                      Excellent, thanks folks...


                      • #12
                        If you like a hard leather strop, fine. If you like to use something mucky or green waxy stick for abrasive, fine.
                        Straight white aluminum oxide suspended in vinegar has a lot going for it.

                        Here's how you clean off a leather strop to recharge it with fresh abrasive (because that's what honing compounds are.)

                        Go to the hardware store and look for about a 6" Mill file. Not a really big one. Fine teeth.
                        You want a file which has teeth along the edges that join the teeth on the wider surfaces.
                        Where they join is kind of like a rake.
                        Scrape your strop with that edge/corner of the file to rake off the blackened compound now packed with metal particles.
                        Go easy. 20 soft strokes is easier on the strop that a few pressure strokes. You can watch your success.
                        Brian T


                        • #13
                          I have an old hand me down strop fragment that I need to do this to, it is black and slick and hard.


                          • #14
                            Cadwgan: Hang that strop on the wall. Cut an equivalent sized strip from a Ritz Cracker box, Corn Flakes or whatever.
                            Attach it to a nice flat surface with masking tape. Scribble CrOx/AlOx bar all over the inside surface. That's your strop. Not too tricky to replace when it gets really black with metal.

                            Cut up your old blue jeans and glue panels of it to baltic birch plywood (something flat).
                            Butter the cloth with straight AlOx suspended in vinegar. Let it dry. There's your strop.

                            There are many replacements for old-fashioned smooth leather. More economical.

                            For my elbow and D adzes, I scrubbed a tennis ball with CtOx/AlOx stick as my strop.
                            A Stubai carver's adze is a 7/75 gouge with a long handle. The tennis ball is exactly the right radius.
                            Brian T