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When to stop stropping?

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  • When to stop stropping?

    I would like to know how you know when to stop stropping. I use a ½ inch strip of printer paper and stop when I can make 3-4 ‘push’ cuts across the paper. Slicing will work with a duller edge but the push cut only works with a sharp edge. I suspect this is overkill so I'm reaching out looking for a better method. All ideas/methods welcome.

  • #2
    For a poor edge, I will do 800, 1000, 1200 and 1500 (3M wet&dry fine automotive finishing sand papers.) I used black felt marker and a 10X loupe for inspection.

    Last, to strop with honing compound (CrOx/AlOx). From testing every step of the way in the wood that I am carving, about 5 pull passes each side (if there is such) is entirely adequate. I need edges fine enough to deal with very soft western red cedar.

    Commonly with the crooked knives, you hold the knife and move the abrasive. Same logic applies.
    Five "rotated" passes with a tennis ball does an acceptable job on an elbow or a D adze.
    Brian T

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    • #3
      "Carving sharp" is a compromise between sharpness and durability. For example, you could shape & hone a blade to 3 degrees (bevel angle), but it would not hold up to your paper cutting test. At 10 degrees in may pass your test and may hold up to actually cutting medium hard wood. For harder woods you may need an even higher bevel angle. Do you have to hone it again in 15 minutes? Some carvers have gone to secondary bevels to improve the compromise. Can you make your sharpening method work on gouges, V-tools, skews?

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      • #4
        Brian, thanks for the inspection loop tip! I'm using a X30 and it really shows exactly what is needed and how effective the stropping is.

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        • #5
          Seeing is believing. There's no guess-work expended speculating on what the edge MUST be like because Google said so. At least a 10X magnifier and a really bright LED light bulb.

          I can feel by the effort when a gouge edge is "going away." Just more push needed.
          I wear lined cheap leather gloves for carving, not for safety but warmth, vibration, grime, etc.
          I like it when the palms and fingers get dirty. I know it's very soft. BUT a couple of pull strokes across the palm of my dirty glove is a wonderful strop.

          Test in the wood you're carving.
          There's no better way to judge any of the entire sharpening process.
          Brian T

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          • #6
            When I feel the knife is getting dull I just hit the strop 10 or so times in each direction and try the knife on the wood again. If good I keep cutting, if not quite there yet I hit the strop a few more times. I don't carve paper so I don't bother to test my tools on it. I seldom have to use a stone or sand paper on an edge unless I've dropped it or hit it against something.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by jjmg View Post
              When I feel the knife is getting dull I just hit the strop 10 or so times in each direction and try the knife on the wood again. If good I keep cutting, if not quite there yet I hit the strop a few more times. I don't carve paper so I don't bother to test my tools on it. I seldom have to use a stone or sand paper on an edge unless I've dropped it or hit it against something.
              I am do the same thing.....used to worry about the edge. Today if it is sharp and cuts ...no worries.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Dileon View Post

                I am do the same thing.....used to worry about the edge. Today if it is sharp and cuts ...no worries.
                I agree...no point in overthinking this, lest it become a hobby of its own LOL! If it cuts cleanly, it's stropped enough. And Phil makes a good point about the ever-present "compromise between sharpness and durability."
                Arthur

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                • #9
                  Adding my vote for if it cuts clean its sharp. Early on I had to regrind some blades I had worked down to the point the cutting edge would chiping out working with basswood becouse it was so thin. tThis is a good article on tool sharpness.
                  http://www.carvingmagazine.com/wood-...t-s-your-angle
                  Last edited by Randy; 10-21-2021, 10:15 AM.
                  We live in the land of the free because of the brave!
                  https://www.pinterest.com/carvingbarn0363/

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