What is Stropping? Knife Sharpening Step 3

What is Stropping? Knife Sharpening Step 3


Stropping is probably one of the most mythologized (and mystifying) parts of the sharpening process. Everyone knows they are supposed to do it, some people have a belt they use, and many are doing it wrong.

Stropping is the final step in getting your edge razor sharp. After you’ve sharpened your knife to form a burr and then honed the burr off, stropping removes the microscopic-level inconsistencies of the edge so you have a true, razor sharp edge.

Stropping a knife 

Stropping at home often happens with a stropping belt, or piece of leather. In factories where knives are made, this is usually accomplished with a buffing wheel made of felt or MDF that has an abrasive paste in it.

The process of stropping is similar to using a hone or stone; you set the blade at the angle it was sharpened against the strop and pull. That’s right, pull.

Rather than pushing your knife forward as you do with sharpening, you want to pull your knife inward, so the material takeoff is pushing off the edge of the blade.

One of the biggest mistakes people make when stropping is changing the angle of their strop from that they used to sharpen. If you come in too shallow you won’t actually make contact with the edge; if you come in to deep you risk actually dulling the edge slightly (a common mistake).

Stropping is usually the difference between a sharp knife and a knife you can shave with. Watch the video above to see how to properly strop.