Best sharpening strops and compounds
Knife experts pick the best strops and compounds for your home supplies and go bags.[See the full post at: Best sharpening strops and compounds]
Carpium - August 6, 2020
So I bought the Taytools French strop, forgetting that it has a rough and smooth side (I was somehow expecting it to be rough on both). I fixed the problem by buying the DLT XL strop recommended as an alternative, making sure it was rough on both sides. What a difference between these two paddles! The French strop is premium and on the softer side while the DLT strop’s leather is so rough, if I didn’t know better I wouldn’t identify it as leather. There’s also the difference in width…
Now I have 4 possible surfaces and all three colors of compound, and I’m trying to figure out which compound I should put on which surfaces.
Right now I’m thinking I’ll put the black on the Taytools French strop, since it has the most surface area, making it perhaps a better general surface for sharpening larger knives/hatchets, where the black might be best used. Then I’d put the green and white on the DLT strop, and leave the smooth/suede side of the Taytools strop without compound (though I could put white on?). Does that sound like a reasonable use of these 4 potential stropping surfaces?
Mar Tam - September 12, 2020
Did you ever come to a decision on this, Carpium? Curious if I can learn anything from your experience!
Carpium - September 13, 2020
So I should say I’m a complete beginner here. I’ve watched plenty of youtube videos and read discussions about strops on knife forums, but that’s it, besides my experiences with these strops.
I ended up doing what I wrote in that post. I think it was the right decision, but the DLT strop is definitely easier to apply compound to than the Taytools, especially because I was applying the hardest compound (black) to the Taytools. I’ve applied black compound 3 times, maybe more, and used a heat gun a bit. Really went all out with the heat gun yesterday, the last time I added some. Basically, I’ve found it hard to get the black compound bonded to the leather on the Taytools. Like my strop is slowly (sometimes less slowly) shedding the compound as bits of powder. I still feel like I don’t have enough compound on it. There’s a change to the sound when the knife drags over the strop after adding more compound – I can hear the extra friction, and I get results much faster. I’ve had times when I’d be just practicing my technique on it for 20 minutes and not feel much of a difference.
My knife arrived very not-sharp, and the Taytools is definitely a nicer surface (basically twice the width of the DLT) for stropping on. So it makes sense for the black compound to be on it, since the black is where I’m spending most of my time. Because my knife arrived so blunt, I probably could have gotten some lower grit sandpaper for the initial sharpening and saved a lot of time, but I’ve had plenty of time to work on my stropping technique at least. I’d just say, if you use the Taytools, use something to heat it up (hair dryer, heat gun, etc.) when you’re applying compound. Compared to the much rougher DLT leather, the friction on the Taytools is going to come mostly from the compound, so you need to really get it on.
My knife still isn’t shaving sharp yet, but it’s getting closer. It’s starting to get to that sharpness where I’m a little afraid to cut myself, and it has a bit more bite now. Here’s a picture of the two strops (DLT top, Taytools on bottom). Probably should add bit more green but I’m still not ready to move off of black yet anyway. You can see I can put almost the whole blade of my knife on the Taytools at once (up to where it starts curving toward the tip). The shiny areas on both are just reflection from a light.
Mar Tam - September 14, 2020
This was incredibly helpful, thank you! And pictures for reference too! I was thinking about doing something similar (buying both the double-sided and the taytools strop) because I’m interested in doing more than just basic upkeep on the single field knife, so it’s great to hear what your experiences were like with them. Will keep in mind the need to heat it up when applying compound.
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