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Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by mikeyswood, Sep 24, 2010.
^The best addition to my shop in years!
One of those leads to shaving like this:
It's amazing what a good strop can do for a blade as can a rubber wheel for a bench grinder... which is what I use for my tools. My old leather strop will always be exclusively for my straight razor.
Mike how exactly do you use that? Is it for turning?
A leather strop is for putting a razor sharp edge on all your cutting surfaces. I picked it up for my draw knife originally, but I've been sharpening every blade in the shop: pocket knives, chisels, router bits, utility knives, etc...
Oh i see now, it just reminded me of a sanding strap that people use for turning..
Nothin like a sharp blade!
How do you sharpen a router bit with a strop?
...drag it along like any other blade.
I did five strokes to each cutter before using the bit above. That's the sharpest that bit has ever been! You can only get one side and profile bits wood probably be out of the question.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but iirc a strop works like a steel in that it technically doesn't sharpen, but raises a very sharp burr. This is way sharper than you could get using any common sharpening technique, but of course doesn't last very long.
When stropping in one direction I believe that you are correct, Karl. When stropping back and forth you are pushing that burr into a razor sharp edge as well as polishing it.
Many years ago I decided to try a straight razor for shaving and bought the whole kit including a double strop - one side coarse canvas and the other leather. When I ignorantly asked the proprietor what the strop did he answered emphatically "It sets the blade".
Hmmmmm . . . . . I seeeeeeeee . . . . . but whut does that mean? I asked so naively. and he paused for a time and leaned forward at me and said even louder and more emphatically "IT SETS THE BLADE!!!!" as if now I would understand.
And in the moment all I could do was go "OHHHHHHH! It SETs the BLAAAAAADE !!!!!"
He smiled, satisfied with himself and his masterful command of the English language and his communication skills.
Meanwhile I still had no idea what the hell he was talking about. A barber finally enlightened me to the info already given in this blog.
Leonard Lee wrote a great book called 'the complete Guide to Sharpening', made an enormous difference in the quality of the edges in my shop. It didn't make me any better, but the tools sure look good.
It would be interesting to see a microscopic cross-section after stropping. In any case, I'm jealous...
I have benn shaving with a straight for years, one you get it down, it is great! Feels good, no ripping or tearing of the skin.
Does the leather receive a polishing compound in order to do the work? If so, which one are you using?
Smoother skin and the shave lasts longer too. I pamper myself once a year with a nice straight shave at the barber. Interestingly enough, I was just thinking this morning about learning to shave with a straight razor.
forewarned is forearmed:
Never tell the wife where you keep the straight razor !
I'm jus' sayin'.
They do sell compounds for them but I have not found a credible reason to use one. Bare leather will be good enough unless you have serious nicks.
Fantastic book, a real eye-opener... if a little nerdy. Google books have a partial on-line version here. For those unfamiliar with Mr. Lee, he's the guy behind Veritas/Lee Valley Tools.
Not stropped, but a demonstration of what we think of as "sharp" compared with what can be achieved with conventional whetstone honing (from the above book)...
1 - A standard craft razor blade at 2 microns:
2 - Wilkinson Sword safety razor blade at the same magnification:
& here's the killer...
3 - A Chisel. Sharpened on a 6000x water stone & then honed with chromium oxide compound:
Sharper than a razor? You bet
I just rough my blades over a fine diamond stone - still good enough to take off 2 thou. at a time. A bit rough & ready I know, but that's me.
What the book did for me was to open my eyes to what the blades are really attempting to do, & how to go about making their job that bit easier (bevel angles etc.) There's pots of good advice & low-cunning in the book (back-bevels?). IMO it should be Lesson 1 in Woodshop.
So you'll be needing a new sig. then?
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