Wooden Leather Strop Set - Paul Sellers' Sharpening Technique

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Project by ChuckM posted 05-27-2013 11:10 PM 4870 views 4 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

To try out Paul Sellers’ sharpening technique, I cut a scrap MDF and glued a leather to it. A block was screwed to it for use with the vise.

Paul’s freehand approach produces a convex bevel on the blade but its edge so honed is as sharp as any edge that you can get with a jig. Could you tell which endgrain shaving and which paper slit were cut with a chisel sharpened using Paul’s method?

Paul’s edge (1/2” chisel):

- The first shaving pic
- Red arrowed slit

The 1” chisel was sharpened using the traditional approach.

This was the first time I used his method and it took me less than 2 minutes to hone the edge from start to finish. What you need if you want to try his approach:

Diamond stones: 220x – 10 sec, 600x or 800x – 10 sec, 1200x – 10 sec, AND leather strop (20 pull strokes and more)

Time & # of strokes are approx.

I would still my use my favorite Veritas MKII honing jig for honing plane blades and some of the chisels, but for general chisels, this will be my go-to approach.

-- The time I enjoy wasting is not time wasted

3 comments so far

View kokayak's profile


43 posts in 2309 days

#1 posted 05-28-2013 12:16 AM

Crazy the difference a good strop makes. Been sharpening things today. The back of my left hand is nearly bald!

View bonobo's profile


297 posts in 2533 days

#2 posted 05-28-2013 12:46 AM

I’m also happy that I switched to this method. The mirror finish I get from stropping isn’t as cosmetically pristine as the one I get from water stones but the process is much faster and the edge is every bit as serviceable. I sharpen MUCH more regularly since moving to diamond stones. I think the key element is the coarse stone – it works like a grinder to quickly re-establish your general bevel angle (but without having to worry about the steel overheating).

-- “The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” ― Mark Twain

View ChuckM's profile


625 posts in 4143 days

#3 posted 05-28-2013 03:18 AM

Ho Bonobo,

I agree. The diamond stones are the secret to this fast sharpening technique, but without the danger of overheating any steel. I prefer a micro bevel on my plane iron and that’s why I don’t plan use this freehand method. Waterstones are good and when it comes to speed, I’ll switch to the diamond stones.

-- The time I enjoy wasting is not time wasted

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