Ultra Fine stone vs stropping.

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Forum topic by AESamuel posted 05-20-2018 05:58 PM 899 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View AESamuel's profile


105 posts in 2068 days

05-20-2018 05:58 PM


I was just wondering if there is any advantage to a plane/chisel edge from finishing on a fine stone (10,000+ grit for example) as opposed to stopping at a lower grit stone and using a fine stropping compound.

It seems that using diamond plates up to 1000/1200grit then stropping is very popular, but is there any real difference in the edge by finishing on a stone instead of strop?


7 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10569 posts in 4494 days

#1 posted 05-20-2018 06:25 PM

Stropping rounds the edge slightly I think. It
may be as sharp but I suspect it may be a
little less durable compared to an edge polished
on a stone.

View jdh122's profile


1173 posts in 3663 days

#2 posted 05-20-2018 07:59 PM

I’ve recently stopped stropping chisels and plans after hearing David Charlesworth say that once you’ve sharpened on a 8000 grit stone you can only dull your blade by stropping. I still strop carving gouges, though.
I do think that a good honing compound will be finer than 1200 grit, though, so there might be some advantage in that case. But I don’t really know any of this for sure one way or another.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View TheFridge's profile


10861 posts in 2332 days

#3 posted 05-20-2018 08:01 PM

I’d think you could probably go either way with the same results but a stone that will be equivalent to stropping is going to cost.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View Loren's profile


10569 posts in 4494 days

#4 posted 05-20-2018 08:06 PM

To bring up some finer points, stropping is great
for shaped tools like gouges because you can
make a strop out of wood shaped to the tool.

A flat stone actually grinds the whole straight
edge to a more refined state, so under a microscope
the scratches from the previous stone are
eliminated and what’s left is the fine serations
produced by the grit in the polishing stone.
Stropping and buffing polishes the grooves,
perhaps making the serrations from the previous
stone less jagged by softening them, but it
doesn’t remove them. That’s why the edge
probably breaks down quicker despite being
equally able to pass a test like shaving hair.

That’s my understanding. I’ve read on this stuff
over the years, including Leonard Lee’s book on
the topic. I have some fine chisels that really
seem to hold their edges well when I stone them
to 8000 grit, even with chopping. The less
fine chisels seem to lose sharpness quicker when

View Robert's profile


3922 posts in 2326 days

#5 posted 05-21-2018 03:34 PM

I totally agree with both Loren and Jeremy.

IME excessive stropping or relying on stropping to hone can result in a dubbing effect, essentially dulling the edge you just finished honing. In the past when I was doing a lot of stropping (15-20 firm strokes) many times I felt the tool was not as sharp as it could be, and I think it was from this dubbing effect. Admittedly this could be due to a poor technique on my part (how can you go wrong stropping unless you totally blow the honing angle?)

For this reason I would MDF or wood rather than leather.

The question is whether there is an advantage and my answer is “no”. But many people like to strop and I’ve seen knowledgeable people like Paul Sellers advocate quite firm stropping x 30 strokes. I can almost guarantee I would end up with a dull edge, but apparently it works for him, including the convex bevel angle he also advocates…..

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View Lemwise's profile


91 posts in 1463 days

#6 posted 05-26-2018 07:10 PM

I ve recently stopped stropping chisels and plans after hearing David Charlesworth say that once you ve sharpened on a 8000 grit stone you can only dull your blade by stropping.

Well, if Charlesworth said it it must be true. They guy can’t even sharpen freehand but whatever.

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

2646 posts in 1008 days

#7 posted 05-26-2018 07:59 PM

food for thought: stropping is often on a leather strap, as has been used by barbers for generations.
I agree that when using the leather strap or belt, at the end of the “strop”, the blade
is drug across the belt at almost a 90 degree angle, which would indeed round over a sharp edge.
leather glued to wood would prevent this if the blade were to be kept as flat as possible.
the diamond or arkansas stones would serve the same purpose of creating the perfect edge. (IMO).
it is all in the skill, knowledge, technique and experience of the person doing the sharpening.
what works for one – may not work for another. (YMMV).
and if you don’t spill a little blood on the stones, you’re not doing it right.

-- there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks. --

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