Sharpening A Carving Knife With A Leather/Horsehide Strop?

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deke dirt

Original poster
May 2, 2010
Has this practice ever taken place outside cartoons?  Just curious...  (Kind of curious to try it, actually...)

(And, yes, this is a serious question!)

I know barbers strop straight razors (yes, some still do) to sharpen over any microscopic nicks, in order to get the finest edge possible...


Smoking Guru
Staff member
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
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Group Lead
Jul 7, 2005
Midvale, UT
Actually stropping doesn't really sharpen the blade- it is used much the same way that a honing steel works-by straightening the blade. 

Example- when a blade is properly sharpened it will have a "V" shape to it. After prolonged use, the blade begins to curl over giving the blade a "J" shape.  Honing or stropping the blade straightens the curl returning the blade to the "V" shape.

Sharpening a blade removes metal-honing or stropping doesn't. 


Gone but never forgotten.
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Jul 23, 2008
Fort Worth, Tx.

Now, there are diamond and ceramic steels that can actually remove metal vs. honing, but if improperly used, you can mess up an edge faster than straighten one out because you're not applying consistently the same angle to your edge like you can do while sharpening, and you can prematurely wear down an edge that way also.

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