I’m taking the long, slow road to becoming a really good knife sharpener. I started with a diamond-steel sharpener, then progressed to ceramic sticks, and finally Japanese waterstones. Now I want to put the final polish on my reasonably-sharp edges. Since I don’t have a bench grinder, this is where the Green Polishing Compound Strop makes its appearance.
I’ve been stropping with old leather belt for a long time, but I wanted something with a little more bite and rigidity. And I still wear that old leather belt, so I didn’t want to cover it with green polishing compound.
So I hit a Big Lots store for a $10 leather belt (extra long) and then Harbor Freight for a $4 tube of green polishing compound. After removing the buckle, the belt is exactly the same width and twice the length of a 2-foot scrap of hardwood 2″x 2″ I already had.
A few tacks later, and…voila! A long, if not terribly wide, double-sided strop. I tacked the rough side of the leather on one side of the 2″ x 2″, and the smooth side next to it. The rough edge is now thoroughly impregnated with the green polishing compound, and the smooth side doesn’t get used much. I do a few final strops on it after I’ve thoroughly cleaned any residual polishing compound from the blade, but I don’t think this final strop does very much.
How’s it working? After a diligent session with a 6000-grit water stone, this Mora was already pretty damned sharp. My improvised strop has put the final edge on that edge, and made this knife the sharpest I’ve ever owned. It flawlessly slices through the thinnest Shotgun News newsprint, which is the most challenging test medium I’ve usually got on hand. It won’t slice hanging Kleenex (yet) but it’s sharp enough to shave my face with. It’s actually sharper than when it was new, and I wasn’t sure I’d ever be able to make a knife that sharp.
My only dissatisfaction with this strop is that it’s too narrow. The next one will be wider, although that will probably require a piece of leather that doesn’t come from Big Lots, and it won’t need to be two feet long.