Leather Strop with Jeweler's Rouge. åÊGenuine cowhide strop, used for honing a knife. Apply jeweler's rouge liberally to the coarse side of the strop when sharpening for best results. Read below for instructions on sharpening a paring knife using a leather strop.
First Sharpening the Knife on Whetstone (Available at any hardware store) 1. Place a small amount (few drops) of sharping oil on the whetstone. 2. Sharpen ONLY the pre-beveled side of the knife using a combination of short strokes away from you as well as a repeated circular motion. Sharpen the knife at a low angle (about 10 -15 degree). 3. Since most paring knives will be relatively dull, sharpening must be done in this fashion for a minimum of 60 minutes before even attempting to pare. Add oil to the whetstone as needed, using a paper towel as necessary to wipe off excess oil.
Preparing and Using the Leather Strop 4. After initial sharpening is completed, prepare the leather strop in order to hone the knife to a razor sharp edge. Using about 6 - 8 inches of the rough side of the strop, rub jewelers rouge over it giving it a solid coat of powder. 5. Using short and even strokes and moving in a direction away from you, strop the knife's beveled side repeatedly. Avoid changing the angle of the blade as you use the strop, keeping it the same low angle as you did on the stone. Repeat this stroking motion about 10 times. 6. Following the last stroke, turn the knife over onto the flat side and while keeping the knife completely flat, pull the knife back towards you several times to remove any burrs. 7. Steps 4 and 5 should be repeated a number of times during the paring process to maintain a razor sharpness necessary for paring. Note: You may find that you periodically need to go back to Step 2 for additional time on the stone.
Paring Leather 8. Place the leather on the glass or piece of marble, holding it tightly so that it does not shift. Begin by practicing edge paring, (paring the outer edges of the leather) removing approximately a 1/4 inch strip at a time. Remember to always keep the knife at a very low angle. 9. Paring may be done pushing the knife away from you (using the toe portion of the knife) or by pulling the knife towards you (using the heel portion of the knife). Continually brush the small pared pieces off the glass or marble stone as you pare to prevent them from getting caught under the leather, which may cause you to slice through the leather. 10. It is important to strop the knife continually as you pare. Typically you should strop the knife after every few cuts of leather Add additional rouge to the strop periodically. 11. Paring should never be forced or hard. With a properly sharpened knife, the knife should glide effortlessly through the leather. If not, the knife is not sharp enough and/or technique should be practiced. 12. The successful paring of leather requires a razor sharp knife and LOTS of practice.