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Jul 1, 2011 04:53 PM

Carbon Steel - Strop or Rod?

So I have a Takeda Gyuto coming in the mail (super excited)

The question is, should I use a leather strop or a rod for everyday use? I already have a 4000/8000 combo water stone and plan to pick up some lower grits shortly, but as I will be using it for home cooking use it shouldn't need sharpening constantly, just truing.

FYI, I already own a hanging leather strop which I use for a straight razor, so perhaps this could double as my knife truing tool (mind you it isn't very wide as it is designed for a razor). Though perhaps a paddle strop is better suited for this task.

One thing to consider is that it is a very hard CS (63 HRC) and I have read that leather might not do as much for super hard steel. If the leather is a no-go, it is a question between ceramic or borosilicate rod.

I appreciate any input.

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  1. "should I use a leather strop or a rod for everyday use?"

    For everyday home use? Nothing is needed. A strop is good, and I won't say a leather does nothing to hard steel knife. I definitely would not use a rod everyday on a Takeda.

    Hard steel knife like Takeda (HRC 63 in this case) hold its edge much better than typical Henckels or Wusthof (HRC ~56-58)

    What you really need to do everyday is: wipe the knife dry because it is a carbon steel knife.

    33 Replies
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      How on earth do you respond so quickly :p

      Thanks for the advice. So you would suggest simply putting it to the stones every once in a while to keep sharp and not bother with truing?

      I do know that I need to keep it dry and such, my razor is also made from CS so I am familiar with the maintenance on a smaller scale.

      1. re: euclid

        I am surprised that I responded so fast too (now that you mentioned it). Afterall, I just wake up from a nap and your post just so happen to be here.

        I would just sharpen the knife using your stones every once a while. It depends how you want to do. For example, if you don't mind to let the knife goes slightly dull, then you can sharpen it every 3-6 months starting with the 1000 grit stone and bring it all the way up to 8000 grit. Or if you want to keep your knife constantly sharp, then you can sharpen it every week but start at a higher grit stone say 2000 grit or 4000 grit. Of course, how you exactly do it depends heavily on how often you use your knife and how you handle your knife.

        Yeah, I was just teasing you about drying the knife. I knew you know it, but I figure if there is one thing you have to do everyday, then that is the one.

        1. re: euclid

          I just realize that I read your question wrong.

          I thought you asked what you need to do everyday in which case I would say nothing is needed on a daily basis. You can strop your knife on a charged leather strop on a regular basis, but even then you probably don't have to do it every day.

        2. re: Chemicalkinetics

          Congrats on the Takeda! Nice score.You can always strop on your highest grit stone,newspaper or cardboard.But I agree with Chem about everyday home use,you probably won't need to strop often(unless you're trying to remove a burr).

          I've heard that borosilicate rods are pretty good for hard steel,definitely better than ceramic.
          Stropping you're knife on a hanging leather strop might round out the edge if you're not careful.
          You can't just whip it back and forth like a straight razor.You have to stop and lift after each stroke and make sure there's not a lot of give in the strop,keep it as rigid as possible(hope this makes sense :) )

          1. re: petek

            I agree with what you say about the hanging strop (though the same issue of rolling the blade exists with a razor as well, which is why you always rotate on the spine). I think it may be worth it to invest in a double sided and wider paddle strop to extend usage before sharpening is needed.

            1. re: euclid

              Before you spend money on a paddle strop,try it on cardboard or even balsa wood,some of the guys over at the knife forums swear by this(YMMV).
              BTW who did you buy your Takeda from,if you don't mind me asking?

              1. re: petek

                Yeah, I was planning on waiting until I got the knife and used it a bit before deciding on anything.

                I bought the Takeda from (Canadian site). It is the 240mm Gyuto.

                1. re: euclid

                  Good idea to wait.Your knife is gonna be razor sharp for a good while.
                  Kinfewear has some pretty amazing knives,great selection and some stuff you can't find anywhere else.I live in Toronto so It's one of my favorite Canadian websites to drool over :D

                  1. re: petek

                    It's a pretty site isn't it? I was going to go with a more economical Moritaka, but the Takeda was calling to me!

                    Oh and thanks to Canada post, I have had to wait extra long to get it... It's killing me.

                    1. re: euclid

                      Petek and euclid. I know the Paulfinest and knifewear websites, but I don't dig into them too much because I figure that I will probably never buy from them as I live in USA. My impression is that Paulfinest has a broader selection from German knives to Japanese knives, from waffle irons to pepper mills, whereas knifewear focuses almost entirely on Japanese knives. Any other good Canadian knife selection websites beside these two?

                      Here, I like to look at mostly the:

                      Japanesechefsknife (really buying from Japan)



                      epicurean edge:

                      japan blades:

                      of course, a few other ebay stores.

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        This one is pretty new to the scene.Nice knives,but kind of limited in their selection of makers(Konosuke and Takeda).right know it's an online store only,but they have plans to open up a store front soon in Toronto.

                        1. re: petek

                          Ok... now I don't what just happened. I certainly didn't make a second request. Anyway, back to your toshoknifearts, it looks like a very nice store with good attractive prices.

                          1. re: petek

                            I saw tosho when I was looking around for place to buy my knife but I hadn't heard anything about them so I was a little apprehensive about buying a nice knife from there. The website looks great though.

                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                              so, got back to my computer for a minute... here we go...
                              I dont like to use steels/rods on harder steeled knives (like takeda and many others in that 61+range). I have found strops to be much better. I like very grabby strops, kind of like the one that dave sells. Likewise, i have found that they work best with some kind of diamond spray... i like something in the 1 micron range. I used to use a loaded strop at work when i was cooking professionally. It worked very well.

                              1. re: JBroida

                                Thanks for the advice. Would you mind pointing me in the direction of dave's strops so I could check it out?

                  2. re: petek

                    Carter even strops on a cardboard in his knife sharpening video, but I wouldn't recommend sharpening it on the sidewalk outside your house as he has done.

                    1. re: smkit

                      theres a difference in stropping for sharpening (i use plain newspaper with nothing on it) and sharpening to touch up a knife (this is where loaded strops shine)

                      1. re: JBroida

                        So Jon,when you're using newspaper to strop,do you use 1 sheet or a whole section?

                        1. re: petek

                          i use 1 or two sheets over a nice hard flat surface... you can add more sheets if you like extra give in your strop... i personally like harder ones

                        2. re: smkit

                          I haven't seen Carters video but there's no way I'd use a sidewalk to sharpen my knives,no matter who says so.. :D

                          1. re: petek

                            Hey Petek , when you go out to eat where do you go? I've been meaning to ask you this for a while.

                            1. re: Dave5440

                              Hey Dave: I don't do much "fine dining".Mostly cheap&cheerful places. I like a lot of ethnic cuisines,Asian(Swatow),Latin(Kensington Market).Indian(Mother India for the best butter chicken roti),Caribbean(Mona's for roti and doubles),Middle Eastern etc.I also like BBQ and fried chicken so I go to The Stockyards on St.Clair West.Always trying to find something new and different.

                              1. re: petek

                                I don't do much "fine dining" either so I'm going to look those up, I always need go to places when I end up there hungry, i've heard of mona's and MI , I've eaten my way through Kensington M a few times and loved every mouthfull, I will add all to my gps , thanks, have you ever gone to new generation on bloor, north side?

                                1. re: Dave5440

                                  I haven't tried new generation,but I really want to try Guu on Bloor&Bathurst.It's a crazy,loud, Japanese/Korean teppanyaki resto that's gotten some great reviews on the Ontario chow boards.
                                  But I think we're getting a bit off topic here and I'm getting hungry talking about all this food :D

                                  1. re: petek

                                    Ya I know but there's no PM so I had to ask, you being in the biz and all, our go to spot is on Lonsdale rd, it's too busy now so I never say the name

                      2. re: euclid

                        "I think it may be worth it to invest in a double sided and wider paddle strop"

                        One of the most popular kitchen knife strop tools is to use balsa wood with charged compound:


                        I think kitchen knives just have so many options there. Stropping on leather, newspaper, balsa wood, rock hard felt, microfilm...etc. As for charged compounds, there are chromium oxide, silicone carbide, diamond spray...etc, and according to monks on Fuji mountain... ketchup and kerosene :P


                        (the last part is an on-going joke)

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          Thanks, the balsa wood looks like a very interesting alternative.

                          1. re: euclid

                            Why is your avatar keep on changing?

                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                              Because I just decided to pick one and I changed my mind :p

                              1. re: euclid

                                I thought your avatar has been stolen by an identity theft. Just looking out for you :P

                  3. I strop often if I feel my edges loosing a bit of edge. In most cases it brings it back to a very sharp edge. I personally seldom use of rod of any type.

                    1. I like to hone my 'good' knives before each use on my leather bench hone. It really does bring back the edge nicely, and it is probably my favorite knife maintenance tool.

                      I have never used a loaded balsa strop or the Hand American strop set-ups sold through Chef Knives to Go, but I am sure they are fine. Since I like my current set up works, I don't find much need to change.

                      I also have the borosilicate honing rod. I use it sometimes on VG-10 blades like Shuns and SG2 steel. For all other Japanese knives I use my bench hone. My ceramic Idahone gets use on my my Forschners and any other German blades that linger in my arsenal.

                      I'd stay away from any other hones, other than a polished one with no grooves.

                      But whatever you do, make sure to learn how to hone with the right amount of pressure. Keep it light.