Freshly Whetted Is Cutting Clean.
Once the kitchen knives have been sharpened on the water whetstone, the strop is used to deburr the blades and clean them finely; a process knife experts call “polish grinding”. The wooden body of the strop is made of steamed cherry with a smooth oil finish, with (20 microns) vegetable-tanned soft cowhide on the one side. The other side is rougher and covered with (10 microns) harder, chrome-tanned cowhide dusted with a fine Diamantine (aluminium oxide) polishing powder. The softer side is kept natural for finely deburring the knife blades. Leather has a slightly fatty content, and so remains supple for a long time. The strop is used differently to the way you use a sharpening steel tool: Always use a “trailing stroke”, i.e. draw the blade away from the cutting edge to avoid damaging either the leather or the blade itself. Always hold the knife lightly, as if you are spreading soft butter, and make sure you change the stroke direction by turning over the back of the blade.