All you need to know about leather knife sharpeners

A knife is perhaps the most widely-used tool while preparing food. Well, that’s not the only use of a knife. You also need a knife while camping in the wild. Think of camping and a sturdy camping knife is the first thing that will come to mind. 

Knives come in various sizes and designs. You can choose yours according to your personal preference. Experienced knife owners are aware of the fact that a heavy-duty knife will go a long way in making your life easier. In all fairness, a knife is much more than just a tool. It is a multitool  that can be used to undertake a wide range of tasks. 

Moving on, having a knife is just not enough. You also need to take good care of your knife. Knife sharpeners can help you immensely in your bid to sharpen the knife.

Knife sharpeners come in various shapes and sizes. The type and kind of knife you choose to buy doesn’t really matter. Knife sharpeners can be used to sharpen any knife. The stone used for sharpening them has to be of good quality. Usually, traditionalists go for leather knife sharpeners. 

What to look for in a leather knife sharpener?

Grit

The type of knife you plan to buy doesn’t really matter. Each sharpener features a certain degree of grit. Most of the stones are double-edged (more often than not). Both manual and electric sharpeners feature two major types of settings. The level of grit depends on the amount of metal that is removed from the blade while is being sharpened.

Grits have three major types:

  • Coarse grit: it is less than 1000 grit
  • Medium grit hovers between 1000-3000 grit and is used to sharpen blunt knives. 
  • Fine grit hovers between the range of 4000-8000 grit and is used while refining the edges of a knife.

Size
More often than not, a sharpener that happens to be larger in size is preferred, but smaller are also preferred if and when people want a sharpener that can be carried over long distances. The idea is to own a sharpener that does not feel bulky. Quite frankly, the size of the sharpener does not really matter. It is the quality of the stone that ends up determining how good or bad the sharpener is. 

Time

Almost each of the knife sharpeners will end up getting the job done for you, but the time required to sharpen the knife also does matter. You don’t want to spend close to 20 minutes on getting a knife sharpened, do you? Generally, people use knife sharpeners because these get the job done in no time. If you ask a traditionalist, he/she will always ask you to go for a leather sharpener because of its sharpening prowess and classical look and feel. 

Stropping

Stropping is defined as polishing the edge of a knife. More often than not, it is done on a strap made of leather. Stropping helps remove the imperfections and chinks. There is also an aesthetic goel behind undertaking the exercise, i.e. making the cut shine just like a mirror. It is known as the mirror-edge for this very reason. Usually, this technique is associated with razors, but can also be used while sharpening knives as well.

Step 1: Get the strop cleaned

You can give this step a skip if you already have a clean piece of leather at your disposal. Usually, isopropyl alcohol. You can remove most of the things by just rubbing the strop down. You can then use a piece of sandpaper (320 grit) to clean the strop. In this way, you will also provide the compound with something to adhere to. 

Step 2: The compound needs to be applied 

The compound smells pretty much like a crayon. Use fast and light shades to get the strop coloured. Those who haven’t had the privilege of using crayons, take the compound and rub it back and forth. Building up a little bit of friction has to be your motive. Also, do not forget to heat the strop and make sure the compound spreads evenly. 

Step 3: Rub It In

Give your strop a few good taps in order to get rid of the loose ends (if any) before you get it into your kitchen. Heat the stove and then heat up that piece of leather. Gradually, the compound will begin melting. When it has melted, rub it on the leather using a paper towel. 

Leather sharpeners require a good amount of care, but you are a veteran, then you will know how to take care of it.