For Christmas, I received a Bob Kramer stropping block. It was picked up at Sur La Table. It looks cool... It came with no instructions or info. Does anyone know if this thing needs any maintenance? I'm just starting to sort out sharpening with stones so seems to have little effect on my dull knives.
Bob Kramer stropping block
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stropping is a trailing edge stroke. Lead with the spine. Usually the angle is about half of that at which you normally sharpen the blade. Use only the weight of the blade itself. The leather is soft enough to give and conform to the shape of the blade. Too steep of an angle or too much pressure and the leather will wrap up at the edge and dull it as you stroke.
For this particular strop, it looks like it's intended for fine finishing of an edge, the high polish part of sharpening.
You can also use it between sharpenings to refine a very slightly worn edge much as you might steel a blade, just with the stropping stroke and angle. The strop will not correct edge rolls and such like a steel. You might find you like to follow steeling a knife with some stropping as well.
You can also lay wet dry sand paper over the block and use the stropping technique to produce a convex edge if you're interested in that sort of thing.
You can also buy plain leather strops and load them with different grit compounds and achieve some impressive polished edges if that interests you.