In order to achieve the sharpest knife or tool edge possible, honing the tool with a strop after sharpening is mandatory. Without further refining the cutting edge of the tool with progressively finer grits you will never be able to achieve a super sharp cutting edge.
Stropping Compound Color Guide
Due to the fact that stropping compounds can come in multiple mediums and that the formulas will vary from one company to another, it is impossible to have a single guide based solely on color for all stropping compounds.
To best determine the properties of each compound, you must review the manufactures detailed information for each color. For example, a green compound may be a course grit for one company but be a fine grit for another.
Below, I have organized the stropping compounds by wax based, paste, and powder from several popular manufactures by grit size. This will help you determine what you should buy from different companies.
Stropping Compound – Wax Bars
|Beavercraft||White||Wax Bar||650 Grit||28 microns||Amazon|
|Beavercraft||Red||Wax Bar||1500 Grit||14 Micron||Amazon|
|Bark River||Black||Wax Bar||3000 Grit||7 Microns||DLT Trading|
|Beavercraft||Green||Wax Bar||3000 Grit||7 Microns||Amazon|
|Bark River||Green||Wax Bar||6000 Grit||3.5 Microns||DLT Trading|
|Bark River||White||Wax Bar||12,000 Grit||1.5 Microns||DLT Trading|
|Taytools||Green||Wax Bar||50,000 Grit||0.5 Microns||Amazon|
|Veritas||Green||Wax Bar||50,000 Grit||0.5 Microns||Craftsman Studio|
Stropping Compound – Paste
|Kent Supplies||Green||Paste||650 Grit||28 Microns||Amazon|
|Kent Supplies||Rust||Paste||1000 Grit||20 Microns||Amazon|
|Kent Supplies||Grey||Paste||2,000 Grit||10 Microns||Amazon|
|Herold||Green||Paste||3,000 Grit||6 Microns||Amazon|
|Kent Supplies||Blue||Paste||4,000 Grit||5 Microns||Amazon|
|Kent Supplies||Red||Paste||6,000 Grit||3.5 Microns||Amazon|
|7 Degrees North||White||Paste||9,000 Grit||2.5 Microns||Amazon|
|Kent Supplies||Pink||Paste||9,000 Grit||2.5 Microns||Amazon|
|Herold||Red||Paste||10,000 Grit||2 Microns||Amazon|
|Trend||White||Paste||10,000 Grit||2 Microns||Amazon|
|7 Degrees North||Green||Paste||50,000 Grit||0.5 Microns||Amazon|
|Kent Supplies||Dark Pink||Paste||50,000 Grit||0.5 Microns||Amazon|
Stropping Compound – Powder
|Wood is Good||White||Powder||50,000 Grit||0.5 Micron||Amazon|
As you can see, color does not necessarily determine how course the stropping compound is. Even the actual ratings for each compound can vary from batch to batch.
Green stropping compound will vary from 3000 grit (7 microns) to 50,000 grit (0.5 microns) depending on manufacture and how the abrasive is suspended. In order to determine the grit of any stropping compound, you must read the manufacture information or ask the seller.
What Stopping Compound Should You Use?
If you are new to using stropping compounds, picking the right grits and colors can be confusing and could lead you to purchase the wrong types of compounds.
Those new to stropping and honing their knives should stick to compounds between 3,000 grit and 12,000 girt like the Beavercraft Green Stopping Compound or the Bark River 3 Bar Compound Package.
After you have learned the basics and understand how to strop a knife, you can then work up to the finer compounds like the Veritas stropping compound for a more refined edge.
How to Load a Leather Strop With Compound
Making a leather strop and applying compound can be a little daunting for those new to using strops. This video below shows you how to make a strop and apply compound for the first time.
If you want to apply the compound without a heat source, check out this video below:
Removing Compound From a Leather Strop
Removing compound from the leather strop can be done with a heat gun. Check out the video below to see how I like to remove stropping compound: