Monday, May 25, 2009

Powerstrop endures the test of time

I have no financial ties to the knife sharpening aid known as the Powerstrop but I do believe that quality products deserve attention. As a woodshop teacher for 15 years with about 50 kids passing through my class each week I'm also in a good position to find out what works and what doesn't and I give the Powerstrop at least 9 out of 10 stars when it comes to endurance and delivering what it says it will do.

Still going strong after more than a decade!

I quickly became a big fan of Powerstrop back in the 1990's when I was looking for a better way to keep my carving blades razor sharp that was also economical and this looked like the way to go. They worked so well that I ended up purchasing a set for our school woodshop program where the carving knives are used almost every single day.

You can buy the standard strop for about $20.00 from most carving supply stores but I'd recommend getting the deluxe kit for around $30.00 which includes the standard and the "V" strop. I use the standard strop most for the flatter surfaced blades but the "V" strop is invaluable when it comes to keeping my parting tools and small u-gouges razor sharp.

The "standard" Powerstrop

The Powerstrop is made from laminated leather sort of the way that plywood is made so it is some kind of strong. Although I use mine mostly in the drill press where it best frees up both hands to safely concentrate on the knife blade being sharpened, I have been known to put it in my hand drill in a pinch but I wouldn't recommend this practice unless you have your drill well secured to a table with a good clamping device. Don't compromise safety! The kit comes with a little chunk of buffing compound which should be applied to the sharpening surface of the strop and that will really put on that shiny razor sharp finish.

Polishing my parting tool with the "V" strop

The Powerstrop alone will not keep your blades sharp and actually they must already have been given an initial sharpening first by other means before the Powerstrop can do it's job. If you're using tools that already come from the factory razor sharp out of the box such as those made by Flexcut, then you're set and Powerstrop will keep them sharp forever unless you knick them up. Otherwise you'll first have to get the steel edges of your blades sharpened then you can touch them up from time to time with the Powerstrop to keep them razor sharp. As a general rule I give my blades a touch up with the Powerstrop for about every 20 minutes of carving.

I've been using mine consistently and heavily in our woodshop for more than a decade and the Powerstrop continues to keep on going. Good product!

1 comment:

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