Support BladeForums! Paid memberships don't see ads! I've been experimenting to compare different methods of stropping to see which I like, and what kind of different results they get on the knives I own. This is not an attempt to be comprehensive. Just listing things I tried for discussion. I'm using the word strop somewhat loosely to refer to any kind of final stage edge refinement, whether traditional stropping or not. Where the main goal is final edge alignment or improvement of the cutting performance. Stropping approaches tried so far: Firm leather backed by wood, without compound. Suede leather backed by wood, with compound (I use Tormek 8K). Plain cardboard. Plain balsa wood. Balsa wood with compound. Spyderco Sharpmaker UF ceramic rods. Light strokes, same as sharpening angle. Clean damp high grit AlOx stone with light, edge-leading strokes. Same as sharpening angle. Clean damp high grit AlOx stone with light, edge-trailing strokes. Slightly higher than sharpening angle. Computer paper wrapped around a coarse bench stone, with compound. Same as sharpening angle. Basswood, lightly sanded, with compound. Strokes slightly higher than sharpening angle. I found that all worked in some sense. All took an edge that was sharp from the stones, and made it perform better in certain kinds of cutting tests. In some cases, stropping made the edge do better in some cutting tests, and worse in others. Example: a well stropped kitchen knife lost some toothiness and did better in push cuts but worse in pull cuts. A few unscientific observations: Stropping on material with "give", like balsa or leather, does indeed cause some natural convexing or rounding of the edge. And that may not be a problem, but it does happen. Stropping on hard materials does help avoid the rounding, if you care. For all non-stone methods of stropping I tried, using compound generally got better results than not using it. I suspect because it helped with final burr removal? Of all methods tried, methods 7 - 10 seemed to get the best results (in no particular order). Of all these methods, the two I preferred the most were 7 and 10. 7, because it uses the same sharpening motion I am accustomed to, which makes it easier to hold a consistent angle. And it does not require any additional gear, or compound. 10, because I found the stropping motion easy and repeatable on the hardwood block, and it seemed to get the best overall edge performance of any stropping method I tried. When I use a stone-based approach, I cannot get QUITE the final level of edge performance as say Basswood + compound. But I found that the practical difference in performance, for me, was so minimal that I'm tempted to skip traditional stropping altogether and just use stone finishing approaches most of the time.