Just a short one :-)
Knife sharpening is a subject that I do enjoy reading about and playing with new techniques. I normally just use 2 Japanese whetstones, 1000 and a 6000 one. Stropping was just something I'd heard of people doing, well that soon changed.
Normally I get a basic edge with the 1000 stone then I'd move to the 6000 for a nice mirror finish. After reading about stropping with a leather belt and having watched it on Ray Mears Extra's on one of his DVD's. I thought stropping was just an unnessasary act done by knife sharpeners as a final ceremony.
After a particualr intense session I decided to give it ago for the hell of it.
Stropping is the act of drawing the blade bevel away from you on a piece of leather to remove any bur's from the edge. It removes the bur and gives a better more stable edge, less minute fractures.
After doing this for about 25 strops I tested it on the usual piece of paper and it sliced through effortlessly. Even tried it on my arm seeing if it would shave some hair. Well it did. I was impressed. From now on I shall be stropping my blade.
Also I don't really think I need to use the 1000 as much as it just really shapes the edge, while the 6000 does the sharpening. Just a thought.