Does your knife need sharpening? What if you’ve been searching for your sharpening stone, but the only thing you can find is cardboard? Are you wondering if you can use cardboard instead?
Yes, you can! This article will guide you about how cardboard can be used for sharpening and stropping your dull knives. As you keep reading, you will also figure out how you can sharpen your serrated knives using cardboard.
How to Sharpen a Knife With Cardboard
Sharpening your knife with cardboard is a quick and easy procedure. The only items required for the procedure are a piece of cardboard, a cutting board and of course, your dull kitchen knife.
In a perfect world, you would have a clean, uncluttered kitchen all the time in the world. However, life isn’t perfect and so aren’t our kitchens! There are times when you won’t be able to find your knife sharpener and others when you can’t purchase one.
If the only abrasive item available to you is plain old cardboard, here is an easy way to sharpen a knife with cardboard:
- To begin sharpening your knife, use a piece of cardboard that is just a bit larger than the blade of your knife.
- Place your dull knife on a cutting board.
- The cardboard which you have selected should now be folded in half lengthwise.
- Now wrap the piece of cardboard around the knife blade. Ensure that the sharp end is facing outwards.
- Apply light pressure on the knife and position it at an angle of 20° to the cardboard and run it across the cardboard multiple times.
- After around 10 to 15 strokes, repeat the same process with the other side of the knife blade.
Using Cardboard to Sharpen a Knife That is Serrated
When discussing knife sharpening hacks with cardboard, it is important to remember that cardboard works well for serrated knives too. Note that you can sharpen all serrated knives with this method except for micro-serrated ones. In this situation, not only would sharpening be difficult but it would be dangerous too.
To sharpen your serrated knife with cardboard, proceed as follows:
- Obtain a piece of cardboard, preferably large-sized.
- Place it on a flat surface. For instance, your kitchen counter or a cutting board.
- Apply polish on the cardboard. This will help to remove burrs from your knife.
- Fold the cardboard lengthwise from the middle. After folding, a prominent ridge should appear on the cardboard.
- With your dominant hand, hold your knife at a 20° angle to the surface of the cardboard. Hold the cardboard with your non-dominant hand for a good grip.
- Now, push the knife into the piece of cardboard, from top to bottom. Repeat this step three to four times.
- Once done, wash the knife and test its sharpness using paper or a tomato. If you are dissatisfied with the result, repeat the procedure till the required sharpness is acquired.
Using Cardboard to Strop Knives
Knife sharpening terminologies can be quite complex and difficult to understand. If you take your work seriously, it is important that you understand what each term means.
The terms sharpening and stropping are usually used interchangeably by many people although each word has its own distinct meaning.
When you talk about sharpening a knife, you must know that it involves removing material from the blade to create a new sharp edge.
On the other hand, stropping does not remove that much material from your blade. It will simply push the edge back to the centre and give the blade a smooth finish.
Cardboard can be used for both, sharpening as well as stropping your dull knife edge. Now that I have explained how you can go about sharpening knife with cardboard, let’s proceed to how cardboard can be used as an effective strop for your blades.
- All strops have to be covered with a compound. These are available in different shades and textures. The colours range from green, gold, silver, black, white, red and tan. Compounds can either be in the form of a wax bar, paste, powder or spray. When using a wax bar, rub it onto the cardboard as if you are colouring it with a crayon.
- Use high-density cardboard instead of corrugated ones.
- Apply the compound of your choice to the cardboard strop.
- While holding the strop with one hand, place it on a flat surface.
- Alternatively, if you prefer a grippier surface, you can glue the cardboard piece to a block of wood before beginning work.
- Place your dull knife flat on top of the strop.
- Using your finger, slightly lift up the knife, making an angle.
- Run the knife across the strop. Each time you reach the end of the strop, lift the knife up fully and off the strop. This will ensure that the blade of the knife does not get rolled up.
- Now switch the side of the blade and run it across the strop in the opposite direction.
- When you are done, wipe the blade clean with the help of a newspaper.
Using Compound on Your Cardboard Strop
If you are new to the stropping world, this is an excellent time to learn about compounds. These are abrasive substances which add to the roughness of the strop. As I already mentioned, here in Australia, there’s a variety of strops that you can choose from.
Different textured compounds work in almost the same way. I personally don’t prefer wax bars just because it leaves a tell-tale smell on my fingers. My go-to compound is the black-coloured one in paste form.
Before you begin stropping, remember that it is important that you cover the entire surface of the strop with a compound. If it seems like too much work, bear in mind that you will only have to do it the first time you prepare your strop. Trust me! You won’t have to retouch it for many months to come.
Cleaning Your Cardboard Strop
Cardboard strops do not require cleaning. The only thing that you end up removing would be an ultra-useful compound!
Cardboard vs Leather Strop
When it comes to stropping knives, the two main choices that you have are using cardboard or leather. Each of these materials has its pros and cons.
Leather strops are durable. They will last several stropping sessions without any signs of wear and tear. Additionally, leather strops are easy to use and provide a good polished finish to knives. However, they tend to be expensive and require maintenance.
Cardboard strops are pocket friendly and provide really quick results. However, they tend to wear out quicker than leather strops and do not provide the same polished look either.
If you are looking for quick results without spending a lot of money in the process, cardboard strops are the way to go.
FAQ – FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Cardboard can be used as an effective knife sharpener and stropping agent. Some qualities which make it a good choice are its abundance and cost-effectiveness. It can be used to sharpen both, straight and serrated knives.
Cardboard strops provide a low-cost and low-maintenance alternative as compared to leather strops. After reading this article you can easily differentiate between sharpening and stropping and how cardboard can be used effectively for each process.