Some time ago, Benjamin Bouchard of the Baryonxy Knife Company suggested using a “whipping stick” instead of honing with a stone. The idea here is that the timber realigns any teeth from a micro-burr, without removing any steel. So it gives you a few more minutes’ mowing before it’s time to hone again.
While I tried it and found it moderately beneficial, I was never sold on the idea enough to bother carrying a stick as well as my stones. And I suspected that the super-fine nature of our ceramic stones means that it operates something like a whipping stick anyway.
But I got talking to Jeff Keys recently and he was saying that he used a whipping stick “religiously” – and he also uses our ceramic stones religiously. He was so intrigued and impressed with the results that he decided to take it one step further and bought himself a hunk of leather to make himself a scythe strop. He kindly cut off a chunk for me to give it a try too.
Since so many mowers are reporting good results with a whipping stick, I thought I’d better give the strop a run.
Here’s mine – I’ve modelled it on a whetstone shape, and stretched the leather tightly over it. It’ll be interesting to see how it performs (and stands up to ‘natural selection’)…