Red Rouge vs Chromium Oxide for final stropping

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Forum topic by Benvolio posted 08-24-2014 09:47 AM 4607 views 1 time favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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148 posts in 1932 days

08-24-2014 09:47 AM

I’ve always used red jewellers rouge for final stropping of my hand tools, but I know a lot of people (Paul Sellers including) use the green Chromium Oxide. I go straight from 4000 grit w/stone to leather.

Any clues as to which is better or why? I think red rouge is finer, but I might be mistaken…..

-- Ben, England.

6 replies so far

View timbertailor's profile


1594 posts in 1424 days

#1 posted 08-24-2014 01:47 PM

I use the white diamond polishing material for a super fine shine and finish but that may be too excessive for what you are doing.

-- Brad, Texas,

View johnstoneb's profile


2915 posts in 2173 days

#2 posted 08-24-2014 03:04 PM

I think that when you get to stropping any of those work and if you are happy with what yoou are using go with it. I use the green because that is what came with the worksharp and it seems to work well on the hand strop also.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View Crank50's profile


173 posts in 1576 days

#3 posted 08-24-2014 03:13 PM

Well, I can give you the difference from a jeweler’s perspective.

There are stages to finishing (buffing) compounds just like there are different grits on sandpaper.
You have cutting compounds first, refining compounds second, then lapping compounds last.

Bobbing compound or Tripoli are for initial cutting, White diamond is for less agressive cutting or coarse refining; works well on stainless steel. Zam starts out mild cutting and quickly breaks down into refining; good for silver. Red, black, grey, yellow and green rouge are all lapping (final polish) compounds.

There are also different compounds to work most efficiently with different metals. Kinda like the difference between aluminum oxide and silicon carbide. Some metals are soft and gummy while others are hard and brittle. The different color rouges are for different metals. They all work, but some work better than others for particular metals; grey rouge is best for platinum, for instance.

So, since the metals you are trying to polish are mostly chrome/iron based they would be be hard and brittle; relatively speaking. The best compound for final buffing of these metals would be green chrome oxide. Red or yellow would work but would be slower and not quite as highly polished.

Another point worth mentioning is that many of these compounds contain silica so dust collection and PPE is very important.

View bbrown's profile


230 posts in 3552 days

#4 posted 08-24-2014 06:15 PM

I just read an article in FWW #242 by Brian Boggs. He made the point that he has tried every type of sharpening system there is and he now does this:

1. Diamond stones (300 then 1000) for the bevel,
2. Followed by diamond paste on a metal plate to hone the back and the bevel,
3. Then a final strop with the same diamond paste on a block of hard maple.

He states that he found this to be the best in terms of speed, ease, and cost.

The paste is 3 or 4 micron diamond paste from But I found it at Peachtree, 3 syringes for $10 which seems quite a good price.

I’ve been using the green compound on a leather strop to touch up my bevels, but I want to try Boggs’ method at some point (when I have some money to buy the stone, etc.). I am a bit of a sucker for not sticking with one method, which can get expensive.

-- Bill Micah 6:8

View bobasaurus's profile


3452 posts in 3184 days

#5 posted 08-24-2014 07:16 PM

Note that red rouge is probably too friable for use on steel, it’s intended for precious (soft) metals. White rouge is about the same grit, but made for abrading steel.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View Bill White's profile (online now)

Bill White

4932 posts in 3961 days

#6 posted 08-24-2014 08:52 PM

I use the green sticks (chromium oxide) and follow with granular aluminum oxide on the reverse of the stropping paddle(leather covered).
Never had an issue with the degree of sharpening on planes, chisels, or knives.
I guess that it is what ya need, and what you’ve got.
Let’s see….....I could go spend a zillion bucks….............would the edges be that much sharper?
BTW, just watched a vid showing a comparison of surgical steel vs: obsidian scalpels. Wanna guess which one was deemed the sharpest?


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