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1500/Platens Vs Ceramics

Recent Forums Main Forum Techniques and Sharpening Strategies Abrasives 1500/Platens Vs Ceramics

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  • #56512
    Kevin
    Participant
    • Topics: 1
    • Replies: 1

    Hello all,

    New to the forum, just bought a Gen 3 Pro, coming from a Spyderco Sharpmaker. I’ve sharpened a bunch of knives, and I’m happy with the results. I’m not into mirror polishes but I do have a few pocket knives that I want to put that extra step into after 800/1000.

    I’m not thrilled with the idea of using lapping films, something about short consumptiontime turns me off, so I’m drawn to the ceramics, but that’s probably not rational…

    I suppose my question boils down to this, can I use the microfine ceramic after 1000 grit diamond to give a nice polish to my bevel? Or is that too big of a jump? In which case are the superfine at all worth it, or should I just bite the bullet and get the 1500 with the platens and a pack of lapping films?

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    #56514
    000Robert
    Participant
    • Topics: 5
    • Replies: 232

    Welcome to the forum, Kevin! As to your questions, I’ll leave that to the more experienced guys.

    #56515
    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 62
    • Replies: 2406

    Welcome Kevin.  I do have both the Micro-fine ceramic pair and the Super-fine set.  I have used both of these enough that I am comfortable sharing my experiences.   I do not use them on a regular basis any longer.   When I started with my first W.E. setup, a Pro Pack 2, maybe 5 or more years ago, the ceramic sets were the finest grit sharpening mediums available.  Since that time there have been more options added to the W.E. catalog that I prefer to use in place of the ceramics.

    The two ceramic sets are different.  They are manufactured with different methods.  Both processes leave a coating or residue of sorts on the stone’s surface that requires a fair amount of use to wear off the coating, that is, to break-in these ceramic stones before they give their best results.  Each ceramic set feels different using them and behave differently.  That is a personal preference.  They both work well when used properly.

    The Micro-fines were originally described as 1.4µ/0.6µ using the abrasive or grit particle size to describe it.  (I noticed this description is no longer used in the product description at the W.E. webstore).  The Super-fine set is described as 1200 grit/1600 grit.   Now with W.E. offering an expanded selection of finer grit sharpening mediums it has become even more confusing to decide where to use these finer grit mediums in your progression.  That is what is the best order to use them in when using the ceramics in combination with the other fine grit mediums.

    Either of these ceramic pairs will fit well following the 800/1000 grit diamond stone pair.  Just in case you’re wondering, I would not look to use both ceramic sets for sharpening.  The observed resulting scratch patterns and polished effects I experienced forced me to go back and forth between the Micro-fines and the Super-fines to get the edge quality and appearance I liked best.  If I were like you, first adding the ceramics to your collection I’d go with the (more expensive) Micro-fine ceramic set.  I prefered the results I got using these as my final sharpening stone in my progression.

    I did follow the ceramics up with strops.

     

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-Its)

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    #56516
    Kevin
    Participant
    • Topics: 1
    • Replies: 1

    Thanks Marc, that reinforces what I was leaning towards, and takes the super fine out of the running for me.

    I’m still wondering if I am going to be happier finishing with the micro fine ceramics or 1500 grit diamond plus a 6 micron lapping film?

    The more I pour over this forum the more I think I should go against my gut and get 1500 diamond and a sheet of lapping film.

    #56517
    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 62
    • Replies: 2406

    The  ceramics have their fans.  Some tout them for the resulting enhanced sharpness they experience.

    With the 1500 grit diamond it’s pretty clear, it’s a finer grit diamond stone.  It can refine edge sharpness, keenness and improve the polished appearance.

    The lapping films are essentially just a very fine diamond sharpening stone.  But due to their  base or substrate the adhesive vinyl backing they are more easily worn out or damaged with use.  They do produce a very polished appearing bevel.  You can get improved longevity cleaning them between uses wiping them with rubbing alcohol.

    To be clear, to achieve the best results, it depends on every step in your progression.  It’s not just the last grit.  The final results will only be as good as the combination of all the steps in the progression as they build on each other.  No matter how many grits you string together and how many different mediums are involved, it’s the entire process not each indivual step.

    Edge sharpness and polished appearance are intimately related.  It’s hard to produce a very keen and sharp knife edge that isn’t shiny and polished.  The same processes done well produces them both.  An ultra sharp knife edge can’t help being polished appearing.  It just is.  The ultra polished mirrored edge is just taken a little bit further.

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-Its)

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    #56523
    tcmeyer
    Participant
    • Topics: 37
    • Replies: 2009

    Diamond lapping film lasts longer than you would think.  If you can find a supplier that will sell you 8X11 sheets of PSA film, the costs per strip are actually quite reasonable.  That having been said, I’d recommend buying the 1500/2200 diamond stones rather than the 1500/glass platen set.  Diamond stones aren’t subject to contamination like strops or film.  Life is simple.  You can add the 4/2 micron strops and eventually add the 3000/glass platen stones too, to fill out your bullpen.

    Contamination is a very real threat with strops and once contaminated with a larger grit, it’s unlikely that any cleaning effort will clear the problem.  Avoiding it requires some discipline and meticulous care (apparently more than I have).  Of course, replacement leather (from other vendors, I think) is quite cheap.  Film is somewhat less likely to be contaminated and chances of clearing that contamination are about 50/50.  You can scrub them with alcohol or even with an eraser with fair to good results.  From my experience, film is still useable until you can see significant areas showing the shiny substrate of the mylar film.

    The difference between film and ceramics is significant.  The scratch patterns are much more uniform with film and almost everyone that has made the switch, has never gone back.  BTW, in case it hasn’t been made clear, film does not require breaking-in.

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    #56532
    James
    Participant
    • Topics: 4
    • Replies: 2

    I keep things simple. First I need to know what kind of steel I’m dealing with and it’s Rockwell Hardness. Then I use diamond stones all the way up to 3000 grit. Then I move to lapping film. Strops, ceramics and other nonsense I don’t have time for. If I really want to hone my edge, I use Nano cloth after I get down to 0.1 with lapping film. All my knives are incredibly sharp.

    Some of the mid-range and low-end steels I don’t to use lapping film. 1500 grit with a diamond stone is more than enough. Then I will strop with balsa wood. Anything else is a waste of time.

    #56533
    Henry
    Participant
    • Topics: 3
    • Replies: 7

    James,

     

    you sound quite practical in your approach and I like it…

    Have you found diamonds acceptable on Rockwell 65 ish thin profile Japanese knives? I’m about to pull the trigger on a 130 pro as soon as they have stock ( late this week I’m told), and am wondering how to manage getting my very hard knives done with minimal risk of tearing out any carbide bits etc.

    ‘I’ll be new to the WE environment but have been using high end whetstones for a couple decades.

    much thanks

    #56534
    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 62
    • Replies: 2406

    … Have you found diamonds acceptable on Rockwell 65 ish thin profile Japanese knives? I’m about to pull the trigger on a 130 pro as soon as they have stock ( late this week I’m told), and am wondering how to manage getting my very hard knives done with minimal risk of tearing out any carbide bits etc. ‘I’ll be new to the WE environment but have been using high end whetstones for a couple decades. much thanks

    Henry, I use whetstones that are cut and mounted on Wicked Edge paddles to sharpen my harder steel and high-end Japanese Chef’s knives.  Actually for me starting at HRc 60 and above, depending on my experience with the particular steel, the whetstones may be my preference.  I have experience carbide tear out when using the W.E. diamond stones which led me to start using the whetstones in the first place.  I do use the W.E. diamond plate sharpening stones and most of the other sharpening and polishing mediums that W.E. has to offer.  I find every medium may have it’s purpose, value and proper place in any sharpening or polishing progression.  Nothing is “nonsense or a waste of time“.  It just may not be appropriate right then and there.

    I have and use both models, the Gen 3 Pro and the WE130. Some of my knives are uneven beveled edges like 70/30 or 90/10, for instance.  The WE130 with independent angle settings from side to side easily accomodates sharpening these style knives.  The Gen 3 Pro is a little quicker and simpler to use for symmetrical beveled knives with the angle adjustments accomplished simultaneouly with the single center lever.  Whereas the WE130 can sharpen a wider variety of knife styles with more varieties of edge configurations.  It is easier and quicker to apply the sometimes used convex beveled edge using the Gen 3 Pro model, although the same convex edge can be applied just as well but with a little more effort using the WE130.  The WE130 Pro Pack 3 is a great well equiped choice.

    Besides these couple of considerations the two model sharpeners are just the same.  They both use the same sharpening stones and other mediums and the sharpening methods and techniques employed with both models are exactly the same.  They both will yield identical excellent sharpening results once you learn how to use the W.E. system well.

     

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-Its)

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    #56535
    James
    Participant
    • Topics: 4
    • Replies: 2

    Henry,

    The secret to using the Wicked Edge sharpening system is knowing which grit to start with. Your high-end Japanese steel probably has a lot of carbon in it, making it very hard. If there is a lot of chromium, you need to be very careful. Start with 1000 grit; then you won’t tear up the blade, especially if it’s really thin.

    Welcome to the fold.

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