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Edge losing shine after stropping?

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  • #49579
    Justin
    Participant
    • Topics: 2
    • Replies: 7

    Hello. My name is Justin. Im new to the Wicked Edge and been cruising the forum to learn tips and tricks for a sharp edge. I acquired the WE-130 last week with the 800/1000 diamond and 1200/1600 ceramic stones. I’ve already sharpened just about every knife I own (10-15) and my girlfriends kitchen knife set (4). I noticed after hitting the 1600 ceramic Im halfway to a mirror finish. I just got the 5/3.5 and 1/.5 micron strops. I went to one of my kitchen knives I already sharpened to 1600 and that I knew I could drop down 2 degrees to strop. After stropping it looked like the shine dropped down to the appearance of the 800/1000 stones. Is there also a break in period for the strops or am I doing something wrong? Thanks fellas!

    #49580
    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 64
    • Replies: 2473

    Welcome to the Wicked Forum and our sharpening community.

    There is no break-in period on the strops but they do have a learning curve unto themselves.  Dropping down 2º suggests you’re doing your homework and that you’ve done some pre-reading on the forum.  When you reclamp an already sharpened knife, like your kitchen knife, it’s super important that you get the original clamping position “right on the mark” to be sure your additional effort, in this case, stropping is applied right where it needs to be.  If your second clamping position is just slightly off you may not be able to see or realize the benefits gained when stropping.

    In the future it’s probably better to strop when the knife is still clamped.  Now you see the value  and importance of recording your knive’s clamping positions for future sharpenings, so you can recreate the same clamping orientation.  The most obvious difference I experience from stropping is the improved feel of sharpness, more so, then the improved appearance of shine. It takes some time and effort with the strops to improve the shine.

     

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-Its)

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    #49581
    Justin
    Participant
    • Topics: 2
    • Replies: 7

    I have recorded all the knives Ive sharpened so far in the booklet that came with the W.E. so I was able to clamp the knife in the same position I sharpened it before. My stone progression is this; Scrubbing motion with lowest grit needed till burr is formed then 50 alternating strokes per side x 3 per grit. I did that same progression with the strops and it seemed like the appearance regressed.

    3 users thanked author for this post.
    #49582
    airscapes
    Participant
    • Topics: 13
    • Replies: 323

    Hi Justin! I am only about 4 weeks head of you with WE experience.  And just got the strops  about 5 knives ago.  First thing Marc taught me was you don’t count stroke or rush,  you switch grits when you have successfully removed the scratches from the previous grit and all your new scratches are going the exact same direction.  The only way to know is to get yourself a USB microscope to monitor your work.  Not saying you did not do that but you didn’t mention how you examined the surface of the bevel before changing grits.  I don’t have quite the selection of stones you do as I  bought the 120 and added  the 800/1000 1500 and strops a week or so later.  The problem I have had with the strops is pushing too hard even at 2 degrees less and damaging my edge, especially on the right side (right handed).   It take some practice that is for sure.  I made my own alignment gauge that allow for 3 points of reference, not sure which gauge comes with the 130 but the single line of letters you get with the 120 is not very helpful.  The other item that you really need is the angle cube, the bar at the bottom with the number on it designed to be correct with a bevel of the knife 5/8 ” over the vice (I think i am recalling that distance correctly).  It changes a lot as the knife get higher or lower, and without the gauge you really don’t know what angle you are sharpening to.  The other thing I was doing was trying to make one long sweeping pass down a kitchen knife.. I now do over lapping 3-4″ sweeps so the scratches do not go sideways or on a different angle as the sweep is stretched way out.    I know none of  this is answering your question about shine but  hopefully will help you in the way it helped me.  I have a long way to go to get really good at this but can see improvement with every knife.

    Thank you Marc for all of you assistance!

    A good inexpensive microscope

    Here are a couple of videos Marc suggested I watch and they were very helpful!

    The 3 WE sharpening strokes

    What happens when stropping

    Couple of scope pics before and after.. not stropped (Steak knife)

    S20190219_0001
    S20190221_0001

     

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 7 months ago by airscapes.
    • This reply was modified 2 years, 7 months ago by airscapes.
    • This reply was modified 2 years, 7 months ago by airscapes.
    • This reply was modified 2 years, 7 months ago by airscapes.
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    #49589
    Readheads
    Participant
    • Topics: 28
    • Replies: 304

    IMO, diamonds abrade and strops burnish. Burnishing moves/smears metal around in a more random way than diamonds which to me can impact shine.

    I try to counter that be spraying alcohol on the leather/emulsion and use extreme care to maximize bevel contact during soft strokes. I do NOT back off the 2 degrees (usually).

    Pure polishing is an art in itself which I hope to master some day in order clean up my scratched kitchen knives (for fun).

    3 users thanked author for this post.
    #49591
    Organic
    Participant
    • Topics: 17
    • Replies: 929

    Stropping is usually a great way to shine up (and improve sharpness) to a well formed edge. I think you’re the first person I’ve encountered who said that stropping was regressing their edge polish. How are you measuring the 2 degrees? If you’re going by the angle readings on the Wicked Edge itself then it is possible that you are dropping the angle by way more than 2 degrees per side. As a result, you might not be getting much of the bevel with the strops. You’ll want to measure the angle with an angle cube.

    I’m not totally sure why that would decrease the edge polish you already had. I’m going to give it some more thought and see if an explanation comes to me.

    3 users thanked author for this post.
    #49592
    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 64
    • Replies: 2473

    Justin, I didn’t mean to imply you had positioned the knife incorrectly.  I was just suggesting it as something to consider.   From what you are sharring it sounds like you’re confident in your ability and well on your way.  I’m sure your outcomes will continue to improve as your stones get more broken in and you continue to become more consistent with your sharpening technique.

    A digital angle cube and a lighted visual magnifying device, like a USB microscope, are two invaluable, helpful, tools.

     

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-Its)

    3 users thanked author for this post.
    #49594
    Justin
    Participant
    • Topics: 2
    • Replies: 7

    Hi Justin! I am only about 4 weeks head of you with WE experience. And just got the strops about 5 knives ago. First thing Marc taught me was you don’t count stroke or rush, you switch grits when you have successfully removed the scratches from the previous grit and all your new scratches are going the exact same direction. The only way to know is to get yourself a USB microscope to monitor your work. Not saying you did not do that but you didn’t mention how you examined the surface of the bevel before changing grits. I don’t have quite the selection of stones you do as I bought the 120 and added the 800/1000 1500 and strops a week or so later. The problem I have had with the strops is pushing too hard even at 2 degrees less and damaging my edge, especially on the right side (right handed). It take some practice that is for sure. I made my own alignment gauge that allow for 3 points of reference, not sure which gauge comes with the 130 but the single line of letters you get with the 120 is not very helpful. The other item that you really need is the angle cube, the bar at the bottom with the number on it designed to be correct with a bevel of the knife 5/8 ” over the vice (I think i am recalling that distance correctly). It changes a lot as the knife get higher or lower, and without the gauge you really don’t know what angle you are sharpening to. The other thing I was doing was trying to make one long sweeping pass down a kitchen knife.. I now do over lapping 3-4″ sweeps so the scratches do not go sideways or on a different angle as the sweep is stretched way out. I know none of this is answering your question about shine but hopefully will help you in the way it helped me. I have a long way to go to get really good at this but can see improvement with every knife. Thank you Marc for all of you assistance! A good inexpensive microscope Here are a couple of videos Marc suggested I watch and they were very helpful! The 3 WE sharpening strokes What happens when stropping Couple of scope pics before and after.. not stropped (Steak knife) S20190219_0001 S20190221_0001

    I don’t have a microscope or loupe yet but they are on my list so at this point the only way of telling to move on is by feel and sound. I do have an angle cube and check my angle each time I go to the next grit. Thats a good looking edge!

    Stropping is usually a great way to shine up (and improve sharpness) to a well formed edge. I think you’re the first person I’ve encountered who said that stropping was regressing their edge polish. How are you measuring the 2 degrees? If you’re going by the angle readings on the Wicked Edge itself then it is possible that you are dropping the angle by way more than 2 degrees per side. As a result, you might not be getting much of the bevel with the strops. You’ll want to measure the angle with an angle cube. I’m not totally sure why that would decrease the edge polish you already had. I’m going to give it some more thought and see if an explanation comes to me.

    Since the day I started with the W.E. I haven’t relied on the angle markings on the bars since the angle will constantly change with each knife you clamp. I do have an angle cube I use on each grit to make sure my angle is staying consistent.

    Justin, I didn’t mean to imply you had positioned the knife incorrectly. I was just suggesting it as something to consider. From what you are sharring it sounds like you’re confident in your ability and well on your way. I’m sure your outcomes will continue to improve as your stones get more broken in and you continue to become more consistent with your sharpening technique. A digital angle cube and a lighted visual magnifying device, like a USB microscope, are two invaluable, helpful, tools.

    I felt pretty confident going into it with all the info I’ve read and the videos I’ve watched and then I got to stropping on my confidence went down a little bit. I would like to be skilled enough to put different types of edge finishes on blades for different applications.

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    #49602
    Readheads
    Participant
    • Topics: 28
    • Replies: 304

    Stropping is usually a great way to shine up (and improve sharpness) to a well formed edge. I think you’re the first person I’ve encountered who said that stropping was regressing their edge polish. How are you measuring the 2 degrees? If you’re going by the angle readings on the Wicked Edge itself then it is possible that you are dropping the angle by way more than 2 degrees per side. As a result, you might not be getting much of the bevel with the strops. You’ll want to measure the angle with an angle cube. I’m not totally sure why that would decrease the edge polish you already had. I’m going to give it some more thought and see if an explanation comes to me.

    I am thinking of it this way …..

    Diamonds we all know and can verify under USB+ follow a very consistent pattern of full bevel impact to the apex and progressively “shine” the edge thru smaller and smaller scratch patterns all the way to best of the diamond films which finally produce a mirror finish. This can be accomplished with minimal care to pressure as long as you check your angles (pretty straight forward).

    Then we switch to strops whether they are cow, kangaroo, balsa or whatever impregnated with a somewhat random distribution of emulsion, etc. We then back off by 2 DPS so as not to roll the apex. I have done this plenty of times and reaped the benefit of going from hair popping to hair whitling and still do it to this day.

    To me this is a switch from “structured use of diamonds” to “unstructured use of leather”. My understanding of the intent of stops is to address the “smoothness” of the apex which happens with minimal strokes but can cause “rolling”, therefore we back off by 2 DPS. Whether to back off at all is a function of how much unstructured “pressure” you apply during the strokes. You have the same apex challenge no matter if you back off at all because the pressure during back off “can” affect your ability to just reaching the precise apex and no more (i.e. avoid rolling).

    This brings me to thinking about the bevel shine. Before stropping we have a pretty accurate planar shape to the bevel (within the tolerances of a hand jigged system – IMO well within measurable flatness lacking industrial CNC equipment). Now we introduce the unstructured scenario of leather offset by 2 DPS. I do not think that we can expect the same level of bevel contact as the diamonds. There are too many introduced variables to expect the same consistent results. Add to this the fact that we are now burnishing (which amazingly to me is just “pushing the metal around [verified under SEM micrographs]) and I can envision inconsistent metal movement which may or may not improve the shine (and even the apex for that matter) depending on your approach/feel or whatever you call it.

    It reminds me of painting and world class stropping is an art similar to ceramic steeling and free hand sharpening.

    Just saying and appreciating everyone’s thoughts.

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    #49605
    Expidia
    Participant
    • Topics: 47
    • Replies: 339

    A $12 lighted loop is really all you need to check your progress between grits (much better than a naked eye).   I have a USB microscope, but I mostly just use my 10x loop.

    The higher the magnification the smaller the viewing field (I have a 20x but rarely use it).  It works great when you see a few verticle scratches on different areas of the blade (usually around the heel and the tip). When I see these through the loop I just drop back to my previous grit and do a few side to side scrubs until they disappear and then continue on with the next grit.  Buy some extra battery’s off Amazon too for those times you left the light on and placed it down on your table (ask me how I know this).  These cheap lighted loops are also great to have at home for getting a splinter out!

    Search:
    SE MJ3622L-10X Professional 10x 18 mm Illuminated Metal Loupe
    On the strops . . . Did you buy them new?  How do you store them?  My first thought was somehow they are contaminated because they don’t cloud a finished edge.  Did you use a diamond spray or the stropping compund to pre-treat the strops?  Either of those could be contaminated too?  I prefer the .5 and the .25 Diamond spray to pre-treat my leather or Nano strops.  Bottles look small, but they last a long time.

     

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    #49613
    Justin
    Participant
    • Topics: 2
    • Replies: 7

    A $12 lighted loop is really all you need to check your progress between grits (much better than a naked eye). I have a USB microscope, but I mostly just use my 10x loop. The higher the magnification the smaller the viewing field (I have a 20x but rarely use it). It works great when you see a few verticle scratches on different areas of the blade (usually around the heel and the tip). When I see these through the loop I just drop back to my previous grit and do a few side to side scrubs until they disappear and then continue on with the next grit. Buy some extra battery’s off Amazon too for those times you left the light on and placed it down on your table (ask me how I know this). These cheap lighted loops are also great to have at home for getting a splinter out! Search: SE MJ3622L-10X Professional 10x 18 mm Illuminated Metal Loupe On the strops . . . Did you buy them new? How do you store them? My first thought was somehow they are contaminated because they don’t cloud a finished edge. Did you use a diamond spray or the stropping compund to pre-treat the strops? Either of those could be contaminated too? I prefer the .5 and the .25 Diamond spray to pre-treat my leather or Nano strops. Bottles look small, but they last a long time.

    Ive been looking at loupes and USB microscopes but there’s so many to choose from. I did buy them new with the diamond pastes. I was very careful to make sure I was applying the right paste to the right side of the strops. I have kept them separate in the plastic that they came in to be cautious about not cross contaminating them. Ive come to the realization it will just take time to get the hang of the stropping technique.

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    #49617
    Organic
    Participant
    • Topics: 17
    • Replies: 929

    Stropping was the most difficult part of the system for me to make sense of as well. Keep at it and I’m sure you’ll get it sorted out. It seems that every individual has to figure out the right balance between angle adjustments and pressure before they get the stropping results that they’re looking for. The solution for me was to use way more pressure than I had been using. Stones need light pressure, but strops work best for me with moderate to heavy pressure and the angle decreased by 1.5 degrees per side. Your mileage may vary.

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 7 months ago by Organic.
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