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How Do I Get Clean Paper Cuts?

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  • #56203
    disneymike
    Participant
    • Topics: 1
    • Replies: 5

    Hi,

    I just recently purchased a WE130 with a granite base. I have the full set of diamond stones from 50 grit to 3000 grit. I also have 9, 6, 3, 1.5, 1 and 0.1 diamond lapping films. I have sharpened about 3 knives so far going through the full set of stones and lapping films starting from 100 grit. I have produced edges ranging from 98 to 186 on the BESS scale. So, I’m obviously getting them very sharp! The problem I have is there are usually 1 or 2 spots where small burrs are catching when I do a paper cut test. What can I do to better ensure I will have a consistently sharp bevel along the entire knife? Thank you so much in advance for your help!

    #56204
    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 64
    • Replies: 2469

    Welcome to the W.E. forum, Mike.

    Stropping your sharpened edges will smooth the snags.  I use at least a 4µ/2µ strop progression on every sharpened edge.

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-Its)

    2 users thanked author for this post.
    #56205
    disneymike
    Participant
    • Topics: 1
    • Replies: 5

    Yes, I assume you are using leather strops. Do you use kangaroo leather strops or the standard leather? Do you have any experience with nanocloth strops?

    #56206
    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 64
    • Replies: 2469

    There are two reasons to strop.  First to smooth or refine the sharpened edges.  It remove the snags and therefore, improve sharpness.  Second, they polish the bevels through their burnishing effect to improve the mirrored polish.  I use the basic (cow) leather strops.  To smooth, refine and polish my edges they work well, for me.  They do what I need them to do.  I use additional finer grit compounds also on cow leather strops, when I want a more polished bevel.  They’re inexpensive and easy to replace.

    The kangaroo are thinner, they’re less compressible, supposedly the leather itself is smoother then cow leather.  Also they’re more expensive.   I have not used them, yet.

    The nanocloth are the smoothest of the strop mediums.  They are meant to be used with the ultra small micron stropping compounds where a more abrasive strop medium may add back scratches to the super mirror polished surfaces you’re looking to remove.

    For utility and function, (i.e., enhanced sharpness),  and for enhanced polish and shine also, the cow leather works quite well.  They are also a better choice strop for the new W.E. user just learning the stropping technique.  Which is a whole different technique then sharpening,  all unto itself.  After you learn how to strop and see what it does for you, after you’ve slashed up a pair or two of strop strips which we all do while learning the stropping technique, then you may want to go for more refinement to your mirrored polish and go for the smoother stropping mediums.

    Right now after only three knives, even with the good sharp results you shared you’re achieving, I doubt your sharpening stones are even broken in yet. After about 10-12 knives or so they’ll really start to get good.

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-Its)

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    #56207
    airscapes
    Participant
    • Topics: 13
    • Replies: 323

    if you have spent sufficient time with each grit you should have no catches.. I only sharpen to 1000 for my wife’s  kitchen knives as that is what cuts best for her use.. there are no catches when slicing the phone book paper.  You have many stones, and it sounds like non are fully broken in. give it a few more knives and I think your result will improve, it takes a long time to break in diamond stones.   A USB microscope will help so you know when it is time to move to the next grit…

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    #56208
    disneymike
    Participant
    • Topics: 1
    • Replies: 5

    Thank you for your insight. You are most certainly right that my diamond stones are just barely breaking in! I will have to work on my patience, but it’s so hard!

    #56209
    disneymike
    Participant
    • Topics: 1
    • Replies: 5

    Wow, thank you so much for your detailed explanation! I want to think I’ll be the exception to the rule by not cutting up my first leather strops! LOL

    I am trying to be very careful and methodical as I learn. I don’t want to ruin my sharpening with hasty impatience. I want to get the motions correct to build muscle memory as I go. Speed is secondary in importance.

    1 user thanked author for this post.
    #56210
    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 64
    • Replies: 2469

    “airscapes” advice is also just as valid an explanation for your paper slicing issue.  With more effort for edge refinement done with each and every stone in your sharpening progression, the end results should be sharper, smoother and shinier.

    Also, by employing alternating side strokes, left-right-left-right, in the edge leading direction, down and onto the edge, you will remove any remnants of a burr or wire edge created with the grit you’re finishing up using.  This step repeated at the end of each grit used will leave an exposed sharpened edge with no burrs to cause edge snags.

    I do still finish each sharpening job with strops.  It will make a snag free edge slip through paper markedly smoother.

    The broken in stones right now is key.  It’s best to work with beater knives that need a lot of work that will require more stone work to help break in your sharpening stones, quickly.  Then there’s no worry about ruining anything while learning.  The learning/break-in period is the time to try the various sharpening strokes and to learn by mistakes.  That’s why it’s best to learn on crappy beater knives that you don’t care about.  Save you good knives for later.

    This is a good video worth watching.  It explains the various sharpening strokes.  (It does discuss whetstones some at the start, also.)

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-Its)

    3 users thanked author for this post.
    #56211
    disneymike
    Participant
    • Topics: 1
    • Replies: 5

    “airscapes” advice is also just as valid an explanation for your paper slicing issue. With more effort for edge refinement done with each and every stone in your sharpening progression, the end results should be sharper, smoother and shinier. Also, by employing alternating side strokes, left-right-left-right, in the edge leading direction, down and onto the edge, you will remove any remnants of a burr or wire edge created with the grit you’re finishing up using. This step repeated at the end of each grit used will leave an exposed sharpened edge with no burrs to cause edge snags. I do still finish each sharpening job with strops. It will make a snag free edge slip through paper markedly smoother. The broken in stones right now is key. It’s best to work with beater knives that need a lot of work that will require more stone work to help break in your sharpening stones, quickly. Then there’s no worry about ruining anything while learning. The learning/break-in period is the time to try the various sharpening strokes and to learn by mistakes. That’s why it’s best to learn on crappy beater knives that you don’t care about. Save you good knives for later. This is a good video worth watching. It explains the various sharpening strokes. (It does discuss whetstones some also.)

    I appreciate your help! I’ll be sure to watch your linked video by Jende. Have a great weekend!

    #56212
    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 64
    • Replies: 2469

    Even the diamond lapping films, which are a great ultra fine sharpening and polishing medium, as fine a grit as they are, can produce a very tiny burr. The burrs can be seen with an experienced eye using a USB microscope on high power.  The lapping films are used strictly with edge trailing strokes, that is up and away from, or up and off of the knife edge, just like using the strops*.  This is due to the easily slashed nature of the medium’s plastic-like adhesive backed strips.

    These resulting fine burrs are another reason I prefer to always finish sharpening with strops.

    *Some experienced users may employ up-down scrubbing strokes and/or horizontal or back and forth sideways scrubbing strokes when using the lapping films.  Extreme care must be exercised  with a very light, gentle touch, to avoid slashing the films.  

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-Its)

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    #56290
    Dennis Hibar
    Participant
    • Topics: 9
    • Replies: 99

    It’s been a while since I’ve stopped by, but let me add a little something.  For removing small (barely visible) burrs, I like to use a felt deburring block as soon as I transition from stones to films.  It does such a good job, that I often don’t even bother with strops (I rarely go with a perfectly mirrored finish anymore).  I tend to only use strops (and I just rely on a stropping paddle, rather than mounting the knife in the WE) to touch up an edge.  Additionally, make sure what you are experiencing is actually a small bur in sections of the knife rather than a micro chip (which will also snag on very thin paper).  You really need (in most cases, especially if your vision isn’t what it used to be) a digital microscope to determine what’s going on.

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    #56291
    disneymike
    Participant
    • Topics: 1
    • Replies: 5

    It’s been a while since I’ve stopped by, but let me add a little something. For removing small (barely visible) burrs, I like to use a felt deburring block as soon as I transition from stones to films. It does such a good job, that I often don’t even bother with strops (I rarely go with a perfectly mirrored finish anymore). I tend to only use strops (and I just rely on a stropping paddle, rather than mounting the knife in the WE) to touch up an edge. Additionally, make sure what you are experiencing is actually a small bur in sections of the knife rather than a micro chip (which will also snag on very thin paper). You really need (in most cases, especially if your vision isn’t what it used to be) a digital microscope to determine what’s going on.

    Thank you for your insight; much appreciated! I wonder how many of you use a hand strop to finish versus using a Wicked Edge strop. I would love to hear your pros and cons between the two stropping methods.

    #56295
    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 64
    • Replies: 2469

    I strop at the end of sharpening as my last step with the W.E. while it’s still clamped.

    Afterwards, I use a hand strop as a quick and simple edge touch up between when I actually clamp it back up again for a true W.E. touch-up.

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-Its)

    2 users thanked author for this post.
    #56298
    JimR
    Participant
    • Topics: 0
    • Replies: 12

    I strop at the end of sharpening as my last step with the W.E. while it’s still clamped. Afterwards, I use a hand strop as a quick and simple edge touch up between when I actually clamp it back up again for a true W.E. touch-up.

    I do exactly the same thing as Marc does.

    #56299
    000Robert
    Participant
    • Topics: 6
    • Replies: 280

    I use a couple of edge-leading strokes to remove the burr after every grit and make sure the edge will cut a piece of paper towel. I normally only strop a blade after the edge seems to be dulling a bit. With my leather cutting blades, I strop them before I use them, and after I’ve used them.

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