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How Much Paste?

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  • #4170
    wickededge
    Keymaster
    • Topics: 122
    • Replies: 2934

    The way the paste works on the strops for knife sharpening is fascinating and has been much discussed in other threads, so in this post, I’m just going to kick off the conversation about how much paste to apply and how often. There are essentially three different actions that the strops perform:

    1. Abrading
    2. Honing
    3. Burnishing

    The amount of paste on the strops will directly affect the ratio of burnishing:abrading, honing:abrading, honing:burnishing. I’ve found that I don’t need a whole lot of paste to get my ideal ratio going. My preference for stropping is a to have the ratio weighted more heavily toward burnishing and honing. When the strop is burnishing well, it’s also honing well. This happens when there is considerable “stiction” between the leather and the metal which occurs when there is enough paste to create a tight seal between the metal and leather, but not so much that the paste begins to lubricate. Having more heavily pasted strops will give you more abrasion and less burnishing and honing. I start out a fresh set of strops with the equivalent of a thin bead about 1″ long shared between the two strops. I work that in by rubbing the strops together, working the paste in as well as I can. If I’m patient enough, I’ll let the paste dry. From there, I’ll use the strops a lot until they start to get tacky. If they don’t get tacky after a lot of stropping, I’ll apply just a little more paste and repeat the process. Once the strops are tacky feeling against the blade, they’re just right for my taste. I usually only reapply the paste after 50-100 knives and only then just a little.

    Please share your thoughts and experiences on applying and reapplying the paste.

    -Clay

    #4186
    Steven Pinson
    Participant
    • Topics: 0
    • Replies: 49

    Clay,

    I have found from doing sample buttons for thermal spray (on a Beuhler wheel) that “IF” you just agitate the plate paste carrier with a clean toothbrush and a little DI water you can get alot more mileage from the paste. I do not see why this would not work on a balsa or leather strop as well.

    #4187
    wickededge
    Keymaster
    • Topics: 122
    • Replies: 2934

    Steve,

    Do you mean agitating the leather or balsa prior to applying the paste?

    Clay,

    I have found from doing sample buttons for thermal spray (on a Beuhler wheel) that “IF” you just agitate the plate paste carrier with a clean toothbrush and a little DI water you can get alot more mileage from the paste. I do not see why this would not work on a balsa or leather strop as well.

    -Clay

    #4188
    Steven Pinson
    Participant
    • Topics: 0
    • Replies: 49

    Clay,

    Either or … the trick is to increase the surface area of the carrier. Before use gives more area for the paste to be spread out on and the “after use/application” allows the residual paste to be rejuvinated by the increase in area as well.

    NOTE: A suede carrier might be a wonderful thing for stropping with paste.

    #4189
    wickededge
    Keymaster
    • Topics: 122
    • Replies: 2934

    Clay,

    Either or … the trick is to increase the surface area of the carrier. Before use gives more area for the paste to be spread out on and the “after use/application” allows the residual paste to be rejuvinated by the increase in area as well.

    NOTE: A suede carrier might be a wonderful thing for stropping with paste.

    I get what you mean now – I’ve done what you’re describing with a wire brush and it definitely allows loading more abrasive. The drawback for me is that when the leather surfaces is interrupted, there is less “stiction” so I get less of the burnishing affect and more abrading. I think that the brush method is perfect if you want to tightly control the micro-teeth you’re creating with the strops.

    -Clay

    #4190
    Ken Buzbee
    Participant
    • Topics: 14
    • Replies: 393

    I know what you’re talking about, Clay. I go for the same action with my paddle strop.

    As an aside, the “normal” motion is very touchy with the strops. Second knife and I’ve already nicked one…. I was trying to always go up but it isn’t that easy when moving along the edge. Maybe I should just go straight up, and not try to go along the edge?

    Ken

    #4191
    wickededge
    Keymaster
    • Topics: 122
    • Replies: 2934

    As long as you’re moving more upward than parallel, you should be alright. You don’t need to hit the whole length of the blade with one stroke, so multiple mostly up and slightly forward strokes, progressing down the length of the blade should be fine.

    I know what you’re talking about, Clay. I go for the same action with my paddle strop.

    As an aside, the “normal” motion is very touchy with the strops. Second knife and I’ve already nicked one…. I was trying to always go up but it isn’t that easy when moving along the edge. Maybe I should just go straight up, and not try to go along the edge?

    Ken

    -Clay

    #4192
    Ken Buzbee
    Participant
    • Topics: 14
    • Replies: 393

    so multiple mostly up and slightly forward strokes, progressing down the length of the blade should be fine.

    So I’m learning, Clay… 😉 It’ll come… Regardless, the edge came out great. Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s anything to cut in tonight’s dinner (salmon on the grill and the cabbage is already roasted)

    Cheers,

    Ken

    #4229
    Phil Pasteur
    Participant
    • Topics: 10
    • Replies: 943

    Hi Clay,

    I have always tryed to get just enough compound on the media so that is slides easily along the blade. My thought is that the abrasive is doing the work and at this point more strokes with a light touch will get the finest edge. Conceptually I am just trying to refine the edge with the finer abrasives. This sort of substitutes for honing, because, in theory, I am straigtening the edge bu controlling the angle and using the abrasive to do the work. If I put enough compound on the strop so that it grabs the blade, I have been taking some off until it is nice and smooth. In light of what you are saying, maybe this is counterproductive.

    As for your third elemant of stropping, I still have a hard time understanding how we are getting any burnishing with leather on hardened steel. I mean, the plastic flow of metal due to pressure being caused by leather sliding over the metal is hard for me to grasp as a concept.

    You mentioned that you were doing some work with a person at Sandia National labs on this concept. Have you got anything new to share on it? I would love to be proven wrong on this, giving me another area to try to perfect.

    Anyway, my stropping is doing something. I can “feel” the difference in the edge after the stones and between each grade of abrasive. Even the 0.025 micron abrasive on nanocloth makes a noticeable difference in the sound and ease of push cutting and the feel of the edge on my thumb…and especially in shaving. These strops slide across the blade with almost no resistance.

    I may have to load some strops up, pump up the stiction factor and see what I get…
    🙂

    Phil

    #4231
    wickededge
    Keymaster
    • Topics: 122
    • Replies: 2934

    Hi Clay,

    I have always tryed to get just enough compound on the media so that is slides easily along the blade. My thought is that the abrasive is doing the work and at this point more strokes with a light touch will get the finest edge. Conceptually I am just trying to refine the edge with the finer abrasives. This sort of substitutes for honing, because, in theory, I am straigtening the edge bu controlling the angle and using the abrasive to do the work. If I put enough compound on the strop so that it grabs the blade, I have been taking some off until it is nice and smooth. In light of what you are saying, maybe this is counterproductive.

    I think your approach is very good, continuing to abrade the edge with ever finer abrasives should refine the edge more with each phase.

    As for your third elemant of stropping, I still have a hard time understanding how we are getting any burnishing with leather on hardened steel. I mean, the plastic flow of metal due to pressure being caused by leather sliding over the metal is hard for me to grasp as a concept.

    You mentioned that you were doing some work with a person at Sandia National labs on this concept. Have you got anything new to share on it? I would love to be proven wrong on this, giving me another area to try to perfect.

    We haven’t gotten too far with the lab yet, they have a very specific schedule for this type of assistance and I missed the spring window. In the meantime, I’m hoping to be able to show a hint of the effect with my new scope. We’ll see what comes of it…

    Anyway, my stropping is doing something. I can “feel” the difference in the edge after the stones and between each grade of abrasive. Even the 0.025 micron abrasive on nanocloth makes a noticeable difference in the sound and ease of push cutting and the feel of the edge on my thumb…and especially in shaving. These strops slide across the blade with almost no resistance.

    I may have to load some strops up, pump up the stiction factor and see what I get…
    🙂

    Phil

    I hope you have some fun with it and post your results!

    -Clay

    #4260
    Mark76
    Participant
    • Topics: 179
    • Replies: 2760

    The way the paste works on the strops for knife sharpening is fascinating and has been much discussed in other threads, so in this post, I’m just going to kick off the conversation about how much paste to apply and how often. There are essentially three different actions that the strops perform:

    1. Abrading
    2. Honing
    3. Burnishing

    The amount of paste on the strops will directly affect the ratio of burnishing:abrading, honing:abrading, honing:burnishing. I’ve found that I don’t need a whole lot of paste to get my ideal ratio going. My preference for stropping is a to have the ratio weighted more heavily toward burnishing and honing. When the strop is burnishing well, it’s also honing well. This happens when there is considerable “stiction” between the leather and the metal which occurs when there is enough paste to create a tight seal between the metal and leather, but not so much that the paste begins to lubricate. Having more heavily pasted strops will give you more abrasion and less burnishing and honing. I start out a fresh set of strops with the equivalent of a thin bead about 1″ long shared between the two strops. I work that in by rubbing the strops together, working the paste in as well as I can. If I’m patient enough, I’ll let the paste dry. From there, I’ll use the strops a lot until they start to get tacky. If they don’t get tacky after a lot of stropping, I’ll apply just a little more paste and repeat the process. Once the strops are tacky feeling against the blade, they’re just right for my taste. I usually only reapply the paste after 50-100 knives and only then just a little.

    Please share your thoughts and experiences on applying and reapplying the paste.

    When I use the Wicked Edge pastes, I do it basically the same way as you do: two or three drops of paste per strop go a long way. I use these pastes mainly for their burnishing effects (which they do way better than any other compound I know) and my experience is that this works better if you use only a little paste which you spread well over the entire strop.

    The paste dries out slightly even if you don’t use it and I have found that the burnishing effect (on leather) is about maximal just before the strops get so tacky you almost cannot move them over the blade anymore in a smooth motion (but only with shaking movements). The strops are not very useful anymore when they are tacky like chewing gum, but just before that point their burnishing power is great.

    When I use a diamond spray or other spray, which provides hardly any burnishing, I use it quite liberally on the strop, since this will give it more abrasive power.

    Molecule Polishing: my blog about sharpening with the Wicked Edge

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