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It's not you, it's me….

This topic contains 13 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  tcmeyer 09/13/2019 at 3:34 am.

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  • #51935

    Michael Blakley
    Participant
    • Topics: 20
    • Replies: 18

    I love the look of the mirror polish on the bevel of a knife when I finish it.

    My finishing routine is in this order:

    1500 grit

    lapping

    14 micron

    10 micron

    5 micron

    3.5 micron

    But here’s my problem… the leather.  A) I’m never sure if I have the right amount of compound on the the strops, to much, to little, the right amount in some places not enough in the other.

    Second problem is that I’m prone to cutting and gouging the strops, and when I replace them I’m back to the right amount / wrong amount of compound.

    Can I get the mirror finish any other way?  I see there are compatible stones for my WE system that are in the 2200 / 3000 grit and probably higher if I keep looking around.  Would those finer stones give me the mirror I want or do I have to stick with the leather & compounds?

    Thanks!

    Michael

    #51938

    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 58
    • Replies: 1855

    Michael,  I don’t think it takes a lot of stropping compound to be effective.  There are YouTube videos and videos in the W.E. Knowledge Base you can view. The strops will improve as the compound rubs in and spreads across the surface.  That being said, I don’t think you can really use too much compound either.  If you apply an abundance of compound it will be messier and the excess compound may slough off on your sharpener vise , base and the knife sides.

    Your progression, IMO, is a good one.  Yes you can add the new finer Diamond stone grits, the 2200 and 3000 grit. They will yield a finer scratch pattern and a very fine sharp edge.  But, In my experience using these very fine diamond grits, I did not end up with a polished mirror bevel that would allow me to skip further polishing steps in my progression.

    In your stropping progression the only criticism i’d make is you may want to consider adding additional finer grit strops like 1.0µ and 0.5µ compounds.

    I have been using my strops for years. So I have quite a bit of experience using them.  I still cut and gouge them from time to time.  I use them cut and gouged as long as they aren’t so badly gouged that there is a bad, large lump on the surface from the cut. I too have replaced the leather and it always gets cut again.  For me it’s just part of the deal.  Employing more vertical, up and off, stropping strokes and stropping smaller sections of the knife’s length then blending the short sections with overlapping strops does help me to avoid cutting the leather.  Following along the knife’s length and then off the tip it’s hard for me to avoid getting cuts.

    I have achieved beautiful mirror polished finishes with lapping films.  I still prefer to finish every progression with the strops as a last step.

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-It)

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    #51941

    tcmeyer
    Participant
    • Topics: 33
    • Replies: 1835

    I too use lapping films to achieve a mirror polish.  I’ll also affirm Marc’s statement about the leather strops working fine, even with a few nasty cuts.

    As to how much paste?  If you can see little gobs of paste left behind on the blade’s edge, that’s probably too much.  Of course, when you first load the strops with paste, you’ll get the bits of paste left behind.  It’s sort of a “break-in” process.  After initially loading the strops with paste, when you get to the point where you’re getting a nice, even scratch patterns (as seen under microscope), you know you’ve got enough paste impregnated into the cow’s skin.  Probably won’t need more paste for another 20 – 40 knives.  The diamond grit gets embedded in the leather and it stays there for quite a while.

    Strops work differently from stones.  Rather than scratching the surface they are applied to, they “rub” across it, creating a burnishing effect.  If you’ve used a wire brush wheel on metal, you’ve probably have noticed that the surface is not scratched, but “smeared”, giving it a polished effect.  Some micro photos we’ve seen here on this forum show how strops can actually smear the surface, pushing some of the metal up to a super-fine razor edge.

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    #51943

    Michael Blakley
    Participant
    • Topics: 20
    • Replies: 18

    So I can see that I should stick with what I’m currently doing and just get better at it.

    A couple of follow-up questions.

    1.  On the reverse side of my 1500 stone is the glass to which I attach the lapping material.  it’s the kind that I peel off a sheet and stick on to the glass.  How do I know when it’s time remove the existing and replace it with new?
    2. When using the lapping, how do you know when you’re done and it’s time to move on to the 14 micron leather strop?
    3. Last, how do you know when the blade is ready to move from the 14 to the 10, then 10 to the 5 and then to the 3.5?

    Right now, I’m just counting.  50 strokes per side with lapping and all strops.  There’s got to be a better method than that.  BTW, I only sharpen pocket knives and kitchen knives (no serrated blades).

    Thanks to all!

    Michael

    #51944

    airscapes
    Participant
    • Topics: 10
    • Replies: 183

    The answer to all the questions is a USB microscope to look at your actual progress of sharpening.   This recent post should be of help https://knife.wickededgeusa.com/forums/topic/usb-microscopes-question/

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    #51945

    Richard
    Participant
    • Topics: 7
    • Replies: 101

    I admit that I tore up my first set of strops until I developed a technique using a trailing edge method.  It works great on folders and small knives where I can push up and away the entire length of the blade.  Now for chef’s knives, I might have to divide the knife up into sections and concentrate on one at a time.  Here’s a great video on how much paste to use and how to work it into the leather.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4YwJAZv8w8c

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    #51947

    Organic
    Participant
    • Topics: 17
    • Replies: 851

    Airscapes is correct; You need to look at the bevels under magnification if you want to know how many strokes with a set of stones are enough. With some of the coarser stones you can get a pretty good idea by listening to the sound that is produced while sharpening and paying attention to how each stroke feels, but there’s no method quite as reliable as looking at the edge under magnification.

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    #51950

    Michael Blakley
    Participant
    • Topics: 20
    • Replies: 18

    I sincerely appreciate the education you all are providing.

    What level of magnification will I need to do what you’re advising?

    And once it’s under that magnification  what tells me it’s time to switch from lapping to 14 micron to 10 to 5 ? Thanks

     

    #51957

    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 58
    • Replies: 1855

    I prefer to use high power while I view the bevel from the side.  Other Forum members prefer to look down from the top at the apex of the edge.  Try different methods and the different scope powers to see what you prefer to work with.  Be aware on most of these USB microscopes the low power which is always a wider view is when the focusing ring is all the way to one direction.  The high power or tight in view is almost all the way to the other direction with the focusing ring.

    With the microscope you can actually see your scratch pattern as it travels across the bevel and up and off the knife edge if the scratch pattern is applied correctly. That is what I’m inspecting to see. That is the scratch pattern is clean, uniform, parallel and complete from the lower part of the bevel, the shoulder, and up off the knife edge at the apex.

    As you follow your sharpening and polishing progressions, you will see how the scratch appearances change in correspondence with the medium you are working with.  No matter which medium it is, I still want to see my scratches complete and uniform from shoulder to apex.

     

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-It)

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    #51983

    Readheads
    Participant
    • Topics: 20
    • Replies: 235

    I like to spritz some acetone on my impregnated leather just to get some “sort of slurry” going. I also do NOT back off the 1-2 deg which I have seen herein. Leather is a touch thing which is similar to the lightest, but firmest, feel thing you can imagine. You are actually abrading ie. forcing the metal to flow vs. abrasion with the diamonds where you are scraping metal off the blade. It’s similar to making love, takes practice LOL. Look at the abrading under a USB scope and you will be amazed what leather will do.

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    #51987

    airscapes
    Participant
    • Topics: 10
    • Replies: 183

    I like to spritz some acetone on my impregnated leather just to get some “sort of slurry” going.

    If you are using any of my 3d printed accessories, watch the acetone, all of the hard parts are made of ABS, which Acetone will melt on contact.  Alcohol is fine but not Acetone.

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    #52005

    Richard
    Participant
    • Topics: 7
    • Replies: 101

    I like to spritz some acetone on my impregnated leather just to get some “sort of slurry” going.

    If you are using any of my 3d printed accessories, watch the acetone, all of the hard parts are made of ABS, which Acetone will melt on contact. Alcohol is fine but not Acetone.

    That’s good to know.

    #52022

    Readheads
    Participant
    • Topics: 20
    • Replies: 235

    I meant 40 % alcohol, or a good double IPA will also work.

    1 user thanked author for this post.
    #52023

    tcmeyer
    Participant
    • Topics: 33
    • Replies: 1835

    I’ve been drinking the light brandy, which is only 30% alcohol, so I hope that’s OK.  Beer makes me bloat.  I will have to ‘fess up that every time I’ve cut myself good, there’s been alcohol involved.  Even with my recent disagreement with a cook’s mandolin.

    Learn from other peoples’ mistakes, whenever you can.  Words of wisdom from a geezer.

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