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New Member, Loving the WE, Want to upgrade?

Recent Forums Main Forum Welcome Mat New Member, Loving the WE, Want to upgrade?

This topic contains 4 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Dale Wachholz 07/05/2018 at 6:37 am.

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  • #46739

    Geekmedic
    Participant
    • Topics: 1
    • Replies: 1

    Hello from Wisconsin.

    I purchased a pre-2017 Pro-Pack 1, and absolutely love it. The refined edge bug has bitten me hard. I would like to take it to the next level so to speak. Micro bevel is top of my list. I’ve been very impressed with the mirror finish I’ve gotten with the included stones and strops (only used the 5 micron so far).

    For all of the veterans, what would you recommend for an average guy with medium quality knives, some custom hand made knives? Additional stones, platens, etc.. I’ve made some knives with a friend and given them as gifts to family. My boy is in the military and his buddies are already asking for knives, sharpening, and sheaths (just started doing Kydex). I see the ability to produce a fantastic finished product, and as a veteran myself do not intend to profit from those currently serving.

    How hard is it to replace the leather of the strops (damaged mine already, with an unrefined technique, Why I haven’t gone to the 3.5 micron)?

    Thanks in advance for the advice.

    #46740

    tcmeyer
    Participant
    • Topics: 31
    • Replies: 1562

    Welcome aboard ‘medic!  I’m happy to see that your first experiences have been successful and that you’ve got the bug.  This is a very satisfying hobby, especially because you can do something your friends and relatives can’t do and you can share it with them.

    The Pro-Pack I comes with a great set of stones from 100 to 1000, plus a pair of leather strops.  These same tools carried me for a couple of years, until I decided to wade a little deeper into the pool.  I was a very early adapter to diamond film, so my experiences aren’t necessarily representative of the forum community.

    Before you add any more handles, you ought to get a good angle-cube (digital protractor) and some form of magnification for inspecting the edges you are working on.  Not being able to see exactly what you are doing is a major handicap.  I have a DXL-360 and love it.  I also have a Celestron 5MP USB microscope and am reasonably happy with that as well.  Some fellows are quite happy with using a jeweler’s loupe.

    For what it’s worth:

    My thinking is that very fine grits on strops aren’t really abrasives.  They don’t cut into the surface of the steel like the diamond or ceramic stones, or like sand paper or sanding belts.  Instead, they burnish the surface of the steel by rubbing the particles in the compound against the surface of the steel.  Since the strop is a soft substrate, it can’t really force the grit particles to dig in.  If you press harder, the particles tend to be pushed deeper into the strop material rather than digging deeper into the steel.  The strop effect smooths out the high spots in the surface without actually removing any (or at least almost no) steel, .  The difference between stones and strops is similar to the difference between automotive rubbing compound – which actually removes old paint and surface irregularities by abrasion – and polishing compound, which puts a shines on the surface.  Not exactly a perfect analogy, but you get the drift.  If I finish a bevel with 1.5 micron film, I can still see a scratch pattern, while a 3.5 micron stropping paste leaves almost no trace of scratches.

    The options you have as additions to your tool rack include only one more diamond grit – 1500, with a glass platen (for film) on the reverse side.  From there, you could expand the choice of films with added handles with glass or aluminum platens, or you can go the ceramic stone route.  You can also buy additional strops, for which they offer leather, kangaroo leather, nano cloth or balsa.

    My personal selection includes two pairs of film platens, on which I run 6, 3, 1.5 and 1.0 micron film.  I have one pair of leather strops on which I run 2.5 and 1.0 micron diamond paste.  For 95% of the knives I sharpen, I finish up with 1,000 and 1,500 grit diamonds and 6 and 3 micron film.  Diamond film lasts a lot longer than non-diamond abrasives like Aluminum Oxide.  I recently changed a pair of 6 micron film after it had lasted at least thirty knife sharpenings.  I clean them with alcohol about every other knife.  Diamond film seems to have supplanted the ceramic stones, but they’re still a good option where you’ve decided against film or strops for some other reason.

    I haven’t actually tried to swap out a set of leather strops, but I’ve done a lot of swapping stones.  Neither should be a problem.  Please note that leather strops can look terribly beat-up and sliced, but they can still work just fine.

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    #46741

    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 48
    • Replies: 1136

    Welcome to the Wicked Edge Forum and Community GeekMedic.  If you’re still using the Pro-Pack 1 in it’s original configuration, you may like to upgrade to the micro-angle adjustable “L” Brackets.  This will help you fine tune your angle selection when used in conjunction with a digital angle cube like the DXL360S or a Wixey Brand.  I have used both angle cubes with good repeatable results.  Be sure to check with Wicked Edge to determine which model upgrade is compatible with your version WEPS.

    As Tom suggested a USB Microscope is a hard tool to go without once you’ve used one.  The Micro-angle upgrade, the digital cube and a USB microscope you’ll use for years to come.  These will enhance you’re results immeasurably for a small $$ outlay.

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-It)

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    #46792

    Geekmedic
    Participant
    • Topics: 1
    • Replies: 1

    I do have an angle cube and found it to be invaluable. I’ll look into the microscope, and loop. Sharpening is becoming my meditation.

    #46824

    Dale Wachholz
    Participant
    • Topics: 2
    • Replies: 21

    Welcome aboard fellow Wisconsinite!

    The suggestion of the adjustable ‘L’ brackets was good.  I am glad my pre-owned set had them.  I purchased a cheep 40x loupe and while it works, I got what I paid for.  There are several threads suggesting an affordable USB microscope.  That is next on my list.  Or maybe the Tormek small blade holder/adapter.

    Keep posting.  There are great members here.   I know I have gotten many good ideas by reading and asking.

     

    Dale

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