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TOPIC: How do you get that perfect mirror finish?

Re: How do you get that perfect mirror finish? 1 year 9 months ago #6309

  • DAUG
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The mirror polish thread was a very good read, and all involved made excellent points on the definition of "mirror polish". As for me, for simplicity sake, I liked criteria 1 for my definition:

(1) Reading newsprint/fine-print in the reflection at some reasonable distance (4 inches? 6 inches?), and no visible "haze" on the surface.
(2) Laser-pointer test: stellafane.org/tm/atm/polish/polish.html#Polished_Out
(3) Microscope test: No visible scratches under magnification. (100x? 200x?)

as proposed by Anthony Yan
Last Edit: 1 year 9 months ago by DAUG.
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Re: How do you get that perfect mirror finish? 1 year 9 months ago #6310

  • Scott Sherman
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Billabong wrote:
Hi Scott, I found this old thread which may interest you.

"What grit/micron should I have mirror polish?"
wickededgeusa.com/index.php?option=com_k...d=6&id=892&Itemid=63

Keep asking the questions, as I'm sure there are many lurkers who are enjoying your posts also. :)

OMG, you nailed it! The link you provided here and subsequent links within this thread completely answer my question and I am now comfortable with what I need to do to achieve my desired objective.

To boil it down, I would say to others looking to make their knives athletically pleasing by creating a sharp and mirror finish, these are the primary considerations;

1. Give your new stones adequate break in usage before expecting optimum results.

2. The closer you expect to get to a highly reflective mirrored polish on your blade, the finer the grit you need to get there.

3. If pursuit of perfection in obtaining this mirrored reflective surface on your knife is your goal, try to have as many stones and abrasives as you can manage in as close a succession of progressively finer grits as possible. So there is actually a place in the line up for the super fine and micro ceramics as well as the finest waterstone you can afford and then as many finishing surfaces as you can afford down to the finest spray on kangaroo or nano paper. This is again if perfection is your goal.

4. Last but probably most important, decide on a clear definition in your mind of what perfection means to you. As I now know there is different levels of perfection in a reflective edge to what I would call an impractical level of perfection achievable only by use of the most sophisticated equipment currently available, and taking into consideration maximum potential for the properties of the steel you are polishing. In other words, make your expectations realistic. A knife can bring oooh's and aaah's from friends without having the reflectivity of the Hubble telescope. So you may not actually need every single stone,or paste or spray or nano whatever to get to the oooh's and aaah's you seek. Or maybe you will never be satisfied with just good enough, and that's okay too. That is why there are so many levels of polishing available and you may be the guy that invents the next level not yet achievable if that is your goal. (As long as your not hocking your wife's wedding rings or taking out a third mortgage on your house to do it).

I guess most of all have fun and enjoy the ride, take it slowly and don't try to do too much, too fast. It will get better over time I think.

Many thanks to Chris, Phil, Clay and all who have participated and contributed to these great threads with so much knowledge and experience for helping me to resolve some of these issues, which have been nagging at me.

And be assured Chris, I will continue asking questions (and sharing answers where I can). Thanks for the encouragement!

These threads and links really need to be made sticky or added to the Wicki reference postings somehow. I know there will be many others with the same questions in the future who might benefit from this but might otherwise miss it. As I said originally there are only two camps as far as I can tell when it comes to WE users, those who want very sharp knives that cut very effectively through different materials, (the pro pack 1 group) and those seeking to have aesthetically beautiful polished knives with a good push cut sharp finished edge, (the PP2 group). I suppose Clay will have to come up with some version of a Pro Pack 3 for those possessed with the pursuit of the perfect mirror who will not settle for good enough. If you are reading this, you may just be that guy.
Last Edit: 1 year 9 months ago by Scott Sherman.
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Re: How do you get that perfect mirror finish? 1 year 9 months ago #6333

  • BobNash
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JamesBell wrote:
Being new to this, great topic by the way, all of you keep referring to "How well broken in your stones are is another very big factor" At about how many knives does it take to get them broken? Is the feeling of how they are working the metal something I would notice? I guess my next question, what is the life of the kits diamond stones. Have you see a difference after many hundreds of usages.

Hi James and welcome to the forum! :cheer: And to sharpening (assuming that what you meant by being new to this)

How many knives it takes to break in varies quite a bit, but usually by at least 6 - 10 you should have most of the loose diamonds knocked off and your edges should be noticeably better. For some people, they never really notice the break in at all, and others take longer. You'll see that powder coming off on your base as you work. I don't know that I notice a real difference in the feel of them working as much as a difference in how fast they cut. Maybe others are a bit more sensitive to that feel and could say. I think what I really notice as they break in is how the edge catches when I test it with my finger nail, and how well it cuts through paper when I'm done - smooth and without snagging. And then as they continue to break in, how well they polish. When I first started doing shows with Clay he would finish with his 1000 grit and the knife he was doing would have a polish on it that was comparable to or even better than what I was able to get with my strops given the break in of my diamonds.

As for life, Clay and I just had this conversation again a few weeks ago to see how our experiences were comparing. For both of us, we use our full set of diamonds on the vast majority of knives we sharpen (at shows and on knives folks send in for demos) - i.e. we start at 100 and work up to 1000 - so our usage is a little different from how most folks use the system since most of what we do is only one visit with the knife. Usually you would only use your coarse stones once on a knife and then touch it up with finer stones (assuming you aren't constantly re-profiling) so the 100/200 and 400/600 get much less use than the finer stones and strops. We have both found that we trade out to a new set of 100/200 stones somewhere around 300-400 sharpenings at least for show use (I then use them at home or give them to customers who want a set that is really broken in). At that point the diamonds are still cutting but they are slow - to slow for a show where we try to finish in 10-15 minutes at the most per knife. My 400/600 sets that I am using at shows are at somewhere around 1200 knives (I have 3 sets at this point that I change between them randomly) and my 800/1000s are well over 3000 knives and just keep getting better the more I use them. So for most users, you are never going to hit the life span of the stones.

You can see though that we are very quick in our usage, so if you are working a lot of abrasion resistant and super hard steels and/or are working for a long time on every grit, and/or are putting a lot of pressure on the stones against the blade as you work your life span is going to vary.
Hope that helps -
Some of the edges I've sharpened on the WE
www.oldawan.com
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505-570-2040 (mobile and office)
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Re: How do you get that perfect mirror finish? 1 year 9 months ago #6334

  • Billabong
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Deleted!

edit - After reading my post again I realized it was a dumb question so I deleted it.
Cost me a Karma vote.
Oh dear!
Last Edit: 1 year 9 months ago by Billabong.
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Re: How do you get that perfect mirror finish? 1 year 9 months ago #6338

  • JamesBell
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To Bob Nash. Thank You
Great answers to my questions, sounds like I will have many years of enjoyment working with my Wicked edge. Have sharpened about 25 thus far, most Chicago Cutlery that just need a good edge. My EDC a Chris Reeve small Sebenza now is a mirror edge. Have played with a Spyderco that I am no where close getting it setup. This is great fun, you can not purchase the therapy or satisfaction you get working with the Edge.

One question everyone tags a Thank you at the bottom of their note, how does that work?

Thanks
- James
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Re: How do you get that perfect mirror finish? 1 year 9 months ago #6342

  • cbwx34
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JamesBell wrote:
One question everyone tags a Thank you at the bottom of their note, how does that work?

The user doesn't put the Thank You button, the software does (if I understood your question). You can't see it on your own posts, I guess 'cause you can't thank yourself. :ohmy: :) If you see a post you like, you hit their Thanks button and let them know!!
Last Edit: 1 year 9 months ago by cbwx34.
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Re: How do you get that perfect mirror finish? 1 year 9 months ago #6343

  • JamesBell
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That was the answer I was looking for, makes since can not thank yourself.
Thanks
- James
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Re: How do you get that perfect mirror finish? 1 year 9 months ago #6370

  • Billabong
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cbwx34 wrote:
If you see a post you like, you hit their Thanks button and let them know!!

I see a few regulars thank someone in a post but don't hit the button.
Does hitting the button a certain number of times add one Karma vote?
So they only want to give a little thanks.
Last Edit: 1 year 9 months ago by Billabong.
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Re: How do you get that perfect mirror finish? 1 year 9 months ago #6374

  • wickededge
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Billabong wrote:
cbwx34 wrote:
If you see a post you like, you hit their Thanks button and let them know!!

I see a few regulars thank someone in a post but don't hit the button.
Does hitting the button a certain number of times add one Karma vote?
So they only want to give a little thanks.

Also, when should I add or remove a Karma vote?
I lost one recently, now I can't sleep. ;)

Might ask another question in the wiki thread.

Thanks in advance. ;)

I added one back for you :)
--Clay Allison
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Re: How do you get that perfect mirror finish? 1 year 9 months ago #6483

  • Billabong
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wickededge wrote:
I added one back for you :)

Thanks Clay, that will help me get to zero. ;)
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