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TOPIC: Diamond Stone and Strop Care

Diamond Stone and Strop Care 1 year 11 months ago #3101

I did some browsing but may have missed if this topic has already been posted. If so, I apologize and point me to the post...!

I was wondering what type of care should be given to the stones and the leather stops both to reduce contamination and wear. Obviously I want to extend the life of these as much as possible as well as have them able to continually give me the edges I've been getting.

Is there a cleaning proceedure (particularly for the leather strops)?

How often do you guys clean your stones/strops?

How long should I expect the diamond stones to last? I am doing some re-profiling with my 100/200 stones but not too much and I can already feel the stone smoothing out after 8 sharpenings. Is this normal.

Thanks in advance!
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Re: Diamond Stone and Strop Care 1 year 11 months ago #3102

  • BassLakeDan
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JeffSimmons wrote:
I did some browsing but may have missed if this topic has already been posted. If so, I apologize and point me to the post...!

I was wondering what type of care should be given to the stones and the leather stops both to reduce contamination and wear. Obviously I want to extend the life of these as much as possible as well as have them able to continually give me the edges I've been getting.

Is there a cleaning proceedure (particularly for the leather strops)?

How often do you guys clean your stones/strops?

How long should I expect the diamond stones to last? I am doing some re-profiling with my 100/200 stones but not too much and I can already feel the stone smoothing out after 8 sharpenings. Is this normal.

Thanks in advance!

Hi Jeff,

The smoothing out of your plates is normal and desirable

I can not speak to leather stops but as far as Diamond plates you might just want to use an old tooth brush and mild soap and warm water. I have seen posts from time to time about using ultra sonic cleaners. That is the worst advice, as ultrasonic cleaners will quickly dislodge the diamonds from the bond and release them from the substrate.

Here is some poop from the DMT web site:

Clean your DMT® sharpener after each use with water and wipe dry. After several sharpenings, use a mild kitchen abrasive cleanser and a nylon scrub brush (an old toothbrush works well too). Comet, Ajax, and Zud work well. Make sure the sharpener is dry before putting it away. If you are concerned that the diamond may have worn off the stone, rub the sharpener against an old glass jar. If the sharpener scratches or frosts the glass, then there is diamond on the sharpener ready for your sharpening needs.

Although you should NEVER put your diamond plates in an ultrasonic cleaner, you can certainly try it with a ceramic stone as there is no danger of disassociating the abrasives from the bonding matrix. There is also another trick that us jewelry makers use to remove unwanted oxides and metals from gold. A quick soak in mild sulfuric acid. (Diluted pool acid from you local Home Depot works well..) This will work on your ceramic sharpening stones. But do not try it on diamond plates, although the diamonds are non reactive, the aluminium and steel plate they are mounted on are highly reactive.

The following micrograph of one of my dirty ceramic plates shows an accumulation of metal. An acid bath would make quick work of cleaning this up. If you try it, remember that the fumes generated are toxic, and you should work outdoors with a breeze at your back. An organic vapor respirator would be a good idea as well.

Last Edit: 1 year 11 months ago by BassLakeDan.
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Re: Diamond Stone and Strop Care 1 year 11 months ago #3104

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Hi Dan,

It sounds like you’re an expert in these matters. I read on Knifeforums that Bar Keepers Friend was recommended for cleaning ceramic stones because it contains oxalic acid, which dissolved (reacts with) metal. For the same reason it was recommended not to use it on diamond stones.

However, the same poster (I think) also recommended Ajax for use on ceramic stones. I have used Ajax a lot with toothbrushes, nailbrushes, etc., but my stones do not come anywhere near clean. The poster also wrote (if I remember it correctly) that the stones did not get clean because of the scrubbing, but because if the reaction with the metal.

Do I read your post correctly in that you recommend Ajax for use on diamond plates, but not on ceramic stones? And is there anything else you would recommend for cleaning ceramic stones? Oxalic acid and sulphuric acid are hard to come by where I live.

Thanks!
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Re: Diamond Stone and Strop Care 1 year 11 months ago #3106

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mark76 wrote:
Hi Dan,

Do I read your post correctly in that you recommend Ajax for use on diamond plates, but not on ceramic stones? And is there anything else you would recommend for cleaning ceramic stones? Oxalic acid and sulphuric acid are hard to come by where I live.

Thanks!

Let me clarify a bit.

I don’t see any problem with using Ajax on a Diamond Plates or ceramic stones. Ajax probably contains some sodium hypochlorite which is also a mild oxidizer in the concentrations found in that household item so it may chemically reduce the metals we are discussing here, but its action will be very mild and slow. Although it can reduce reactive metals over a long period of time of exposure, this is not likely to adversely affect your diamond plate. Ajaxs effectiveness (if at all) will be due more the scrubbing and abrasive action of the grit it contains and any detergents and so forth. I think you would be pretty safe with any household cleanser of that type, so I think you would be AOK to use it on your diamond plates. It will also work AOK on ceramics but I think there are better methods for cleaning those ceramics because: in the chemistry world, Sulfuric Acid is in a class of its own, and is the material of choice for oxidation reduction reactions on metal. It is so effective in that regard that I would not get the material near any reactive metals, and this includes your diamond plates, and, it is worth noting, it also includes metals like Titanium! If you have any valuable knives that use Ti as a metal in their construction (lock-bars, scales, etc.) then you should be careful to not have them anywhere near or in contact with H2SO4.

So acids are the ticket really for ceramics. Around the house you can find a ready source of H2SO4 in any lead acid flooded battery. Consult your local auto repair shop for a sample. Samples of other, much milder acids, like Oxalic Acid can usually be found in the formulations for espresso coffee machine cleaners. Sources of other mild household available acids would be distilled vinegar which is a source of Acetic Acid. It might be interesting to try an experiment with my dirty ceramics featured in the previous post. I will soak them overnight in a hot crock-pot slow cooker filled with some distilled vinegar. These reactions are accelerated by heat, so therefore the hot crock would be a good idea with the mild vinegar: (caution: never heat H2SO4 and attempt any of these experiments, results can be violent and dangerous!)

The problem we are going to have with all this is that the metals we are trying to reduce are so-called “stainless”. Humm, well of course they are not totally non reactive, but we are dealing with a scale of reactivity here. And their composition will become a factor in how easy they are to clean from our plate via the technique of chemical reduction. It all sounds like a great bunch of backyard experiments to me, and there is nothing I like better than a good bathtub batch of gin, so think I will give it a try. Will report back with my findings.

Hope we have not totally hi-jacked Jeffs original post. He is still looking for techniques to clean leather strops. Anyone have that info?
Last Edit: 1 year 11 months ago by BassLakeDan.
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Re: Diamond Stone and Strop Care 1 year 11 months ago #3108

This thread hasn't been hijacked at all! I am loving all this information!

Keep it coming!

My ceramics should be here this week. I plan on replacing my sandpaper with them and will give the vinegar a shot since it's readilly available in the house. I'll post results once they're in.

Thanks again and looking forward to more!
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Re: Diamond Stone and Strop Care 1 year 11 months ago #3109

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BassLakeDan wrote:
It all sounds like a great bunch of backyard experiments to me, and there is nothing I like better than a good bathtub batch of gin, so think I will give it a try. Will report back with my findings.

Really looking forward to it!
Hope we have not totally hi-jacked Jeffs original post. He is still looking for techniques to clean leather strops. Anyone have that info?

Sorry Jeff, I got enthusiastic too. I have never cleaned my leather strops (yet). I use diamond spray or paste on them and this stuff remains on the strops for a long time. My strops do get somewhat darker (removed metal), but not a lot: strops with diamond compound are much less abrasive than stones. Also, I always clean my blades before stropping them. In fact, a local barber who sells vintage straight razors also sells 80 year old leather strops with "green compound" (probably Chromium Oxide) that have probably never been cleaned.

That said, I have read accounts of people cleaning their leather strops with WD-40. Could very well work, it's just I've never tried it.
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