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TOPIC: When are the strops working best?

Re: When are the strops working best? 1 year 5 months ago #10402

  • johpe
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I have spent well over three hours and used thousands of strokes, while running through 20 different grits to 0.050 and 0.025 micron on nanocloth only to find ...to my horror, that I could see scratches remaining. Out of the 50 or so knives that I went through this process on, only two were scratch free in the end.

Thanks for that info! I always thought that you experienced guys got a perfect mirror edge in 10-15 minutes of sharpening.

So far all the knives I've done I've been re-profiling which I guess makes the deepest scratches so I suppose that when I start just touching them up in the future I will make much less of new deep scratches.

But as you said, sharpness is really what I'm after and that I definitely get. The mirror edge is just something fun / annoying to strive for. :)
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Re: When are the strops working best? 1 year 5 months ago #10404

  • ApexGS
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That's how I treat sharpening too, and also since I do it for fun and profit with a traveling kit most of my work is just to 1000 grit. The polished edges are great conversation pieces though!

I think if I had multiple sets of strops and different mediums I would likely do more to keep the strops supple, but overall it's working great as is. Making the best out of the kit I have and saving up those database points for some more strops :)
Your friendly neighborhood gunsmith!
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Re: When are the strops working best? 1 year 5 months ago #10416

  • PhilipPasteur
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johpe wrote:
Thanks for that info! I always thought that you experienced guys got a perfect mirror edge in 10-15 minutes of sharpening. :)

I don't think so... and I would take lessons for anyone that can do that... to my criteria! "Perfect Mirror" edges are in the eye of the beholder. It is relative. After many, many posts here on this topic, we never got a consensus on what the definiton really is! Many that I show the final product to think they are perfect. Some refuse to use them because they will mess up that "perfect" edge.

I just look more closely than most...and I am my own harshest critic!!

Just telling you what I "SEE".
Phil

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Re: When are the strops working best? 1 year 5 months ago #10432

  • PhilipPasteur
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Good thoughts Cutis..
As usual.
The scraping of excess compound was to get "instant" gratification. Something it seems is an imperative for folks these days.
When I first got WEPS strops and paste I did what the instructions said to do.. a one inch stripe and work it in. It is way too much paste. I just kept using it until it was OK. I just ignored the paste coming off all over the knife... eventually I did use some alcohol to thin and redistrubute the paste. I never actually scraped anything off of the strops... Just the thought hurt my feelings considering the cost...and my limited supply at the time!

Eventually things stabilize and work out just fine.

They say patience is a virtue, but I detect that this virtue has been lost, for the most part, in recent history... my answer was couched in those terms!

:(
Phil

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Re: When are the strops working best? 1 year 5 months ago #10433

  • ApexGS
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Hey some of us still have it! And I think a great many people who are drawn to the WEPS still have it too :)

Absolutely right about mirror shine being subjective. I polished up the mini Fairbairn-Applegate in my forum pic here to what most people consider a mirror shine. It isn't quite, and definitely isn't under magnification, but it's so much more reflective and shiny compared to my normal 1000 grit edge (or heaven forbid a factory edge on a cheapo knife!) that people are more than impressed!

It's a fun goal to reach, but it definitely takes a lot of time, a lot of steps and a lot of that virtue stuff we just mentioned earlier ;)
Your friendly neighborhood gunsmith!
- Tom
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Re: When are the strops working best? 1 year 5 months ago #10435

  • PhilipPasteur
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It also takes tolerance of failure...
Perfection is an almost unatainable goal...
Just keep after it and you might get to...
"It makes me happy because it makes them happy"
The customer... even if that is you!

Even though I can still see them damn SCRATCHES under specific ...non-natural conditions.. after all of the work, just pisses me off... Most folks I deal with think I am some kind of sharpening god...
WRONG! But then I am never completely happy with anything I do! It is a persoanlity flaw called being a perfectionist.


(250 lumens Parallel to the blade.. and less than 5% visible scratches, true bathroom mirror reflectivity, my harsh standard, <10 % succcess rate, no visible scratches 0%)

But ya just have to keep trying... that is what makes it fun !!
:woohoo:
Phil

MAX 2001-2013
Hoping there is that bridge!
I miss you Buddy!
Last Edit: 1 year 5 months ago by PhilipPasteur.
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Re: When are the strops working best? 1 year 5 months ago #10449

  • johpe
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Just wanted to post a short update.

After going the whole route to stropping on more knives it seems that the strops just needed breaking in. Now (after about 7-8 stropped knives) I have a totally different feel to them. And there is a noticeable difference to the edge both visually and in sharpness after using the strops.

I've tried both with and without alcohol on them, and there is a definite difference in feel while stropping but the end result seems to be more or less the same either way (at least for me).
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Re: When are the strops working best? 1 year 5 months ago #10450

  • mark76
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Thanks for your excellent posts, Phil.

I know Curtis also asked this question, but what would be a better term for “stiction”. I also used it (until you mailed me :) ). As Curtis said, mainly because it sounds like like “stickiness” and English is not my first language. (I learn a lot of new terms here on this forum, not only about sharpening, but also about, e.g., engineering :) .) You used the term “sliding friction”, although in a slightly different context. Would that, or stickiness, be a better term?

About the scratches remaining visible. You wrote they remained visible even after a 0.025 micron compound. That makes me think you used diamond sprays. I found a quite remarkable difference between the Wicked Edge pastes and some other sprays/pastes. I reported on this on my blog and you can see photographs there that show it. Only the Wicked Edge pastes provide so much stiction/stickiness/static friction. That seems to make it much easier to create mirror edges (although they may still show tiny scratches under a microscope).

What I’m also interested in is what actually happens with these pastes. You wrote me that it is unlike that leather with a compound can actually result in metal being moves/smeared out IIRC (I don’t have the mail anymore.) Is this really true? The Wicked Edge pastes do work, so there must be something going on. I wonder what.
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Re: When are the strops working best? 1 year 5 months ago #10456

  • PhilipPasteur
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mark76 wrote:
Thanks for your excellent posts, Phil.

Why you are quite welcome!
I know Curtis also asked this question, but what would be a better term for “stiction”. I also used it (until you mailed me :) ). As Curtis said, mainly because it sounds like like “stickiness” and English is not my first language. (I learn a lot of new terms here on this forum, not only about sharpening, but also about, e.g., engineering :) .) You used the term “sliding friction”, although in a slightly different context. Would that, or stickiness, be a better term?

I see where everyone is coming from on this. Stiction sounds like it says what we want to ecpress here. I may never have thought about it at all, but I have built and modified several Dobsonian typ telescopes in the past. Part of the process is getting the action to work smoothly and consistently. You need to move the telescope at high magnification in small increments to track objects as the Earth turns. The hardest thing to do is to eliminate stiction. That increase in force that it takes to get the scope moving. It is easy to see that, if overcoming stiction takes too muc force, and after that the coefficient of sliding friction is much less (it always is, by definition)it adds the problem of overshooting a target. Bascically it makes tracking an object at high magnification a real pain.

So maybe we need to understand the process better. When people have their base lifted off of the table, is this just when beginning a stroke prior to the strop actually moving, or is it when the strop is somewhere in mid stroke... That is, actually in motion??

If it is before motion has begun, it is the result of static friction, which is often shortened to "stiction". If the strop is in motion, it is being caused by sliding friction. It would seem that spraying with alcohol, for instance, increases both static friction and increases the coefficient of sliding friction.

I know it goes against the grain these days when everything is shortened as much as possible. Perhaps the product of the world of texting, perhaps simply because we are all somewhat linguistically lazy, BUT, why not just refer to what we experience by the accepted names. If we did this, there would be no confusion about where in the process we saw the a specific effect.

BTW, there is a component to both types of friction which is important. This is the force normal to the object to be moved. In other words, how hard are we pushing the strops against the steel. I found when using alcohol on the strops I tended to have to push harder to get the strops to slide (increased both static and sliding friction) as a result I was pushing against the blade harder, which increased bot kinds of friction... I can well see that this process could lead to lifting the base. I can also see where it would lead to greater convexing of the edge due to the pressure causing greater defelction of the leather. But that is for another discussion.

About the scratches remaining visible. You wrote they remained visible even after a 0.025 micron compound. That makes me think you used diamond sprays. I found a quite remarkable difference between the Wicked Edge pastes and some other sprays/pastes. I reported on this on my blog and you can see photographs there that show it. Only the Wicked Edge pastes provide so much stiction/stickiness/static friction. That seems to make it much easier to create mirror edges (although they may still show tiny scratches under a microscope).

I was not aware that WEPS made any pastes at the 0.025 micron level. Currently I have no WEPS paste. I use DMT paste for..IIRC 10/7/6/3 micron, then diamond and CBN sprays abelow that. (1, 0.5, 0.25, 0.1, 0.05, 0.025). I Usually have a mirror edge for all practical purposed before even using the strops. After the Chosera progression through 10K and finishing with the 12K Superstones. As Tom has mentioned many times, this whole idea of "uncovering" or revealing scratches from previous grits when using finer and finer grits, is maddening. Your only choice is to drop back several grits and work up again. More often than not, after 3 + hours, I just call it good. Chances are, really, no one would ever see these but me. BTW, the scratches on the bevel don't affect the sharpeness at all...
:)

What I’m also interested in is what actually happens with these pastes. You wrote me that it is unlike that leather with a compound can actually result in metal being moves/smeared out IIRC (I don’t have the mail anymore.) Is this really true? The Wicked Edge pastes do work, so there must be something going on. I wonder what.

I am not sure what the mystery is or why it is hard to understand. The pastes have abrasives in them, they are abrading the steel (ever notice the gray or black stains the strops get?). When you get to a fine enough abrasive size, we call this polishing. Polishing consists of both scratch removal, and the rounding and smoothing of the peaks and valleys of other scratches (by abrasive action). The finer the abrasive, the more polishing effect we get. The more polishing we get, both the more edge refinement is possible and the more reflective the bevel becomes.

So yes they work, but they work just the same as any other abrasive works, by abrading.

Think about it, with all of the photos we have seen, even the John D. Verhoeven SEM photos, with the possible exception of some exceedingly tiny, questionable areas in a couple of Clay's photos, all we have seen are scratches. This goes on until the resolution of the device in use is exceeded. Clay has photos that show an almost featurelessly smooth surface at 520X. At 800X, more pictures of scratches. I have looked at all of your pictures. I have taken numerous pictures at 400X and a bit higher myself, screwed around with lighting and lenses until I was burnt out. I see nothing but scratches made by abrasives.

So I ask again, why is it so hard to think that our abrasives are abrading. That is what they were designed to do. The finer ones abrade to the level we call a polish. I am not sure why we are looking for effects such as burnishing to account for the results. :S ;)

Edit:

Mark, I know that you have said that you have tried different pastes and found that you like the way the WEPS pastes work better than others. I am not sure how I would even start to explain that. The DMt pastes are a bit sticky causing higher friction when first applied. Friction is increased when I tried alcohol with them. In any case, as with stones, different kinds of abrasive and different substrates, or in the case of pastes, different carriers, result in different results. I will say that I like the WEPS pastes better. Unfortuantely I bought a whole bunch of the DMT stuff. Wehn I need more, I will buy the WEPS pastes.
I am sure that Clay did his homework when chosing his pastes. It is not a surprise to me that they work well. It would be a huge surprise to me if they worked through any means other than abrading the steel.
Phil

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I miss you Buddy!
Last Edit: 1 year 5 months ago by PhilipPasteur. Reason: added thoughts
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Re: When are the strops working best? 1 year 5 months ago #10460

  • FedWayJohn
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This thread is apropos to my situation, which is not even a month of owning the pro pack 1. I've also experienced the excess paste on the strop thing, but I did not know to try scraping off the excess and letting them dry. My experience so far with the WE strops is less than impressive. I get much better results sharpening to 1000 grit then stropping with my portable Stropman strop. Pretty dramatic difference, actually.

Working with the WE strops often results in an edge that is less sharp than it was after the 1000 grit stones. I'm working with some very light pressure also. I'll try to incoporate the info in this thread and see if it helps.

As an aside, I've no interest at this point in obtaining mirror edges, just razor sharp ones. All of this has been a big learning experience, but I can pretty consistently get really sharp edges right now. I'm just not satisfied. I want edges where the bevels are perfectly even (an ongoing bugaboo of mine) and impressively sharp. It's funny though, I've been hounding the guys I work with to give me their knives so I can get more practice, and they always seem really happy with the edges even though I'm not completely satisfied. Go figure.

One thing I'm very happy about is having this website as a resource. All the experienced people here are really helpful.

Thanks for the info!
Last Edit: 1 year 5 months ago by FedWayJohn. Reason: Syntax errors
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