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TOPIC: Newbie with a question about grits, microns, etc.

Newbie with a question about grits, microns, etc. 3 months 1 week ago #17476

Hi there. I'm new here, and fairly new to the WE system. I've had it for about 6 months, have sharpened maybe 60 knives. I have lots of questions, and I've been reading on here and I realize you guys could help me a lot, which I appreciate. I guess for starters, let me tell you what I have: I have the basic system, upgraded to pro plus (with the new, much better arms). I've got 100,200,400,600,800, and 1,000 grit stones. Then I have the ultra fine (?) ceramics - not the 1200 and 1600, but the ones that say "coarse" and "fine" on them. Then I've got 2 sets of leather strops, one being the 5 and 3.5, the other one is blanks, on which I use .5 micron paste and .25 micron diamond spray (can't remember where I got the spray. I know I researched it and it was supposed to be good). SO...don't ask me how I ended up with such a mish- mash, I just did. I guess my initial question is, should I get the 1200/1600 ceramics? It sounds like you guys use those a lot. I know the answer has to do with what I'm trying to accomplish (I've learned that much!), and my answer is I don't know. I do like getting that mirror-ish edge (I use a 60x loupe to check my results) look. But it needs to cut well too, of course. And my other related question is, if the principle is to go from coarser to ever smoother grits, then based on that grit comparison chart it would seem like you'd want to go up to the 1000 grit (=7 microns), then to the 5 micron paste (on leather or balsa) or the 1200 ceramic (also 5 microns), then to 3.5 paste, then to 1600 ceramic (=2.85 microns), then microfine ceramics (=1.4 then 0.6 microns), then to the finer pastes or sprays on leather or balsa. I know it's not that simple, and I'm probably trying to be too analytical, but I'm just trying to learn how to think about this stuff. Hope my questions made some kind of sense. Because I've got a bunch more. Thanks for any patient help/direction/clarification.
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Newbie with a question about grits, microns, etc. 3 months 1 week ago #17477

  • LeoBarr
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One point that you need to clarify is what do you want the blade to cut ?
If it is everyday things then probable 600- 1K grit will cut very well provided the secondary bevel is thin enough and the primary is small enough refer to the photo.
If your intention is to split hairs then refining it as highly as possible is the way to go but you would not use a wood saw to shave with nor would you attempt to cut down a tree with a razor .
So you need to answer my initial question.
ScreenShot2014-05-04at17.32.39.png
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Newbie with a question about grits, microns, etc. 3 months 1 week ago #17497

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rthompson45 wrote:
Hi there. I'm new here, and fairly new to the WE system. I've had it for about 6 months, have sharpened maybe 60 knives. I have lots of questions, and I've been reading on here and I realize you guys could help me a lot, which I appreciate. I guess for starters, let me tell you what I have: I have the basic system, upgraded to pro plus (with the new, much better arms). I've got 100,200,400,600,800, and 1,000 grit stones. Then I have the ultra fine (?) ceramics - not the 1200 and 1600, but the ones that say "coarse" and "fine" on them. Then I've got 2 sets of leather strops, one being the 5 and 3.5, the other one is blanks, on which I use .5 micron paste and .25 micron diamond spray (can't remember where I got the spray. I know I researched it and it was supposed to be good). SO...don't ask me how I ended up with such a mish- mash, I just did. I guess my initial question is, should I get the 1200/1600 ceramics? It sounds like you guys use those a lot. I know the answer has to do with what I'm trying to accomplish (I've learned that much!), and my answer is I don't know. I do like getting that mirror-ish edge (I use a 60x loupe to check my results) look. But it needs to cut well too, of course. And my other related question is, if the principle is to go from coarser to ever smoother grits, then based on that grit comparison chart it would seem like you'd want to go up to the 1000 grit (=7 microns), then to the 5 micron paste (on leather or balsa) or the 1200 ceramic (also 5 microns), then to 3.5 paste, then to 1600 ceramic (=2.85 microns), then microfine ceramics (=1.4 then 0.6 microns), then to the finer pastes or sprays on leather or balsa. I know it's not that simple, and I'm probably trying to be too analytical, but I'm just trying to learn how to think about this stuff. Hope my questions made some kind of sense. Because I've got a bunch more. Thanks for any patient help/direction/clarification.

I don't think you need the 1200/1600 ceramics, at this stage anyway. I actually like the set you have a little better. If/when you get more nit picky :) you may want to add them, but for now I wouldn't.

Although you're right that in principle you move from coarse to fine in order... generally the ceramics leave a finer finish than the diamonds, and the paste/sprays on leather leave a finer finish then either the diamonds or ceramics. So I would move from the diamonds, to the ceramics, then to the leather/balsa... even though you're first leather (5microns) might be rated more coarse than the ceramics, you'll probably find the opposite in use. Paste/spray on balsa/leather tends to polish better.

But there's no hard rules... experiment and find what works best. For example, I'll often finish an edge with the fine ceramic you have even after some leather stropping... it leaves a great edge.
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Newbie with a question about grits, microns, etc. 3 months 1 week ago #17509

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Fist off welcome to the forum and the rabbit hole! Now what I would do is think about what Leo said? His question is the biggest part of the equation? Cause the answer is "it depends?" on what you want to achieve?
Now onward your question on the grit chart is a great question! It is very confusing to look at and try to make it all make sense?
The thing is? Your mediums that you grind/hone with all leave a different surface then each other. Even though the microns might add up the "texture" of the steel will be different. So you really can not go by the chart itself. Think of in terms of polishing? Would you use a diamond to polish or would you use leather? The answer is both. Just the leather, and balsa are going to grind/hone softer and shine brighter.
Do you need the 1200/1600 it depends? All I can say is I use mine all the time! Hope this helped a little? But most off have fun!!!
The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result?
An old Irish toast, May the wind always be at your back, may you always have work and may you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows your dead. Cheers!
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