I've got the PP2 so currently I go from 1k diamonds to MicroFine ceramics and that is also (for me) at too big step, I've ordered the SuperFine ceramics to see if that will help me. But I would really like is 1200/1600 diamond plates that I think would be awesome as an additional step before ceramic stones...
I guess there is some reason that high grit diamond plates does not exist?
But there's no set rules... experiment and see what works for you. For example, I'll sometimes just use a little stroppng after the diamonds, and skip ceramics, sometimes stop after the ceramics, others will strop, then go back and put a little micro bevel on with a ceramic, etc. That's the fun and advantage of sharpening your own knives, and the WE makes experimenting a breeze.
That's a big part of the fun of the WEPS. But in cases you don't want to experiment and just build on other people's experiences, try microfine coarse -> 1200 -> 1600 -> microfine fine -> stropping. This will get you a mirror edge that is truely wickedly sharp.
My coarse micro fine are (IMO) more coars than my 1200s
I’ve seen this from many different people in different posts, which make me really think twice about buying them since between coarse MicroFine and fine MicroFine I have no problem removing scratches. It’s between 1000 diamond and MicroFine that I think the step is too large (for me at least), I would love to have 1200-1600 and maybe 2000-2500 diamond plates Clay!
In the early stages (say 100-400) it's easy to leave deeper scratches and fail to remove them all before the 800-1000s. I've done this many times and had to return to 400-600 and rework from there forward. It's very easy to miss these until you are well into the ceramics. Steels vary, but generally how many strokes are you doing at each grit?
Are you following your edge at every stage with a good loupe? This is the most helpful diagnostic tool I own. It lets me see exactly what is going on, both on the bevel and at the edge.
How's your pressure? I start with only the weight of the stones and lighten it as I go. By the last few dozen passes of any stone, it's just a gentle kiss.
Number of strokes varies a lot, somewhere between 30-150 strokes per grit I’d say. Mostly I listen, look and feel. I’m using both a loupe (40x) and an USB microscope (400x) and from what I can see I get a nice uniform scratch pattern with no real visible or deeper scratches between diamond stones. But I also think it can be hard sometimes to really see if all scratches from before is actually gone since they are all in the same direction (and that is probably what I notice later when using the MicroFines).
For sure I’m using more pressure than that to begin with, I probably end every stone with the pressure you start with (the weight of the stone). So this is something I will have to try…
Then again, the whole scratch removal is just cosmetics since I have no problem getting hair whittling or tree topping sharp edges which is the real objective. And I can actually get enough of a mirror finish as well (reading back fine print text and so on) but it just takes a lot of scrubbing with the MicroFine ceramics.
I hope any of this helps?
Yes it definitely helps with any and all input from more experienced WEPSers, I’m still new to the tool.
I pretty much only use the microfines at this point.
I've read the same statement from you in some other thread as well, and I just have to ask how you manage that? I currently have the PP2 so my biggest "jump" is from 1000 grid diamonds to the micro fine 1.4 um stone, and that is actually giving me quite a bit of trouble, I have to scrub away a LOT to get rid of the 1000 grid diamond scratch marks with the 1.4 um ceramic stone.
The diamond progression from 100 to 1000 is great and almost effortless but then going to the ceramics is difficult, so I'm thinking of getting the 1200/1600 as an intermediate step, but it seems that might not really do it?
if you find the MicroFine-Coarse finer than the 1200/1600, then the progression still improves the results. Either way, the more "steps" you put into the progression, the better the results.!
You're probably right there, and in the end I'll probably end up getting the 1200/1600 stones as well (but I hope they fall in between 1000 grid and micro fine ceramics, because that the step that I'm having most problems with now).
Here is the web shop (in German) that mentions the super fine ceramic stones: fehlschaerfe.de
My German is not what it used to be but one of the bullet points (Neue Version, veränderte Keramikmatrix) basically says: "New version, modified ceramic formula" or "New version, modified ceramic matrix" according to Google translate.
But from reading a lot of different posts here before and now yours it seems that I would not really gain anything from getting the super fine ceramics since they are somewhere around the same as the micro fine coarse stone anyway. If the super fine ceramics really are in the perfect succession 100-200-400-600-800-1000-1200-1600 I would not hesitate for a second to get them cause I love the way you can progress through the diamond grits almost without effort.
I read in some 3rd party re-seller's webshop that they were selling a "new formula" super fine ceramic stone, but I don't know what that means or if it would put them more correctly in between the 1000 grit and the micro fine (or if it was just marketing).
I'll offer a little different perspective on this. Even if you believe that the MicroFine-Coarse is more coarse than the 1200/1600 set, there's still a gap between the MicroFine-Coarse and MicroFine-Fine that the 1200/1600 fill. Of course, if you find the MicroFine-Coarse finer than the 1200/1600, then the progression still improves the results. Either way, the more "steps" you put into the progression, the better the results.
I'd be curious to see the "new formula" page you found (you can send me a PM if you don't want to post it here). Thanks!
I think everyone agrees that leather polishes steel. It's unmistakable. We've all experienced it sharpening.
The question is why. Is it because of smearing metal or micro fine abrasions.
Obviously my vote is for microfine abrasion.
This is supported by the vast majority of the photmicrographs that are available. Down to the point that features are below the resolution threshold of the instrument, all we see are scratches. Abrasive polishing sweet and simple! Even at the highst optical magnification possible, the large preponderance of what we see is scratches!
Here is something to consider. When we use a smooth steel on a blade there is not much if any abrasive involved. The process in theory, straightens the edge by bending week sections. I think that it is possible that there is some burnishing going on here as well. Good steels are fairly hard (Rc 63+), the contact area is small, local pressure per area is high.
When we look at micrographs of a steeled edge, it looks nothing at all like a stropped edge. Wouldn't we see more similarities if the mechanism of the effect was close?
Phil made an accurate remark on ceramic stones and grit rating. That said, I find the 1200/1600 stones fit in quite well according to their grit rating.
As to the microfine ceramics, I think the general opinion is that the coarse ones may be a little more coarse than the 1200 and the fine ones a little finer than the 1600 stones. But I find it hard to tell.
I think you can safely go from the microfine ceramics to the 5K Chosera's. But you can always first buy the 5K/10K Chosera's and if you're not satified, add more.
Ok guys, a lot has been thown out in this thread. What I am wondering is since the 5 and 3.5 diamond paste are ( 5 and 3.5 are microns) and the 1200 and 1600 ceramics are ( 5 and 2.85 microns) won't you get about the same finish by using either the ceramic stones or the paste as far as a mirror finish goes?
I will look for threads later where we as a community have tossed this around before...
Now I will just say, not really.
One of the things that I really struggled with when I got back into precision sharpening several years ago was separating grit ratings from reality. ( I have been sharpening for over 50 years, and always have been OCD. Alway happpy with my results...then came the Internet and unlimeted DIS-information...damn )
The ceramics, the Shaptons, the Choseras, Atoshis... etc... and above all the the different pastes all act entirely differently when applied to steel.
I can't emphasize this enough, grit size is an extremely rough guide to understanding what an abrasive does at the edge. You need to know the shape of the abrasive, you need to know how it fractures under pressure, you need to know the concentration of the abrasive, you need to understand the binder and the stiffness of the substrate, ..Then you may begin to know what it does at the edge. Then you will have to understand how all of the previous data applies to different steels..
Then you will give in and figure out that you just can not compare abrasives by reading about them or comparing charts of grit sizes.
The ceramic stones do not have a specific grit. They are measured in surface roughness and loosely translated into a grit rating. You simply cannot directly compare them, other than using them and observing the results, to any other abrasive...period.
Clay has talked about this specifically. I can't now find the thread. I think that Syderco uses the same manufactuer as the WEPS gets the microfine ceramics from, Coorstech... here is a quote from Sal...the owner of Spyderco
"I would be curious as to where you got your numbers for the ceramic stones. All of the ceramics use the same micron size (15-25). the different grits (equivalents) are created by different carriers, different firing techniques and diamond surface grinding.
The pastes are also very hard to compare to anything, except other pastes in the same line. It has been well established that a one micron paste from one manufacturer will show significantly different results.. through actual photo micrographs, than that from another. The biggest difference here is concentration of the abrasives. But it goes beyond that. There are mono and poly crystaline diamonds and there is CBN. All can be rated at a specific micron size, but the break down differently. They can all be rated at the same micron size as the mean, but the distribution around the mean will be different.
Bottom line, the ceramics will do a specific thing for you, they will cut consistently. Once you know what they do, you can employ them effectively in your progression. When you try to compare a specific micron size of paste to an equivlently rated ceramic... well you can't!
The WEPS diamond pastes will give you some polish, and the will remove some scratches...given time. As Clay has shown, they will refine an edge. In any reasonable amount of time, they will not do what the ceramics do as far as removing metal.
Take a look at these links.. hopefully you will get an idea of where I am coming from.
Just a mea culpa here.. I have spent countless hours in the past calculating grit siazes of different abrasives and buying things based on that. I wasted lots of money and time. I have countless stones, slurrys, abrasive papers, coumpounds, glass plates, granite plates.... only to find I don't use much of it at all.
Better to listen and learn and sharpen more, than to compare charts...
Great thread - Eamon suggested I jump on and take a look.
Great information from everyone - I find jumping from the 1000k diamonds to the 2k Chosera to work great for me - the caveat, I realize, after reading this is that my 400 thru 1000 diamonds have done several thousand sharpenings. I had realized that they perform different than what most people experience since I usually have a shine starting already when I'm done with them (and I remember early on being jealous of how Clay's knives were shining after 1000 diamonds), but hadn't really thought about how it affected my transition to the Choseras - obvious now but funny how I think about that in discussing strops and ceramics but hadn't connected it for the choseras
I digress though - I agree with Curtis that you can get to the mirror with the ceramics and strops (and that bragging rights don't come cheap in $ or time ) It does take substantially longer - and the ceramics do make the difference. Without the ceramics I don't know that it is possible through just stropping alone (at least not if you do all the other work with diamonds, which is the point here anyway isn't it ) and adding the microfines to the grit progressing helps immensely.
And I agree you get to a polish faster with the chosera or shapton stones (well really anything that doesn't work as aggressively as the diamonds do). Phil and Ken's statements about backing up in grits make great sense to me given the aggressiveness of the diamonds - guess I'm gonna need to break out some new diamonds and try it out.
that I really do not need the upgraded arms? A new set with the new washers would be fine? Sorry to veer a little of thread?
Using any stone that wears over time is a case where I definitely suggest having and using the ball joint arms - and when using stones that vary significantly in thickness. Making the angle adjustments when changing stones is much easier with those arms than with the basic kit arms. Not that you can't do it with the basic kit arms, a lot of us have for a while now, but it is so much easier being able to drive the ball joint in and out a little to match the angle.
And - shameless self promotion warning!!! I build custom handle set of atomas, choseras, shaptons, strops etc.... as well. And we should add Tom at Jende to that list also
I did a little testing on how the MicroFine ceramics do after the 600g stone (the 600 being what a standard WE kit or Field and Sport ends with). Answering the question, "If you were going to get one more stone, which one?" I was impressed at how well this stone cleaned up the edge, and left a bit of a mirror polish on the bevel, not to mention a great cutting edge. Not a Phil - turn on the floodlights and examine with a microscope finish (just messing with you Phil) ... you could still see the scratches left by the 600g stone... but a decent finish with little effort. I believe the MicroFine Coarse works well enough to start clearing up the bevel, even after the 600g stone.... in the end, not achieving a MicroFine-Fine finish, but a decent looking start of a mirror edge, if that makes sense.
If I wanted to start down the path of a "polished bevel", I think I'd add this stone first, the 800/1000 diamond next to help set up for the MicroFine ceramics, then maybe a 1/.5m leather or balsa strop third. (Might do a 5/3.5… still need to test this). From there, maybe the SuperFine ceramics, and/or more leather/balsa steps... depending on how crazy you want to get. Of course, this doesn't include the Chosera/waterstone path.
That's my .02...what'd ya think, or in what order would you add stones/strops?
My .02... Option 2. If you like the Spyderco ceramics, I think you'll like the Micro Fine ceramics. You can always test 3M sheets etc. on top of what you have now (Option 1), and I don't think you'd benefit from the Kangaroo strops, (Option 3), unless you had a more refined edge first... that the MicroFine ceramics would give you.... especially since you already have a fine strop. I think you'd see the greatest improvement adding the MicroFines next. Plus, they leave a great edge if you end a sharpening with them. Very versatile.
As for lapping them, only the coarse side needs it, or I should say benefits from it... they work pretty good without lapping, but do work better lapped. But it's not hard to do, and I don't think should be a major factor in the decision.