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Old 08-11-2019, 05:48 PM   #1
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Big Diamonds

Since learning to sharpen early-on, my holy grail was finer and finer polishing. I found that I could get some sharp edges in the micron and sub-micron realm. And the mirrored finish looks really cool.

But recently I decided to take it in another direction. I wanted sharp knives with a coarser finish. I believe this is called a kirenaga edge. Since I've become accustomed to stropping, I bought some roo hide and some cheap Russian diamond paste from a company called Kent. The results were not very satisfying.

I started playing with the paste, which was 40 microns. I expected to be able to feel the abrasive in the paste, but was not able to do so. That seemed strange. And it wasn't leaving a microscopic abrasion pattern that I expected to see. My conclusion was that Kent abrasives are merely colored grease in a cup.

After a while, I ordered up some Venev diamond paste, also Russian, and also 40 micron. It arrived yesterday. The first thing I did was stick my finger in it and rub it between my fingers. I could feel abrasiveness. Then I rubbed the finger on the side of a stainless blade. Before long, the paste turned black and the stainless surface was more polished. Apparently not all Russians are crooks, only the ones at Kent.

Over the past couple weeks, I've been sharpening with coarser diamond plates. They cut quicker and the ones I'm using are cheap, at nine bucks apiece. What I found is that it's HARD to sharpen at a coarse grit AND remove the burr. Sometimes it takes a bit of flipping, and then holding the stone so that some of the weight is relieved. But with some care, I could get a very impressive edge.

So today I wanted to have another go, using the good 40 micron diamond paste. I used it on a slab of roo leather. The results were impressive. The 40 micron edge seems to catch my fingertips easier than 0.25 micron. Both cut magazine print nicely, and both shave hair off my arm about the same.

The coarse edge seems to cut vegetables better, and slice into tape and cardboard better. The fine edge seems to cut through cloth rags a lot better.

Conclusion:
Well... I don't yet have one. I like creating both styles of edge. The coarse edge might be better on the kitchen knives. But I'm not sure about my EDC. More observation is needed.
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Old 08-11-2019, 08:38 PM   #2
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I like where what you're doing here. I haven't touched my Wicked Edge in a couple of months because of other problem but am looking forward to following where this takes you. Right now when I do get a chance to play I am still concentrating on getting a kirenaga edge. I have one knife that I treat with special care, Chico took it to some place way beyond every knife he ever polished for me.
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Old 08-11-2019, 10:36 PM   #3
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Well if stropping is your thing you might look into a pasted balsa to go with your strop. I am still learning to hone but this falls in line with my other hobby aka vintage safety and straight razors. The pasted balsa seems to be an intermediate between the hone and plain old stropping. The "pastes" are actually chromium (0.3 micron) and iron (0.1 micron) oxide so VERY fine (.5 micron = approx. 60000 grit .25 micron = 100000 grit I can't feel the grit either). I got mine from Whipped Dog Straight Razors and will be using it on this soon!


P.S. 8/8 Wade and Butcher from roughly 1850...
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Old 08-11-2019, 11:38 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by nikonnut View Post
this falls in line with my other hobby aka vintage safety and straight razors.
Straight razors intrigue me, but I might never actually buy one because they're scary. When I started with safety razors, I shed a lot of blood. I experimented with blades, but the biggest difference was when I went from an entry-level handle to an expen$ive handle. Now, when I travel and bring along a disposable razor, it's like shaving with a rusty hacksaw blade. It's downright stupid... don't know how I ever did it on a daily basis. A couple other things that made a difference were switching from a badger hair brush to a $ilver tip badger hair brush. Using aerosol shaving cream is like putting battery acid on my face. Saponifico Varesino is top of the line, but recently I've been liking Czech & Speake even better.
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Old 08-12-2019, 09:33 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by RustyIron View Post
Straight razors intrigue me, but I might never actually buy one because they're scary. When I started with safety razors, I shed a lot of blood. I experimented with blades, but the biggest difference was when I went from an entry-level handle to an expen$ive handle. Now, when I travel and bring along a disposable razor, it's like shaving with a rusty hacksaw blade. It's downright stupid... don't know how I ever did it on a daily basis. A couple other things that made a difference were switching from a badger hair brush to a $ilver tip badger hair brush. Using aerosol shaving cream is like putting battery acid on my face. Saponifico Varesino is top of the line, but recently I've been liking Czech & Speake even better.
I feel ya man but that W&B was just to cheap to pass up! My first try with a straight was a success except when I lost focus for a second and nicked my earlobe. Didn't know an ear could bleed that much! My go to razor is a Gillette Bulldog (1914-1921) loaded with a Feather. My brush choice varies between a Brad Sears ebonite 2-band or a really old Simpson Super Badger in Ivory. As for soap... I have enough of that for three lifetimes! B&M, The Holy Black, Hercsoap... The list goes on! Glad to meet a fellow shooter/ wet shaver!
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Old 08-15-2019, 08:02 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by RustyIron View Post
Conclusion:
Well... I don't yet have one. I like creating both styles of edge. The coarse edge might be better on the kitchen knives. But I'm not sure about my EDC. More observation is needed.
I am going to say, I generally agree with the direction you are heading.

Kitchen knives benefit from a 'toothier' edge, whether cutting meat, veggies, etc. I tend to not go past 600g and a final strop at 4um.

I would say that my heavy use knives (aka, beaters) tend to get the same treatment, though, often without the strop. I have been know to knock a burr down on a piece of poplar with green bar on it.

My better quality steel (Elmax, M390) I will play with the stones, but regularly take them up to 30K and then strop too 200k. It doesn't do much for the cutting capability, but it is fun to know you can shave a flies rear end.
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