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Excellent sharpening aid

Jul 26, 1999
I bought a jewelers loupe (one of those thingies that "screw" into your eye) at a hobby shop that carries jewelry-making supplies. Man, you talk about seeing what's up with the edge! It makes it easy to spot places where a little more work is needed. Just be careful you don't shorten your nose.

I have found that one of the flip up ocular devices work better, uses both eyes, and you wear it like a hat. Can get them in different magnifications. It is like a pair of strong glasses with an adjustable strap that fits over your head, you don't have to worry about dropping the loupe you "screwed into your eye"
Hey ThomM, they have those too. I looked at the site a little closer and it seems real good. You can get a 10x aluminum eye loupe for $1.90 plus $3.00 S&H. I am going to order a couple, one for me and one for my son so he won't have to borrow mine.

You need much higher magnification to see whats going on with the edge. Say an electron microscope. But a loupe is better than nothing. My .02
Anyone know where I can buy an electron microscope online? Preferably one with a knife sharpening atatchment. Now maybe I'll be able to figure out the differance between shaving sharp and hair poppin' sharp.

Mike Melone
"Praise be to the LORD my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle. " Psalm 144:1
"One loves to possess arms, though they hope never to have occasion for them." --Thomas Jefferson to George Washington, 1796

A 10x lens that costs $1.90 will have severe chromatic abberation and not be very useful (unless this is a really good deal). Good triplet loupes are available in the $20 range and up, sometimes for less from some sources. Doublets can cost as little as $10 and the center of the field of view is not bad.

You can see an edge pretty well without magnification if you have a really good light -- high-intensity lamps work -- and you're not farsighted. Light is important when you're using magnification, too, and the more powerful the lens the more intense the light you need.

I have good 15x and 20x triplets and they're a lot of fun, a toy for adults as well as kids. I don't routinely use them to examine edges but I have.... I think everybody should have a good high-power lens to play with whether you have kids or not. 10x is the magnification most commonly used by jewelers and a good 10x achromatic lens, even a doublet, shows a lot more than can be seen with the naked eye. A simple single lens doesn't work very well at that power, though, even though they're cheap.

If you're short of buck$ -- or even if you aren't, just for the fun of it -- try carefully breaking the lens off a penlight bulb and mount it on a popsicle stick or a piece of cardboard -- drill a hole and epoxy it on. It's about 20x, not a great quality lens of course, but fun to play with. You have to get your eye almost touching the lens to use a simple lens of that power; a good triplet gives you much more eye relief for greater comfort and of course the resolution is much better, but even a crude lens is fun to play with. Many of the early discoveries in microscopy were made with crude simple lenses no better than a penlight bulb.

-Cougar Allen :{)
Hey Cougar, I bought 5 of them to share with friends and will let you know how well they work. I don't know about "severe aberation" but the cheapie one I have works great. Especially for those deep, little splinters. They also have the high quality ones for sale there for about what you said. Their words for the $1.90 ones are:

"High-quality, durable loupes are tough but lightweight. This pocket-size piece has distortion-free lenses and black on the inside to eliminate glare."

George, that's a good idea with glueing one on to a pair of safety glasses. I tried holding mine up to a pair and it seems fine. Just the thing for my middle-aged eyes. I'll try it when I get them.
Heys Guys,
Years ago I picked up a 8X magnifier at a photo shop. The height is pre-set because its used to be placed on top of a picture. I just place it on top of the edge in bright light, and rotate the blade to see the edge I need. -Brian
Radio Shack used to sell a lighted 30X pocket micro-scope, but is almost too much for this kind of work, but I like to look at stuff anyway. -Brian
A standard good loupe is an Edmund Scientific Hastings triplet. I have fun with optics and am always looking for good buys at garage sales and such. My current favorite loupe is a 75mm or so projector lens, appears to be a coated triplet, that has a nice working distance and was had for less than $10 (a rough estimate on magnification is 12 inches divided by focal length in inches). Another favorite is a 35mm f2.8 camera lens that appears to be multi-coated, out of an older point and shoot, that was something like $3 as the camera wasn't working properly. I also use a Canon 50mm f1.8 camera lens, an older metal body multi-coated model, that was about $15 as the filter ring thread was bunged up and everyone wants slow crummy zooms these days. Costco has some decent reading glasses, and having a couple of different strengths around seems to work well for more extended close work. Some of the 'close-up' lenses for cameras are designed to work as sets and can be good buys, most are singlets but Nikon offers some nice multi-coated doublets. The doublets used for binocular objectives can make nice low power loupes, and sometimes the oculars can but often the working distance is too short. Still, I find nice older Japanese binoculars, good polish and single coatings, sometimes for $5 or less. Some are too good to use for parts after cleaning and tightening.