Mirror polish possible with leather strops & diamond compound?

Discussion in 'Maintenance, Tinkering & Embellishment' started by Stwida, Feb 12, 2020.

  1. Jason B.

    Jason B. KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 13, 2007
    These "compounds" you are using seem to be the biggest problem. The type of abrasive compound or abrasive in general must be properly selected to the task, but also of great importance is the quality of the abrasive/compound. I have used a lot of "compounds" in my day and the quality is NOT equal, some have legendary status, while others just contaminate your medium.

    Even when I polished edges for customers I only ever used a single strop coated in 1 Micron diamond abrasive. It has usually be some sort of high quality horse or kangaroo leather but I do like a nice dense balsa wood as a more rigid medium. When you Polish an edge you let the stones do the work and you "enhance" the edge with the strop. Truthfully, that's all strops are, enhancement tools, a fixer of your mistakes...

    When you try and use the strop and compound outside the realm of what actually works then you run into problems. I could use two stones, a 1 micron strop and produce about the best mirror edge anyone could ask for on AUS8... The correct abrasive, in the correct sequence, used with a bit of knowledge will get you much further than doing what has proven to not work in the past.
    Eli Chaps likes this.
  2. kreisler


    May 11, 2012

    has ne1 tried the PTS method yet? it's a working and recommended alternative to nano strops. the author claims that it works even better than leather. maybe a photo of your leather and diamonds could help us see your problem
  3. Stwida


    Feb 12, 2020
    I'd like to thank everyone for their feedback on this post. I wanted to follow up and say I screwed around with literally old pieces of cardboard I had from some boxes in my basement. Put the compound on them, made them the right size for the KME and... well...


    Far from perfect, but damn it's leagues above what I spent 12 hours working on in a matter of 20 minutes. Cant imagine if i actually put more time and effort in.
    bucketstove and Mr.Wizard like this.
  4. Stwida


    Feb 12, 2020
    Just picked up some balsa wood and gave it a try. Worked amazingly. That being said, how do you clean it? Or do you toss it after a certain amount of time? Mine got pretty loaded after a single sharpening and I'd hate to throw out that much compound.
  5. TheTourist

    TheTourist Basic Member Basic Member

    Jun 23, 2019
    I use Mothers Mag & Aluminum Polish because that's all I have right now. I do have some other types of 'polish' from Ken Schwartz, however those grits are more designed for the actual shaping of the knife's edge. The do work, however.
  6. Mr.Wizard


    Feb 28, 2015
    • For coarser compounds I shall continue to recommend you try hardwood.
    • Strops work surprisingly well even when loaded, if they are not contaminated.
    • You can wipe down a strop with a soft cloth and a small amount of the solvent for your compound.
    • It sounds like you are using too much compound.

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