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Mirror polish requirements- please help me set up stone set

Discussion in 'Maintenance, Tinkering & Embellishment' started by Motega, Aug 9, 2019.

  1. Motega


    Jun 20, 2006
    I have a Benchmade Valet that I have been waiting to sharpen a year to the day for lack of proper stones.
    I have seen Chosera and Shapton mentioned as top stones and only want to buy gear once. Not save money and then upgrade.
    Please answer any of the following if you are confident in your answer(s)
    1. True or false: anything that can put a true mirror finish on m390 will be able to do the same thing on any other steel capable of a mirror polish.
    2. I want to avoid soaking stones or oiling stones unless completely necessary. Preference would be stones that just need a spritz of water and occasional removal of slurry.
    3. Confusion over "pro" vs. "glass" line of stones- do they both have their niche or is one better in majority of instances.
    4. Microcrystalline abrasives- are these stones I should get or strop polishes. If strop polishes, dedicated strop for each paste?
    5. A bit off topic, but I confirmed Benchmade only delivers knives that are flat ground. Is reprofiling my first order of business?

    The Valet in M390 is my EDC so will see mostly cutting food away from home and normal tasks except for opening boxes, which I feel is not an appropriate job for a knife when a slightly sharpened flat bottle opener does that job just fine.
    I am also going to purchase 3-4 other knives in "supersteels" to form my own opinions on their relative usefulness for my needs so any stones purchased should be able to handle even the most exotic steels.
    Finally, I sharpen knives of all sorts for friends and family so would like any thoughts if for some reason the high end stones should be reserved for only high end knives (ruining stones by clogging with "inferior"steels)
    I understand that a mirror finish is for aesthetics only, but would like to do this anyway.
    Thank you for your time.
  2. Baron Mind

    Baron Mind

    Mar 30, 2018
    You're looking for benchstones (full size stones, roughly 3"x8")? If so, you're in sort of a tough spot. There are plenty of great benchstones out there capable of mirror polishing, but most of them struggle with modern high hardness, high carbide volume steels. You really want to be working with diamond or cbn abrasives for steels like s110v. There aren't many full size diamonds/cbn stones to choose from, and they're all quite pricey. If you can find a set of 8x3 venevs, they are only $100 a piece for dual sided stones, and you might be able to get by with the 240/400 and 800/1200 followed by diamond loaded strops.
    GABaus likes this.
  3. Motega


    Jun 20, 2006
    So there are NO Shaptons or similar? Will the diamond stones be OK for all steel?
    New strops for each compound?
    I'd like to order these stones ASAP so any advice appreciated.
    And the mirror polish can be achieved with only 1200 followed by stropping?! I thought I would have to get into at least 3, then 6, then 8k at minimum...
  4. Craig James

    Craig James

    Oct 30, 2018
    The vanadium carbides in ‘super steels’ are harder than anything bar diamond and CBN. At lower grits this is not necessarily an issue as the sharpening media particle size is bigger than the carbides. As you get to finer grits the stones burnish the steel surrounding the carbides weakening the matrix. This degrades the longevity of your edge.

    DMT make a full range of diamond stones up to extra extra fine. I don’t own one myself but I hear you can get a near mirror finish with it (after breaking in which takes a long time). To go finer than that you would need several strops loaded with a progression of diamond compound, as per the above post, getting down to 1 to 0.5 microns. You won’t find the more modern diamond matrix (resin bonded diamond) stones in bench stone sizes.

    And yes diamonds will sharpen anything. I don’t own any really highly engineered steels, we have some quite strict knife laws in the UK so my sharpening tends to be on stainless and carbon steel kitchen knives - for these I prefer my Chosera’s as I feel the feedback and touch is better than bonded diamond. Doesn’t stop me getting my DMT out every now and again tho.

    Good luck
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2019
    GABaus and Danketch like this.
  5. Danketch

    Danketch Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 27, 2007
    You used that knife as your EDC for a year without sharpening it? How did that work out?

    Diamond is what you want for M390 as Craig James above explained about the Vanadium Carbides in it. I like mine finished on a DMT coarse to get a long useable sharpness and take advantage of the "supersteel" aspect of M390. Finer diamond stone and diamond compounds to get a mirror finish.
    GABaus likes this.
  6. wade7575


    Apr 3, 2013
    If you are looking for a mirror polish and you also want a accurate edge get a guided system let a Hapstone M2 table model or a R7 and ask the owner Konstantin if you can buy it without stones and get these stones.

    For M390 M4 S35VN S30V Elmax S90v S110V and other hard to sharpen steel's I use the Metallic bond CBN stone to start with,get like 3 in the their lower grit's like like a 120 600 1000 and a 2000 and they are FEPA grit rated stones the 2000 grit is the same as a 8K water stone,then I like to use the Venev 1200 OCB Resin bond stone and it's a FEPA rated grit as well then I move onto a 6 10 and 13K Sigma Power 2 stone sometimes I just use the 6 and 13K.

    The Venev stones in the OCB Resin are great stones and leave a finer scratch pattern then their standard resin bond stone 1200 grit,they also have an 800 grit and the are releasing in 6 to 8 weeks a 4 grit stone as well in the OCB resin.

    You can also use these stones as bench stones but then you have to find a way to hold them down,if you are wanting the sharpest edge possible get a good guided system free sharpeners can get a knife sharp but not as good as a guided system.

    I'll post pictures of a Benchmade 810 Contego that I just sharpened in M390 steel,I'll my thread to this thread as I'm was planning on doing a separate thread tonight before I read this one.

    They are out of stock on the CBN stones right now and I think Konstantin said he was getting more but I could be wrong on that,nothing and I mean nothing cuts faster then those stones,plus your looking at sharpening about 350 to 500 knifes before they need to be refreshed to reveal more diamond again.


  7. wade7575


    Apr 3, 2013

    When you say a Mirror polish is for looks only not true it can be an extremely sharp edge any many prefer a polished edge but they choose a toothy edge because of the time it takes to do a polished edge,if you look at that link that edge has the same performance as a true mirror polish or it is so close to a true mirror polish's edge performance it's an extremely fast way to get the same performance in about 45 minutes to 90 minutes time if you are a fast sharpener.

    I seen your question about clogging your stones with steel,use Bar Keepers Friend on any stone that's a Japanese water stone like a Sigma Power Chosera or even the Venev stones whether it's their new OCB Resin Bond stones or the original Resin bond stones.

    I only use Bar Keeper's Friend powder the liquid has never worked for me unless I have an old bottle the hasn't been used and sat for a year then it separates and goes hard in the bottom and a clear yellowish liquid comes out then it works,BKF is like 3.33 a can in Canada and you can use it extremely sparingly and it will lift the metal right out of the stone like it's magic in 5 to 8 seconds of gentle rubbing with your finger tip's,just make sure the stone is wet and then on an edge pro size stone I just use the amount of about half a Pea then wet 2 finger tips and rub for 5 to 8 seconds and you rinse,you can even clean out stones in about the same time that have sat for a month or months with just your finger tip's and it will lift right out like it's magic.

    The Shapton stones can polish steels and they do work but they are not that great if you ask me they also cut very slow,they use an extremely hard bonding agent to hold them together,I have glass stones and hardly ever use them,the Pro stones cut even slower.

    The thing is this with a lot of the modern premium PM steel have 4% or more of Vanadium in them and once you get to 4% or more then it start's to get harder to sharpen those steels,the reason is this the Vanadium forms Carbides and Vanadium Carbide is very hard and harder then any man made or natural water stone but Diamonds and CBN are harder for sure.

    You use a Water stone to sharpen these Super steel's and you will grind the metal away but the edge won't be that sharp or last that long,what happen's is a water stone will sharpen away the different element's in the steel that are softer then the Vanadium and it will also sharpen away those same element's that are holding the Vanadium in place and then the Vanadium Carbides fallout,you may hear people on this forum mention Vanadium Carbide fallout and that's what they are referring to.

    What you are referring to about diamonds for stropping are called Monocrystalline and Polycrystalline Diamonds,Polycrystalline diamonds have more facet's to them think of them shaped like a ball with lot's of corner's,Poly diamonds will cut faster but the corners will also break off faster and dull faster,a Mono diamond is more like a flat stone that you use on a walkway it cut's but does not dull as fast.

    If you post your email I can send you a link to a guy in the Ukraine who I have referred many people on this forum to get diamond paste I have not and no one else has had any problems with him and he is a very up front and honest person and he not some idiot mixing this stuff up in his garage in his spare time either.

    With his diamond paste's there are 3 level's of concentration you can choose from he does not call them this but this is what I'm calling them to make it easier,a Low Medium and High Concentration.

    The Medium is the one I suggest getting in the smaller Micron's from .25 to 3 Micron has 10% Concentration,a normal diamond paste offered by most company's in those same Micron's are 4%

    Once you go up in Micron size the Concentration increase's a bit,the reason for that is because the diamond particle's are bigger so more need to be added to keep the particle ratio the same.

    If you want me to email you my diamond paste guys email and I can email you a chart of the different Microns he sell's email me at [email protected]

  8. Motega


    Jun 20, 2006
    It didn't. Because I didn't want to mess up the blade I switched it out with my old trusty Spyderco Rookie many times, and for purpose specific jobs I used my deer field dressing knife (a custom damascus from Little Hen Knives- Ron Leuschen... more of ceremonial thing but fits me prefect for field dressing and beautiful)

    I'm stuck here. I need a completely new set of stones and was hoping for some help on a decent price on a set. I want to be abe to get mirror polishes. As far as full sized, I have a dozen angle guide kits but they all have steep learning curves so I'm ginshy about investing in yet another angle guide kit, but I won't be stubborn.
    Right now I want to get the best stones possible, maybe pay a little more but buy quality the first time and not save . few bucks just to have to get a better one later.

    If someone knows of a good deal right now on a set, let me know- if not, please just suggest the range of grits, the proper materials to deal with the harder elements (like Vanadium) and help me get the proper range of stones in front of me so I can do this already!
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019
  9. Motega


    Jun 20, 2006
    Big thank you to Wade, who spent a lot of time explaining what he wrote above in detail.
    I am getting a TSPROF K02 aka the "Wranglestar K02" kit.
    I looked at similar designs in other brands, but in the Edge Pro, this kit is somewhere between their pro 3 and 4 model at 1/5th the price.
    Wade's explanation about diamond grit is worth going back and reading again as well as the point he makes about modern "supersteels" and polishing away everything but the vanadium if you dont move to the Benev OCB resin bonded stones and then the pastes.

    I'm taking some time off the technology to spend with the family and prepare mentally and physically for the school year. A day or 2 surf fishing , chasing stripers from between schools of great white sharks at Cape Cod. When I get set up I will repost with results and the full line of stones/polishes that I use.

    Thanks again Wade and to George from STATES for the deal on the sharpener too.
    Wade you spent a lot of time walking me through all this over the phone, that was generous of you, I appreciate your time.
    Last thing, http://zknives.com/ has an app that is free, does not need an internet connection to use, and no commercial distractions about every known kind of steel and it cross references all the names for that steel plus gives chemical makeup, history, notes, etc. and is very cleanly laid out. Free download, highly recommended for anyone that works with steels for ANY reason but especially for knife guys.

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