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Need Help With Mirror Polished Edge

Discussion in 'Maintenance, Tinkering & Embellishment' started by rogatsby, Feb 19, 2019.

  1. rogatsby

    rogatsby

    309
    Jun 19, 2018
    Hi guys. I sharpen all of my knives myself and I think I do a decent job. I mainly use a Sharpmaker, and then strop. I've read about guys who strop with compounds and get their knives to have mirror edges, but I just can't seem to get there. Don't get me wrong, I can get my knives super scary sharp, but I just can't achieve those mirror edges I see a lot of places.

    I've tried finishing with various different compounds on my strop, including green, white, and red, but just can't quite get to the mirror finish. The edges get shiny, and the knife is super sharp, but I can't get the mirror edge.

    Any tips?

    As always, your advice is much appreciated.
     
  2. l1ranger

    l1ranger Gold Member Gold Member

    509
    Jan 27, 2017
    this might get better response in the "maintenance, tinkering, and embellishment" forum, where there is a lot of sharpening talk...

    but I'll take a stab at it here.
    the key to the mirror is to completely remove ALL the scratch pattern from the previous stone - and not skipping too many grits.
    I can't relate this to the sharpmaker and colored compounds,

    but when I'm chasing the mirror, I'll start about 280 grit, to 600, to 1000, to 2000 stones
    then to loaded strops, with diamond pastes - 5 micron, 3 micron, 1 micron.....etc
    roughly doubling (or halving) the grit each time.

    the key to this is looking at the edge under magnificaiton as you go along, making sure that all the 280 scratches are removed by the 600...before moving on the 1000
    the making sure all the 600 scratches are removed by the 1000, before moving to the 2000.....and so on
    if you dont get rid of all the scratches with the 1000, you're never gonna get rid of them with the 2000, or the pastes - and they will stand out even more as you polish further
     
    Frank Perricone likes this.
  3. rogatsby

    rogatsby

    309
    Jun 19, 2018
    Hi guys. I sharpen all of my knives myself and I think I do a decent job. I mainly use a Sharpmaker, and then strop. I've read about guys who strop with compounds and get their knives to have mirror edges, but I just can't seem to get there. Don't get me wrong, I can get my knives super scary sharp, but I just can't achieve those mirror edges I see a lot of places.

    I've tried finishing with various different compounds on my strop, including green, white, and red, but just can't quite get to the mirror finish. The edges get shiny, and the knife is super sharp, but I can't get the mirror edge.

    Any tips?

    As always, your advice is much appreciated.
     
  4. MolokaiRider

    MolokaiRider Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 13, 2017
    Not 100 percent sure a Sharpmaker will help you with this as it’s more of a microbevel set up.

    I use a KME or bench-stones. Use sharpie to color edge to make sure I’m working the correct angle.

    I usually start with a coarse 250 grit, then move up to 600, then finish on a 1500 or so. White compound, then green. The higher grits will take longer to remove scratches.
     
    Lapedog likes this.
  5. Wowbagger

    Wowbagger Basic Member Basic Member

    Sep 20, 2015
    You will get MUCH better and faster results getting edges like you see here that are actual mirror finish by using a fixed blade sharpening jig (Edge Pro . . . I hear even a Wicked Edge is some what capable of a mirror edge :p:D).
    I recommend using a sharpening "system" of grits all from the same manufacturer and not skipping a grit. Stropping is not even required if you go to and above 8,000 grit stones.
    For my knives since they are all work knives I don't go to a full mirror though to the unaided eye they DEFINITELY reflect light and look like mirrors.

    My woodworking edges I take a bit more polished but usually stop at 8,000 after four or five or six stones depending on how dull they are. See photos and stones in link at the bottom of this post.

    These are wide bevels for show. The backs of the blades don't require much attention after they are mirrored.
    LINK>>>> to photos and a "system" of stones that I use a jig on to hold the blades.
    For knives I use Shapton Glass on the Edge Pro for the most part.
     
    Night Rider and rogatsby like this.
  6. rogatsby

    rogatsby

    309
    Jun 19, 2018
    Just as I suspected, I will need to invest money in a good sharpening system. Is $250 a good deal for the Edge Pro, which includes the following?:
    • Apex Model Edge Pro Sharpening System
    • Waterstones - 120, 220, 400, 600, & 1000 (Coarse to Ultra Fine)
    • Grit Polish Tapes - 2000 & 3000 Grit
    • 8" 1200 Grit Ceramic Hone
    • Black Cordura Carrying Case
    Also, is there are big learning curve to use the Edge Pro, or is it easy to learn?
     
  7. Wowbagger

    Wowbagger Basic Member Basic Member

    Sep 20, 2015
    oh hell :eek:
    :eek: that might be your problem right there.
    You will want a strop for each grit and not cross contaminate them with any other grit size.

    Or . . . better yet use stones . . . in the EP ;)
     
    Night Rider likes this.
  8. rogatsby

    rogatsby

    309
    Jun 19, 2018
    Haha, there is no contamination. I have a two sided strop, so one side with one compound, the other side with the second compound.
     
  9. Wowbagger

    Wowbagger Basic Member Basic Member

    Sep 20, 2015
    YES !
    Corrupted another one :D

    Just kidding around.
    It depends on the steel you are abrading / polishing.
    If you could list the alloys you want to polish e.g., S30V, Basic High Carbon or Case SS.

    First off I would forget the polishing tapes; yes they work but stones are the way to go.
    If you are polishing the higher vanadium steel alloys that is a bit tricky. I was getting mirror like finishes from my Shapton Glass stones on my Edge Pro but the edge was not as durable as when I went to all diamond (you can use other than diamond for the coarsest stones up to 400 or 700) for the higher vanadium steel alloys the diamond is critical at the highest grits up around 8,000.

    For everything else not high vanadium for the true mirror polished edges (meaning something that will blow you away when looking at it with fairly high magnification jeweler's loop) then you are probably looking at 15,000 or 17,000 grit water stone or a hard strop made for the EP with the equivalent in diamond spray.

    There are several after market manufactures of stones for the Edge Pro such as Gritomatic.
    If you google Edge Pro with Shapton Glass stones you will find a supplier that offers the Glass stones I use WITH the edge pro as a kit.
    I don't use the ceramic rod or the tapes or any of that stuff.
    The stop collar is a must.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2019
  10. rogatsby

    rogatsby

    309
    Jun 19, 2018
    I guess I should thank you? :D

    Kidding aside, thanks for the tips. I would prefer to buy a kit all in one, so I will search for the Edge Pro with Shapton stones.
     
  11. Wowbagger

    Wowbagger Basic Member Basic Member

    Sep 20, 2015
    Just when you thought it would be all so straight forward and you could see the Kit in the light at the end of the tunnel . . .
    he posted a link to a thread with a thousand answers to your question . . .
    hahahaha (with evil scientist voice)

    LINK>>>>
     
  12. brando555

    brando555 Gold Member Gold Member

    276
    Sep 26, 2018
    Sounds like you need to progress to a finer grit before hitting the strops. If you don't want to invest in a new sharpening setup, I've seen people wrap sandpaper around the sharpmaker rods. I'm not sure which rods your using, but you could try some finer grits like 1500, 2000, 3000...
     
  13. WhitleyStu

    WhitleyStu Keep'em scary sharp!!! Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    694
    Dec 8, 2006
    This is what works best for me to achieve a mirror edge... Use a guided sharpener so the edge has flat sides (I use a 2x72 with platen and move up from 180 to 2000 grit belts then a strop belt). Move up slowly through different grits to gradually eliminate all grind lines from previous grit. Use different strops (or clean strop) between each compound. I go from green to pink compound to get the final mirror finish. There are many sharpening systems to get a mirror edge and others will have a different twist on what works for them and their sharpening setup.
     
  14. miso2

    miso2 Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 19, 2014
    I am sure you can find better tips elsewhere on this forum.

    Anyway, you need to go through a progression of grits to remove the scratches of the previous grit at each stone.
    This means that you should not make a jump in grits.
    You can do it, but then it is going to take a lot longer to remove scratch marks at each step.
    Sandpaper sharpening (like on the Washboard system) may be the cheapest way to try, as you can get a lot of grits at low cost.

    How good of mirror do you want to achieve?
    You may be satisfied with a #2,000 edge or want to go up higher.
    If you want very high polish, I think you need diamond suspensions or lapping films.
    I have done only to 1 micron diamond but seen people doing to 0.01 micron.

    Hope this helps.
     
    rogatsby likes this.
  15. rogatsby

    rogatsby

    309
    Jun 19, 2018
    Thanks for the replies guys. Here is a photo of my Dragonfly 2 (in ZDP-189 steel) after the Sharpmaker and some stropping. It is very sharp. Slices through paper and shaves. But I just wanted to get a pretty mirror edge on it. I guess from the responses, I just need a better sharpening system with more gradients in grit. Can the standard Edge Pro system and the kit they provide achieve a mirror finish?

    [​IMG]
     
  16. rogatsby

    rogatsby

    309
    Jun 19, 2018
    Thanks for the replies guys. Here is a photo of my Dragonfly 2 (in ZDP-189 steel) after the Sharpmaker and some stropping. It is very sharp. Slices through paper and shaves. But I just wanted to get a pretty mirror edge on it. I guess from the responses, I just need a better sharpening system with more gradients in grit. Can the standard Edge Pro system and the kit they provide achieve a mirror finish?

    [​IMG]
     
    Sonnydaze likes this.
  17. brando555

    brando555 Gold Member Gold Member

    276
    Sep 26, 2018
    The EP is good for mirror polished edges, although if you're going to be sharpening stuff like zdp-189 you might want to just get the basic kit and then buy some other diamond stones for the tougher steels. I did all of these with Venev diamond stones, Boride SiC stones and leather strops w/ diamond compound.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    rogatsby likes this.
  18. miso2

    miso2 Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 19, 2014
    Again, it is up to how high mirror you want to have.
    The highest grit the most advanced Edge Pro Apex system provides is #3,000 (tape).
    It gives a mirror-ish finish but not as pretty as those edges you see here.
    This ZT was finished with the #3,000 tape.
    You can still see some fine scratches.

    [​IMG]


    If you want high mirror finishes, you need something more (probably something like diamond suspensions at <1 micron).
    Their #6,000 tape may be good enough, but I do not have experience.

    I can see the factory grind on your edge.
    So you need to start from low grit stones to wipe that off.
    Their #120 is silicon carbide and should work well for that purpose.
    But their other stones are mostly aluminum oxide, which is softer.
    As said above, you may need to get additional grits with silicon carbide, cubic boron nitride, or diamond for the high hardness ZDP-189.

    If you are not familiar with the stage type sharpening system like Edge Pro, you may be better off with a clamping system like KME and Wicked Edge.
    It takes some time to get consistent results with Edge Pro with multiple stones, and you need that to get to a mirror edge.
    I am sure that it takes some time to learn any system, though.
     
    rogatsby likes this.
  19. PeterS84

    PeterS84 Sharpening addict, collector of "super steels" Gold Member

    225
    May 9, 2018
    Stropping alone isn't going to get you a mirror edge. You really need to look at using a variety of abrasive stones of progressively finer grit to polish out the scratches from the previous stone. Typically for me this means starting with a course (~ 3-400 grit) stone and progressing from there. I find that I'm getting a "hazy mirror" around 5-6000 grit. From there, finishing with compounds should take you the rest of the way. I'm being very general here, but that's the core concept as I see it.
     
  20. Sonnydaze

    Sonnydaze Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 6, 2009
    [QUOTE="rogatsby, post: 18800897, member: 499289" Can the standard Edge Pro system and the kit they provide achieve a mirror finish?

    [​IMG][/QUOTE]
    That edge looks excellent and cuts just fine. The grind pattern appears to be about 320 grit or less, but will work great.
    For mirror, I suggest the Edge Pro Apex or similar. I've had mine for yrs and it will produce as nice an edge as you can find time to work on it...
    Here's two examples...my Spyderco Slysz Bowie...
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Feb 20, 2019
    rogatsby likes this.

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