How To Really Detect the Micro Burr? (we were wrong…)

Discussion in 'Maintenance, Tinkering & Embellishment' started by kreisler, Jul 20, 2019.

  1. bgentry


    Aug 3, 2009
    Speaking from my own experience:

    One of my first "wow" moments in sharpening was when I microbeveled for the first time. I think in my case, what it actually did for me was to form a burr more fully. Because I raised the angle, I touched more of the cutting edge, more consistently and formed a nice burr.

    Later, after I developed a little more skill and experience, I was having trouble with burr removal and tried the double angle technique, which worked really well for me. I had stopped using microbevels several years before that. But after seeing how effective the raised angle was for removing burrs, I wondered the same thing. Is microbeveling mostly about forced burr removal?

    I think microbeveling does different things for different people, and it's very possible that one of those things is good burr removal.

    kreisler likes this.
  2. Huntdad


    Jan 19, 2012
    Great discussion and information. Thanks to all of you for sharing and taking the time to post. Finally getting my S90V sharp!
    kreisler likes this.
  3. mycough

    mycough Basic Member Basic Member

    May 20, 2007
    I am still trying to figure out who "we'' are....
    Carry on.....

  4. HeavyHanded


    Jun 4, 2010
    I use a microbevel in two instances:
    - when going from a coarse edge to a finer one I can apply a microbevel and custom the amount of bite. It also lets me use a thinner edge grind than I might otherwise, knowing that I'll be beefing it up a bit with the micro.

    At the end of a progression on my woodworking tools I use a micro, again for much the same reason, but in this case I'm shooting for a totally uniform edge, I just want it a bit more durable.

    I don't use them on convex, scandi, or overly thick knives where the edge grind is already at or above 30° inclusive.
    kreisler likes this.
  5. kreisler


    May 11, 2012
    oki, i was wrong :oops:

  6. Wowbagger

    Wowbagger Basic Member Basic Member

    Sep 20, 2015
    LINK > > >
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  7. kreisler


    May 11, 2012
    tl;dr This photo shows how to really detect the microburr. Note two essential aspects:

    ...and this is for the blade flip side:

    The 2 aspects are:
    • AAA. you don't shine the light beam onto the apex (i.e. "edge-leading", if you will) but from the kinda opposite direction ("from behind", "edge-trailing"), i.e. the light must be pointing from the spine to the edge!
    • BBB. you don't even bother turning the light on and off between your deburring efforts. clearly, don't move the light but leave it where it is, and leave it turned on! This is key. And —believe it or not— it makes a huge difference in the process.
    Comments / explanations:

    My right dry thumb can feel macro and micro burr, no matter how small, and it is imho still "the best" way of detecting any burr, especially under poor lighting/eye-sight conditions. Shining a light perpendicular onto the apex and seeing light reflections bouncing off in direction back to the light source can mean two things: there's a flat spot (you haven't apexed perfectly), or it is macroburr which your light makes visible. Once you don't see light reflections anymore bouncing back to the light source, then it means two things: you have apexed perfectly and there is no more macroburr on the apex, congrats. However, do the thumb test and or the lighting test "from behind", and you'll be surprised that there is still a noticeable burr (called microburr). If you can't detect it, that's on you (calloused skin, restricted eye sight).

    @NORTHWEST_KNIFE_GUY checks for the burr "from behind" all the time. Lighting "from behind" is the only flashlight way to make the microburr visible: you'll see all of it, every millimeter of it, exactly where the microburr starts, then grows, subsides, ends. With a proper directional light source (optimal: a modern power LED flashlight) pointed from the spine towards the edge line ("edge-trailing") at 150 lumen+ and viewing the edge line at a suitable angle, i can see the light reflections off the microburr with bare eyes, without a magnifying glass or loupe. Holding/handling a loupe in my left hand every time during the repeated microburr checks would only drain my energy:p during the process.

    If you were having major trouble (like myself!) removing the microburr successfully/consistently, then it was exactly because you didn't check for it more frequently (but simply followed a standard deburring procedure, which you 'learned' from youtube tutorials, and then did a check). Not touching the flashlight but leaving it in place and turned on all the time saves you considerable mental energy and 'efforts' of handling the tool at all (NOTE: evening/dusk sun rays could replace the flashlight), which you in turn will use for upping the frequency of checking the edge for microburr reduction/removal progress.

    Example scenario: Looking at the right blade face, you detect a spot with a 2mm microburr wire on the apex, you take the knife back to your ULTRAFINE stone and work that spot (typically with edge-leading very light AND slow strokes AND great feel of the stone's feedback) for a few seconds, then immediately take the knife back to the flashlight place (which lies next to your stone) and recheck that spot for progress, then take the knife back to the stone, work the spot three more seconds, check again, etc, until all microburr looks gone on the right blade face. Now at the latest is it time to look at the left blade face and check for remaining microburr on that side. Then you proceed accordingly, taking the knife back and forth between stone vs flashlight location with "high" frequency.

    With more experience, nice touch AND good feel for the stone's feedback, "high" frequency means maybe checking 2-3 times instead of 5-7 times per blade face. Btw this post is not about deburring techniques but to teach the optimal setup for your microburr deburring efforts. This simple setup really helps to get better at deburring, do so more successfully, and more consistently.

    How/Why? — Because the only major reason why micro-deburring is so difficult (or say, challenging) is NOT your lack of experience, technique, method, patience, or practice, BUT because we don't see live/in real-time what our deburring efforts has just caused to the edge (burr reduction progress? improvement? opposite? burr flip? fresh burr created?). The frequent and efficient re-checking of the microburr reduction progress makes the successful burr removal process so much more straight-forward!

    With my new (wonder?) stone and new Fenis light, i was successful at my first attempt today!! After all these years it was the first time that i got a knife that scary sharp straight off a stone ever! No stropping needed. A breakthrough moment in my sharpening skill set. Yesterday i was trying for half a day to micro-deburr the knife with all i had in experience/techniques/methods/patience/practice/stones/strops/etc and failed miserably. Before i called it a day, i reset the blade by raising a fresh full microburr wire edge on the right blade face along the entire apex line, with my ULTRAFINE stone. And then went to bed, at a loss.
    Today i didn't change anything about my techniques/methods/etc/etc other than adding BBB to the process. And that started to make all the difference. Unbelievable. My deburring efforts started to become more focused (remember the 2mm spot example?), more precise, and more target-oriented. All of a sudden i was on a straight path to success. I could see the speed of my burr reduction progress, i could see when to stop working that 2mm spot, etc.

    Proper lighting and "seeing live" what your deburring efforts are causing in the very moment is the key to success! We still can't see live in real-time, but BBB helps a lot to increase our checking frequency (seeing "quasi live", "pseudo live") without imposing additional efforts (like handling a flashlight and or a jeweller's loupe), which in turn helps us see and focus on microburr spots which require further target-oriented work, and you automatically try to vary your deburring technique (e.g. using even less pressure, even slower strokes, more patiently, becoming more sensitive to the stone's feedback, etc) to get to that target. See and know what you're doing!, and don't just go about doing the standard technique of edge-leading balancing strokes, hoping and believing that the microburr will eventually get reduced to zero or automatically break off, the longer you keep doing the balancing strokes.

    Sorry for the long repetitive 1882 blah but hopefully i made the point (BBB) clear and was convincing enough that you believe the anecdote and feel encouraged to give it a serious try too, thanks! :thumbsup:
  8. Mr.Wizard


    Feb 28, 2015
    Do you really wear white gloves while sharpening?
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  9. kreisler


    May 11, 2012

    Good joke, of course i doht, haha.
    There's so much corona in the news :rolleyes:

    Btw my new wonder stone is the geman ruby in full size hehe. I am going to post a review of it separately, not in your @Mr.Wizard china ruby thread ;)
    NORTHWEST_KNIFE_GUY likes this.
  10. Mr.Wizard


    Feb 28, 2015
    kreisler likes this.

    NORTHWEST_KNIFE_GUY KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jul 14, 2017
    :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup: Nice!

    BTW, when not recording I normally use/wear a cheap led headlamp and works great. I would use it in the videos however when I move my head around it messes with the cameras contrast and it goes kinda wonky so I just use a flashlight. Also I would rely on my fingers a bit more but a neck injury a while back (discs) does strange things to the feeling in my hands. But overall the light really works well especially for the smallest of burrs.

    Attached Files:

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  12. kreisler


    May 11, 2012
    i have two high quality headlamps and they work really well for burr detection purposes, agreed. haha in the op i didn't want to take a photo (or draw a picture or pictogram) of me with the headlamp on and holding the knife. today i happened to have the flashlight lying turned on on my desktop and was surprised how convenient it was to just hold the blade in the oriented beam, get my head/eyes close and see the microburr very well; it reminded me that i still owed a photo in the op to illustrate the principle of "looking from behind the edge".

    in fact, i've been using a headlamp for months to look for microburr, and i used/use a paint stick wood strop to strip it off when possible (nice discovery which also felt like a breakthrough moment tbh). but as mentioned, yesterday all my deburring efforts had failed. Today starting afresh, maybe with my headlamp i would have succeeded as well (yesterday i only used the thumb test and no headlamp), same same. our point being, visually detecting and then chasing the microburr is the first step on the path to success, either way; the more convenient the visual detection, the better, more motivational and target-oriented. Hence it is imho mandatory to use a flashlight or headlamp which is constant on. the thumb test didn't prove helpful/motivational on my path, yesterday!
    With the thumb test one doesn't get a complete visual picture, only a blurred approximate "black/white" binary picture of the microburr situation (microburr yes/no), which doesn't prove helpful/motivational:

    "I don't like/i am not motivated to tidy and clean a room which is poor-lit and dark-colored!". When a room is dark, blurry, hard to see, how could i feel motivated and eager to do a great meticulous job of cleaning it? And how well could one expect the cleaning job to turn out (result)? — That's my analogy for doing microdeburring efforts based on the thumb test! ;)
    Yesterday, based on the thumb test, my microdeburring efforts were a messy hit and miss, there was no straight progress, i meandered, couldn't reach the goal, in no way. The thumb test is great and important to tell us "yes at this spot there is about 2-5mm microburr wire of some burr size so you have some work to do!" but only after seeing it in bright light and my speed and progress —also in bright light— do i feel myself in the driver's seat, in full control and full motivation. Using a flashlight is superior to using the thumb test, if straight-forward successful microdeburring is the goal.

    For shortsighted people like myself the proposed setup (BBB) may be the better alternative to wearing a headlamp. Depending on the overall lighting situation and my mood, i'd use one or the other power LED product. At the very end one can use the thumb test to verify that yes all microburr is indeed gone. In summary, the microburr detection and removal procedure goes like this:

    STEP 0: you're coming off the 204MF or 302UF or any other very FINE stone. the edge is fully apexed and has no macroburr. in school, your teacher would grade your knife sharpness easily with "A-" or "A".
    STEP 1: you do the thumb test to learn that the edge has several spots with (apparently stubborn) microburr.
    STEP 2: you setup your power LED product (flashlight or headlamp) and turn it constant on, the bright lighting of which and the clear explicit visual image of the microburr becoming the vehicle which drives (motivates) you on the path to direct success without meandering. to me, using a deburring stone seems a good way to go, no need for strops at this point.
    STEP 3: you do the thumb test a 2nd and last time to reconfirm that the edge has been cleared from all microburr successfully.
    STEP 4: i give you an "A+" for your knife's enhanced sharpness :cool: :thumbsup:, the blade flies through phone book paper! Feel free to refine/polish the edge with a 1micron leather strop but make sure not to create a fresh burr and not to micro-convex the apex :rolleyes:. Once you're done with your expensive stropping sequence, the blade still flies thru phone book paper with no noticeable difference. and there is no better grade than "A+" to assign. you snooze you lose, game over :D
    NORTHWEST_KNIFE_GUY likes this.
  13. kreisler


    May 11, 2012
    whenever i experience a spontaneous moment of epiphany it's when i enjoy posting about it here or on the forum, even if it's very simple primitive or obvious stuff hehe, thx for indulging me :rolleyes:

    tl;dr point of this post, i find it hilarious to see/learn that even expert knife manufacturers struggle to deburr (i.e. microdeburr) 100% properly!

    My Fox Knives Maniago Italy beautiful suru UK edition came with an "unvisible" microburr wire edge on the right bevel side, which i didn't notice until last night, funny! With the black backdrop and low lumens directional lighting at a fortunate lighting and viewing angle, i accidentally detected it. I had never looked for microburr in the first place because the knife sliced thru phonebook paper like nothing, out of the box. And in my previous experience all factory edges from any cheap or expensive knife brands came absolutely burr-free (and i've been wondering how the factories were able to do so). Not with this production unit!

    I can hardly see the microburr wire with the flashlight trick (almost a FAIL!) or it takes too much time/efforts to finally see it but with my by now heightened sensibility for microburr detection in my right thumb i can blindly feel in an instant (WIN!) if there is any microburr wire. And there is! It is hanging uniformly off the right bevel side. A great lesson, the correctly applied flashlight method isn't the superior detection method but the two methods complement each other. Sometimes the thumb method does win, especially if you're in a hurry and only want to answer the "right bevel side: burr yes or no?"-question and don't care about further details (burr micrometer height/size, burr millimeter length, exact millimeter location, fading location, etc).

    I actually feel relieved knowing that the Fox Knives machinist failed to microdeburr properly. Expert pro sharpeners spend 36% of their session time on deburring efforts, and i would agree, that sounds about right. #MeToo i would claim that grinding to raise a burr is the easiest part of sharpening and that any child could get there after little freehanding practice: you hold a steady sharpening angle, exert much pressure, grind back'n forth for as long as you want, and there is your macroburr! But no child will be able to deburr it properly and get a keen apex; this requires much more practice, experience, and ultimately some skill! Freehanded microdeburring is not an art but if you're not talented or skilled either, then it's game over right there. No offense, but not in a million of years could i get my mums to pick up freehanded microdeburring. She could learn how to raise a burr no problem but she'd never get it microdeburred. Like the Fox Knives machinist :p

    These days i am gonna resharpen the UK suru for the first time. My goto method would be 204-freehanding followed by geman ruby deburring (and preferably no subsequent stropping other than 1-2 passes for cleanup) but i might use the finalized Ruixin Pro III setup (incl PTS method) since the device is already 2458 configured for suru blades.

    Thanks for reading! :D
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2020
  14. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    An easy way to detect microburrs is to rest the blade on your thumbnail and rock the blade side to side. If the edge is good and crisp it should "stick" in both directions. If it slides (or is easier to force to slide) in one direction but sticks in the other, the sticky side is the side the hook of the burr is rolled over on.
    now, willc, Blues and 2 others like this.

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