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hone & paste

Good info Slash. As diamond pastes are not inexpensive I'm curious what size balsa you use. Do you have an established formula for paste amount to balsa area? How far will 5 grams go?
Diamond pastes cost about USD 10 to 15 for a 5g tube that will last you 20 to 30 years. That may be expensive for some.
 
Good info Slash. As diamond pastes are not inexpensive I'm curious what size balsa you use. Do you have an established formula for paste amount to balsa area?
(1) How To Use a Pasted Balsa Strop | Badger & Blade

That thread will give you all the details. Read it end to end and you will know all that I know. But the long answer is my balsa strops are 3" x 12" composed of 3/4" thick cast acrylic sheet from TAP Plastics, and 1/4" thick balsa. Thicker balsa swells too much. Thinner acrylic puts your fingertips in the line of fire too easily. Holding it vertically, in hand, will deliver the best results. You can use 1" acrylic and it is actually better but 3/4" is cheaper. The acrylic is necessary to prevent warping and flexing. Buy the balsa in 36" long pieces and it is pretty cheap. Don't buy it online unless it is a long way to the nearest hobby shop. I glue it up using 3M spray adhesive. I lap it on a sheet of 220 grit and then 400 grit sandpaper. Lap dry, not wet.

I initially apply about half of a pinto bean worth of paste. It will seem to be not nearly enough but that's what you want. 10%, 50% concentrations, all good. Dit dot it around on the balsa, then rub it in good. It does no good on the surface. You want it to be embedded. After rubbing it in, wipe it down with a tshirt so there is absolutely no coating on the surface. Apply the finest paste first, then coarser. Even the smallest contamination of coarser grit on finer will severely impair your results. A treatment is good for 30 to 60 sessions. To reapply, use about half as much. After maybe 3 applications, you will probably want to lap it again. Don't worry about a little swarf, but when the balsa is solid black and you notice it just doesn't seem to work anymore, lap it down into fresh balsa. A bronze bristle gun and parts cleaning brush will work for clearing the sandpaper when it loads up. Make sure your sandpaper is stuck to a very flat surface. A granite countertop sink cutout, for instance. A calibrated granite lapping plate. Even a polished marble or granite floor tile if it checks out nice and flat. A 12x12x3/4" piece of acrylic is very handy for this. Acetone is good for removing glue residue but don't let it stand on the acrylic for very long. Soap and water will work if you are patient.

The details are important if you want better than mediocre results.

Even though you are probably not a newbie, you might want to go here:
Newbie Honing Compendium | Badger & Blade
 
(1) How To Use a Pasted Balsa Strop | Badger & Blade

That thread will give you all the details. Read it end to end and you will know all that I know. But the long answer is my balsa strops are 3" x 12" composed of 3/4" thick cast acrylic sheet from TAP Plastics, and 1/4" thick balsa. Thicker balsa swells too much. Thinner acrylic puts your fingertips in the line of fire too easily. Holding it vertically, in hand, will deliver the best results. You can use 1" acrylic and it is actually better but 3/4" is cheaper. The acrylic is necessary to prevent warping and flexing. Buy the balsa in 36" long pieces and it is pretty cheap. Don't buy it online unless it is a long way to the nearest hobby shop. I glue it up using 3M spray adhesive. I lap it on a sheet of 220 grit and then 400 grit sandpaper. Lap dry, not wet.

I initially apply about half of a pinto bean worth of paste. It will seem to be not nearly enough but that's what you want. 10%, 50% concentrations, all good. Dit dot it around on the balsa, then rub it in good. It does no good on the surface. You want it to be embedded. After rubbing it in, wipe it down with a tshirt so there is absolutely no coating on the surface. Apply the finest paste first, then coarser. Even the smallest contamination of coarser grit on finer will severely impair your results. A treatment is good for 30 to 60 sessions. To reapply, use about half as much. After maybe 3 applications, you will probably want to lap it again. Don't worry about a little swarf, but when the balsa is solid black and you notice it just doesn't seem to work anymore, lap it down into fresh balsa. A bronze bristle gun and parts cleaning brush will work for clearing the sandpaper when it loads up. Make sure your sandpaper is stuck to a very flat surface. A granite countertop sink cutout, for instance. A calibrated granite lapping plate. Even a polished marble or granite floor tile if it checks out nice and flat. A 12x12x3/4" piece of acrylic is very handy for this. Acetone is good for removing glue residue but don't let it stand on the acrylic for very long. Soap and water will work if you are patient.

The details are important if you want better than mediocre results.

Even though you are probably not a newbie, you might want to go here:
Newbie Honing Compendium | Badger & Blade
Are the acrylic backing pieces cut exactly 3”x 12” to fit the balsa wood?
 
(1) How To Use a Pasted Balsa Strop | Badger & Blade

That thread will give you all the details. Read it end to end and you will know all that I know. But the long answer is my balsa strops are 3" x 12" composed of 3/4" thick cast acrylic sheet from TAP Plastics, and 1/4" thick balsa. Thicker balsa swells too much. Thinner acrylic puts your fingertips in the line of fire too easily. Holding it vertically, in hand, will deliver the best results. You can use 1" acrylic and it is actually better but 3/4" is cheaper. The acrylic is necessary to prevent warping and flexing. Buy the balsa in 36" long pieces and it is pretty cheap. Don't buy it online unless it is a long way to the nearest hobby shop. I glue it up using 3M spray adhesive. I lap it on a sheet of 220 grit and then 400 grit sandpaper. Lap dry, not wet.

I initially apply about half of a pinto bean worth of paste. It will seem to be not nearly enough but that's what you want. 10%, 50% concentrations, all good. Dit dot it around on the balsa, then rub it in good. It does no good on the surface. You want it to be embedded. After rubbing it in, wipe it down with a tshirt so there is absolutely no coating on the surface. Apply the finest paste first, then coarser. Even the smallest contamination of coarser grit on finer will severely impair your results. A treatment is good for 30 to 60 sessions. To reapply, use about half as much. After maybe 3 applications, you will probably want to lap it again. Don't worry about a little swarf, but when the balsa is solid black and you notice it just doesn't seem to work anymore, lap it down into fresh balsa. A bronze bristle gun and parts cleaning brush will work for clearing the sandpaper when it loads up. Make sure your sandpaper is stuck to a very flat surface. A granite countertop sink cutout, for instance. A calibrated granite lapping plate. Even a polished marble or granite floor tile if it checks out nice and flat. A 12x12x3/4" piece of acrylic is very handy for this. Acetone is good for removing glue residue but don't let it stand on the acrylic for very long. Soap and water will work if you are patient.

The details are important if you want better than mediocre results.

Even though you are probably not a newbie, you might want to go here:
Newbie Honing Compendium | Badger & Blade
Do you rub the .3 bean size paste in by hand, cloth or use some other applicator?

Another forum thread advises light rubbing alcohol misting when balsa stropping. Your view?

Thanks Slash.
 
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Do you rub the .3 bean size paste in by hand, cloth or use some other applicator?

Another forum thread advises light rubbing alcohol misting when balsa stropping. Your view?

Thanks Slash.
By hand. First spread it as much as possible with fingertips. Then rub briskly with the palm of the hand.

Alcohol? I don't do that. Try it if you are curious. I suggest you learn to do it exactly by The Method first, then try it and report back, so you have a relevant baseline. But I can't think of any way it would improve the results. I would not want any liquids on my balsa at all.
 
I do have some .1 micron iron oxide paste (Maggard) which works well, though I have not used it in any .5 - .25 - .1 sequence. Any reason not to use after .25 diamond paste?
 
I do have some .1 micron iron oxide paste (Maggard) which works well, though I have not used it in any .5 - .25 - .1 sequence. Any reason not to use after .25 diamond paste?
To get the same results is difficult and takes a LOT of laps. Diamond seriously is what you want. Same with green paste vs .5u diamond. There is simply no comparison.
 
By hand. First spread it as much as possible with fingertips. Then rub briskly with the palm of the hand.

Alcohol? I don't do that. Try it if you are curious. I suggest you learn to do it exactly by The Method first, then try it and report back, so you have a relevant baseline. But I can't think of any way it would improve the results. I would not want any liquids on my balsa at all.
Water on balsa would cause swelling of the wood fibers which would mess up the sanding.

If someone did want to use alcohol, avoid the common 70% isoproplyl rubbing alcohol which is 30% water. the alcohol evaporates leaving water behind. The 91% isopropyl alcohol would be a better option, but it can be harder to find. The 91% concentration is azeotropic which means the water and alcohol will evaporate at the same rate keeping the concentration at 91%.
 
I'm curious Slash. Is there any role for leather in your regimen?
Of course. Before shaving I always strop on clean, hanging leather. Sometimes one of my cowhide strops, sometimes the Kanayama (shell cordovan) and sometimes my buffalo. No rhyme or reason. After honing a razor from bevel up, including the balsa progression, I usually treat it to 50 laps on my favorite compressed cowhide strop and 50 on the cordovan.
 
I've made my own strop paddles using buffalo -- works well. In terms of cloth pre-stroping I've always preferred linen and denim. I combined them on the flipside of the paddle, the seam diagonal: probably the best result of all my razor experiments.

Slash you intrigued me with unpasted balsa stropping. I presume that would come before leather.
 
....
Slash you intrigued me with unpasted balsa stropping. I presume that would come before leather.
For me, unpasted balsa stropping was tried with no noticable effect on the edge. Only pasted balsa strops had effect, followed by laps on a clean leather hanging strop.

I now only use a linen strop for about 6 laps after the shave just to "clean" the edge. So my procedure is:
  • Clean oil from blade
  • 60 laps on clean leather hanging
  • Shave
  • 6 laps on clean linen
  • 60 laps on 0.1um diamond pasted hanging balsa
  • Oil blade and put away
With this procedure, the blade never needs a refresh honing and is permanently sharp, keen and comfortable to shave with.
 
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I've made my own strop paddles using buffalo -- works well. In terms of cloth pre-stroping I've always preferred linen and denim. I combined them on the flipside of the paddle, the seam diagonal: probably the best result of all my razor experiments.

Slash you intrigued me with unpasted balsa stropping. I presume that would come before leather.
The unpasted balsa did seem to improve the edge quality, but no more than the regular hanging leather strop. I eventually dropped the unpasted balsa with no loss in edge sharpness or comfort. I haven't used it in I guess a couple of years now. I thought it might replace the leather strop but it didn't quite do the job IMHO.
 
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