What's new
  • Guest
    As per our long standing policy of not permitting medical advice on the forum - all threads concerning the Coronavirus will be locked.
    For more info on the coronavirus please see the link below:
    https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/summary.html

How To Use a Pasted Balsa Strop

What’s the difference between 1200 DMT and 1200 wet/dry sandpaper? If they are similar can I just jump to 3u film like Andy77?
Not much difference, I would say. A DMT that is brand new usually has some "proud" diamond particles that sit high in the matrix and leave uncharacteristically deep scratches. These get knocked off early on, and the plate cuts more smoothly and consistently with fewer deep scratches. But this can be true of sandpaper, too. The difference is a few minutes of rubbing razor on sandpaper mellows it down, but it might take an hour or two of rubbing a big stainless chef knife to get the same effect on the DMT. YMMV and you might well never notice it anyway. You could indeed jump straight from DMT 1200 to 3u film and I guess some guys do yeah, but I don't think it is optimal to do so. Can still get the same edge, though. So don't let lack of intermediate grits stop you. Just be prepared to do some extra rubbing.

My lapping film from Thorlabs is Al Oxide at 3u and 1u while the 5u is Si Carbide. I wonder if that is what accounts for the slurry effect. Slash, perhaps your 5u was truly Al Oxide.
That is certainly possible. Good catch.
 
My lapping film from Thorlabs is Al Oxide at 3u and 1u while the 5u is Si Carbide. I wonder if that is what accounts for the slurry effect. Slash, perhaps your 5u was truly Al Oxide.
Same here, I've got 12, 5, 3, 1 and .3u and the only one that is not AlOx is 5u...
I would say it also auto slurries...what is it about the 5u that the same abrasive can't be used?

Sent from my SCH-I435 using Tapatalk
 
Same here, I've got 12, 5, 3, 1 and .3u and the only one that is not AlOx is 5u...
I would say it also auto slurries...what is it about the 5u that the same abrasive can't be used?

Sent from my SCH-I435 using Tapatalk
It probably could, but these abrasives are generally not produced for us, or the blade sharpening market in general. I would venture to guess that silicon carbide is probably noticeably cheaper by the ton, but is mostly available at the 5 micron level. For the industrial and lapidary uses these films are actually produced for, there probably isn’t a noticeable performance difference.
 

steveclarkus

Goose Poop Connoisseur
Quite right. This technique, changing the leading angle between grits, is especially useful while learning to hone, or when transitioning to a different type of stone or film or a different style of honing. When you can easily tell the previous stage scratches from the current stage, then it is obvious when the current stage has completely removed the previous ones. And that is what progressive honing is all about, once the bevel is set and verified.
Will this apply to the spine as well since it is generally a larger area to view?
 
Will this apply to the spine as well since it is generally a larger area to view?
Sure, I guess so. But the edge bevel is what we are concerned with. Depending on pressure distribution the spine could be clear before the edge bevel. Also with some razors the edge bevel would have a larger area than the spine's bevel. So I suggest don't worry too much about the scratch pattern on the spine. Watch the edge.
 
Also if you end up getting a razor that needs tape on the spine while honing, you wouldn’t have anything on the spine to tell you.
 
Interesting that the 5um is silicon carbide. Must be a reason for it, because it is friable and "self sharpening" in that the particles fracture, leaving a fresh corner. Also the reason it forms a slurry, with all the benefits and drawbacks thereof.

Someday I'll try lapping films. In the sabbatical this year, so will have to use the overly large array of stones I have collected.
 
“The Method” first attempt update:
Using my two sight unseen vintage razors as practice subjects I tried the method for the first time yesterday.

Set the start of the bevel on both sides using wet 800 grit sandpaper and then moved to wet 1500 grit sandpaper and set the bevel over the entire length of the blade using the burr method. Only took about 50 laps per side. Flattened the burr using the diminishing lap technique starting with 10 laps per side working down to 1. Then moved to 5u, 3u, and 1u lapping film doing about 50 laps on each piece of film. Then moved onto my diamond pasted balsa stops at .5u, .25u, and .1u doing 100 laps on each strop. At that point both razors were tree topping forearm hair at 1/4 inch with ease. Finished with 50 laps on leather.

Had my first shave today. Wow!! I had been shaving with dull blades for awhile and had been struggling with ATG passes and with post shave burning. None of that today! My newly honed razor with the method gave me the nicest straight shave I have ever had!! The ATG passes were completed with ease and my face had no postshave burn! I am now looking forward to playing with my straights much more.

Also received my two daily driver razors back from Doc226 yesterday after a professional honing. I am looking forward to comparing a JNAT edge to a Method edge to see which I like more. I suspect I will put my daily driver razors through the pasted balsa progression so I can keep my edges razor sharp on my own using the .1u pasted strop post shave.

Thanks Slash for this thread. “The Method” is so easy to perform with minimal expense and produces an unbelievably sharp edge!! Read the thread, follow the directions, and go for it. You will be rewarded with laser sharp edges!!
 

steveclarkus

Goose Poop Connoisseur
“The Method” first attempt update:
Using my two sight unseen vintage razors as practice subjects I tried the method for the first time yesterday.

Set the start of the bevel on both sides using wet 800 grit sandpaper and then moved to wet 1500 grit sandpaper and set the bevel over the entire length of the blade using the burr method. Only took about 50 laps per side. Flattened the burr using the diminishing lap technique starting with 10 laps per side working down to 1. Then moved to 5u, 3u, and 1u lapping film doing about 50 laps on each piece of film. Then moved onto my diamond pasted balsa stops at .5u, .25u, and .1u doing 100 laps on each strop. At that point both razors were tree topping forearm hair at 1/4 inch with ease. Finished with 50 laps on leather.

Had my first shave today. Wow!! I had been shaving with dull blades for awhile and had been struggling with ATG passes and with post shave burning. None of that today! My newly honed razor with the method gave me the nicest straight shave I have ever had!! The ATG passes were completed with ease and my face had no postshave burn! I am now looking forward to playing with my straights much more.

Also received my two daily driver razors back from Doc226 yesterday after a professional honing. I am looking forward to comparing a JNAT edge to a Method edge to see which I like more. I suspect I will put my daily driver razors through the pasted balsa progression so I can keep my edges razor sharp on my own using the .1u pasted strop post shave.

Thanks Slash for this thread. “The Method” is so easy to perform with minimal expense and produces an unbelievably sharp edge!! Read the thread, follow the directions, and go for it. You will be rewarded with laser sharp edges!!
:badger:
 
“The Method” first attempt update:
Using my two sight unseen vintage razors as practice subjects I tried the method for the first time yesterday.

Set the start of the bevel on both sides using wet 800 grit sandpaper and then moved to wet 1500 grit sandpaper and set the bevel over the entire length of the blade using the burr method. Only took about 50 laps per side. Flattened the burr using the diminishing lap technique starting with 10 laps per side working down to 1. Then moved to 5u, 3u, and 1u lapping film doing about 50 laps on each piece of film. Then moved onto my diamond pasted balsa stops at .5u, .25u, and .1u doing 100 laps on each strop. At that point both razors were tree topping forearm hair at 1/4 inch with ease. Finished with 50 laps on leather.

Had my first shave today. Wow!! I had been shaving with dull blades for awhile and had been struggling with ATG passes and with post shave burning. None of that today! My newly honed razor with the method gave me the nicest straight shave I have ever had!! The ATG passes were completed with ease and my face had no postshave burn! I am now looking forward to playing with my straights much more.

Also received my two daily driver razors back from Doc226 yesterday after a professional honing. I am looking forward to comparing a JNAT edge to a Method edge to see which I like more. I suspect I will put my daily driver razors through the pasted balsa progression so I can keep my edges razor sharp on my own using the .1u pasted strop post shave.

Thanks Slash for this thread. “The Method” is so easy to perform with minimal expense and produces an unbelievably sharp edge!! Read the thread, follow the directions, and go for it. You will be rewarded with laser sharp edges!!
Bravo! Well done!

50 laps or so after each shave, on the .1u balsa, will keep it sharp. Don't forget to include a few pull strokes at the end. Makes the shave much more comfortable.
 
I like to hit the leather before the .1 balsa after each shave.

Leather works by pulling slightly misaligned edge into line. Your whiskers are several times thicker than the very edge of the razor, and just cutting them knocks some tiny bit of edge out of shape, this is why leather stropping works between shaves.

Pasted balsa, even at 0.1 micron has a fundamentally different action - it works by abrasion to very finely polish the existing geometry.

That’s why I like to straighten the edge first. Then knock it smoother with the pastes balsa. After 50 on leather, then 50 on balsa, I’ll end with 10 pull strokes, then 10 more laps on the balsa, and finally 10 Laps on vertical balsa. With more than one razor in rotation, this doesn’t need to happen right after or right before a shave, anytime between shaves with this blade will do. I find that the 10 ish minutes that all takes is easy to find time for if I don’t have to do it while I am already taking time to shave.
 
Question on loupes & magnifiers:
1. What are some options for a newbie to purchase?
2. Do I need one if I am just starting out with The Method?
3. What would I be looking for?

Thanks!
 
Cheap 20X from eBay works fine for me. I don't use the LED lighting, it's far too bright so you can get an unlighted one.

Combined with a black sharpie marker, they are a good tool for a beginner to tell when you have a real bevel. However, once you get a real bevel set, there isn't any reason to go back and do it again on that razor unless the edge gets damaged.
 

RumpleBearskin

Contributor
However, once you get a real bevel set, there isn't any reason to go back and do it again on that razor unless the edge gets damaged.
I have two beaters that I reset the bevel each week as I'm learning to hone.

But agreed, once a "real" razor has the bevel set the most it should need is a refresh of the edge. Not even that if you use pasted balsa after each shave (or two).
 
Do I have to worry about contaminating my strop if I don’t wash off the blade between stropping on my .1u pasted balsa and leather?
 
Yes you do! You will, over time, end up with a pasted diamond strop. A simple rinse and wipe is a must between every step.
 

steveclarkus

Goose Poop Connoisseur
I’m using 0.25u diamond followed by 0.1u CBN for the first application of this method to a blade.
30 laps on the diamond then 60 on the CBN
But after that I’m going straight to the CBN only and touching up 50 laps on the 0.1u CBN on the same blade
This is working very well but the edge does seem to get progressively sharper and smoother with the first few touch ups.

So the suggestion that you need a lot of passes on the CBN after the diamond would seem to be right.

I love this thread!
The simple clear and foolproof method outlined in the OP which gives perfect results has springboarded us into more and more complex experimentation and deep discussions and generated several alternative recipes already.
I suppose when you get to the end of the rainbow you just find another rainbow :)
I just ordered .125 CBN spray. I shall now see for myself. Rather pricey so I have my fingers crossed.
 

steveclarkus

Goose Poop Connoisseur
I did about 150 laps on CBN pasted balsa on a razor that had been honed to .1u diamond. Same razor I used yesterday and couldn’t tell any difference. I’ll keep at it
 
Top