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What to look for in magnification

Legion

Moderator Emeritus
I find a strong loupe very useful during the bevel setting stage, particularly combined with the Sharpie test.
 

SliceOfLife

Contributor
Below are two images of the same spot on the same edge @ ~25* Angle of Incidence to objective lens with light angled @ 30* to bevel surface as near to parallel to the scratch pattern as possible. On my 27" Monitor, this is ~850x magnification

First is a prefinisher. Second is a finisher.

Random light surface scratches on finisher are a mix of abrasives free on surface of finisher and abrasives on the surface and rag when wiped dry. Deeper/bigger scratches are larger cuts from previous hones that were polished over, but not through. Not only is this razor "finished", but it was over-finished. I did exactly twice the number of passes on it that were necessary to "finish" the razor. As you can see, there are still lots of scratches visible. Many of them aren't from the finishing stone, however.

Now, if you spend a loooong time honing beyond what actually improves the edge (ideally at every stage) and/or use an extremely aggressive finisher, this can be polished down to a near mirror (I've posted those pictures @ 400x a time or two... easiest to do with high quality synths over 10k... not certain it's possible over 1kx, but it should be)... but the thing is, what matters is the edge, polishing the bevel to smooth it stops being worthwhile at a certain point (this point is the feeling you sense when feedback on a hone tells you it's ready to move on) Both of these edges are BRILLIANT mirrors at 10x, 20x, 30x, 40x... maybe upwards of 100x. Once you move up much past that, you're going to not see a mirror unless you are completely eradicating all signs of the previous stones... but the scratches that remain aren't very indicative of the hones grit (unless it's a relatively coarse hone).

prefinish.jpgfinish.jpg
 
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Firstly, thank you for these.
I don't find the photos very clear at the absolute edge, for me.
The second photo shows more irregularity in the edge. IMO there is no such thing as a perfect edge.
There will always be a point on the edge that is not as good as the rest of it but still within the acceptable limits.
 
Cutting hair isnt that difficult to do. This type of analysis is excessive. You don't need an 800 x scope to check to see if you can shave your face. Lol
 
Cutting hair isnt that difficult to do. This type of analysis is excessive. You don't need an 800 x scope to check to see if you can shave your face. Lol

You are right but we are curious non the less.
For me it is fun, interesting and educational. For you - not so much.
To each his own.
 
I don’t personally scope things but I think this is exactly the type of excess that drives forums forward and produces unexpected but very useful data.
 
Yeah nobody is saying it's necessary for successful shaving. Some of us enjoy the intricacies, some of us do not. All good.
 

Chan Eil Whiskers

Contributor
Ambassador
I enjoy these magnification discussions and want to thank you for adding to the conversation and to my knowledge and understanding.

Speaking of both I don't have much but the little I've learned and experienced has helped me improve my skills and outcomes.

With my modified Plugable set up I've found chips I'd missed. I've come to appreciate how difficult looking at the edge and learning anything helpful by looking actually is (particularly in a sense of saying finally and conclusively, "This is what I want the edge to look like and be!")

It’s very hard to look at an edge from a single angle and say “that’ll be good”. Easy to look at an edge and say “that’ll be bad.”
Agreed.

I have however shaved with edges I thought would be bad and found myself surprised. What that means is beyond me. Generally though I agree. It takes some experience of course.

I also use and mostly turn to 10X loupes, one cheap and LED lighted, the other expensive and without its own light source. Both are useful at times but sometimes useless. I'm sure it's a user error issue as well as a light source issue.

I can give an example or two of what I like to see at particular stages, but there are always optical illusions to make a bad edge look great from just the right angle.
That or optical illusions to make a good edge look bad from just the wrong angle.

1571653979392.png
Second Photo^.

Firstly, thank you for these.
I don't find the photos very clear at the absolute edge, for me.
The second photo shows more irregularity in the edge. IMO there is no such thing as a perfect edge.
There will always be a point on the edge that is not as good as the rest of it but still within the acceptable limits.
I see the second edge the same way, but I trust the only test which really matters. The shave test makes the final determination.

I know moving the light a tiny amount could totally change the picture. We all know that. That doesn't make magnification useless of course.

Thanks and happy shaves,

Jim
 
I enjoy these magnification discussions and want to thank you for adding to the conversation and to my knowledge and understanding.

Speaking of both I don't have much but the little I've learned and experienced has helped me improve my skills and outcomes.

With my modified Plugable set up I've found chips I'd missed. I've come to appreciate how difficult looking at the edge and learning anything helpful by looking actually is (particularly in a sense of saying finally and conclusively, "This is what I want the edge to look like and be!")



Agreed.

I have however shaved with edges I thought would be bad and found myself surprised. What that means is beyond me. Generally though I agree. It takes some experience of course.

I also use and mostly turn to 10X loupes, one cheap and LED lighted, the other expensive and without its own light source. Both are useful at times but sometimes useless. I'm sure it's a user error issue as well as a light source issue.



That or optical illusions to make a good edge look bad from just the wrong angle.

View attachment 1027767
Second Photo^.



I see the second edge the same way, but I trust the only test which really matters. The shave test makes the final determination.

I know moving the light a tiny amount could totally change the picture. We all know that. That doesn't make magnification useless of course.

Thanks and happy shaves,

Jim

Yes, changing the position of the light can have a profound effect.
Through using these on a regular basis you will find your "zone" that will give you a good sense of what the edge will be like. I can move my light for something else and get it back to what I need in next to no time.
 

SliceOfLife

Contributor
Second edge has more irregularity. Transitions are smoother though. First edge is rumble strips. Second edge is a wavy road. Which rides smoother?


Also, keep in mind these images are un-stropped. A lot can change with the first stropping off a hone.


Oh, and Jim, that's not an optical illusion. That's a GREAT looking edge at 800x. 800x looks a lot different than 100x. Yeah, if we're talking 100x, you may want to take that edge back to a beveler. At 800x? You're looking at maybe 1.5micron deep on the biggest fluctuation there... with a smooth edge... and heck stropping will probably shallow that out by a good half.

The truth is, Lighting can change a lot, but the complaints you'd have with that edge would only be hidden by really awkward lighting. It's gaps in the edge perpendicular to how it runs. Lighting CAN obscure that, but not easily. At this magnification, you will see those, especially when (the way a good finisher does), the removal of steel happens much more tangent to the bevel than normal to the bevel. Good bevelers are the exact opposite, they remove material aggressively (or deeply) normal to the bevel. The irony is what you SEE (the flaws) are actually DUE to material being removed too normal to the bevel (cutting deeper than the stone does on avg)... but they tend to LOOK WORSE when the hone is actually LESS aggressive in the normal direction BECAUSE it can thin the edge much more than a comparable hone.
 
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