Mirror polished edges - Which steels are better (and worst) for taking them?

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vivi
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Re: Mirror polished edges - Which steels are better (and worst) for taking them?

Postby vivi » Fri Sep 18, 2020 9:24 pm

Nice looking edges, bbturbodad. That AEBL urban in particular looks fun to use.

Even though I like toothier edges now, I still keep a few polished edges around. Variety is fun.
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Re: Mirror polished edges - Which steels are better (and worst) for taking them?

Postby Abyss_Fish » Fri Sep 18, 2020 9:52 pm

I dunno I think it depends on what you’re using and what you really want. I have a kme with the first in the series of micron tapes and a regular ol’ paddle strop with three compounds.

On almost everything I go from the 1500 grit stone directly to the tape, and then to medium and fine grit stropping compounds. Using that same method I get very different results from steel to steel.


for example, I did this process on my Spydiechef (Lc200n) and my Watu (20cv) recently. The watu is a near perfect mirror finish on the edge. But on the spydiechef, although shiny, the scratch pattern from the 1500 grit stone is clearly visible. However they are just as sharp. Effortlessly popping hair. So really it’s all just aesthetics, they both cut.

So having two other Lc200n knives that are an equal pain to polish I’d say.... it’s all too complicated and you should ask someone else. :D
I require more lc200n and thinner grinds

Current collection: Watu, Spydiechef, Native G10 salt, Waterway, K390 Ladybug, Caribbean

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Re: Mirror polished edges - Which steels are better (and worst) for taking them?

Postby Menipo » Sat Sep 19, 2020 1:01 am

nerdlock wrote:
Fri Sep 18, 2020 6:29 pm

I've seen photos and videos of several Spyderco enthusiasts putting mirror edges on their PM2s with the Lansky system, all without your side-effect of scratching the blade...maybe you should try taping the blade and leaving only the edge/near-edge part for sharpening and polishing?

After scratching this blade I used tape in the next one that I polished to a mirror like point. I spent 15 minutes covering the blade and leaving exposed only the edge/near edge as you said (mainly cutting the tape in a way which covered everything but the edge). The result was, obviously, much better, but I got some scratches in the near-end part of the blade that had not been perfectly covered. That's why I decided to move to a better system which has a less "guide-play" and KME was the choice. I thought that part of the problem was the guide/angle slot roominess in the Lansky. But maybe I was (am) wrong. I will know when I use the KME for the first time. :(
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Re: Mirror polished edges - Which steels are better (and worst) for taking them?

Postby Menipo » Sat Sep 19, 2020 1:07 am

Cambertree wrote:
Fri Sep 18, 2020 7:19 pm
AEB-L and LC200N take a polished edge very easily. So would H1, I suppose, although I’ve never tried it on that steel, and the utility of that kind of edge on H1 would be debatable.

In the higher carbide steels, I’ve found steels with predominantly chromium carbides, like CTS-XHP, M390 and ZDP189 to all take a good polish.

Diamonds and CBN compounds are your friend.

Generally, I prefer some bite to my edges, with some very slight stropping refinement to aid push cutting ability.

While mirror polishing your edges can be a useful exercise in developing your sharpening skills, generally I try to customise edge finishes to the particular steel and intended purpose of a knife. Usually I only use that kind of edge for some kitchen knives.

Menipo - So what’s happening with those scratches, is when you grind at an angle where the grind lines are not exactly perpendicular to the curve of edge, your effective edge angle is reduced, which brings the stones closer to the flats.

I suppose you could adjust this by changing your clamp positioning.

Also, taping up the flats, as Nerdlock said, will help - but I’d aim to make sure the grind lines are perpendicular to the edge first, all the way up to the tip.

Changing the angle of the grind lines, so they face slightly forward or back on different parts of the edge is certainly a valid and useful technique, but that method is probably something for a separate discussion. :)
Many thanks, Cambertree! What you said makes a lot of sense to explain the scratches. I never thought of that. Next time I will be more careful. The KME design helps also to prevent my mistake. I hope :o
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Re: Mirror polished edges - Which steels are better (and worst) for taking them?

Postby Menipo » Sat Sep 19, 2020 1:12 am

jpm2 wrote:
Fri Sep 18, 2020 7:34 pm
It seems to me the harder steels are more resistant to scratching, where a softer (or no carbide) steel will scratch deeper with a given abrasive. The result should mean a harder steel is more difficult to polish, but is capable of a higher quality polish.
This should also mean, given equal polish, the harder, or higher carbide steel should hold that polished sharp edge longer.
I hope so. Till now I have been experimenting with soft steels only. But I wanted to learn to do things correctly before putting my harder (and more expensive) steels in the clamp. :o
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Re: Mirror polished edges - Which steels are better (and worst) for taking them?

Postby Menipo » Sat Sep 19, 2020 1:14 am

bbturbodad wrote:
Fri Sep 18, 2020 8:17 pm
I like clean push cutting blades so I've taken a good number of steels to a polished edge. Surprisingly I've found Maxamet and PMA 11 (similar to 10V) take great polished edges.

Image
Image
Image
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AWESOME. Both the edges ... and the pictures. How do you manage to post pictures of that size?
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Re: Mirror polished edges - Which steels are better (and worst) for taking them?

Postby Menipo » Sat Sep 19, 2020 1:19 am

Abyss_Fish wrote:
Fri Sep 18, 2020 9:52 pm
I dunno I think it depends on what you’re using and what you really want. I have a kme with the first in the series of micron tapes and a regular ol’ paddle strop with three compounds.

On almost everything I go from the 1500 grit stone directly to the tape, and then to medium and fine grit stropping compounds. Using that same method I get very different results from steel to steel.


for example, I did this process on my Spydiechef (Lc200n) and my Watu (20cv) recently. The watu is a near perfect mirror finish on the edge. But on the spydiechef, although shiny, the scratch pattern from the 1500 grit stone is clearly visible. However they are just as sharp. Effortlessly popping hair. So really it’s all just aesthetics, they both cut.

So having two other Lc200n knives that are an equal pain to polish I’d say.... it’s all too complicated and you should ask someone else. :D
Thanks for the tips! I have ordered the regular set + the 100 grit stone and the 9 and 3 micron lapping films. I already have the paddle strop and use the Poduro Grip compound. I am anxious to try it!
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Re: Mirror polished edges - Which steels are better (and worst) for taking them?

Postby Cycletroll » Sat Sep 19, 2020 9:04 am

I predominately favor carbide rich tool steels and mostly finish in the 400 to 600 grit range. My sole exception to this is ZDP-189 as it seems to benefit from a highly refined mirror polish.

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Re: Mirror polished edges - Which steels are better (and worst) for taking them?

Postby The Mastiff » Sat Sep 19, 2020 11:24 am

I remember going through a period where I mirror polished all my carry knives. 8K was just a beginning. Now I only think about those edges if it's on a blade I intend to shave with. The low and small carbide steels always did best for me. 1080, white steels, 52100, etc. Beautiful edges are wonderous things that take time and I found it relaxing to do but practically speaking they aren't the best edges for a lot of the stuff I need a knife for. If you work on getting the best edge you can and make it repeatable for touch ups you are ahead of the curve IMO.

Joe

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Re: Mirror polished edges - Which steels are better (and worst) for taking them?

Postby Menipo » Sat Sep 19, 2020 11:30 am

Cycletroll wrote:
Sat Sep 19, 2020 9:04 am
I predominately favor carbide rich tool steels and mostly finish in the 400 to 600 grit range. My sole exception to this is ZDP-189 as it seems to benefit from a highly refined mirror polish.

Many thanks! As I am not a big fan of steels "with an inclination to rust" I never considered ZDP-189. But I have read so much about it that maybe I should give it a chance.
Last edited by Menipo on Sat Sep 19, 2020 11:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mirror polished edges - Which steels are better (and worst) for taking them?

Postby TomAiello » Sat Sep 19, 2020 11:33 am

ZDP-189 is a vastly underrated steel, in my opinion. It's been overshadowed by newer things, but it's still really outstanding. Its my favorite steel for a super refined, mirror polished edge. Most of my working knives are run to a much lower grit, but for a truly terrifyingly sharp blade, I haven't been able to beat ZDP. Maxamet, s110v and K390 all hold a good working edge longer for me, but none holds that insane razor edge sharpness like ZDP. The dragonfly in ZDP is like a little pocket scalpel.

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Re: Mirror polished edges - Which steels are better (and worst) for taking them?

Postby Menipo » Sat Sep 19, 2020 11:35 am

The Mastiff wrote:
Sat Sep 19, 2020 11:24 am
I remember going through a period where I mirror polished all my carry knives. 8K was just a beginning. Now I only think about those edges if it's on a blade I intend to shave with. The low and small carbide steels always did best for me. 1080, white steels, 52100, etc. Beautiful edges are wonderous things that take time and I found it relaxing to do but practically speaking they aren't the best edges for a lot of the stuff I need a knife for. If you work on getting the best edge you can and make it repeatable for touch ups you are ahead of the curve IMO.

Joe

Thanks, Joe. It seems that I am now going through that period ... and sure will end up where you are now. But it is difficult to learn from someone else's brain, you know :D
Last edited by Menipo on Sat Sep 19, 2020 11:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mirror polished edges - Which steels are better (and worst) for taking them?

Postby Menipo » Sat Sep 19, 2020 11:37 am

TomAiello wrote:
Sat Sep 19, 2020 11:33 am
ZDP-189 is a vastly underrated steel, in my opinion. It's been overshadowed by newer things, but it's still really outstanding. Its my favorite steel for a super refined, mirror polished edge. Most of my working knives are run to a much lower grit, but for a truly terrifyingly sharp blade, I haven't been able to beat ZDP. Maxamet, s110v and K390 all hold a good working edge longer for me, but none holds that insane razor edge sharpness like ZDP. The dragonfly in ZDP is like a little pocket scalpel.

Definitely, I will give it a try. :) Many thanks.
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Re: Mirror polished edges - Which steels are better (and worst) for taking them?

Postby vivi » Sat Sep 19, 2020 11:39 am

Menipo, ironically enough, even though I have rust issues with most steels, ZDP never rusted as much for me as others reported. I found it much more corrosion resistant than D2, but not quite up to VG10.

Either way keep going down this rabbit hole. You learn more by experience than by reading what we have to say!
TomAiello wrote:
Sat Sep 19, 2020 11:33 am
ZDP-189 is a vastly underrated steel, in my opinion. It's been overshadowed by newer things, but it's still really outstanding. Its my favorite steel for a super refined, mirror polished edge. Most of my working knives are run to a much lower grit, but for a truly terrifyingly sharp blade, I haven't been able to beat ZDP. Maxamet, s110v and K390 all hold a good working edge longer for me, but none holds that insane razor edge sharpness like ZDP. The dragonfly in ZDP is like a little pocket scalpel.
I can second this. ZDP holds that sticky sharpness at a high polish extremely well. Most steels when I take them to 8,000 grit then use them for a while, they feel really slick on a slicing cut and don't bite into materials well. ZDP would keep aggressively slicing long after most steels needed a touch up.
Last edited by vivi on Sat Sep 19, 2020 11:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mirror polished edges - Which steels are better (and worst) for taking them?

Postby bbturbodad » Sat Sep 19, 2020 11:40 am

Menipo wrote:
Sat Sep 19, 2020 1:14 am
AWESOME. Both the edges ... and the pictures. How do you manage to post pictures of that size?
Thanks!

To post large photos, instead of using the built in forum option, use an image hosting site like imgur.com then copy and paste the BBcode link into the post.
-Turbo

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Re: Mirror polished edges - Which steels are better (and worst) for taking them?

Postby RustyIron » Sat Sep 19, 2020 11:41 am

Menipo wrote:
Fri Sep 18, 2020 1:14 pm
Is there any steel you would recommend not to sharpen (polish) to a mirror like point for any reason
After giving this some thought, I don't think achieving a mirror edge is as much a function of the flavor of steel, as it is your attention to detail. Start by putting a beautiful edge on the blade, then just keep going finer and finer. Learning to create an acceptable edge is the hard part.

Focus on keeping the edge flat. Curves will create distortion of the reflection, and the edge will look like those mirrors in the carnival fun house. Also, be patient and deliberate, making sure to hit the entire edge with each stone as you progress finer and finer. Don't leave behind scratches and flawed geometry--fix the flaws now, because you'll not be able to do it later.

Here are two pics. The Spyderco is Maxamet, the Global is some kind of stainless. There two very different types of material, but both can give pretty good reflections without an inordinate amount of work.


IMG_4407.jpeg
IMG_4797.jpeg

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Re: Mirror polished edges - Which steels are better (and worst) for taking them?

Postby Menipo » Sat Sep 19, 2020 11:56 am

vivi wrote:
Sat Sep 19, 2020 11:39 am
Menipo, ironically enough, even though I have rust issues with most steels, ZDP never rusted as much for me as others reported. I found it much more corrosion resistant than D2, but not quite up to VG10.

Either way keep going down this rabbit hole. You learn more by experience than by reading what we have to say!
TomAiello wrote:
Sat Sep 19, 2020 11:33 am
ZDP-189 is a vastly underrated steel, in my opinion. It's been overshadowed by newer things, but it's still really outstanding. Its my favorite steel for a super refined, mirror polished edge. Most of my working knives are run to a much lower grit, but for a truly terrifyingly sharp blade, I haven't been able to beat ZDP. Maxamet, s110v and K390 all hold a good working edge longer for me, but none holds that insane razor edge sharpness like ZDP. The dragonfly in ZDP is like a little pocket scalpel.
I can second this. ZDP holds that sticky sharpness at a high polish extremely well. Most steels when I take them to 8,000 grit then use them for a while, they feel really slick on a slicing cut and don't bite into materials well. ZDP would keep aggressivrly slicing long after most steels needed a touch up.
Vivi,

Thanks for the advice. I use to experiment by myself everything I am interested on. But before that, I also use to read about the topic (or request the opinion of experts) as much as I can. Though I live in a quite dry area and rust should not be a concern for knives which do not leave the showcase (in a humidity stable environment), as I said before, I have to keep an eye always on my ATS-55s. And that has prevented me from buying certain steels which have a "rust alert". However your (and previous) views on this steel have convinced me. Though all ZDP-189 Spydies are lockbacks (and that is probably my less preferred lock system) I will get one (probably the Stretch) ... and it will get a polished edge! :cool:
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Re: Mirror polished edges - Which steels are better (and worst) for taking them?

Postby Menipo » Sat Sep 19, 2020 12:09 pm

bbturbodad wrote:
Sat Sep 19, 2020 11:40 am
Menipo wrote:
Sat Sep 19, 2020 1:14 am
AWESOME. Both the edges ... and the pictures. How do you manage to post pictures of that size?
Thanks!

To post large photos, instead of using the built in forum option, use an image hosting site like imgur.com then copy and paste the BBcode link into the post.

You are welcome. Your pictures are really good. From both a technical and an artistic point of view.

https://imgur.com/3v6Icdw

Thanks for the tip! I am doing something wrong because only the link appears (not the picture). :( .
Last edited by Menipo on Sat Sep 19, 2020 12:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mirror polished edges - Which steels are better (and worst) for taking them?

Postby Cycletroll » Sat Sep 19, 2020 12:17 pm

I don't find ZDP rust prone at all but then my sweat is not nearly as manly as Vivi's!
(Just kidding Vivi ;)
I live in the desert southwest and have had very little rusting with ANY steel. I just wipe the blades dry after washing off gunk. I have a natural patina forming on K390, M4, 52100, and very slight haze on ZDP but nothing significant.
I agree with Tom, ZDP is underrated! I carry a ZDP Endura a lot!

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Re: Mirror polished edges - Which steels are better (and worst) for taking them?

Postby Menipo » Sat Sep 19, 2020 12:19 pm

RustyIron wrote:
Sat Sep 19, 2020 11:41 am
Menipo wrote:
Fri Sep 18, 2020 1:14 pm
Is there any steel you would recommend not to sharpen (polish) to a mirror like point for any reason
After giving this some thought, I don't think achieving a mirror edge is as much a function of the flavor of steel, as it is your attention to detail. Start by putting a beautiful edge on the blade, then just keep going finer and finer. Learning to create an acceptable edge is the hard part.

Focus on keeping the edge flat. Curves will create distortion of the reflection, and the edge will look like those mirrors in the carnival fun house. Also, be patient and deliberate, making sure to hit the entire edge with each stone as you progress finer and finer. Don't leave behind scratches and flawed geometry--fix the flaws now, because you'll not be able to do it later.

Here are two pics. The Spyderco is Maxamet, the Global is some kind of stainless. There two very different types of material, but both can give pretty good reflections without an inordinate amount of work.



IMG_4407.jpeg


IMG_4797.jpeg

Many thanks! Considering that the result is equivalent in such a different steels ... I tend to believe that patience and mastery is the key. I have a lot of patience. I hope that mastery is a matter of hard work and time ...
Si vis pacem para bellum ;)


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