View Full Version : Microscope suggestions?

Mucho Bocho
08-06-2012, 09:48 AM
I'm looking for a microscope to be able to truly analyze what is taking place at the blade in my sharpenings.

I can get a blade sharp to do all the tricks that have been talked about on this board. Like many others, I have almost no hair on my left arm. I'm looking for something that I can ideally attach to my mac/iphone that I can use to visually inspect the actually cutting edge more acutely. Thinking something in the 1000X range. Looking for a minimal design, I don't want a processional grade lab microscope that I have to squint/fuss with, something that I can leave fixed (not hand held) that I can use to quickly inspect the edge quickly while sharpening. You know, back and fourth, quick, quick...

I'm very happy with my sharpening results but like you know, in knife sharpening there are so many variables that can impact the edge. I want to actually see with my eyes. I want to try to find that happy place between a toothy knife and a sharp knife. the place that a thin edge and a long lasting edge meet. As you know even with the same stone progression and process, different knife profiles, steels and manufacture technique all need to be factored into produce int he sharpest most long lasting edge.

I'm beyond the touch test, want to see it.

What if anything are you guys using?

Marko Tsourkan
08-06-2012, 09:58 AM
I am using 20x Belomo, the most advance microscope out there. Spent a fortune on it.
My next advanced item to evaluate sharpness is a tomato. :)

Making light of it, so don't take it as an offense.


Mucho Bocho
08-06-2012, 10:12 AM
Good one marko! I do all those tricks too tomato and carrot tests, three finder, thumb nail... but I'd like to actually see the scratch patterns more closely, like to see the difference in the edge when more or less pressure is used. want to try to get more aggressive teeth to the blade but still keep it sharp...

08-06-2012, 10:26 AM
Currently using a Sargent-Welch stereomicroscope. The same basic unit that most high end bulino engravers use. I have the 10x objectives in it right now so the max magnification I can get is 40x. You will be AMAZED at what you see even at this magnification.



Mucho Bocho
08-06-2012, 10:29 AM
Thanks Paul, I'm hoping for a simpler solution with a bit more magnification. I appreciate your input though.

08-06-2012, 10:36 AM
Here's a list of a bunch of different jewelers loupes.



Keith Neal
08-06-2012, 10:56 AM
I have several loupes, including the 20x Belomo. None of them lets me see what I think you want to see, or me either. If you find a good answer, I will be very interested.

Mucho Bocho
08-06-2012, 11:04 AM
Thanks again Paul, I have some loups but I want a fixed device not something I have to hold. to me its a PIA to have to refocus every time I pick the thing up.

08-06-2012, 11:34 AM
I have a super duper microscope left over from my fathers estate - a doctor. One problem with looking at things other than slides is getting enough light in because as you get to 400+ mag, the lens has to be very close to the object blocking all light. There may be different types of microscopes for this type of viewing but I have to say that 20x provides a pretty good view - however, you already said you have been down this path.

08-06-2012, 12:02 PM
I use a 20X loupe and it does what I need it to do. There is also a USB microscope Veho Deluxe USB Microscope that can go to 400x??

Eamon Burke
08-06-2012, 12:02 PM
I know a lot of folks are using the Veho Deluxe USB microscope. 400x magnification. But I haven't.

I would like to, though, because I bought a nice triplet loupe about a year ago, thinking it would be so awesome, but all it does is make things I can already see a little bigger. Doesn't really show anything I can't see at all without it.

Mucho Bocho
08-06-2012, 12:04 PM
thanks Seth, Yea I have several decent loops and magnifying devices and i want something fixed.

08-06-2012, 12:06 PM
There is absolutely no need for 1000x. Most metallography is done at 100x. You don't want 1000x.


08-06-2012, 12:56 PM
I've a 20x loupe & GSI High-Definition Scientific Digital USB LED 400x Microscope.

Optical 20x loupe is great for quick edge inspection for 99% of the time.

Digital microscope can capture decent images at 25-50x. High res images are fuzzy (via LED, didn't tried LED+sunlight yet). Tiny a little optical hole for the CMOS camera, so resolution/focal depth is extremely shallow and it doesn't help with manual focus that keep drift out-of-focus. I treat this device as a $70 40x image capturer.

Mucho Bocho
08-06-2012, 01:34 PM
What do you guys think about this one?


08-07-2012, 07:33 AM
I don't know if this helps, but...


That was taken with a 'proper' microscope at 400X. Semi-plan 40X objective, 10X wide angle photography 'eyepiece', LED illuminator and through a DSLR stuck on top of it.

It's not perfect, but you need to spend a heck of a lot of money to improve on that, and even then I can't say whether it will be useful or not for what you have planned.

In the past I used a cheap 60-100X pocket microscope, and for simple, fast inspection it can't be beat. Just rest it on the edge, switch on the light and take a peek. Once it's focused, you shouldn't need to touch that again so it's fast and reliable.

The pocket microscopes are cheap, and they're all pretty much the same so grab one of them and see what it shows you. It might be enough just as it is.