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Thread: Leather, Balsa, or Scrub Bull?

  1. #1
    Senior Member BertMor's Avatar
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    Leather, Balsa, or Scrub Bull?

    Leather, Balsa, or Scrub Bull? Whats the functional difference? I mean, given that the abrasive is the same, what are the differences in use or in final results between them.

    Why can't I just use one substrate for all abrasives and be done with it?
    Bert M.

    Why?! Because footballs don't have wheels!

  2. #2
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    I use only leather (Dave's) and only with one compound (0.25 micron poly diamond). I've tried every HA leather as well as a few others, CBN, Cr2O3 and plain leathers. I've also tried balsa with all three compounds. They all work but I get to my desired result quicker with leather. I'm thinking of going to a lower grit (larger average particle size) diamond when I sharpen for other people. 0.25 micron diamond is pretty much worthless as far a delivering long-lasting bite to an edge. I'm thinking of going to about 1 micron. CBN would be fine, too. Pretty aggressive edges from that stuff.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Seb's Avatar
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    I'm currently favoring 1.0-micron boron carbide on bovine leather strop.

  4. #4
    Senior Member stevenStefano's Avatar
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    I have tried 3 micron diamond, 0.5 micron chromium, 0.25 micron diamond and 0.1 micron diamond. I just use 0.5 micron cro on leather mostly, sometimes 0.25 as well. 3 micron basically does nothing and I think 0.1 is a bit too low. Must try 1 micron

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by tk59 View Post
    I use only leather (Dave's) and only with one compound (0.25 micron poly diamond). I've tried every HA leather as well as a few others, CBN, Cr2O3 and plain leathers. I've also tried balsa with all three compounds. They all work but I get to my desired result quicker with leather. I'm thinking of going to a lower grit (larger average particle size) diamond when I sharpen for other people. 0.25 micron diamond is pretty much worthless as far a delivering long-lasting bite to an edge. I'm thinking of going to about 1 micron. CBN would be fine, too. Pretty aggressive edges from that stuff.
    Ever tried skipping a few grits? Like going from 2k straight to the strop?

  6. #6
    Senior Member/ Internet Hooligan
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    Quote Originally Posted by johndoughy View Post
    Ever tried skipping a few grits? Like going from 2k straight to the strop?
    I go from 1k to 1µ paste on balsa, lol. Can't say the edge is all that better, but it sure looks flashy!

  7. #7
    *edit* I lost this on my last post...hungry baby interruption...


    I have 3 micron, 1, .5 in SiC, BC, and CrO, and tried them on smooth and rough leather, as well as balsa. Nothing works as well as .5 CrO on leather, but I have yet to try Dave's spray. If you put a knife through the 3 micron on rough leather, the 1 micron on balsa, and .5 on leather, you will have an edge that pops hair with little to not sensation(though this works like crap for straights), and will run all over the place. I took a kitchen knife through the paces like this and it would fall through paper, and then slip on a tomato and bloody near take off my finger(lost half a nail).

    I now skip grits. Cheap knives I'll set it up on a 1k, clean it up on a 2k, and strop on .5 on leather(sometimes the 3micron rough leather), cuts like crazy--just gotta be careful about deburring. My work knife goes up to 5k, strop on the 5k, then .5 on leather.

    I rarely use the rough leather(it can round edges pretty fast) and the bare balsa is slippery and easy to screw up on without knowing it. Leather seems the best. Different types of leather, I don't know. Can't wait to see what Dave's got, because I'm happy with the Tandy leather I got, and his required a cross-country search.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by johndoughy View Post
    Ever tried skipping a few grits? Like going from 2k straight to the strop?
    Yup. My usual these days is 400-1k-5k and then either strop or 8k and strop. If I skip more than that, I'll skip the 1k or the 5k but I always use something 5k+ to do most of the clean-up before I go to my leather. I feel like doing otherwise really eats up the leather unnecessarily when just a couple passes on a finer stone is like 10x as fast.

  9. #9
    Senior Member BertMor's Avatar
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    You guys missed the point of the post. Y'all are talking about prefered compounds. I'm asking "What is the functional difference between using different materials to put your abrasives on" Otherwise just pick one medium and put all your different abrasives on one. but why one medium over another? Dave?????
    Bert M.

    Why?! Because footballs don't have wheels!

  10. #10

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    I use balsa because I am cheap and everyone seems to be out of leather.

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