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Thread: Leather, Balsa, or Scrub Bull?

  1. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by BertMor View Post
    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?????
    I thought I was being more clear than I guess I was.

    Balsa is very slippery, and provides no feedback. It's like having a stone for cheap, but you can screw up on it quickly. I would imagine compounds on a balsa used with a jig would match performance of any stone.

    The rough side of leather attacks very quickly, but sloppily and can round an edge, plus it doesn't give consistent feedback, so it's not helpful for detecting burrs.

    Smooth leather is the best for stropping, because it lets you feel the burrs and you can even see where bigger burrs are on the right leather, if your compound is clear, because it'll lightly scratch the surface, like your fingernails do. It is soft enough that it forgives(I usually try to err on the side of acute with leather), and provides good "draw" which aids in the speed with which the strop polishes. I've never used the high-end, hand worked, fennel and carrot-scrubbed, Kobe Wagyu calf ballskin that everyone seems to love, so all leather has been about the same for me.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by johndoughy View Post
    1. Balsa is very slippery, and provides no feedback. It's like having a stone for cheap, but you can screw up on it quickly. I would imagine compounds on a balsa used with a jig would match performance of any stone.

    2. The rough side of leather attacks very quickly, but sloppily and can round an edge, plus it doesn't give consistent feedback, so it's not helpful for detecting burrs.

    3. Smooth leather is the best for stropping, because it lets you feel the burrs and you can even see where bigger burrs are on the right leather, if your compound is clear, because it'll lightly scratch the surface, like your fingernails do. It is soft enough that it forgives(I usually try to err on the side of acute with leather), and provides good "draw" which aids in the speed with which the strop polishes.
    1. Agreed except that I don't think balsa = cheap stone is a fair comparison. A stone has MUCH better feedback, esp the nicer stones like the Gesshin soakers. Stones are also easily 10x faster, if not more. Furthermore, stones can be used for stropping or edge leading passes. The problem with stones is people tend to spend too much time on the finer grits. If you like to make ten passes on a strop, you need one on a stone.

    2. True but you can still use the rough, no prob. It's aggressive also because you can get a lot of compound on it.

    3. Again, true but you don't get much compound on it.

    Quote Originally Posted by johndoughy View Post
    ...I've never used the high-end, hand worked, fennel and carrot-scrubbed, Kobe Wagyu calf ballskin that everyone seems to love, so all leather has been about the same for me.
    This stuff (Dave's treated ball-skin) is thin and fairly smooth so burr detection is easy but it is grabby and accepts compounds very readily.

  3. #13
    Senior Member BertMor's Avatar
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    Dave has ballskin? Does RR know this?
    Bert M.

    Why?! Because footballs don't have wheels!

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by BertMor View Post
    Dave has ballskin? Does RR know this?
    Hey, I don't ask questions. All I know is he says he deburrs with it, lol.

  5. #15
    Senior Member BertMor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tk59 View Post
    Hey, I don't ask questions. All I know is he says he deburrs with it, lol.
    Deburr on ballskin sac....that gotta hurt !!!
    Bert M.

    Why?! Because footballs don't have wheels!

  6. #16

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    Im new to this level of sharpening, but am wondering if diffrent density of leather makes a diffrence?
    Sole leather such as used on shoe soles is pressed and compacted. This IMO would give a diffrent effect than say 9/10 oz vegtan tooling leather.
    Just curious. I am putting some strops togather and wanted to have an informed opinion.

    Thanks and God Bless
    Mike

  7. #17
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    In my opinion, the most important characteristics of the leather are the amount of give (less is better and this can be controlled by using higher density leather or thinner pieces) and it's ability to accept abrasives (more is better). A third consideration is what has been referred to a "draw" or friction plus a tendency to catch on metal burrs. Usually the last two qualities are related.

  8. #18
    Sole leather...that sounds like an interesting candidate. It's gotta be grabby to not slip when your feet sweat(or are in nylon socks), hard, and durable.

    That is very interesting....

  9. #19

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    What Im refering to is the leather that actually meets the road. As in Leather soled dress shoes or boots. It is a bit courser (hold compound better) it is preshrunk and pressed (denser) Only problem is it may be harder to find in useable size.

    Ill let you know what I find out, Im going to see my shoe repair guy Monday!

    God Bless
    Mike

  10. #20
    Still learning this side of things, but I got a 2 X 72 leather belt for my grinder, loaded it with 1 micron CR2O3, run at less than 20 rpm, light passes on a freshly sharpened edge. It is very nice!


    Feel free to visit my website, http://www.rodrigueknives.com
    Email pierre@rodrigueknives.com

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