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Micro-burr only in one side, and it will not flip
#1
Hello all,
I have a question concerning wire edges on straight razors. For some odd reason i always have a very very small micro burr towards the heel of my razor when I finish honing. I only use 10x magnification and I have a bare/clear incandescent 150watt light bulb over my honing area. The very tiniest burrs can be seen if your under the correct lighting. I understand the art of honing it is to know when to quit honing, but even if everything is done right they may still be microscopic bits of burr/fin that doesn't want to detach from the apex. Some guys recommend dragging the edge through end grain wood, but i think that fractures the edge. I was reading also so will draw the edge through animal horn. I gave tried both and I am not a fan its just not to effective.

I understand the burrs are maybe not hardened steel any more, because the metal has went through plastic deformation. They just don't want to let get(especially the micro ones!) I don't try and aim for a burr while honing straights but it sometimes happens. For example a rather large burr on a knife, chisel etc - when your alternating sides the burr can and will flip from side of side until it is cut off, but with a very tiny micro burr on a knife, razor or any tool - it seems to not flop from one side to the other while alternating strokes, but it tends to stay 'on one side' - these type of burrs that don't flop when alternating side, but stay on one side, well IME even bare leather or linen want coax then off for some reason. I hope that i am making sense! I am not to good at articulating what I am trying to say or write. I like to finish on natural stones, but at times I use synthetic to finish. My sequence is 1.5k, 5k, then Jnat, with koma sluuy and last tomo. I like my razor to at least pass a hht1-2ish after stropping at 5k, and I try to make sure there's no burrs at 5k, but sometimes they are very very micro. My question is what do you think of stropping on bare wood, with no compound? Not just any wood but one of the hardest wood on earth (lignum vitae?) Does this sound like a crazy idea? I figured a really hard wood would cut off any bits of detached burr??  IMO this doesn't look like a normal wire edge but it looks like fuzzy glints only in sections, if that makes sense. How can something so weak be so hard to coax off? I figured the lignum wood may help remove it, because of its lubrication properties and it's hardness may help?? 

Thanks

Mike
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#2
Welcome to the Exchange Mr. Mike and thanks for the interesting question.  I’ve never sharpened a straight razor hence I’m not familiar with the intricacies involved but I suspect the general principals are the same as sharpening a knife.

Because you state that the remaining burr won’t flip to the other side I’m guessing that the “burr” you speak of may be what has been dubbed here on the Exchange as Line of Weld (LOW) or wire edge or the base of the burr.  LOW is stuck pretty well to the edge and won’t readily flip to the other side.  The flimsy crap at the top of the burr is just that, flimsy crap that easily bends back and forth.

This is just a guess.  Review these two posts and see if this may pertain to the behavior you are seeing:

http://bessex.com/forum/showthread.php?t...41#pid4341
http://bessex.com/forum/showthread.php?t...52#pid4352

I too am not a fan of dragging the edge through the end grain of wood or anything else for that matter in an effort to tear the burr off.  I would think that especially true of an edge meant for shaving.  Wood or horn or whatever is much harder than skin and is very likely to slightly roll, dull and otherwise damage the edge.  

More importantly, for knives, I’ve experimented with that method of burr removal and examined the results under a microscope.  Some of the burr seemed to be removed but not all of it.  The remaining burr was smashed down against the bevel making it more difficult to remove.  

How can something so weak be so hard to coax off?

I wondered exactly the same thing and posted here about 3 years ago:
http://bessex.com/forum/showthread.php?t...858#pid858

If what you have going on is indeed LOW or wire edge or whatever it is called, simply rubbing it against something very hard or smooth won’t work IMHO.  Using fine abrasives to grind it off might work or there is the danger that the LOW crud metal may just be sharpened resulting in a weak edge comprised of crappy burr metal.

The part that puzzles me in your post is where you say, “it looks like fuzzy glints”.  

That sounds like the flimsy top of a burr that, while pesky to remove, can be easily bent back and forth.  Is that the same stuff that won’t flip to the other side?

Just for grins, when you see the “fuzzy glints” try stropping against your thigh if you are wearing jeans.  Just strop quickly at about 45° flipping from side to side with gentle pressure.  Should take about 10 seconds.  Are the fuzzy glints still there?  If so, do it again.  If it’s just the flimsy top of the burr eventually it will fracture off.  If it’s LOW it will be nicely polished but not removed.  LOW is a different animal than the flimsy top of a burr.

For figuring stuff like this out, I've found a microscope very useful.

I hope this has been useful.  Maybe someone with more experience sharpening straights can post a more helpful suggestion.
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#3
(02-16-2020, 08:46 PM)grepper Wrote: Welcome to the Exchange Mr. Mike and thanks for the interesting question.  I’ve never sharpened a straight razor hence I’m not familiar with the intricacies involved but I suspect the general principals are the same as sharpening a knife.

Because you state that the remaining burr won’t flip to the other side I’m guessing that the “burr” you speak of may be what has been dubbed here on the Exchange as Line of Weld (LOW) or wire edge or the base of the burr.  LOW is stuck pretty well to the edge and won’t readily flip to the other side.  The flimsy crap at the top of the burr is just that, flimsy crap that easily bends back and forth.

This is just a guess.  Review these two posts and see if this may pertain to the behavior you are seeing:

http://bessex.com/forum/showthread.php?t...41#pid4341
http://bessex.com/forum/showthread.php?t...52#pid4352

I too am not a fan of dragging the edge through the end grain of wood or anything else for that matter in an effort to tear the burr off.  I would think that especially true of an edge meant for shaving.  Wood or horn or whatever is much harder than skin and is very likely to slightly roll, dull and otherwise damage the edge.  

More importantly, for knives, I’ve experimented with that method of burr removal and examined the results under a microscope.  Some of the burr seemed to be removed but not all of it.  The remaining burr was smashed down against the bevel making it more difficult to remove.  

How can something so weak be so hard to coax off?

I wondered exactly the same thing and posted here about 3 years ago:
http://bessex.com/forum/showthread.php?t...858#pid858

If what you have going on is indeed LOW or wire edge or whatever it is called, simply rubbing it against something very hard or smooth won’t work IMHO.  Using fine abrasives to grind it off might work or there is the danger that the LOW crud metal may just be sharpened resulting in a weak edge comprised of crappy burr metal.

The part that puzzles me in your post is where you say, “it looks like fuzzy glints”.  

That sounds like the flimsy top of a burr that, while pesky to remove, can be easily bent back and forth.  Is that the same stuff that won’t flip to the other side?

Just for grins, when you see the “fuzzy glints” try stropping against your thigh if you are wearing jeans.  Just strop quickly at about 45° flipping from side to side with gentle pressure.  Should take about 10 seconds.  Are the fuzzy glints still there?  If so, do it again.  If it’s just the flimsy top of the burr eventually it will fracture off.  If it’s LOW it will be nicely polished but not removed.  LOW is a different animal than the flimsy top of a burr.

For figuring stuff like this out, I've found a microscope very useful.

I hope this has been useful.  Maybe someone with more experience sharpening straights can post a more helpful suggestion.

It's definitely what you are referring to as 'low' burr. It doesn't flip at all. Sometimes the 'burr'/glint can look like micro-chips, but actually if you tilt the blade just right and have the correct lighting then you can see its infact burr and not chips. It just don't want to let go!! I can take a wooden tooth pick and push it to were it will stand out and up. If I go to the linen strop it will reduce it some then go back to the stones and do this several times it begins to reduce more, but it's a slooow process.  I just wander if this lignum vitae wood would work? It's a oily type and a very very hard wood. It was used in ships as propellers and bearings. I wander if a fellow could lap the  coarwood fairlyse and it may grab a hold of the burr and help coax it off?
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#4
It’s not obvious but if you press the big black New Reply button you can reply without quoting the entire post you are replying to.  Pressing the little Reply button will quote the post being replied to.  If you wish you can edit out non-relevant parts of the quoted post. 
 
I can sympathize with what you are dealing with.  That said, once the LOW is pried off the edge the battle is half won. Then it’s just a matter of how to remove the standing up burr that is clinging to the edge.  I did a lot of experimenting and found that Scotch-Brite does a great job of popping the LOW off the edge and getting it to stand up.  Then with extremely light pressure it does a good job of removing most of it.  BUT, you are sharpening straights and I seriously doubt S-B would work because it’s way too coarse.  For knives I like a toothy edge, but for straights I’d think toothy is the last thing wanted.  So, S-B is probably not relevant here.
 
So, I guess the question is once the burr is standing up how to remove it without damaging the polished edge.  Am I correct? 
 
Imagine what that looks like.  There is the edge of the blade with burr stick up, stuck to the edge.  If the blade is dragged across just about any surface it will bend to whatever angle the blade is to the surface and then just slide.  Flip the blade over and drag it again and the burr will bend slightly and then just slide. 
 
I “think” the question you are posing is if there is a material what will grab on to and stick to the burr as it’s dragged across some material so well that the burr will be torn from the edge.  Good luck with that.  If you find such a material please let me know. 
 
I went down the same road thinking along the same lines.  Not saying I’m right, but just that I’ve done some experimenting to no avail.  I tried every material I could find.  The list of materials is very long, but suffice it to say I tried everything from the concrete in the driveway to licking it off the blade with my tongue.  I even tried slicing it off with a razor blade.  Nothing worked.
 
Once the LOW is pried from the edge and the burr is standing up I “think” there are only two ways to remove it; fracture it off with repeating bending, or grind it off with extremely fine abrasives whilst attempting to not create more burr. 
 
Once the burr is standing up it’s very easily bent back and forth and can be fractured off with repeated bending at a steep angle of 45° - 90° per swipe.  This does not need to be time consuming.  Just swipe it back and forth, switching sides as fast as possible on leather or against your jeans, etc.    20 swipes take about 5 seconds.  The important thing is the steep angle so to bend the burr as much as possible with each pass.  That soft, ductile burr is pesky but it will eventually metal fatigue and break off.
 
All of my experience is with knives and trying to remove the frustrating, hair pulling freak show of the ductile type of burr you are talking about while still keeping a toothy edge.  Therefore, I have little experience trying to grind it off with finer and finer abrasives as that removes tooth.  That said, I suspect that slightly increasing the sharpening angle when trying to remove the burr with finer abrasives would be helpful.
 
I applaud your thinking that there must be some material would “grab” onto the burr as the blade is dragged across the surface.  I wondered the same thing.  But, if you really think about what’s happening… drag the blade across the surface.  The burr bends slightly and then slides along the surface.  I think it’s doubtful any material will be sticky enough to adhere to the burr enough to tear it off.  I think it’s a matter of either fracturing it off with repeated bending or grinding it off with finer and finer abrasives.
 
I’m surprised the problem has presented whilst producing a polished edge with fine abrasives.  LOW is easily created with coarse abrasives but, at least in my limited experience, not so much while producing a polished with very fine abrasives.  I guess that shows my limited experience with polished edges.
 
I know there are other Exchange members who are experienced straight razor sharpeners.  Come on folks, help us out here!

Anyway, IMHO, experimenting is the only way to really understand and find solutions.  Give that propeller wood a try and see how it goes.  If you find a better deburring method I’d love to hear about it and I’m sure others would too.  Please keep us informed as to the results of your testing even if it does not work.  It’s all part of the journey.
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#5
I recommend you take a look through Todd Simpsons Blog (The Science of Sharp). I’m not sure if there are rules regarding embedding links to other sites, so I won’t include it but you can find it through google. The blog is through Wordpress. As far as I’m concerned it has the most valuable information regarding sharpening and honing, it’s heavily focused on straight razors but many other topics are covered as well. He does research by evaluating edges with an electron microscope that is far and above everything else that’s out there. As far as I know he’s the only scientist operating all aspects of the tests, including the sharpening as well as offering views of the edge face up with cross sectioning. All of his articles are outstanding, make sure to read the entry in red (Simple Straight Razor Honing). You can spend a ton of time there, so much information.

Hope That Helps,
Bob

P.s. I have personally tested out some of his theories (like pre convexing on hanging denim with Flitz) and they are legit. You shouldn’t have any problem attaining HHT-4 or 5 without any fussing around back and fourth with things. It’s a recommended read even if you don’t do straight razors; it’s that good
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#6
A link to Todd's site, or most others for that matter, is just fine BobD. If it might help our members attain their sharpening goals, then great.
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#7
I got to thinking about stropping on a smooth tungsten carbide rod. Has anyone tried it? I though maybe the tungsten would cut off the burr.
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#8
Is what has been dubbed here LOW what others call wire edge?  I don’t know, but for clarity I’ll refer to it as LOW.   I know what LOW is and how it acts on the edge of the blade.  As I have mentioned, I don’t know about sharpening straights so I guess anything that I can contribute is FWIW.  The reason I think LOW is the culprit is because you state it won’t flip.  
 
For knife sharpening, at least in my experience, rubbing LOW against any smooth surface accomplishes little or nothing.  LOW is pretty tough, slippery and stuck to the bevel.  When rubbed against a smooth surface it’s like rubbing a ball bearing over a smooth surface.  Not much happens.

That said, if you have a smooth tungsten carbide rod give it a try!  Experimenting is always more informative than wondering.  If it works then cool!  You have found a solution.  If it fails then you have proven it won't work.  Either way it's a learning thing.  What's the current lingo?  A teachable moment?
 
Were the “fuzzy glints” there before honing?  When you speak of honing, is that “Jnat, with koma sluuy and last tomo”  step?  I don’t know what Jnat, koma sluuy or tomo is, but I’m guess it’s very fine compounds.  Is it possible that those compounds are so fine they don’t abrade away existing LOW?  Maybe a pass or two on the fuzzy glints side with a coarser abrasive might help?  What step in your process do you first notice fuzzy glints?
 
I’ve sharpened blades and produced extremely fine fuzzy glint burrs.  For example, the burr on this blade was so fine it actually waved around in the breeze when I blew at it. 

   
 
That’s a whole different animal than pesky LOW.

   

Interesting post.  Please keep us informed.  I'm interested in what you find out.
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