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Difference between honing, buffing and stropping... - Timberwolf - 11-07-2017

Just posting this in an attempt to clarify a skill that seems to be confusing to some folks just starting out in woodworking or carving with hand tools...and maybe some others that have used the terms interchangeably......in fact, there IS a difference... And I would add another term to the mix..i.e. "sharpening"..
When I make a knife, or restore the chipped or otherwise defective edge, I sharpen {grind} the edge down to the bevel angle I want..After I get it there, I use finer and finer abrasives to HONE the blade to a keen edge...After I have that "keen" edge, I STROP the edge and polish it, removing the wire that has formed, no matter how microscopic it may still be...A really "sharp" edge will literally "pop" a single hair off your arm just by "touching" the blade to the hair..you wont even have to move the blade..You will know it when you see it!!!!!..But for woodworking it doesn't have to be that sharp, because most steel as thin as that wont retain that super edge for long..it will "fold over" or chip out...And unless that edge is chipped, a few strokes on leather or other material will restore it good as before..Eventually tho, you will have to hone it again on an abrasive and then repeat the stropping or buffing.

Here's a link I found interesting...

http://carverscompanion.com/FilePages/Buffhonestrop.html


RE: Difference between honing, buffing and stropping... - BpB123 - 11-07-2017

(11-07-2017, 08:29 PM)Timberwolf Wrote: Just posting this in an attempt to clarify a skill that  seems to be confusing to some folks just starting out in woodworking or carving with hand tools...and maybe some others that have used the terms interchangeably......in fact, there IS a difference...  And I would add another term to the mix..i.e. "sharpening"..
   When I make a knife, or restore the chipped or otherwise defective edge, I  sharpen {grind} the edge down to the bevel angle I want..After I get it there, I use finer and finer abrasives to HONE the blade to a keen edge...After I have that "keen" edge, I STROP the edge and polish it, removing the wire that has formed, no matter how microscopic it may still be...A really "sharp" edge will literally "pop" a single hair off your arm just by "touching" the blade to the hair..you wont even have to move the blade..You will know it when you see it!!!!!..But for woodworking it doesn't have to be that sharp, because most steel as thin as that wont retain that super edge for long..it will "fold over" or chip out...And unless that edge is chipped, a few strokes on leather or other material will restore it good as before..Eventually tho, you will have to hone it again on an abrasive and then repeat the stropping or buffing.

Here's a link I found interesting...

http://carverscompanion.com/FilePages/Buffhonestrop.html

THANKS!  This is helpful


RE: Difference between honing, buffing and stropping... - cputnam - 11-08-2017

(11-07-2017, 08:29 PM)Timberwolf Wrote: Just posting this in an attempt to clarify a skill that  seems to be confusing to some folks just starting out in woodworking or carving with hand tools...and maybe some others that have used the terms interchangeably......in fact, there IS a difference...  And I would add another term to the mix..i.e. "sharpening"..
   When I make a knife, or restore the chipped or otherwise defective edge, I  sharpen {grind} the edge down to the bevel angle I want..After I get it there, I use finer and finer abrasives to HONE the blade to a keen edge...After I have that "keen" edge, I STROP the edge and polish it, removing the wire that has formed, no matter how microscopic it may still be...A really "sharp" edge will literally "pop" a single hair off your arm just by "touching" the blade to the hair..you wont even have to move the blade..You will know it when you see it!!!!!..But for woodworking it doesn't have to be that sharp, because most steel as thin as that wont retain that super edge for long..it will "fold over" or chip out...And unless that edge is chipped, a few strokes on leather or other material will restore it good as before..Eventually tho, you will have to hone it again on an abrasive and then repeat the stropping or buffing.

Here's a link I found interesting...

http://carverscompanion.com/FilePages/Buffhonestrop.html
For me, I simply call whatever is done at < 1000 grit sharpening or grinding. At => 1000 grit, it is honing. Stropping is a subset of honing and generally applies to handheld (freehand) homing on a hard surface with a superfine or no grit.


RE: Difference between honing, buffing and stropping... - Hank Knight - 11-08-2017

Jack, are "buffing" and "stropping" synonymous terms? "Stropping" is the term that commonly applies to the last stage that removes the wire edge, but I don't often hear "buffing" used in this context.

Hank


RE: Difference between honing, buffing and stropping... - Timberwolf - 11-08-2017

(11-08-2017, 10:44 AM)Hank Knight Wrote: Jack, are "buffing" and "stropping" synonymous terms? "Stropping" is the term that commonly applies to the last stage that removes the wire edge, but I don't often hear "buffing" used in this context.

Hank
,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Hank, to me buffing and stropping are essentially the same, but I always think of buffing as polishing done to achieve a "high shine" on a muslin wheel, while I always think of "stropping" as polishing done on a flat leather strop or leather wheel to remove a wire edge and the "striations" left by a coarser medium such as stones..The sharpest edges I have ever gotten has been on a high speed leather wheel {~3500rpm} with fine diamond compound...When you can hold a single hair between your fingers and cut it with your pocketknife, you have arrived!!! Crazy Laugh
......I also occasionally remove wire edges on muslin wheels...but I admit that it takes much more "finesse" to keep from rounding over. They do not forgive "operator error"..and I have dulled a few edges in my time...
Sharpening has become an obsession with me since I started making knives again...And even with all the machines I have for the purpose, two weeks ago I bought a new Tormek..the smaller version....I have the large Jet wet grinder but it's out in the garage and I wanted something I can just use while sitting at my computer desk where most of my sharpening takes place anymore!! Crazy


RE: Difference between honing, buffing and stropping... - C. in Indy - 06-10-2018

Just re-reading some of these, thanks!

I have a Shopsmith; I was considering power-stropping, and I was debating between a 42" leather strip for the strip-sander or a small leather stropping wheel.   I ended up getting the leather PowerStrop wheel* for ease of change-overs, since the strip-sander is usually employed doing coarse-grade work.  *This wheel is supposed to go slower than 700rpm, which would rule out normal Shopsmiths, but I have one of the fancy electronic heads.

The stropping wheel is something I either jig-up for gouges and skews, or I use freehand only on the flat side of a plane or chisel blade.

I do like the edge!  I think it has enhanced my usual regimen.   I just noticed that I could have a piece of practice Fir that looked sweetly planed by 2 different planes.  But with the well-stropped plane blade, the wood finish has a much superior tactile smoothness.

Chris


RE: Difference between honing, buffing and stropping... - C. in Indy - 07-14-2019

Just some fun recently had with a very slow-speed-capable Lathe (250 rpm), a wooden improvised "chuck", some diamond-paste, and a diamond-in-the-rough Bulova Precisionist watch from a pawnshop retailer.


[attachment=19373]

The crystal was a little too deeply scratched to totally level-out.  But the stainless steel ring-polish was beyond my expectations!


Chris


RE: Difference between honing, buffing and stropping... - AHill - 07-15-2019

(11-08-2017, 10:44 AM)Hank Knight Wrote: Jack, are "buffing" and "stropping" synonymous terms? "Stropping" is the term that commonly applies to the last stage that removes the wire edge, but I don't often hear "buffing" used in this context.

Hank

In the linked article, stropping is a manual operation whereas buffing uses a powered wheel.  I'm with Jack. I always associated buffing with polishing a surface and not sharpening.


RE: Difference between honing, buffing and stropping... - Timberwolf - 07-15-2019

(07-15-2019, 01:24 PM)AHill Wrote: In the linked article, stropping is a manual operation whereas buffing uses a powered wheel.  I'm with Jack. I always associated buffing with polishing a surface and not sharpening.

.......................
As a matter of fact, if care is not used, polishing/buffing can remove an edge very quickly, but I can take a relatively "sharp" edge to a dangerously sharp one by painstakingly careful buffing on a hard stitched muslin buff, running at HIGH speed. It does take LOTS of experience and much practice to "know" exactly WHERE your edge is intuitively, and not let your buff, "curl or wrap" around that very edge..if it does, your edge is gone!!!!!..I have lots of "time behind the wheel" but I do make mistakes sometimes and get over anxious and remove my edge instantly. In some ways, I believe a HARD stitched muslin buff is faster than stropping on a leather wheel {maybe because the cloth holds more compound} than the surface of leather.
I am curious what your thoughts are on this, Allan..and what you have experienced in your metallurgy career.


RE: Difference between honing, buffing and stropping... - AHill - 07-15-2019

(07-15-2019, 01:55 PM)Timberwolf Wrote: .......................
As a matter of fact, if care is not used, polishing/buffing can remove an edge very quickly, but I can take a relatively "sharp" edge to a dangerously sharp one by painstakingly careful buffing on a hard stitched muslin buff, running at HIGH speed. It does take LOTS of experience and much practice to "know" exactly WHERE your edge is intuitively, and not let your buff, "curl or wrap" around that very edge..if it does, your edge is gone!!!!!..I have lots of "time behind the wheel" but I do make mistakes sometimes and get over anxious and remove my edge instantly. In some ways, I believe a HARD stitched muslin buff is faster than stropping on a leather wheel {maybe because the cloth holds more compound} than the surface of leather.
    I am curious what your thoughts are on this, Allan..and what you have experienced in your metallurgy career.

I much prefer a hard wheel for power stropping.  I don't "buff" surfaces to get sharpness.  My power stropping setup is a laminated paper wheel on a classic low speed grinder (~2000 rpm), which presents a hard surface for both the compound (I use the Lee Valley green stuff) and to the edge.  I also avoid putting too much pressure on the wheel.  A light touch to a decently sharp surface and you have wicked sharp.  Literally only 3-5 seconds for me.  I make sure before I present the edge it's at the same angle as the bevel I want to strop.  Too low an angle and you aren't honing the edge and there is a tendency to push harder.  Too high and you're adding yet one more microbevel.

My observation over the years is the two most common mistakes sharpening are 1) too little time working the edge on stones prior to stropping (especially with the more exotic tool steels like A1 and D2), and 2) unknowingly increasing the bevel angle each time you sharpen.  Attention to detail solves both issues.