3M 15 micron diamond paste in action

3M sell a wide range of abrasives to consumers, from sand paper sheets to diamond hand laps and lapping films. However, they do not sell their stropping pastes on the consumer market.

Luckily a fellow knife nut works as a physical engineer. This gave me the chance to test some 3M diamond polishing paste, called Diapat. (Diapad – with a d – seems to be their name for the diamond hand laps.) This paste is available in micron sizes ranging from 15 micron to 0.3 micron. Since the effects of the coarsest stuff were hopefully the easiest to see, I picked the 15 micron diamond paste.

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Counting scratches: abrasion by the Wicked Edge pastes

In my experiments with the Wicked Edge stropping pastes I had seen that they were very effective in smoothing scratches by means of burnishing. The 10 and 14 micron pastes could not completely wipe out the scratches made by the 1000 grit stones, but they could make these scratches considerably less wide and deep. And the 5 micron and 14 micron pastes were amazingly effective after the 1600 grit stones, creating a very smooth surface.

A question that remained was where the pastes would fit in in a progression of stones/strops based on the amount of abrasion they cause. We have already seen that the 14 micron paste works fine after the 1600 grit stones (2.85 microns) and doesn’t ruin the edge. However, the paste is abrasive, does cause scratches and at some point it will not improve the edge anymore. I wanted to know where that point was: what is the width of the scratches made by the Wicked Edge diamond pastes?

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Dovo green stropping paste in action

I had never before in my life stropped a knife when I used the Wicked Edge diamond pastes I wrote about in my previous posts. The effects of the pastes surprised me, not because I had other experiences, but because I had read quite a bit on stropping and stropping compounds. The Wicked Edge pastes worked differently from what I expected: they were less abrasive than I expected, but caused a lot more burnishing. Their burnishing power definitely is a good thing, because both balsa and leather (at least the top grain cow leather I used) have little burnishing power themselves at the level of 7-3 micron scratches (1000 grit to 1600 grit stones).

A local barber, who doubles as a straight razor vendor, also sells Dovo stropping compounds. I decided to test some of this compound to see how it worked. Would it be more abrasive than the Wicked Edge diamond pastes? And cause similar burnishing?

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