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My Sharpening Compounds Reference

Fri Apr 11, 2014 10:12 pm

I thought I'd give an overview of the various compounds I carry - in various formulations, a wide range of grits and several compounds. This should help you select which product interests you. This overall product selection I carry includes both polycrystalline diamond and monocrystalline diamond products, as well as CBN, Boron Carbide and Alumina Suspensions.

These are available in several formulations - sprays, water soluble suspensions, water soluble emulsions and oil based pastes. All but the pastes are able to be used on waterstones and of course strops including nanocloth, Kangaroo, cow and horse leather and paper, cardboard, etc.

Mono and poly diamond are available in grit sizes ranging from 0.025 microns to 4 microns in sprays and emulsions. Poly at 0.015 available in limited quantities on request (1.2 million grit)

CBN is available in sprays, emulsions and pastes in grit sizes ranging from 0.1 microns to 80 microns. Some coarser grits 200-300 microns available on request.

Boron carbide is available in emulsion only (water soluble) in grit sizes from 0.5 microns to 16 microns. Mark carries 0.5 1 and 2 microns.

Alumina Suspensions - which are also a water soluble emulsion are available in 1 micron, 0.3 microns and 0.050 microns.

Paste formulations are the most restrictive in use being used primarily on linen and leather belts and powered equipment. Emulsions are also ideal to use on powered equipment, nanocloth and leather strops and are the most versatile. Boron Carbide comes in only this formulation for this reason. Sprays can be used anywhere other than powered applications, where they do not adhere to moving belts as well as the emulsion and paste formulations. They are also quick drying so they can be used within a minute of being applied.

I am planning on restocking Mark with Kangaroo leather and nanocloth strops in an even wider range of options than currently available - 1x6, 2x6 aluminum backed, glass backed 3x8 and 3x11 and magnetic backed for use on Mark's new base in both 3x8" and 3x11". I also have balsa backed nanocloth and Kangaroo with magnetic backing also in 3x8 and 3x11. Additionally for those requiring or requesting 1x6 and 2x6" nanocloth and Kangaroo with an additional glass backing between the Aluminum blank and the strop material these are also available.

Diamond films in two types are also still available - light and heavy duty. These are available in all sizes 1x6, 2x6, 3x8 and 3x11. ALL of these are glass backed and range in grit from 165 microns to tenth micron. This is monocrystalline diamond.

While there are various grit sizes not available in all compounds and formulations, grit sizes in microns include:

0.015 poly spray only
0.025 poly and mono spray and emulsion
0.050 poly and mono spray and emulsion, Alumina
0.1 poly and mono spray and emulsion plus CBN spray emulsion and paste
0.25 poly and mono spray and emulsion plus CBN spray emulsion and paste
0.3 Alumina
0.50 poly and mono spray and emulsion plus CBN spray emulsion and paste
0.75 CBN spray emulsion and paste
1 poly and mono spray and emulsion plus CBN spray emulsion and paste, Alumina
1.5 CBN spray emulsion and paste
2 poly and mono spray and emulsion plus CBN spray emulsion and paste
4 poly and mono spray, gel suspension and emulsion plus CBN spray emulsion and paste
8 mono emulsion plus CBN gel suspension, emulsion and paste
16 mono emulsion plus CBN gel suspension, emulsion and paste
30 CBN gel suspension, emulsion and paste
45 CBN gel suspension, emulsion and paste
80 CBN gel suspension emulsion and paste
200 CBN gel suspension emulsion and paste
300 CBN gel suspension emulsion and paste

Note that gel suspensions are used past 4 microns rather than deionized water sprays to keep the particles in suspension as they would otherwise settle too quickly in a simple deionized water spray.

The coarser grits work quite nicely with both synthetic and natural stones and also work quite nicely with nanocloth, one of the most neutral strops available. Of course nanocloth works quite well with ultrafine particles, but requires some abrasive particles to be of use. Kangaroo leather can be used both with and without compounds and provides the finest level of abrasion of any leather strop, plus a level of burnishing that is not noticeable with nanocloth to any significant degree.

Also to reduce the confusion, Mark has never carried the CBN in a paste formulation.

I know this is a lot of data to digest I hope I stated in in an understandable way. I can always be reached if you want any of my products. The PM box here is always overflowing so just contact me directly with questions at 209 612 2790 or ksskss@earthlink.net . I can also be reached on Skype if you want to chat especially if you are overseas.

Here are some group photos of my products.

Polycrystalline diamond emulsions:

Polycrystalline diamond sprays or slurries. (spray tops for sprays, Ketchup tops for emulsions and pastes) :

Mono Diamond emulsions

Mono diamond slurries /sprays. More available grits on request.

CBN (Cubic Boron Nitride) Emulsions

CBN Slurries or sprays

CBN suspensions. These are instead of slurries for particles 4.5 microns and heavier which settle quickly if used in a spray slurry formula

CBN pastes. These are oil soluble rather than water soluble Can be used on leather and linen but NOT on waterstones

A larger group shot of CBN sprays, suspensions and emulsions

Boron Carbide emulsion formulations

Alumina Emulsion in 1 micron, 0.3 microns and 0.050 microns. Pardon the casual labels :)


Re: My Sharpening Compounds Reference

Sun Apr 13, 2014 9:36 pm

So, what are the differences between, say, a .5 CBN emulsion and a .5 Boron Carbide emulsion?

Is it simply a matter of hardness? If so, which is harder? Is one better suited for anything than the other?

Re: My Sharpening Compounds Reference

Sun Apr 13, 2014 10:21 pm

LTK <> "CBN is the next hardest material to diamond, yet in hand and high speed operations, it cuts even faster. (In high speed grinding operations, it is actually harder than diamonds - just FYI). CBN products are often more expensive than diamond in specific applications. It is particularly effective for hard knife steels over 60 HRC (Rockwell hardness), although it is quite respectable with softer steels too. It does a wonderful job on leather, balsa, paper and felt - tested in both freehand and on precision guided devices too. I have personally tested these compounds on multiple Japanese knives, scissors, etc and gotten excellent feedback on the edges (otherwise known as repeat customers). It is friable, like polycrystaline diamond too and gives prolonged cutting action.

This Boron Carbide is of the same very high concentration as the CBN product. It is less expensive than the CBN and not quite as hard as CBN, but is a cost effective solution for many applications. The emulsion formulation is water soluble, so it can be used directly on waterstones to increase their abrasiveness on more abrasion resistant steels and is also formulated to work well on nanocloth, kangaroo, horse and cow leather as well as powered applications such as leather and linen belts on grinders. This emulsion formulation has excellent grab for powered applications, keeping it from coming off of moving belts. Best applied using a glove to maximize spread so there is no waste. Just a couple drops are all you need. This is of the highest quality available."

~Ken Schwartz

Re: My Sharpening Compounds Reference

Thu Feb 19, 2015 11:30 am


Great reference. I was wondering what I might use felt pads for. Currently I use nano & CBN for straight razors but balsa/leather & Polydiamond for knives. These combos I have imitated from watching videos on the CKTG and other sites.

When is felt an advantage in sharpening or is it a personal preference? Just trying to understand the advantages of different substrates.

Love your formulations by the way. Finishing a well honed edge with one or another of your formulations makes for wicked sharp edges.


Re: My Sharpening Compounds Reference

Mon Feb 23, 2015 3:05 am

You can use both nanocloth and Kangaroo leather for both knives and straight razors AND use both CBN and poly again for straights and knives. Below 0.1 micron for straights I prefer CBN for improved comfort. Personally I don't use felt at all anymore.

For coarser CBN and poly I prefer nanocloth for CBN and poly.

Hope that helps. Glad you are enjoying using my products!

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