05-02-2013, 12:22 PM
#1
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I've been doing some research in regards to honing. One of the least expensive and seemingly quite effective methods that I have come across is the use of lapping paper. I've read a few dozen posts talking about the use of lapping paper to hone straight razors and about a half dozen YouTube videos on the same subject. So far the consensus seems to be that lapping paper works well and is extremely cheap (in the short run), but that stones are preferred in the long run. Based on this information I decided to purchase some 8 x 11.5 sheets of 3M lapping paper. I figured that with 8 x 11.5 sheets I could cut the paper into six 4 x 3 strips and two 4 x 2.5 strips and make them last a pretty good amount of time. I found a sight that had the individual papers for under $2 each, but only had the 12 micron, 5 micron, and 3 micron papers. The three papers plus shipping cost just under $10 total, so I went ahead and bought them. I should receive them in the mail early next week and am now on the look out for a 4 x 5 piece of tile or acrylic or something to use as a lapping paper mount.

My questions are these: What are the thoughts in regards to lapping paper in general? Does anybody feel that lapping paper is a better choice than traditional stones? Does anybody think lapping paper is a poor choice vs. traditional stones? Some of the videos show a guy holding the lapping paper mount in his hand and stating that they shouldn't be used on a stable flat surface, such as a table, what are the thoughts on this? Would I be able to do a full honing using only the 12, 5, and 3 micron paper (I also have a pasted balsa strop with iron oxide and chromium oxide and a barber's hone) or should I find a 1 micron paper as well?

Thanks in advance for the thoughts and advice folks.

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 05-02-2013, 01:56 PM
#2
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If you can find a company that installs granite counter tops in your area they will have sink cutouts that will be very cheap or free. Or Float glass but the edges are SHARP if you cut it yourself.

You would have to determine if your barbers hone could replace the 1 micron film.

If the lapping film is diamond it cuts very quickly!

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 05-02-2013, 02:29 PM
#3
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I am not sure if the stuff I bought is Alox or diamond, but I am pretty sure it's alox. This is one of the sheets that I bought: http://www.stuller.com/products/11-0752/?groupId=1694

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 05-02-2013, 03:39 PM
#4
  • P Funk
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Not to be a stickler but it usually referred to as film as opposed to paper. I only point that out b/c there were some problems a while back where folks were ordering polishing paper through Amazon thinking it was film. It turns out it was a different product and not suitable for honing razors.
That being said, I see from your link that you actually have searched out the film.
Thorlabs is another place to procure the film -
http://www.thorlabs.us/NewGroupPage9.cfm...up_ID=1350

You should definitely get the 1 micron film as well. You won't need anything finer than that per se. There are some who definitely go finer and yet others who find they don't like the edges the finer film produces.

As far as film vs. stones, there should probably be a dedicated forum for that. I use both film and stones (mostly naturals). The film is easy as pie to learn and gives a very consistent edge. If you're looking to get your razor sharp, film will definitely do it. Stones are much harder to learn and offer a greater variety in edge feel. Each stone is different so a progression that works on one might not be suitable for another.

Go to a local store and pick up a granite tile or even a glass plate. As long as it is smooth/flat, it will work well for the film.

Good Luck!

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 05-02-2013, 04:32 PM
#5
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I sort of thought that the terms lapping paper and lapping film were interchangeable, so I'm glad to find out the difference BEFORE I accidentally buy the wrong stuff. I kind of figured that it would be preferable to get a 1 micron sheet of film to finish on, so I'll get some of that too. I also went by Home Depot and picked up a couple of 4 x 12 pieces of polish marble to use as a lapping paper mount, so now all I need are for my spiffy sheets of film to show up...

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 05-02-2013, 05:48 PM
#6
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Well, I wandered around until I finally found a site to buy a single sheet of 3M Alox 1 micron 9 x 13 lapping film for a good price ($2). So, once all of my film arrives I'll give it a go and see how it works out. Thanks for the info so far, I would still love to have some input about the uses, drawbacks, and thoughts on lapping film. This is where I found the film: http://www.fiberoptics4sale.com/p/3M-Lap...1262X.html

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 05-02-2013, 07:13 PM
#7
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(05-02-2013, 02:29 PM)Jabberwock Wrote: I am not sure if the stuff I bought is Alox or diamond, but I am pretty sure it's alox. This is one of the sheets that I bought: http://www.stuller.com/products/11-0752/?groupId=1694

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Appears to be ALOX from the price. Should work quite fine.

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 05-03-2013, 07:53 AM
#8
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I use lapping film every now and then. I have nothing but good things to say about it. I also use the AlOx stuff, as the diamond is not cheap enough.

One thing to remember: less is more with lapping film. It is very fast-cutting (especially when new). Use as few strokes as you can get away with.

Have fun with it.

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 05-03-2013, 08:49 AM
#9
  • oscar11
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It works very well. I go from a 1000k King to a 4/8k Norton and finish out on lapping film.

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 05-03-2013, 10:41 AM
#10
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(05-02-2013, 12:22 PM)Jabberwock Wrote: What are the thoughts in regards to lapping paper in general? Does anybody feel that lapping paper is a better choice than traditional stones? Does anybody think lapping paper is a poor choice vs. traditional stones? Some of the videos show a guy holding the lapping paper mount in his hand and stating that they shouldn't be used on a stable flat surface, such as a table, what are the thoughts on this? Would I be able to do a full honing using only the 12, 5, and 3 micron paper (I also have a pasted balsa strop with iron oxide and chromium oxide and a barber's hone) or should I find a 1 micron paper as well?

1. Works great. Doesn't require flattening. Easy as pie.
2. It's an alternative, not really a replacement
3. Don't listen to that man. A stable surface eliminates a lot of variables. Even for knives. Now, how to mount the film and get clearance for your knuckles is a different question.
4. You could, but why not buy the 1 micron? Also, why are you starting with such a coarse grit? Is the razor really dull? If so, if this is your first sharpening, you should send it out. It's very easy to maintain a razor. Bringing a razor back from super dull is technically just as easy, but knowledge helps with minimal metal removal.

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 05-03-2013, 12:12 PM
#11
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I figured that holding the lapping mount rather than placing it on a firm surface was, at best, a poor idea.

I have a well honed razor that will only need touch ups and even then, not for a while. I also have a couple of razors that are in need of honing, so I would like to see how well I can do it using lapping film. I've spoken with a few folks who only use a 1000 grit stone and lapping film for honing jobs from start to finish and even a couple of folks who use only lapping film from start to finish, so I know it can be done, whether or not I will be able to get good results using lapping film and Crox on a balsa strop is another story. I bought the 15, 5, and 3 micron because I wanted a full range to use and because those were the only micron sizes available from the site that I ordered from initially. I did end up buying a 1 micron sheet from another site, but with shipping costs it was way more expensive than the other three sheets combined.

No matter what happens I already have a good razor and a good idea of what a good edge should feel and look like, so I will be OK and look at this whole process as a learning experience. It would be nice if it turns out to be a learning experience that results in a couple of well honed razors...

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 05-03-2013, 03:44 PM
#12
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Sounds like you have it well in hand. The important part is that you already have a shave ready razor to compare to. In my lowly opinion you should put 90 percent of your effort in getting the bevel set perfectly and the remaining 10 percent in finishing (taking out the scratches left by initial setup. Sounds like you may not need to start with the 15 micron.

Keep us posted Smile

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 05-03-2013, 04:03 PM
#13
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I am familiar with your 'paper' idea. Have tried it, but is certainly no replacement for a good strop.

Why spend that kind of money on nice razors for ...?

JMHO

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 05-03-2013, 04:25 PM
#14
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Well, I am not trying to replace the strop or using the film instead of a strop. I have a couple of nice strops. I'm using the film in place of honing stones. I doubt that using paper instead of a strop would work well, but I have seen enough to lead me to believe that lapping film is a perfectly acceptable way to hone.

I do plan on spending a good amount of time working on the bevel, most of what I have seen and been told makes me think that, for a razor that needs a full hone, setting the bevel is the longest step and the most important part of the process. You can't make a good edge with a sloppy or poorly set bevel.

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 05-03-2013, 04:52 PM
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(05-03-2013, 03:44 PM)Nickadermis Wrote: In my lowly opinion you should put 90 percent of your effort in getting the bevel set perfectly and the remaining 10 percent in finishing (taking out the scratches left by initial setup.
+1

This is usually where use beguiners get in trouble with honing. We tend to move on to the finer grits too fast. Spending more time to get that bevel "just right" is the key!

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 05-03-2013, 05:11 PM
#16
  • oscar11
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If I remember correctly the 3um lapping film is around 8000k and the 1um around 16,000k the bevel needs to be well set before you get to this point. It would take forever to get a bevel set with this high grit film. I'm not saying it couldn't be done but watching paint dry might be quicker. Once the bevel is set your just polishing and refining the edge.

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 05-03-2013, 05:14 PM
#17
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Sorry J. I didn't pay close enough attention to your question. Some are making oil now trying to replace the strop. Another way to use the oil is with balsa wood in honing. In so far as this is certainly an inexpensive alternative, I don't see any damage. Hobby stores have plenty. Just get a thick piece.

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 05-04-2013, 12:01 PM
#18
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You can set a bevel on 12 micron and then go 9, 5, 3, 1, .3 and .3 with paper underneath or start at 5 or 3 if it doesn't need the bevel. Or touchup on 1 and then .3.

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 05-05-2013, 12:57 PM
#19
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