DIY Balsa Strops

Holiday

from Lanolin
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With regard to a suitable tile in your substrate, that tile needn't be perfectly flat or smooth. It just needs to be extremely stiff and not change shape due to humidity and/or temperature. No timber, however well seasoned, will meet this requirement. It is even a problem with the balsa and one of the reasons that extra-thick balsa is not specified.

Lapping flat and repasting before each use may work, however you will end up going through a lot of diamond paste. Remember that to keep a consistently perfect edge, you will be balsa stropping an edge after each and every shave. Do you intend to lap and repaste with each shave?
Thanks for the additional advice @rbscebu, I have since ordered aluminum plates to use as substrate.

With regard to needing to use 0.1um paste, I am expressing my personal observations and those of others who have experienced the same or similar results. I cannot explain why this is so, only what I and others have learned from experience.

Shave comfort is not just about "sharpness". Once you start getting into sub-micron "honing" you are dealing closer to a molecular level rather than a granular level. Steel grain sizes are of the order of about 4um.
I realised my mistake and have ordered 0.1 um paste
 
Joined
Sep 10, 2020
Location
Cebu, Philippines
Sounds like alot of work
@Holiday just grab a jnat and be done with it lol :LOL:
Jnats are good but not cheap and do not produce as sharp an edge as the balsa progression 0.5um, 0.25um and 0.1um. If you want the sharpest and comfortable edge (some don't), you use diamond pasted balsa strops. Cost should be well under $100. Once properly set up and used, your SR never needs to touch a whetstone again.

My honing progression now consists of:
  1. Start bevel setting on 400 (if needed) and 1k stones.
  2. Finish bevel set on 3k stone.
  3. Polish bevel on 6k and 10k stone.
  4. Polish bevel on 3um and 1um lapping film.
  5. Finish off on 0.5um, 0.25um and 0.1um diamond pasted balsa strops.
After each shave, a blade gets about 50 laps on a 0.1um hanging balsa strop to keep that perfect edge. Never touches a stone or film again.
 
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Joined
Sep 10, 2020
Location
Cebu, Philippines
I actually have four diamond pasted balsa strops; 1 x 0.5um, 1 x 0.2um and 2 x 0.1um. As you may observe, the 0.1um gets the most used so I have two of those. One is used for normal progressions and the other is used for after-shave edge maintenance only.
 
Joined
Jul 9, 2019
Location
Adelaide
You are not finishing correctly on a Japanese natural stone if it is not sharp enough for you
But as always ymmv
They do require the appropriate middle ground work before finishing
But, again different strokes for different folks
 

Holiday

from Lanolin
Grand Society
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Feb 7, 2019
Location
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Lapped the balsa strops yesterday. Figured if they were going to warp it would be during a change in season and we have just entered the dry here in the Top End. The most beautiful summer days imaginable :)
The kiln dried Merbau held up extremely well and the balsa was flat with minor wear and tear from stropping razors but no warping.
The last strop made 0.1 diamond paste strop was loaded onto a piece of western red cedar which had curled slightly at each end (bowed).
May have been a settling in period - will see how it goes next lapping.
 
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