One of the new things I learned while writing The Perfect Edge was Harrelson Stanley’s edge jointing technique. We’re not talking about jointing boards for gluing, but jointing a cutting edge on the finest stone as a last or near-last step in sharpening.
Harrelson describes the technique here and at the 1:00 mark in this animated video. It’s just a gentle swipe of the edge, held vertically on the finest stone to remove the “teeth” that remain from honing. Harrelson claims this technique strengthens the edge. I know it sounds counterproductive but the photo above is one of a blade that I honed this way and I think the smoothness of the edge tells the tale. I didn’t get a micrograph of an un-jointed 16000-grit edge but compare to an 8000-grit edge without jointing and you’ll get the idea:
It’s an interesting bit of sharpening detail and nuance from someone who knows a lot about sharpening. Try it out and please report back on how it goes.
*SEM Photos from The Perfect Edge.
An aside for you tech-heads out there: When you see an image from a scanning electron microscope (SEM) it will inevitably include a scale of some sort. In these that I’ve included here you’ll notice a row of small dots above the type in the lower right corner. It says “20um” meaning the row of dots is 20 microns long. A micron is a millionth of a meter and is represented by the Greek letter mu which looks like a lower-case u with a leading descender (like this: µ, but your browser may not support it). Some other SEM’s will include a horizontal I with the micron size above it. I’ve claimed 2000x magnification on these but that’s the magnification of the raw image when it was shot. The actual magnification will depend on how it is reproduced. So if you measure that row of dots as you see them and do the math you can calculate the actual perceived magnification.