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Did you mirror polish your Spirit (scales handles blades) successfully? 554

Full Member Posts: 153 they called me poser
Did you mirror polish your Spirit (scales handles blades) successfully?
« on: June 12, 2017, 09:55:11 AM »
This thread may cover Spirit scales handles and Spirit/SAK blades, i am trying to polish the scales first. I've got an inexpensive 12-set of diamond polishing paste (syringes with 40micron down to 0.5micron, see ebay), and did several successful manual mirror polishing projects with it, so i have tons of hours of manual polishing experience so to speak. Why manual? Because i don't own a dremel, never mind, it doesn't matter here.

Some youtubers buy that set for stropping knife blades edges but imho polishing paste is not very suitable for stropping. While polishing paste and stropping paste are basically the same thing and can be composed of the identical set of ingredients and grain size, it is the 'recipe', i.e. the composition of the ingredient concentrations which makes the difference (low concentration of the active abrasive ingredient vs. high concentration).

New out of the box, Spirit scales come "nicely" polished. Its "mirror polish", produced afaik by factory tumble polishing process, is a dull and non-crisp mirror polish. The surface seems hardened and the finish is non-directional and would correspond to a very fine diamond grain size. Interestingly, it was super easy to eliminate the dullness with 1.0micron diamond paste, so the "mirror polish" became as bright as a real mirror.

However, the finish of the four scales had different degrees of non-crispiness: 3 were okay, while 1 had imho too many non-microscopic (simply called "tiny") tumble grain marks left from the tumble polishing process. Of course, it would be possible to polish them away with low-grit sandpaper or solid paste on a polishing wheel, i am sharing with you the information that it is practically impossible to do so with 40micron diamond paste, unless you consume 10 days 10 syringes and 10 dremels for the task. Also, "too much" material would need to be removed in order to remove all the tumble grain marks; similarly to deep scratches in the Spirit scales, you cannot polish them away. Let me assume that most readers do not own a dremel like me. So all i use is a Q-tip with the diamond paste. 
:facepalm:
I learned that even against tiniest non-microscopic scratches on the Spirit scales, my 40micron paste was powerless. On a perfectly smooth flat surface, 40micron produces a near-mirror-like finish already, a dull mirror finish, with visible microscopic directional lines. Btw I do own a portable 100x microscope for checking my stropping or polishing intermediary results.

Since the original Spirit finish is void of directional lines, it would compare to 3.5micron diamond paste. This has to be true since it is possible to brighten up the shine noticeably with 1.0micron diamond paste, as mentioned earlier. So FYI, if you ever try to polish your Spirit handles and use anything coarser than 3.5micron (ooh don't ask me to which grit this corresponds ::) ), rest assured that it will ruin, not improve, the finish, and you will see the microscopic directional lines corresponding to that micron used.

Here another tip, do not use longitudinal polishing movements, i.e. in direction of the length of the scale, because that will produce tiny longitudinal excavations originating from the tumble grain marks. That's an interesting general observation and i learned it the hard way. Circular polishing movement is the only way to go. I don't know why this does not produce those tiny excavations. RL is full of mystery lol.

Please share how your polishing attempts with Spirit scales (or SAK blades) went, how you were successful. Got some pics? I have come to accept that 1 scale has more tumble grain marks than the others, so i will just continue with the diamond paste, 28micron, 20, 14, …, 1.5, 1.0, 0.5. I would share photos then! I am not saying that polishing SAK blades or Spirit scales to 100%-mirror polish —like a real real mirror!— is art or impossible, but i am saying that it is darn challenging to get near there: for one thing, a real mirror does not have tumble grain marks in/on the finish!! And I am saying that mirror-polishing a Leatherman Surge is much easier because it does not have tumble-polished scales. It is not challenging to mirror-polish a Surge (blade or scale). I have a Surge. :D
« Last Edit: June 12, 2017, 10:31:32 AM by kreisler »
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 6,553 aka "G-Fiddle" and "Glen-Fizzle"
Re: Did you mirror polish your Spirit (scales handles blades) successfully?
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2017, 10:09:14 AM »
I don't polish my Spirit.

Bad for the BlackOut finish  :D

[--- arms length ---] (-.-) 

                                ^-- where the cat sits
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 17,517 I'm not a pessimist, I'm an experienced optimist!
Re: Did you mirror polish your Spirit (scales handles blades) successfully?
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2017, 11:12:50 AM »
I prefer to use my Spirit, and let it pick up scratches and character as it goes. A common complaint by some who don't like it, is the lack of traction in-hand. I don't see any benefit of further polishing - but then I'm a tool user, and care more about function and ergonomics than appearance :cheers:



The cantankerous but occasionally useful member, formally known as 50ft-trad
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 7,863
Re: Did you mirror polish your Spirit (scales handles blades) successfully?
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2017, 11:23:12 AM »
I don't have a spirit but I don't polish any of my multi's. They get a clean and wipe over with a oil based material, but I've never polished one.  I don't have any display models, they are all used at one stage or another so will get scratched up through use.
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 14,672
Re: Did you mirror polish your Spirit (scales handles blades) successfully?
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2017, 12:23:52 PM »
I don't polish my Spirit.

Bad for the BlackOut finish  :D
:imws:
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 5,518 motionless wheel, nothing is real
Re: Did you mirror polish your Spirit (scales handles blades) successfully?
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2017, 12:32:24 PM »
I'm sure the Spirit and all of the Vic stainless for that matter could be polished to a mirror shine, and would make a beautiful show piece, so I'm looking forward to seeing pics of the completed project!  :popcorn:

I, for one, am too lazy to spend much time polishing, so it's a quick once over with Mother's for me.  :facepalm:

 :cheers:
Full Member Posts: 153 they called me poser
Re: Did you mirror polish your Spirit (scales handles blades) successfully?
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2017, 02:08:00 PM »
Thanks, i can fully understand you guys' points and in the 5yr since the purchase i didn't really think about polishing either .. also because i didn't have the tools or means and was satisfied with the polishing degree out of the box. Here a photo of my yesterday's efforts, the scale to the left shows the many 'tumble grain marks' (as i called them in the OP) and which are practically impossible to polish away manually with 40micron paste, and the scale to the right shows how 40micron looks like on a scale which did not come with many tumble grain marks noob (new out of the box). The right will produce a crisp-ish mirror finish, once i am down to 0.5micron, the left cannot:
(click to enlarge!)

Also see that the right one's finish, due to my 40micron treatment, looks ruined compared to the noob condition. On a noob Spirit scale, one cannot see any microscopic lines, that's the advantage of Vinox's tumble polishing process. The disadvantage of that process is that the mirror finish looks dull-ish (not super clear/bright) and has a random amount of those tumble grain marks.

In a week or so, my fingers are hurting, :o i should be done with the mirror polishing of the Spirit scales. Btw, for much better grip one can tape the handles. Any tape does the trick. Clear tape, duct tape, gaffer tape, electrician's tape, clear adhesive film, anything. That's how i kept my scales scratchfree after 5yr of mild usage. And yes, as a skateboarder in highschool my fellow skaters called me a poser.  :salute:  :rofl:
« Last Edit: June 12, 2017, 02:10:16 PM by kreisler »
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 5,518 motionless wheel, nothing is real
Re: Did you mirror polish your Spirit (scales handles blades) successfully?
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2017, 03:13:45 PM »
That's some next level shine, good work!  :cheers:
Hero Member Posts: 502 Unless
Re: Did you mirror polish your Spirit (scales handles blades) successfully?
« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2017, 08:17:43 PM »
What I do in my spare time is private..... :whistle:

"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."
― Dr. Seuss, The Lorax
Global Moderator Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 25,746
Re: Did you mirror polish your Spirit (scales handles blades) successfully?
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2017, 12:32:47 AM »
What I do in my spare time is private..... :whistle:

 :rofl:

Esse Quam Videri

 

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