It’s been a while. It’s been awhile since something new appeared in the sharpening world, at least something worth reviewing.
I got a text from Tom Blodgett (owner of Jende Industries) that he had been working on a few new products, more precisely a new substrate and poly diamond sprays. After a brief talk he was gracious enough to send me a few bottles and strops to try out.
What’s the difference?
There are already polycrystalline diamond sprays on the market. Not in the least this market has been dominated by Ken Schwartz who has pioneered these sprays in the past 5-10 years. So why are these sprays available, at a lower price even. From what Tom explained it has a slightly lower concentration of diamonds than Ken’s stuff, which makes it more affordable, yet still high quality. Having only tested a few poly sprays from Ken, I was interested in how much cutting ability I was losing by lowering the concentration.
As a company, I mostly deal with knives on a day to day basis and I figured I should test them doing what they would be doing most, kitchen and pocket knives.
I loaded 2 of the new Jende strops with 1µ and 0.25µ sprays. I loaded them with just as much spray as I’m used to and didn’t compensate for the lower concentration. Sharpening 2 knives from scratch, I progressed through the Shapton Pro 320, 1k, 2k; Nubatama Bamboo 5k and 8k before hitting the 1µ strop. After finishing on the 8k stone both knives would shave and the burr was removed from the edge.
The strop, now called nanocloth ultra, reminded me of birch polypore. A fungus used to hone knives in the old days A soft velvety feedback with nice cushioning. Definitely softer than the bovine of horse leather strops we use often, but because it’s so thin it would be hard to round over the edge on the strop. Surely you could round over an edge, but you could do that on balsa wood with improper technique.
The strop does need to dry a bit before use. It doesn’t dry as fast as leather and resembles balsa wood more in that regard. I found spraying them 5 minutes prior to stropping to be plenty and resulting in a nice feeling strop with optimal results.
Both knives came off the 1µ strop with a screaming sharp edge that would be plenty for almost any knife and with more bite to the edge than a 15k stone would leave. All in all, I was thoroughly impressed and didn’t feel the spray wore out fast. Aster stropping 10 of my own knives the strop still cut well and left a nicely polished edge.
The 0.25µ spray is an odd beast. I assumed it would behave like the 0.25µ mono spray from Hand American (HA) we have all come to love and have used for years. That said, the edge was almost glass like while the 0.25µ HA spray produces serious bite to an edge leaving me to think this spray might be better suited for razors, something I would never have thought as I don’t like diamond or CBN sprays above 0.125µ for razors in general.
I decided not to test the 0.1µ spray on knives as I never found sprays in that range to be beneficial in everyday use, but do serve a great purpose in my straight razor honing progression.
Daaaaaamn. That’s all I’ve got to say. Up until now I loved the 0.125µ CBN form ken on horse leather as a final step to get my harder razors (Heljestrand, Hellberg, kamisoris, Le Grelot…) to that final edge. I loaded a nanocloth ultra strop and a kangaroo strop with the 0.1µ poly spray and let them dry for a few minutes while I finished 2 Hellberg razors on a 15k Shapton pro. Both razors were honed with the same progression and were able to perform the HHT3 right off the 15k stone.
I did find the kangaroo strop to feel nicer but the final edge was identical in feel and feedback. Sharp, smooth, nice feedback and no burn after applying Proraso splash. I since used the same razors 3 times and found the edge to be durable with just stropping on my Kanayama strop.
As of now, this spray has replaced my 0.125µ CBN spray and 0.1 diamond emulsion I got from Ken for finishing my razors. I found it to be ever so slightly smoother.
In all, I found these poly sprays durable, fast cutting and polishing. A high quality product I would recommend to everyone and without hesitation use on a daily basis.
One downside some way encounter is that these sprays are just that, sprays. It is not offered in emulsions or pastes and therefore might not be perfect for leather belts on a belt sander. For that purpose, I still use Ken’s emulsions and HA 1µ boron carbide semi paste. Tom has confirmed there are plans for emulsions in the future and when those do come out, I will be reviewing them as well.