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Has anyone been keen , nerdy ?, enough to try one of these . I just saw one on Chef Knives To Go website and looked them up on both You Tube and Amazon .




Rather annoying music on the You Tube video but there are a few others to see on there.

I have seen virtuovice magnify edges on his You Tube videos and was thinking that it could be the way to go to check those edges.  Especially at the reasonable price of $65.

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I think that I got the answer I was looking for a little while ago Data . I reckon that a usb microscope will be a useful addition to my knife sharpening kit . The reason why I haven't bought one yet is that for a while using the Edge Pro was a steep learning curve . It is fairly easy with it to get a better edge than I was used to , but getting the edge that I was wanting now that takes a bit of practice . I have had a habit of gathering too much information at times especially when new to something and suffering from an excess of enthusiasm !   I thought it would be best to wait until I was reasonably familiar with my sharpener before looking at my work in such detail . The jewellers loupe has given me enough magnification so far . I think it may soon , like before the end of the year  , be time to try a microscope will update this when I try one .

I use some high quality (Nikon, etc.) microscopes at work with good lighting and cameras.  I also bought one of the cheap $30 USB microscopes on Amazon.  While there is no doubt which is the far superior system, It's amazing what you get for $30.  I don't find it so good for taking pictures but it's great to just get a close look at something.

Mine has 2 powers of magnification .. 50X & 500X. It came with generic open-source USB camera software. I downloaded 2 other generic open-source USB camera software packages & successfully tested them both. I currently use the supplied "Cooling Tech" software.

The view is crisp ..and.. can be saved under various pic formats. I use *.jpg format ..&.. the result is a crisp image.

It will also save the view as a video file .. under various formats. I have not used this function.

I paid $11.13. It was ordered on Aug 06, 2015 & I received it on Aug 22, 2015.

It is currently available from the same vendor @ $11.68

Obviously .. higher quality is available .. @ higher $.  Personally .. I am QUITE pleased with what I have !!!

It works great for discerning worn cutlery stampings & provides a whole different view of pattern welded steel .. modern damascus.

Given the quality & price .. I feel there should be one in every science classroom.

Here are some pics I snapped with it shortly after purchase ....

Very simple mosaic pin @ 50X.

Same pin @ 500X.

Again .. pin @ 500X.

Pattern welded steel @ 500X.

Same blade .. slightly different area .. @ 500X.

For under $12 .. I'm satisfied !!

I find it amazing that what looks and feels good to the eyes can be so rough when magnified.  It is hard for some to understand that the parts of the knife were never actually meant to be magnified like this but I do know a few that have returned knives to the dealers with pics of it magnified to show the flaws.  I have been on the dealer side of this conversation


If something has to be magnified to the point I've shown above to "see" a "defect" .. it is likely NOT defective. i.e. the pin I posted pics of in the last comment .. looks smooth & shiny to the naked eye .&. feels smooth to the touch.

The blade steel I posted pics of .. yes, you can detect the ridges between the layers if you run your nail over it. But .. quite frankly .. I'd be a little concerned if I couldn't. The etching process used to "bring out" the pattern does so by "eating" the different metals away @ different rates. The higher the carbon content .. the more metal that gets removed in a given time period. The rate of reaction is faster. As a result .. there had better be some differentiation between the metal layers.

Otherwise .. well .. they've vastly improved the laser etching method of applying a damascus "PATTERN". Just sayen'.


Again .. if something has to be magnified to the point shown above just to see it .. it's likely NOT defective !!!!!!!!!


Jan Carter said:

I find it amazing that what looks and feels good to the eyes can be so rough when magnified.  It is hard for some to understand that the parts of the knife were never actually meant to be magnified like this but I do know a few that have returned knives to the dealers with pics of it magnified to show the flaws.  I have been on the dealer side of this conversation

Thanks for the information guy's I am still on the fence with this one . Though having seen the results that Dale has got with an $11 machine !!, that really is fantastic .

As I am getting some rather good , at least for me , results with both the Edge Pro and freehand I am getting a strong urge to buy an old straight razor from one of the antique centres around here . It would be a useful thing to be able to see my razor sharpening , hopefully , go from beginner to usable in detail !

John .. please take the following comments with a grain of salt (perhaps , even .. a 5 lb bag) …......

Observing the cutting edge of my knives was one of the purposes in mind when I purchased my USB microscope. Would you believe .. I found exactly what I expected. i.e. what appears shiny, smooth, & consistent ..didn't.. given enough magnification.

It seriously sounds to me that you've attained the ability to adequately sharpen a knife. YES .. magnification by any means (I prefer a simple high power loupe at this point) is helpful. When I first obtained a pocket knife with quality tempered D2 .. I was sharpening & getting nowhere. I've been successfully sharpening knives for a good 50 yrs plus. Soooo .. what the hey !?!

Under a loupe .. I was able to quickly identify the fact that my “normal” method was only wearing away metal & the shoulder of the cutting edge. i.e. the transition between the surface of the cutting edge & the surface of the rest of the blade. I simply needed to re-profile the cutting edge. And upon doing so .. was able to achieve what I normally achieve in the sharpening process .. a sharpened cutting edge of the tool in hand.

The USB microscope allows easy recording / documentation of a current state of affairs. It also allows recording of results at various stages of a procedure. All .. very useful documentation. Quite frankly .. I've found the 500X magnification to be simply .. too much.

Let me interject a personal observation of “sharpening” .. that being ….... @ any given angle .. polishing the resulting cutting surface results in a more effective cutting edge. i.e. sharpening a tool at an angle of 18.5 degrees (arbitrarily chosen for purpose of discussion) with a 60 grit abrasive tool will NOT provide the same effective cutting edge as polishing the result with progressively finer & finer grits .. while maintaining the same 18.5 degree angle. The reason why is easily verified under magnification. The “rough” result obtained by the 60 grit simply will not “slide” through whatever is being cut as effectively as the polished result obtained from 600 grit .. 1200 grit ..or.. polishing rouge. Just my 2-cents.

What my $11 experiment has told me .. is...............
It provides a working solution for generating documentation ..however.. I do not NEED more expensive equipment to validate what (often) I already know. It is very sweet .. relative to my innate curiosity of the world around me ..&.. my failing eyesight (simple aging).

Again .. @ the given cost & quality .. I believe every science classroom should have one.

Just an opinion ..specifically.. mine.


Great advise Dale , and I know what you mean about failing eyesight !

I think when I have finally acquired enough equipment and knowledge to pursue this straight razor urge of mine then a microscope will be very interesting . I have a Belgian Blue stone and a Wastikivi stone from Finland is on it's way , both supposed to be good for use with razors and there may well be a Coticule added to the collection soon . I think that I would enjoy looking at the different results with these stones through a USB microscope . Some of us knife nuts sure do get carried away , guess I must be as nuts as most of my friends think I am !!

I think I need one also!  Failing eyesight, even with my glasses on I don't see as crisp as I used to.


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