OT (slightly) Sharpening Leather working knives...?

Howdy,
Recently, I have gotten back into some leatherwork after many years.
Among other tools, I have several "round knives" (the half moon shaped knives that you may have seen.)
In any case, I had always sharpened them using Japanese water stones ending with an 8000 grit gold polishing stone.
The edge I could produce was always very good, but...
A few days ago, I got some .3 Micron lapping film, and worked the wet edge of my largest round knife with it for perhaps 30 strokes.
Then, I made a cut in some 10 ounce oak tanned leather.
The tool glided through the leather with far greater ease than I had ever experienced. It was like using a different tool.
I was truly astounded.
Next, I polished the knife using a strop on which I had some aluminum oxide abrasive compound, and saw a similar result. The knife was far sharper than I could achieve using the 8000 stone.
And so these questions:
What might be going on here? Is the grit on the 8000 stone really so much more coarse that I can feel the difference in the resulting edge so easily? Or is there something else happening with the few strokes of the strop or .3 Micron film?
And finally, would there be ways that I could get these knives sharper still?
Thanks for any thoughts,
--
Kenneth

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Kenneth wrote:

An 8000X stone has particles that are roughly 1 micron in size. Typical honing/polishing compound is 0.5 micron, and your film is 0.3 micron.
A bare leather strop might get you even further if you're careful.
Chris
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On Wed, 20 Feb 2008 01:16:44 -0600, Chris Friesen

Hi Chris,
Please say more about that last thought (particularly the word "careful"...
I would have assumed that a bare strop would have abrasive characteristics that would make things worse.
Also, I find the film rather inconvenient, but know that I can get .3M paste in small quantities. Would using a dab on a strop be viable in your opinion?
Sincere thanks,
--
Kenneth

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Try using a honing compound on that leather strop. Lee Valley sells it. Us woodcarvers use it all the time and get our knives and carving tools extremely sharp. The trick is don't use it like barbers sharpen their straight razors. By that I mean don't slide the knife on one side of the blade and then on the other, with short wrist turning strokes. (Gee I hope that made sense!) Slide the knife or what ever along the length of the strop a few times, in one direction, and then do the other side and repeat until you are happy with how sharp it is. Good luck!!! I hope this helps.
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Kenneth wrote:

Coarser. Ever hear of sharpening a straight razor on one? OK, one can use stones on razors but only to make a new edge if the old one is really bad. And after the stone comes the strop.
--

dadiOH
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