Sharpening: Looking close with a USB microscope. #1: USB Microscope the first test pictures

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Blog entry by mafe posted 12-04-2011 07:02 PM 6964 reads 1 time favorited 38 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Sharpening: Looking close with a USB microscope. series Part 2: _Water stone, compound and newspaper_ »

Looking close at sharpening
USB Microscope the first test pictures

Before I even start I have wonderful news to share with my friends and others here:
I finally got my pension case settled this gives me a huge smile on my lips since it has been a fight since 2007 that seemed to never get an end, but now finally did. This combined with other factors in my life that smile to me in these days are making me a very happy man, and this is why I’m a little off LJ.
As soon as I am back to ‘normal’, I’ll start my second part of Japanese tools blog, that will be full of stuff for those interested in that, and also get back to the microscope and start taking pictures of different sharpening methods, grinds and so with my new microscope.

The microscope:
◦Image sensor: 2.0 Mega Pixels.
◦Still capture resolution: 1600×1200.
◦Magnification Ratio: 20x to 800x.
◦Photo format: JPEG or BMP.
◦Light source: 8 LED (adjustable by control wheel).
◦PC interface: USB2.0.
◦Size: 11cm x 3.2cm x 3.2cm – 4.33inch x 1.26inch x 1.26inch.

Here the seller:

Here the setup, especially good espresso is important…
As you can see it just hooks up by the USB, and the software is really simple.

Build in light.
Magnify 20 / 800 times by the zoom wheel.

Here just hairs.

Ok, to give an idea, this is a beard hair just where it is cut.

Since I always tell when I smile, this is my lip at a 800 x zoom.

Here a 20x zoom of a knife blade.

Here a 800x zoom of a knife blade.

Bahco chisel front 800x.

Bahco chisel back 800x.

Japanese chisel front 800x.

Japanese chisel back 800x.

Vintage Japanese chisel front 800x.

Vintage Japanese chisel back 800x.

Iles chisel front 800x.

Iles chisel back 800x.

I will make no conclusions to this today, since I do not remember the different sharpening methods used on the views, so today it is just a fast look, and quite fun to see the difference in the surfaces and the steel that looks completely smooth is a landscape when we zoom.

These days have been working on a knife for one of my best friends (the knife in front), and my leather just arrived so I am in the phase of leatherwork now, here designing and enjoying life with a good glass of Italian wine.

Hope this blog series will end up being more inspiring than this first blog… smiles,

Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

38 comments so far

View saddletramp's profile


1180 posts in 3119 days

#1 posted 12-04-2011 07:12 PM

Too cool, Mads. I think that I need one of those. And, a big congrats on the pension case.

-- ♫♪♪♫♫ Saddletramp, saddletramp, I'm as free as the breeze and I ride where I please, saddletramp ♪♪♪♫♪ ...... Bob W....NW Michigan (Traverse City area)

View JJohnston's profile


1622 posts in 3772 days

#2 posted 12-04-2011 07:18 PM


There was an article in National Geographic about 30 years ago, covering a stone-age site found by archaeologists somewhere in Florida; they used a camera like this to take pictures of the flaked flint blades they found, along with shots of a surgical scalpel for comparison. The scalpel looked like the edges in your pictures, but the flint edge was so smooth and perfect it looked the same at any magnification.

I’m surprised these devices are so affordable. I suppose that’s the march of technology. Question: I looked at the item in your link, and also ebay US, and they look the same. One picture has the parts labeled, and it has what it calls a “snapshot button” on the side of the device. Do you press this button to take the picture? I wonder how still you can hold it while taking an 800x picture.

And congratulations on resolving your case!

-- "A man may conduct himself well in both adversity and good fortune, but if you want to test his character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3655 days

#3 posted 12-04-2011 07:27 PM

HUGE congratulations on the pension case (I understand exactly what this could mean for you, your life, and your family).

Very cool pictures. This may well be the answer to the eternal question, “How can I get even MORE obsessive over having the perfect edge on my cutting tools ?”


-- -- Neil

View jjw5858's profile


1135 posts in 3083 days

#4 posted 12-04-2011 07:29 PM

Glad things are getting in order Mads, best wishes….and as always….your posts are great. Good stuff and always inspiring, cheers!

-- "Always continue to learn, laugh and share!" JJW

View Brit's profile


7789 posts in 3324 days

#5 posted 12-04-2011 07:34 PM

Great news about the pension Mads – well deserved. ”Other factors that smile to me” you say. Hmmm. Well don’t wear yourself out my friend.

This is going to be an interesting blog.

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View Don W's profile

Don W

19314 posts in 3049 days

#6 posted 12-04-2011 07:42 PM

glad to hear you’re getting back to normal. Now if i could just figure out what normal is :-).

pictures are cool. Thanks for sharing them. I’ll be waiting for the different sharpening pic’s.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 3751 days

#7 posted 12-04-2011 08:09 PM

Glad tidings indeed. At such an appropriate time of year (for non christians too). The wheels of justice sure do turn slowly…perhaps too slowly sometimes.

Now you can seriously tell someone that you know how sharp your tools really are and have the proof to show them. It amazes me the different worlds that are revealed by microscopes. Does the wine and capuchino enhance the view (or just the viewer?)...

Thanks for sharing the great news….we need alot of good news in this cold season so we can generate a bit of heat (except for our lucky LJ’s down under)....lucky devils….we expect you folks down there to start turning out those summer projects now.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

23198 posts in 3586 days

#8 posted 12-04-2011 08:18 PM

hey Mads, great to hear you got your pension case settled. Now you can get that off your mind and relax a bit in the shop with your wonderful ideas coming to light.
That magifications is something else! The edge that you think is sharp can really look ragged under that magnification. It is a good to know which sharpening method gives the best results, though.
Thanks for sharing and good luck to you, my friend …...............Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3596 days

#9 posted 12-04-2011 08:20 PM

YYYUUUBIIIIIIIIIII !!!!!!!! Mads :—)))))))))))

you deffently deserved it CHEERS

you normal …............will never happen ….... I hope …. we like you as you are …. ha ha ha

congrat´s with your new toy …. good to see it arived
and I can see its not only the capuchino you have found you also celebrate with bowl of candy :-)

looking forward to see what you come up with

take care

View againstthegrain's profile


117 posts in 4233 days

#10 posted 12-04-2011 08:52 PM


Awesome and excellent news!! Congrats big time! I am thrilled for you and celebrate with you!!!!

-- Anchul - Warrensburg, MO: As a Pastor, I am just trying to get closer to Jesus. He was a woodworker too.

View SamuelP's profile


793 posts in 3127 days

#11 posted 12-04-2011 09:08 PM


-- -Sam - FL- "A man who carries a cat by the tail learns somthing he can in no other way" -Mark Twain

View Sodabowski's profile


2388 posts in 3314 days

#12 posted 12-04-2011 09:13 PM

That’s gonna be very interesting. Let’s see how a properly sharpened chisel looks like under 800x magnification :)

-- Thomas - there are no problems, there are only solutions.

View racerglen's profile


3112 posts in 3261 days

#13 posted 12-04-2011 09:21 PM

Madds ! Skoll !
Wonderfull news (hhmm..skoll…schol..ach der lieber..skol !)
great news however you spell it !


-- Glen, B.C. Canada

View RGtools's profile


3372 posts in 3136 days

#14 posted 12-04-2011 09:43 PM

I am glad that things are on the upswing for you.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2078 posts in 3121 days

#15 posted 12-04-2011 10:02 PM

Mads, Glad to hear your pension settlement is resolved.

That is a cool microscope, too. With that you will know when you have your edge. You will have fun going through your normal procedures with that and confirming what is best method for each sharpening type.

I can get a good deal on a USB Digital Microscope Endoscope Refurbished Video Camera 20x to 200x w/Driver, but passed on it because I don’t know where all it has been, you know ? ;=)

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

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