Why CBN, or other coated steel wheels are not as good as a a matrix grind wheel......

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by odie, Apr 19, 2014.

  1. odie

    odie

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    One huge problem, as I see it, these days, is the great majority of turners don't want to sharpen.......the rise in popularity of the Easywood tools are testament to that. Others will grudgingly do some sharpening, but they want it to be as easy as possible, and don't want to hone.......another problem with current philosophy. Most turners will bend over backwards trying to make sharpening easy and fool proof as possible. There have been advancements, but we've known how to get a perfectly sharp edge for 100 years.......and it involves some hand dressing of the edge. Those who take honing to the next level, will do it on both sides. (This is a discussion for another day.)

    Lately, we've seen the influx of coated steel wheels for lathe tool sharpening......up to about 180gt. Without honing, they will produce a sharper edge than any matrix wheel of lesser grit, and this seems to be the point of the current majority thinking. With proper honing, the edge fineness, ie: cutting ability, produced with a wheel of lesser grit (80gt, as example for discussion), far exceeds that edge that can be made with a 180gt wheel without honing. (This is also a discussion for another time.)

    Why is a matrix wheel better than a coated steel wheel? There are several reasons......

    A coated steel wheel cannot be dressed......pretty simple reasoning, but why is that important? A steel wheel will necessarily have a tolerance introduced between the grinder arbor and the wheel. Bushings will double this tolerance. If a steel wheel has a few thousandths discrepancy of trueness, that discrepancy is there, and will be there.....forever. When dressing a matrix wheel, it doesn't matter about the link between arbor and wheel, and how the integrity of that mating is......it's adjusted to fit one individual grinder to one individual wheel, and dressing accomplishes that.

    One place where the steel wheel has a distinct advantage, is the balance of the wheel itself. Coated steel wheels can be balanced at the factory, and will be better balanced from that point. For those who use matrix grind wheels to a high degree of efficiency and integrity, balancing the wheel is an important step in that use. Avoiding balancing can be a crucial mistake, and I suspect is seldom done by anyone at all. Balancing a matrix wheel with the use of movable weights on the arbor plates can result in perfection! (See photo. This was take at least five years ago, where I've balanced nickels on the grinder housing after taking the time to balance the SG wheels with weights.)

    Another advantage matrix wheels have over coated steel wheels, is the surface of the matrix wheel can be renewed through dressing. This isn't possible with the coated steel wheel.......so, the result of this is the bonded CBN, or diamond particles wear out. In the shop where I work, we sharpen carbide cutting tools on a diamond coated plate. The ability of that plate to sharpen the carbide degrades over time and use. A matrix wheel that is worn down to the point of needing replacement, will always remove material just as well as when it was new. I believe this is an important advantage to the wood lathe turner......

    Currently, the newer turners spend a great deal of money and effort to eliminate, or reduce the need for sharpening, and/or the physical skills required to produce a keen edge......and, as I see it......have failed to produce the sharper edge that we've known how to make since the early days of hand tools. We've done nothing but make reasonably sharp tools much faster and easier to acquire.......but, a finely honed edge can only be had the old fashioned way. When this subject has been discussed previously, we've heard about how a fine edge doesn't last on the lathe. Yes, admittedly this is true, but how much effort is worth having that fine edge? If the object of a turner is simple shapes, it might not matter that much.......but if simple shapes are not the final destination of a turner's individual repertoire, and he desires crisp sharp corners, well executed curves, cleanly cut details, and minimal distortion because less sanding is required.....then, that fine edge is golden!

    As with everything woodturning........results are the ONLY thing that matters. Everything else is secondary to that. (The only reason I find it necessary to repeat these words, is it's very apparent that the woodturning community bogs itself down in things that don't positively effect the outcome, instead of what really matters......and, that is results.)

    ooc
     

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    Last edited: Apr 19, 2014
  2. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    Umm, Odie, you really need to take one for an extended test run. After using them for almost 10 years, I don't agree. They, by far outshine any other standard wheel available in every category I can think of except price, but when you consider value for what you get, they even excel there.

    robo hippy
     
  3. odie

    odie

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    Hiya Robo...........I didn't expect I wouldn't see any disagreement. I don't own any Easywood tools either, so does this mean I can't have a valid opinion about them, either? Saying you disagree is one thing, but let's introduce a little more conceptual thinking to the mix, ok?

    OK, you feel the CBN wheel excels.......I just told you why I feel the opposite, and gave reasons. Might I expect the same?

    Say, about 4-5 years ago, you told us you were working on a web site so we could see your current works......ever get-er-done? Sure would be nice to evaluate your input by cross referencing it with your results on a continuing basis.

    ooc
     
  4. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    I am almost afraid to ask, but wondering how you came upon your facts ... or is it just speculation? Or just poking a stick in the hornets nest? :rolleyes: My observation from interfacing with club members, what I see at the SWAT symposium, and discussions on this forum as well as several others leads me to think just the opposite. And, I am guessing that bending over backwards to make things easier seems contradictory. It may possibly be that most turners are smarter than you give them credit.

    I have the same model Delta grinder that you do (23-725) with two Norton 3X stones (a step below your SG stones) and it runs incredibly smooth compared to the typical grinder in which the stones haven't been trued and balanced. However, it isn't as smooth as the grinder running without any stones mounted. The only other thing that needs to be done to a wheel besides truing it, is to correct for side to side wobble (do this before truing). I don't have CBN wheels, but I have used them to sharpen a few tools and will say that they are something to behold. However, as you already know, I am a stinkin' Tormek sharpener which might qualify me as being even more pedantic than you are about sharp edges. ;)

    From what I have read, it appears that diamond "stones" aren't as durable as CBN. That may be because the nickel plating process that holds the particles bonds better to CBN while the diamonds are basically being "trapped" within the nickel plating. There is another more significant difference: diamond abrasives are much smaller than the CBN particles so the two materials serve different purposes. Also, with smaller particles, the nickel plating is thinner so as the nickel wears away, diamonds are sloughed off.

    The CBN steel wheels are much more precise in their machining tolerances that you presume. The bushing don't double tolerances as you claim. In fact they have a snug fit to both the arbor hole in the wheel and to the motor shaft. While the concentricity and wobble in a matrix wheel can be seen by eye, it would take a micrometer to measure the same parameters on a quality CBN wheel.

    When you are talking about the cutting surface itself, the question is irrelevant because of surface roughness -- where do you make your measurement? Each particle is going to give a different result regardless of the type of wheel.

    No argument with what you say here.

    Isn't that apples and oranges. You're talking about diamond abrasives and tungsten carbide. We can't draw any conclusions about CBN and HSS from that. CBN isn't new. Its primary market is industrial and not woodturning. Apparently it has found a place or it wouldn't still be around and gaining favor. I don't have any insight on how long a CBN wheel will last, but there are other things besides longevity that make it worthwhile: not continually needing to put up with with truing and balancing saves money in industrial uses and the elimination of that noxious cloud of dust which is the hallmark of a matrix wheel make the CBN grinding wheel very attractive.

    I would say that it DOES last longer. A sharper edge cuts with less force which implies less wear. Starting off with an edge that hasn't been honed is where the honed edge will be after it has already cut a considerable amount of wood. Trying to quantify how long an edge will last can be an exercise in futility because hardness of species, green/dry differences, mineral content, grain patterns, roughing/finishing cuts, and countless other things can muddy the waters.

    Keep on tilting at windmills. :)
     
  5. odie

    odie

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    Hello Bill.......Can you tell me how the multi-quote function works?

    I'd like to reply in the same way you've responded to me.....breaking down my post to respond to specific areas.

    ooc

    edit: Will have to be later, as my son and I are leaving shortly for the afternoon. OK, I see the multi-quote function isn't what you've used, but would like to know how to break down a post to respond to individual points, as you have done......

    Later......

    ooc
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2014
  6. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    I have not bought a CBN wheel yet.

    I actually planned on buying one at the AAW symposium in Tampa last June. But I was dissuaded by a couple of professionals and a sharpening expert whose opinions I sought as to whether they were using them and why, why not.

    General consensus was.

    1. If you use mostly particle metal tools the CBN puts a better edge on them than the ceramic and AO wheelies.

    2. If you know how to dress a wheel a freshly dressed wheel will put as good an edge on m2 and m4 steels.
    The freshly dressed wheel will also do an adequate job on the PM steels.

    3. As to cost effectiveness. When I was turning a lot, an 8" AO wheel would last about 18-20 months up until it was 6" in diameter and I would replace it.
    I now have 2 Norton 3x wheels on the grinder for 3 years and I might get another 2 out of them.
    It is unlikely I will be turning long enough to make it a cost effective decision. This is true I a lot of 30 year old hobbyists too.
    Also I use a course wheel on my bowl gouges. So I would need two CBN wheels.

    Most of the new tools I buy are PM. So I will probably buy a CBN wheel in the next year or so.

    From all accounts, the CBN wheels work as well a freshly dressed 3x wheel of the same grit.


    Al
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2014
  7. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    It requires some copy and paste, but it's pretty simple once you do it.

    First copy the beginning of a quote -- the part that has the square brackets -- including the brackets by highlighting it and clicking CONTROL-C.

    [QUOTE=name and number]

    Then paste it at the beginning of everything that you want to quote by putting the cursor at the desired spot and hitting CONTROL-V.

    Next, copy the closing quote tag by highlighting [/QUOTE] and clicking CONTROL-C. Then put the cursor where you want to end the quote and hit CONTROL-V.

    Finally, delete any part that you do not want to quote. Sounds harder than it actually is.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2014
  8. R Henrickson

    R Henrickson

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    To have something formatted as quoted text, all you have to do is start any block of text to be formatted as a quote with [ QUOTE ] (remove the spaces either side of QUOTE) and end the block with [ /QUOTE ] (same change) -- if I had submitted this with the two commands in proper format (without internal spaces), they would be implemented and become invisible.

    Or another way to see how to use the QUOTE formatting commands -- just hit "Reply" for any message and see how the two QUOTE format commands appear. That will format the entire original message as a quote, but inserting the appropriate commands can create separate blocks of quotes.

    If you do that, it is always a good idea to preview your message to make sure that every 'start quote' command (QUOTE within brackets) is balanced with a 'end quote' command (QUOTE preceded by / ). If I'm not mistaken, it is simply HTML.
     
  9. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    That is all good information to know, Al. Since my Norton 3X wheels still have a long way to go before they are worn out, I don't have any plans to replace them with CBN, but I do like them. I actually only have one tool that a CBN would make a big difference in sharpening -- that tool is the big Alan Lacer slab of steel skew which I don't use very often. The CBN wheel puts a beautiful smooth bevel on that tool that my 3X wheels can't touch and the Tormek would take forever to achieve. Now that I have put a good bevel on the skew, I can use my Tormek to touch it up for a long time before any more full bevel grinding is needed.

    I saw the Doug Thompson video where he actually favors the 3X wheels that are out of round and bounce a lot, but his situation is unique because he starts with a gouge that is flat on the end and wants to put a grind on it in just a few seconds. He uses heavy pressure and goes through wheels like they're going out of style. Meanwhile, the rest of us are interested in touching up a dulled edge where we have already given it the shape that we want.

    One more question for Odie: Do you freehand sharpen or use jigs or both. I could be mistaken, but I got the impression that you somewhat disapproved the use of jigs. With a Tormek, jigs are a necessity. As for freehand sharpening, Johannes Michelsen can do it as well as any fixture, but the great majority of what I have seen generally has more facets on the bevel than there are facets on the Hope Diamond. But, the proof of a pudding is in the eating (or as you say, it's the results that count) and the many faceted tools seem to perform well enough to get the job done. Also, knife makers say that a convex bevel is better than a concave one. BTW, the grind that Johannes Michelsen puts on a gouge is for all practical purposes convex except for perhaps a very thin flat bevel at the cutting edge.
     
  10. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Thanks for adding clarification. Sometimes trying to explain things without drawing pictures or waving my hands makes it harder for me to describe. It's not exactly the same as HTML, but BB code closely emulates HTML most of the time, but not always. BTW, I had a heck of a time figuring out how to get the square brackets without turning it into something that was interpreted by the editor as BB code. I finally figured out that inserting something after the square bracket that isn't interpreted as a command would work (such as your use of a space character). What I did was enclose it inside of bold tags and then put separate bold tags around the enclosed text. Another trick could be to misspell quote as qoute. Using the ASCII string for one or more characters works in some BB editors, but not this one.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2014
  11. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    Odie,
    The reason I didn't go into more depth was that I have done it so many times before when questions come up about the electroplated wheels. So, once again:

    Metal plated wheels can not be dressed. Well no, they can't be dressed, but then they do not need to be dressed, ever as near as I can tell. Because CBN is an abrasive material that is specifically used for grinding hardened steels and as near as I can tell, they just plain don't wear out. Dave is still using his original set and he does way more sharpening than I do. They do go through a break in period, but still seem to cut faster and more cleanly than standard wheels. There can be minimal problems with loading up if you try to grind soft steel, aluminum, or brass on them. I have done this just to see what happens. I can actually see small flakes coming off as compared to the fine metal powder that you get from grinding hardened steel. There can be some loading up of the wheel. To clean it up, just sharpen a standard M2 HSS tool or one of the harder ones on the wheel, and it is pretty much back to normal. After a couple of sharpenings, it is gone. I do get some load up of gunk from the stuff left on my gouges and scrapers from turning sloppy wet wood. A lot of it grinds off as I continue to sharpen other tools. Even with it being slightly loaded up, they still cut very well. If they look really ugly, I take them into the kitchen sink, get them wet and hit them with a plastic bristle brush and some Ajax. Good as new. It is suggested by all the makers that you do not grind soft metals on this wheel. I have done it out of curiosity. Same with grinding carbide on them, it can be done, but I would not make a habit out of it.

    Breaking down of abrasive particles is always a question. Diamond is great for carbide, ceramic and similar materials. They do not work on hardened steels like the V10 and M2 HSS. I am not positive about the why, but it has to do with heat. Diamond breaks down way more with heat than CBN does. The only thing harder than Boron is diamond. I have found my diamond hones all seem to load up and can not be cleaned. That has not happened with my CBN wheels, with over 2 years of use.

    There is no problem with run out or wobble with the steel wheels. They come with either a machined arbor or bushing. They also come spin and bubble balanced. If you mount them on your grinder and you are getting run out, the problem is with the grinder, not the wheel. The plastic bushings on standard wheels are junk, and should be replaced. I do have one set mounted on an old blue no name grinder from Woodcraft. There is only a tiny bit of run out on one side. It is so minimal that it makes no difference. This range of tolerance is easily with in what you can accomplish with a carefully dressed standard wheel.

    There is never ANY risk that a metal plated wheel will blow up.

    There is no aluminum oxide dust to deal with.

    You do not need a balancing system.

    You do not need a cleaning stick/dresser.

    The metal dust can be swept into your shavings.

    The CNB wheels run a lot cooler than standard wheels, even when dirty.

    The 1 1/2 inch width is great. I have never run off the side of the wheel when sharpening. I used to to this on occasion when using jigs and free hand sharpening.

    The burr produced from a CBN wheel is by far superior to the ones from standard wheels. This is especially useful if you are a psycho scraper user like I am. No need to burnish a burr at all.

    All that being said, many people try them out and then go, 'oh, now I know what the other turners are talking about'. This is why I said that you need to take one for an extended test drive. You can have opinions on tools you haven't actually tried out, but you never know till you have tried them out.

    I did have a start with a web site, but had 'issues' with the host. Another one is in the works and will be up in some form before the Symposium. I do have a number of clips up on You Tube, and will grab my link on grinders and grinding wheels and get it over here.

    Bill, I hope you come by to harass me in Phoenix. While I don't use my Tormek for any thing other than my kitchen knives, I found I could do a pretty good job of platform sharpening with it. The biggest problem with platform sharpening on it, as well as any other platform sharpening is not the actual sharpening process, it is being able to easily set the exact angles. Maybe I need to make one of my robo rests that will fit the Tormek.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDYdo1IoyRY


    robo hippy
     
  12. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    From what I have read, CBN is a good conductor of heat while diamond is a very poor conductor of heat. What this means to me is that there is probably a more significant difference in thermal expansion between diamonds and the nickel substrate than there is between the CBN and nickel. The other more obvious part is that the diamond abrasive particles are much smaller (typically 600 grit and finer) than the CBN particles (180 grit in this case). This means that the plating has to be thinner in diamonds because it is normally about 2/3 of the particle size in thickness.

    Everybody has an opinion. Its validity depends on what it's based on. My exposure to them is very limited, but I like what I see.

    I haven't given much thought to attending, but given the opportunity to harass, I might need to reconsider. ;) Any chance of talking you into attending SWAT? After about fifteen years, I think that I have finally gotten the knack of quickly setting the platform angle. But, you are right -- the angle generally wants to move in steps. I finally fixed the problem of scrapers wanting to grab the wheel by putting a radius on the bottom edge.
     
  13. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    I do need to get down there some time, but not this year. I have a Labor Day 34th annual event to go to, then after that, I am getting a knee replaces. So, 2 hips done, one knee coming, and that should hold me for a while. I should probably send a robo rest or two down there for the event for door prizes/raffle prizes. Can't remember, but think I did that last year.

    Opinions: Well, thinking I was being pretty clever, I mentioned to my dad (91+ and still goes into work every day), 'Opinions are like rear ends, every one has one.' Dad, not losing a second came back with 'Yea, and some of them stink!'

    I would love to see you in Phoenix, if not, then some other time.

    robo hippy
     
  14. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Now I understand the name robo hippy.

    My dad is approaching 93 and if it wasn't for his back, he would be in pretty good health.
     
  15. Sergio Villa

    Sergio Villa

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    I have a dry Baldor with a CBN 80 grit and a grey norton that came with it and a Tormek. I do the shaping with the CBN wheel for turning tools and with the composite wheel for carpenter chisels and carving gouges and sharpen all my tools with the Tormek and hone some of them them.
    For carpenter chisels and gouges, honing, which basically removes the burr, is a must. In a sharp edge burr is a dulling element unless it is used as the cutting edge like in cabinet and turning scrapers. Scrapers do not scrape, they cut! They just do it with the burr.
    No carving gouges are made with HSS or powder steel. These facts should by themselves show that honing produces a better edge and carbon steel allows to be sharpened to a sharper edge.

    Now the point is why turners use HSS or powder steel if they cannot be sharpened to the best edge.
    This is because of the speed that power lathes allow and which would ruin the temper of carbon steel and dull it quickly whereas the steels used for turning tools are harder and resist the heat.

    Why then turners do not usually hone their tools? I believe for two reason, first because sandpaper takes care of the this (something that would ruin a carving in which real crisp cuts are a must) and second because honing a not super sharp HSS tool is partially useless at least with gouges.
    But have you tried a skew or a bedan with and without honing? The difference is enormous and this because the shape of the blade of these two tools allows a cut like that of a cabinet maker chisel. The same is true, in my opinion and little experience, also with the so called german spindle gouges that the old artisan was using in a recent video posted on this forum. This tool cuts the wood like a skew and needs to be honed to reach its best.

    A good test to judge the edge of a tool would obviously be the starting grit of the sandpaper but then the skill of the turner, the type of wood and other factors would make even this test useless.
    The only thing I can say is that even a six hundred grit sandpaper dulls the cut of a well honed skew on red maple. By pure coincidence I used a skew this morning on ambrosia red maple used for a pepper mill.
     
  16. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    Bill,
    Phoenix is going to be a great time. Hope you reconsider.
    Phoenix and SWAT will be a great 2014.

    Bet they sell a lot CBN wheels at both.

    Al
     
  17. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    robo hippy: actually the name came many years ago. I have always been a fan of cult classic movies like The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai, Repo Man, Brother from Another Planet, and of course the original Robo Cop. Death Race 2000 was so bad it was good, but that is another story... Well, I used to twirl my hammer around my finger like Robo Cop did with his gun, and stick it in my tool belt. I was wearing a big knee brace at the time from having ACL surgery (on the knee that is getting replaced), and a guy on the crew commented, 'Hey, it's robo hippy'. I liked it, and when I first started on the forums, it made a good alias.

    Now, the latest Robo Cop movie, it was good, but they left out the gun twirl. That is sacrilege.... That is like trying to make The Princess Bride without Andre the Giant playing Fezzik (who was an actual person, but that is still another story......

    robo hippy
     
  18. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    You didn't mention Attack of the Killer Tomatoes or Gargoyles, those were so bad that nothing can change rhat.

    BTW, I forgot to mention earlier that diamonds are no longer the hardest abrasive. A new allotrope of Boron Nitride with a 3D hexagonal structure called Wurtzite Boron Nitride (w-BN) is actually slightly harder.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2014
  19. odie

    odie

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    Hi Sergio.......nice to see some other opinions, here......

    Yes, a scraper does cut, and it cuts cleanly, if done properly. "Properly" is the key word. The edge on a scraper doesn't last long, but that can be said about any lathe tool.

    It would be hard to deny the use of sandpaper, but it's important to limit it's use. The main reason for this, for the purpose of bowl turning, is to keep as perfect a shape as possible. Sandpaper removes wood quicker on the long grain than it does on the end grain. Virtually everything that I feel is important about my turnings, corners, details, curvature......is directly the result of eliminating as much need for sanding as possible. This is why honing is extremely important to me. The super sharp edge won't last as long, and this will be unsatisfactory for some other turners......but, maintaining a perfect geometrical shape, while requiring minimal sanding is key to the kind of results that grab the eye of the onlooker.

    ========================

    Bill.......I guess it's just best to allow you your say without engaging. There are many opinions on woodturning, and we are all entitled to them.

    I'll say one thing, though.......you are absolutely right that I'm one who takes great pride in "tilting at the windmills"! Without the ability to see what others don't see, and to "dream the impossible dream", I would neither be who I am, nor do what I do......:D

    ooc
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2014
  20. n7bsn

    n7bsn

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    Robo, try the following, set a platform at say -20 (or 110 on a RoboRest) and place the scraper upside-down. Then sharpen the scraper, I believe that this produces a more consistent burr then the conventional method sans burnishing.

    On my "round to it" list is putting a 110 setting on our RoboRest

    But I think you did a fine job of demolishing Odie's straw-man arguments.

    I'm minded of two quotes "Yes the CBN produces a finer tool edge, but I prefer the more serrated edge from a friable wheel" Mike Mahoney at the Olympia Symposium the year D-Way started selling CBN wheels
    and "Dave (eg D-Way) has changed tool sharpening forever, I can get a fine enough skew edge I don't need to hone" Eli Avisera at an all-day class in Bremerton the same year.

    Actually there is a third one "As soon as we can afford it, we are getting one of these wheels", my wife, after using one for the first time, at the all-day class from Eli that year.
     

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