Carbide Chisel Sharpening

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  1. #1
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    Carbide Chisel Sharpening

    In some quarters it is deemed that you are not a "Real or Proper" turner if you use the carbide set of chisels, whilst others would argue they are indeed a worthy choice and can give results that any turner would be proud of.
    I use them for 3 reasons.

    1. They are easier to use

    2. The learning curve is not as steep

    3. Less likely to get snags with them.

    regardless if you use them rarely or use them all of the time, the one thing that it has in common with it's cousins, of regular turning chisels, is that they all need to be sharp to get the best results from them.

    Whilst doing a bit of research regarding the carbides when I first started turning, I noticed a theme or a trend and that was that for some reason, turners were not getting long ribbons or shavings whilst turning small cylindrical items, like pens for instance.
    The shavings and ribbons they were getting were on the small side. They were a few mm in length. Rarely did I see ribbons going the full length of the blank.

    I sharpened my carbides before I was going to use them and the results mimicked what I had seen other carbides do, I purchased new carbide tips to try out and the results were the same (I did not sharpen the new tips and the results were the same as the sharpened tips).

    I have had a play about recently, more to see if I am actually sharpening my carbide tips as well as I could be.
    It goes without saying that for the last year I have been turning with dull tools whilst all of the time believing they were sharp, they were as sharp the cheap replacements I was buying.

    The following is how I sharpen them NOW, the results are giving me full ribbons the full length of the blank, something I have never managed before.
    There is no reason why this guide will not work for you, However if you are getting full ribbons from how you do it now, then there is no reason to change, stick with what is most comfortable for you.

    I have tested 10 carbide tips with the following diamond stone, 200#, 300#, 400#, 500#, 600# 1000# and 1200# I have also gone through different grinding times and pressures applied.

    1) Remove the carbide tips from the shafts and give them a good clean, make sure any gunk is removed from the TOP of the tip, we want no contamination.

    2) You need a 600# Diamond Plate/stone. I have found this to be the optimum and produces the best results. I use a Silverline Diamond Block, This block is so easy to use and has a different sized # diamond plate on each side and is dirt cheap. Anything below 600# is way too rough and will give you inconsistent results anything above is a complete no-no it will take an age to do.

    3) make sure the surface of the plate is clean, use a damp rag the rub over it to remove any contamination left behind from your previous sharpening.

    4) Put a SMALL amount of lapping fluid onto the diamond plate, you are not there to float dinghies on so don't used a lot.

    5) Place your carbide tip TOP down, Some fool put it with the bottom part down, I heard it was about a year ago and that his name begins with a "G" Easiest way to remember for anyone new to all of this is that where the screw goes in is the top as its countersunk unlike the bottom.

    6) Put your finger onto the bottom of the tip (this is the side showing) and apply pressure. you need a fair amount of pressure so don't just rest your finger on it also don't put enough pressure on that you work bench starts to bow in the middle, I have seen a lot of places that advocate very light pressure, very light pressure will not get you a good level of sharpness.

    7) Start moving the tip in a corkscrew motion whilst maintaining the pressure and staying in the lapping fluid. Keep within 1" radius there is no need to keep chasing the fluid.

    8) Keep doing that and the fluid you are on top of will eventually turn black. when it does apply a slightly bit more pressure and speed up your corkscrew motion for around about 30 second, That is the optimum time I have found.

    9) Clean up the tip and the diamond plate.

    Gary


     
     
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  3. #2
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    Nice and easy mate, great little tutorial. I have the Trend continues diamond stones( bloody expensive, but last a lifetime I hope). After sharpening my std chisels with the Scarey sharp I realised I to was using blunt tools, it's amazing when you get it right how wrong you were!!
    I only open my mouth...to change feet...
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  5. #3
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    thanks mate....more stuff to buy now
    i'll give it a go though

     
     
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    Quote Originally Posted by flexi View Post
    Nice and easy mate, great little tutorial. I have the Trend continues diamond stones( bloody expensive, but last a lifetime I hope). After sharpening my std chisels with the Scarey sharp I realised I to was using blunt tools, it's amazing when you get it right how wrong you were!!
    You're right mate, none of us use blunt tools on purpose and we always assume that factory sharp = very sharp.

    I think once we manage to achieve a good benchmark for sharpness with our tools we will never settle for blunt ones again.

    I was one happy old fart once I had figured it all out (that's a GIFF of me working it all out)

     
     
  8. #5
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    Gary you covered this situation well thanks for the heads up.
    Nil Desperandum

     
     
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