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Thread: Love my CBN wheels

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Rochester, NY
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    Love my CBN wheels

    I love my two CBN wheels (80 & 180). My question is which one should I buy next? For me the choice is between 350 and 600. I am planning on using this for my bowl and spindle gouges. I attended a couple of very interesting workshops with Tom Wirsing and he had all of these.

    Has anyone tired Ken Rizza's (Woodturners Wonders) cheaper ($99) wheels? He has them up to 1000 grit.

    Cheers,
    David

  2. #2
    I have 80, 180, 600 and 1000 grit wheels. Mostly I use the 180 for scrapers and gouges, and the 600 or 1000 for fine finish cuts. Not much difference in edges off of the 80 or 180 any more. They have to be at least 6 or so years old. A brand new 80 grit wheel does leave a pretty coarse edge. Great for heavy roughing. No idea about the 350 or 400 grit wheels (numbers vary for different wheels). I haven't tried the plastic hubbed wheels yet.

    robo hippy

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Gilbert View Post
    I love my two CBN wheels (80 & 180). My question is which one should I buy next? For me the choice is between 350 and 600. I am planning on using this for my bowl and spindle gouges. I attended a couple of very interesting workshops with Tom Wirsing and he had all of these.
    I have 80, 220, 600 on bench grinders and use a 1200 on the Tormek. Mine are all from Rizza but I haven't tried the cheap wheels.

    I generally sharpen my skews on the 600 grinder then take them to a leather honing wheel. I sharpen my spindle and bowl gouges on the 1200 grit then hone. I sharpen the negative rake scrapers on the 600 also, remove the grinding burr and raise a burr with a burnishing rod, usually use the 220 for other scrapers. I use the 80 grit only for shaping/reshaping tools. Note: I mostly turn dry wood - if I turned green I might sharpen differently.

    Unless going for a finer wheel some day you might consider the 600 instead of the 350.

    JKJ

  4. #4
    I added a 360 grit after the 180 grit. Didn't see much of a difference, so it sucks to have sunk that money for little gain.
    The much more experienced turners' (Reed and John) experience with the higher grits seems to be the way to go.
    Scott

  5. #5
    If you're happy with your 80/180 pairing I'd stick with them and spend your money elsewhere! You'll notice how folks in this thread mention how they hand-hone their tools in between trips to the grinder. If you practice that it really doesn't matter what grit your fine wheel is. I have a Rizza 80/220 combo and am very happy with them. I just wish I had the wider Mega Square wheels; a sharp corner would be more useful to me than the radius on the 4-in-1.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Rochester, NY
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    Thanks for your responses. I have 80 and 180 wheels from D-way Tools. They don't have the radius edges (a good thing in my mind) but are steel and weigh about 7 pounds each. I think they contributed to my Woodcraft 1/2 Hp grinder's death (not a good thing). I replaced it with a 1 Hp Rikon grinder from Woodturner Wonders and am happy with it (a good thing). Also, I don't hone any of my tools.

    Right now my inclination is to buy a 600 grit wheel. I'm just not sure of the source and design. I'm still looking for opinions about the $99 wheels from Ken Rizza.

    Cheers,
    David

  7. #7
    I just purchased the new $99 wheel from Ken with the aluminum center. Should be here on Saturday, so I'm hoping to get some experiences with it over the weekend.

  8. #8
    For reasons unknown, I never got good results from hand honing. The 600 and 1000 grit wheels took care of that. What little honing I do now is in the Tormek leather wheel. Most of the time it is the skew chisel as the fine CBN wheels leave a burr. I have been playing with honing the bevel and top of my shear scrapers and then burnishing a burr. Not sure if it makes a huge difference compared to grinding and then burnishing the grinder burr off...

    robo hippy

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Appleton, WI
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reed Gray View Post
    I have 80, 180, 600 and 1000 grit wheels. Mostly I use the 180 for scrapers and gouges, and the 600 or 1000 for fine finish cuts. Not much difference in edges off of the 80 or 180 any more. They have to be at least 6 or so years old. A brand new 80 grit wheel does leave a pretty coarse edge. Great for heavy roughing. No idea about the 350 or 400 grit wheels (numbers vary for different wheels). I haven't tried the plastic hubbed wheels yet.

    robo hippy
    Reed,

    If I already have a 350 grit and I would like to venture into even higher grits, would you recommend a 600 or a 1000? I'm sticking with the Mega Square, and those are the grits Ken offers for them.

    Like you, I use a lot of scrapers. My concern with the 600 is whether or not I would see much of a difference between 350 and 600. You are one of the few people who has actually compared the two. Do you experience a noticeable difference between 350 and 600? As for 1000, my first instinct was to jump to the 1000 since it's far from 350 so I would assume I would see a big difference there. However, I'm wondering if for scrapers in particular 600 would be better than 1000...

    (If anyone else here has compared 350-grit vs. 600-grit vs. 1000-grit CBN wheels on scrapers, feel free to chime in.)
    Last edited by Chris Gunsolley; 12-07-2017 at 2:57 PM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by David M Peters View Post
    ... You'll notice how folks in this thread mention how they hand-hone their tools in between trips to the grinder. If you practice that it really doesn't matter what grit your fine wheel is. I have a Rizza 80/220 combo and am very happy with them. I just wish I had the wider Mega Square wheels; a sharp corner would be more useful to me than the radius on the 4-in-1.
    After using them I'd hate to be without the finer wheels. I use an extra fine diamond hone several times between sharpening but I fine each time gives me diminishing returns since honing creates a flat and changes the geometry a bit. My spindle gouges and skews, for example, work better right off the grinder, and after being lightly hand honed or honed/polished. I use the Tormek leather wheel with their compound, a leather strop, or for the skews, a piece of resawn MDF with polishing compound smeared on it. This doesn't removed metal like a diamond hone but basically takes off any grinder burr and polishes the edge. I also hone the inside of the flute of gouges with either the Tormek profiled leather wheel, a curved ceramic slip stone, or a tapered extra fine diamond hone.

    For a while I had a 350 grit wheel too but it was too close to the 220 to make it worth keeping. The 600 grit gives me a much better edge than the 220. The 1200 gives a better edge than the 600. As mentioned, I mostly turn dry wood, often hard exotics. The more an edge is like a polished razor the less sanding needed (assuming I'm guiding the gouge carefully!)

    I also like the square cornered CBN wheels instead of the radiused. The first one I bought was radiused and I didn't keep it. The radiused edges reduce the width of the useful flat part of the wheel significantly. I understand the reason for the radiused design was to sharpen the small HSS bits used in hollowing cutters mounted in long handles - lets you sharpen curved sides without having to swing the handle in a wide arc.

    I also like the wheels with 1" of flat grid down each side. I use this and the 90-deg corners mostly for grinding/sharpening special scrapers.

    JKJ

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2016
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    Quote Originally Posted by John K Jordan View Post
    After using them I'd hate to be without the finer wheels. I use an extra fine diamond hone several times between sharpening but I fine each time gives me diminishing returns since honing creates a flat and changes the geometry a bit. My spindle gouges and skews, for example, work better right off the grinder, and after being lightly hand honed or honed/polished. I use the Tormek leather wheel with their compound, a leather strop, or for the skews, a piece of resawn MDF with polishing compound smeared on it. This doesn't removed metal like a diamond hone but basically takes off any grinder burr and polishes the edge. I also hone the inside of the flute of gouges with either the Tormek profiled leather wheel, a curved ceramic slip stone, or a tapered extra fine diamond hone.

    For a while I had a 350 grit wheel too but it was too close to the 220 to make it worth keeping. The 600 grit gives me a much better edge than the 220. The 1200 gives a better edge than the 600. As mentioned, I mostly turn dry wood, often hard exotics. The more an edge is like a polished razor the less sanding needed (assuming I'm guiding the gouge carefully!)

    I also like the square cornered CBN wheels instead of the radiused. The first one I bought was radiused and I didn't keep it. The radiused edges reduce the width of the useful flat part of the wheel significantly. I understand the reason for the radiused design was to sharpen the small HSS bits used in hollowing cutters mounted in long handles - lets you sharpen curved sides without having to swing the handle in a wide arc.

    I also like the wheels with 1" of flat grid down each side. I use this and the 90-deg corners mostly for grinding/sharpening special scrapers.

    JKJ
    John,

    What would you recommend jumping to from 350? 600 or 1000?

    Do you think the 350 and 600 would be too close to notice a difference?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Rochester, NY
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    340
    Phil,

    I'll be calling later next week.

    Cheers,
    David

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Gunsolley View Post
    John,
    What would you recommend jumping to from 350? 600 or 1000?
    Do you think the 350 and 600 would be too close to notice a difference?

    That's a hard call. I also wonder if the 600 will be too close to the 350. If I had just two wheels I'd probably want a coarser one for shaping tools and a finer one for sharpening. Between the 600 and the 80 I find I rarely even use my 220 wheel.

    Do you use skew chisels and do delicate work with spindle gouges? If so, I would prefer the 1000.

    Note that as Reed described in his CBN writeup on his web site, all CBN wheels are more aggressive when new then settle down after a "break in" period. That means you may see very little difference between how the 600 and 350 at first. Later there should be a bigger difference. Enough difference to make it worth while? I don't know.

    In another post I see you mention scrapers. What kind of scrapers and for what kind of turning? I make heavy use of a variety small scrapers I grind from 1/4" or 3/8" stock and of larger NRSs with curves for face turning (all from Thompson steel), for example, these are some:

    scrapers_small_thompson.jpg scrapers_neg_rake.jpg

    I sharpen all of these on the 8" 600 grit wheel on a bench grinder, then burnish a tiny burr with a carbide rod. The small ones are my go-to tools for smoothing and adding detail both on end grain and on the bottoms of bowls and platters. The larger scrapers with the curved edges are amazing on both the inside and outside of bowls and things. No power sanding needed - I usually sand by hand and if my hand is steady I can usually start with 400 or 320 grit. I mostly use scrapers for finishing cuts on bone dry and often hard wood - I rarely turn soft, green wood and don't hollow bowls with scrapers, although i will use scrapers to hollow boxes and other small things like goblets. I'm not sure the grit used would make much difference for hollowing, dry or green.

    Do you know anyone near you with a 600 grit CBN who would let you try it and see? (I certainly would but I think it's a long drive from your house!) If you have two identical or similar tools you could compare the results of the two wheels.

    JKJ

  14. #14
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    May 2016
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    Quote Originally Posted by John K Jordan View Post
    That's a hard call. I also wonder if the 600 will be too close to the 350. If I had just two wheels I'd probably want a coarser one for shaping tools and a finer one for sharpening. Between the 600 and the 80 I find I rarely even use my 220 wheel.

    Do you use skew chisels and do delicate work with spindle gouges? If so, I would prefer the 1000.

    Note that as Reed described in his CBN writeup on his web site, all CBN wheels are more aggressive when new then settle down after a "break in" period. That means you may see very little difference between how the 600 and 350 at first. Later there should be a bigger difference. Enough difference to make it worth while? I don't know.

    In another post I see you mention scrapers. What kind of scrapers and for what kind of turning? I make heavy use of a variety small scrapers I grind from 1/4" or 3/8" stock and of larger NRSs with curves for face turning (all from Thompson steel), for example, these are some:

    scrapers_small_thompson.jpg scrapers_neg_rake.jpg

    I sharpen all of these on the 8" 600 grit wheel on a bench grinder, then burnish a tiny burr with a carbide rod. The small ones are my go-to tools for smoothing and adding detail both on end grain and on the bottoms of bowls and platters. The larger scrapers with the curved edges are amazing on both the inside and outside of bowls and things. No power sanding needed - I usually sand by hand and if my hand is steady I can usually start with 400 or 320 grit. I mostly use scrapers for finishing cuts on bone dry and often hard wood - I rarely turn soft, green wood and don't hollow bowls with scrapers, although i will use scrapers to hollow boxes and other small things like goblets. I'm not sure the grit used would make much difference for hollowing, dry or green.

    Do you know anyone near you with a 600 grit CBN who would let you try it and see? (I certainly would but I think it's a long drive from your house!) If you have two identical or similar tools you could compare the results of the two wheels.

    JKJ
    Thank you for the informative reply, John. To answer your questions, I do not use skew chisels and spindle gouges for delicate work. All I do as of now is make bowls. I use scrapers for everything from roughing to the finishing cuts. When you said "The larger scrapers with the curved edges are amazing on both the inside and outside of bowls and things. No power sanding needed - I usually sand by hand and if my hand is steady I can usually start with 400 or 320 grit." this hits home with me because big round-nose, dome-ended, and flat scrapers that are from 1 1/4" to 1 1/2" wide are my work horses. I turn every bowl to finish (without using the common 2-step process). I'll use a 1" round-nose scraper to rough out the outer profile of the bowl, then switch to the big dome-ended scraper when I'm approaching the final shape of the profile, and finish with a sheer cut from a big flat-ended scraper to perfect the surface as much as I can. As you mentioned, I often feel as though the remaining surface at this point is as good as I could ask for, there are no tool marks and 220-grit sanding isn't necessary. The only thing to remedy is usually tear-out and that's only if I'm turning a very soft wood such as cottonwood. If you use a wheel with too low of a grit, you can actually see the quality of the surface of the end of the scraper on the surface of the bowl--definitely on a microscopic level. The nice thing about a higher-grit wheel is that even on a microscopic level, even these marks disappear. I've noticed this with my 350-grit wheel, so now I'd like to venture into even higher grits. You are apparently someone with an appetite for the higher-grit wheels as well, so I figure you're a good turner to consult on this. And unfortunately I do not have the opportunity to demo them in person.

    As for the CBN wheels I have now, the two I have are an 80-grit wheel for grinding and shaping new profiles and angles, and a 350-grit wheel for everything else. I was so impressed with the 350 that I would like to venture into even higher grits. I'm keeping the 350, so my next wheel will be used to give me a very fine surface for finishing cuts with scrapers.

    The basic question I need answered when it comes to CBN wheels and scrapers is: Will a higher grit always give me a better cut/scrape? Or, once the grit is high enough, will the burr be so minimal that the scraper doesn't work well and I'd be better with the next step down in grit? For example, perhaps the 600 leaves enough of a burr that it is still very effective but leaves a (perceptively) perfect surface, yet the 1000-grit isn't very good at taking the wood off because there isn't much of a burr?

  15. #15
    I find the 180 grit wheel to be fine for about 90% of the turning I do. The finer 600 or 1000 grit does give a cleaner cut with proper tool presentation, which in most cases is a high shear angle being superior to a scrape, but that edge is not necessary most of the time.

    One interesting thing I have noticed with my ancient 180 grit wheel is that it leaves a more polished bevel than my fairly new 600 grit wheel...

    robo hippy

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