Author Topic: Diamond Wheels vs. Traditional Grindstones  (Read 855 times)

Offline RichColvin

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 666
  • Woodturner & carver
    • View Profile
Diamond Wheels vs. Traditional Grindstones
« on: October 15, 2018, 09:50:19 pm »
I recently re-read a Tormek posting regarding the diamond wheels :

If you want to have an easy set up and save time by not having to true your wheel, a Diamond Wheel is perfect. ... If you want to be able to change the grit size during the sharpening, the Original Grindstone is the best option.

It seems to me that the diamond stones come with some upsides :
  • the diamonds can be used to sharpen harder metals (like carbides),
  • consistent wheel diameter makes for faster sharpening when changing wheel grinds (seemingly especially useful for a shop which sharpens for income), and
  • the wheel’s sides offer some flat-grind options where concave grinds may be problematic.

But it also seems to have down-sides (relative to the traditional grindstones) :
  • care must be taken to not damage the wheel (as you can’t use the TT-50 Truing Tool to fix a damaged spot),
  • they are a bit more expensive than the traditional wheels, and
  • there is more special care needed for the water additive.

I’ve seen no real limitations with the traditional grindstones, especially ones that can’t be offset by using the BGM-100 attachment with my traditional grinder (e.g., to sharpen carbide tools).  I’ve not seen the need to move to CBN wheels either, and these are widely used in the wood turning community.

I’m thinking of not moving to the diamond wheels.  Am I missing something ?

Kind regards,
Rich Colvin - a reference guide for sharpening - help those getting started in ornamental turning -- to make that journey easier.

You are born weak & frail, and you die weak & frail.  What you do between those is up to you.

Offline cbwx34

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1404
    • View Profile
Re: Diamond Wheels vs. Traditional Grindstones
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2018, 12:18:51 am »
I don't think you've missed a thing.  8)

Offline Ken S

  • Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6430
    • View Profile
Re: Diamond Wheels vs. Traditional Grindstones
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2018, 04:36:57 am »

I don’t see where most of us “need” any grinding wheel beyond the SG. That said, I believe your comments about the new diamond wheels are overimplified. Let me throw out some observations.

I have very little need to sharpen harder metals. You use more carbide than I do. The heaviest grinding I have done is reshaping an M2 turning gouse and the skew chisel shown in a recent photo. I could and have done them with a 3X wheel on the Tormek.

I don’t think using wheels with different diameters is really a big deal for most of us. If you are picky, Wootz’ applet works very well. For general use, a kenjig or janjig suffices.

I have not found much use for side grinding. Plain old circumference grinding satisfies my needs.

I treat my diamond wheels the same as the Originals. The only diffrence is using a much lighter grinding pressure. That’s an easy adjustment. i do see your point about not being able to true or dress the diamond wheels with the TT-50. On the other hand, if everything works right, you should never need to true or dress the diamond wheels.

I know that you have worn out an SG and an SB. If you had put that much use on a diamond wheel, I suspect you would have a lot of useful life remaining. In the long run, I would say that diamond wheels could end up costing considerably less.

I think having a good work routine can remove the hassle from using the ACC additive.

Have you missed anything? I think you have. The main difference I have noticed is how the diamond wheels cut. At first, I think the SG is probably as fast cutting as the diamond wheels. Very shortly, the SG begins to cut more slowly. The diamond wheel keeps on cutting. Is this more efficient cutting worth the price of a diamond wheel? I think that depends on the needs and temperament of the user. I would certainly purchase a coarse diamond wheel before or instead of an SB. For an occssional user or someone on a tight budget, I think a 46 grit Norton 3X wheel is hard to beat as an inexpensive coarse wheel. It cuts very quickly, preserves the wet Tormek environment, and only costs fifty dollars US. It is not quite “plug and play”, however, it is an easy home shop project to adapt it to the Tormek.

You will only appreciate the cutting difference after you actually use diamond wheels. BY the end of the month, you will have that opportunity. I will be curious to read your comments after you use them.