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How to avoid failures while grinding and sharpening

Thanks to this comprehensive guide, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to grinding and sharpening. Whether you’re sharpening secateurs, smoothing mosaic tiles or deburring copper pipes ( see Give it a Twist ), we’ll help you to sidestep the most common setbacks. All you have to do is take our grinding and sharpening tips into account and you’ll be sure to finish the job safely and successfully.

Tip 1: Protect yourself with the Dremel Comfort Guard Attachment

When sharpening metal objects, sparks and dust inevitably come flying. But other objects can release tiny particles of dust or dirt too. By attaching the Dremel Comfort Guard (A550) , which comes as a part of several Dremel toolkits, you can protect yourself, your clothes and your surroundings from these flying particles. Its clever design ensures any sparks or other bits are bounced back and down, away from you.

Tip 2: Securely clamp either your object or your tool

You don’t want your object – or Multi-Tool – to be slipping and sliding during a grinding or sharpening project. This is where a vice, such as the Dremel Multi-Vise (2500) , comes in handy. Just clamp the vice to your workbench or tabletop, feed the object or tool into its jaws and tighten. A Dremel Multi-Vise allows you to rotate the clamped object 360°, enabling you to find the perfect angle for grinding or sharpening. Or you may find it’s easier to clamp your Dremel Multi-Tool to the vice and move the object against the grinding accessory. Just have a go and find out which you prefer.

Tip 3: Choose the right accessory for the job

For precision projects, you’ll want to use the right tool for the job. If you deburr a pipe with the wrong grinding stone, for instance, you risk creating more burrs and ending up frustrated by the extra work involved. Each of Dremel’s grinding stones has its own shape, size and purpose. Our Comparative Fact Sheet will help you find the right one. The pointed Aluminium Oxide Grinding Stone (953) works wonders on round or curved surfaces, such as pipes and tubes, both inside and out. Its cylindrical sibling, Aluminium Oxide Grinding Stone (932) , is perfect for flat and slotted surfaces, such as axes.

Tip 4: Use slow, controlled movements

Another reason your grinding or sharpening project may not turn out quite the way you had planned is impatience. When you’re raring to go, it’s easy to work too quickly or to push down on your object too heavily. The consequence? You might remove a little too much material in places, causing surfaces to be uneven or edges to become bumpy. The solution is simple: all you have to do is take it slow. By using controlled movements you’re most likely to get uniform, level and smooth results. There’s no need to put a lot of pressure on your Dremel either. It’s all about letting the tool do the work for you.

Tip 5: Keep a steady hand

Freehanding your grinding or sharpening movements requires a steady hand and a burst of concentration, or you’ll end up with uneven or lopsided results. For creating exact angles of 45° or 90°, extra help is at hand. Dremel’s Shaping Platform Attachment (576) is a sharpening tool that will help guide you towards perfectly even edges, for instance when cutting tiles to size. Make sure you use a vice (see tip 2) to secure your object in place for really precise grinding and sharpening results.

Tip 6: Clean your grinding and sharpening accessories regularly

If you were to stick a Dremel grinding stone under a microscope, you’d see lots of little openings. It’s in these openings that dust, rust, dirt and other scraped off bits collect. But don’t worry, there’s no need to throw away clogged up grinding accessories. Just run the grinding stone against a dressing stone clamped in your vice. This solid block of hard abrasive will both clean and redefine your accessory, whipping it back into shape and preparing it for the next round of grinding or sharpening.

Tip 7: Test safely for sharpness

After all that sharpening action, you’ll want to know if your sharpened object is up to the job. There are several safe ways to test this. Trying it out on your finger and cutting yourself isn’t one of them! The ‘paper cutting test’ is very easy to do at home. Just clamp the sharpened edge horizontally into a vice. Hold a sheet of paper taut above the object and lightly pass it over the sharpened edge, moving the paper down and towards you. A sharp blade should slide cleanly through without snagging the paper. If it catches or tears the paper, the blade needs some more sharpening.