Understanding reamers and their purpose
A reamer is a cutting tool designed to finish or enlarge a hole that has already been drilled. It is primarily used in metalworking and woodworking applications to ensure that a hole is both accurate and precise in terms of diameter, roundness and straightness. Reamers come in a variety of shapes and sizes to suit different applications, such as hand-held reamers, machine reamers and adjustable reamers. However, over time, the cutting edges on reamers can become dull or damaged, which can lead to poor performance and accuracy. In this article, we will explore how to sharpen a dull reamer using a few simple techniques.
Preparing to sharpen a reamer
Before sharpening a reamer, it is important to ensure that all safety precautions are taken. This includes wearing protective gloves, goggles and a dust mask. Also, reamers typically have a specific angle of cut and it is important to maintain this same angle while sharpening to ensure optimum performance. It is recommended to use a bench vice to hold the reamer securely while sharpening it. You will require a series of sharpening stones with varying grits, oil, and a honing guide to make sharpening easier and consistent.
Sharpening a reamer
To sharpen a reamer, start by applying a little oil to the first sharpening stone (the coarsest grit). Then place the reamer in the honing guide and tighten it securely with the appropriate angle. Place the guide and reamer to the stone and start sharpening. Use light strokes in a circular motion to sharpen the first edge. Repeat this process on the other cutting edge. Remember, to maintain the angle throughout the entire process. After sharpening both sides on the coarsest grit stone, move on to the next higher grit stone, and repeat the process until all the cutting edges are sharpened. It is recommended to use a leather strop to polish the edges and eliminate any burrs.
Checking the sharpness of the reamer
After sharpening the reamer, it is important to check the sharpness and to ensure that it can cut effectively and accurately. You can use a magnifying glass to inspect the edge for any dull spots, chips, or nicks. Alternatively, you can insert the reamer into a piece of metal or wood and check the quality of the hole cut. If you are not satisfied with the sharpness, you can repeat the sharpening process, starting again with the coarsest grit stone.
Maintaining a sharp reamer
Regular maintenance is essential to keep your reamer sharp and performing at its best. After each use, wipe it down with a clean cloth and apply little mineral oil to the cutting edges before storing it in a dry place. This will help to prevent rust and corrosion and prolong the life of your reamer. With proper care and maintenance, a good reamer can last for many years.