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Author Topic: Drag sharpener vs CBN  (Read 1818 times)

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Offline Quebecnewf

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Drag sharpener vs CBN
« on: August 30, 2021, 04:24:23 PM »
Both types have been around now long enough to get some real world feed back . 

What are your thoughts ?

Have you used both ?

Cost to run each kind ?

Blade life ?

Stone life ?

And the biggie 

How sharp are your blades .?

Jump in with your comments and feel free to criticize 
Or praise either or 

Quebecnewf  

Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: Drag sharpener vs CBN
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2021, 05:20:14 PM »
 :P
John Sawicky

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SkyTrak 9038, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 42" capacity/32" cut Bandmill up to 54' long - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

Offline Bradm

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Re: Drag sharpener vs CBN
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2021, 05:38:49 PM »
In my opinion, there is no comparison in quality and long term cost.  CBN all the way.  It may cost a bit more to setup and each wheel profile costs more than the $15-20 per aluminum oxide wheel, but you get a sharper tooth with a profile that doesn't change due to wear.

Edit: added "long term" above

Offline JoshNZ

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Re: Drag sharpener vs CBN
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2021, 05:54:24 PM »
I've not used a CBN wheel but have spent a lot of time reading about both while modifying the ltaga I have.

The resounding answer is "why didn't I switch to CBN sooner". I don't think you'll find anyone advocating for drag type over CBN. Other than someone like me who is running out the last of my assorted blade types before I switch to one type - and CBN

Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Drag sharpener vs CBN
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2021, 07:11:56 PM »
I've had both.  Both a drag and CBN sharpener work fine.  Both make bands sharp.  Both need user knowledge.  The drag sharpener is good when lots of profiles are needed.  The CBN sharpener excels where limited profiles are used.

The comparison ends there.....

CBN is like the difference between an automatic dishwasher and washing dishes by hand in the sink.  It's the difference between manual steering and power steering.  It's like the difference between an axe and a chainsaw.  It's the difference between a boat paddle and an outboard motor.  It's the difference between a hammer and a nail gun.  

A CBN gives the exact same profile, every time, all the time.  I can sharpen a band in 3 minutes.  The wheels are expensive, but only cost about half the price of a box of bands, so its not a big deal. The wheels last a very long time.  I only have to make minimal adjustments between bands, most time none at all.  I can do 15 to 20 bands in an hour while watching Tube on my iPhone.

A drag sharpener, uses a "rock" or wheel that will change profile every band, or every several bands, depending on composition, thus changing the profile of the band.  The wheels are cheap, but don't last long, and a half dozen of them equals about one CBN wheel, so the cost is a wash.  Since the profile of an abrasive wheel changes continually, adjustments must be made every band to get it just right.  With my old sharpener, it took two passes, sometimes 3, at about 7 minutes for pass to get my bands sharp.  That's 15 minutes per band, or 4 bands per hour.  Considering I go through 2 or 3 bands a day, that's an hour of sharpening every day.  Nope, not gonna happen.  I'd rather poke myself in a soft spot with a sharp stick....Compare that with a CBN where I walk out to the garbage in the morning, start up the sharpener, put on my boots, take the just sharpened band out, put in another, and a couple minutes later I have two sharpened bands and I'm heading towards the mill.  Ball game.  

I had a guy call me up years ago and offer to give me his two drag sharpeners for free, because he had switched to CBN.  I didn't want them, and didn't take them, even for free.  It's not an issue of machine quality, at all, but rather, it's an issue of technology.  Do you want to use a horse or a car?  Both will work.  Me, I just want to get in, turn the key, step on the gas, and get to where I'm going.        
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If it wont roll, its not a log; its still a piece of tree.  Sawmills cut logs, not pieces of trees.

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Offline Cedarman

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Re: Drag sharpener vs CBN
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2021, 07:36:47 AM »
Having started in 83 with a hand setter, no dials, all guesswork and a sharpener that you pulled down by hand, it is like going from horse and buggy to a ferrari.
Going from pulling down the sharpener to the automatic sharpener many years ago was like going from the horse and buggy to a model T.  Needed a little cranking, but you didn't have to feed the horse every day.  
I remember Bibbyman expounding on his new CBN.  Don't know why I waited so long.
I am in the pink when sawing cedar.

Offline Percy

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Re: Drag sharpener vs CBN
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2021, 11:25:50 AM »
I have had both types and while the CBN  is much better, I did/do appreciate what I learned using the drag type. 
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Offline JustinW_NZ

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Re: Drag sharpener vs CBN
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2021, 05:02:31 AM »
CBN all the way  :) - consistency is key in my view
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Offline alan gage

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Re: Drag sharpener vs CBN
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2021, 09:26:11 AM »
I asked for advice about a drag sharpener and everyone recommended I go with CBN. I simply couldn't justify the extra expense so bought a drag sharpener. It's worked ok but I wish I hadn't bought it. That doesn't mean I wish I would have bought a CBN, I just wish I wouldn't have bought any sharpener and sent my blades out instead.

I'm low volume.

Alan
Timberking B-16, a few chainsaws from small to large, and a Bobcat 873 Skidloader.

Online Magicman

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Re: Drag sharpener vs CBN
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2021, 09:35:08 AM »
I will forever be grateful that Wood-Mizer's Resharp service was a viable option for me 20 years ago.  :)
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Offline Durf700

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Re: Drag sharpener vs CBN
« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2021, 10:20:24 AM »
I don't mill a ton every month, but wanted to get set up with sharpening and setting my bands.  I didn't want to spend a ton of money.. I looked around for several months, didn't find anything that was a good enough deal to justify going used.  I started out with the manual woodmizer sharpener/setter combo for 1 day.. I hated it due to having to advance the blade and then apply consistent pressure to the CBN when sharpening each tooth.  luckilly my local woodmizer shop was nice enough to order me the BMS 250 full auto sharpener..  what a difference!  I then purchased a BMT 250 full auto setter about 2 weeks later also. I was spending about 15 minutes a band on the manual cooks setter (granted, I was not super efficient with this) ...  after 2 days with the setter and understanding it I can set the bands within about 2 minutes.  this includes time to place band on setter, dial in the setter and make a complete pass. 

its a large investment for both the setter and sharpener if you want to go full auto..  but in my rookie opinion, bite the bullet and get the right equipment the first time..  because time is money and consistency/accuracy is key .

they all work, just depends on what your after and your budget. 

Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: Drag sharpener vs CBN
« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2021, 12:02:54 PM »
I'm trying to get my hands on a BMS25 (the 12v version drag sharpener).  I called my local WM.  They had one on the shelf (Friday late) but would call me back next week to let me know if was reserved for an order (?).  Never got a call back all week (got sidetracked on my end) so I called Tuesday (yesterday).  Oh, sorry, that one is not available.  We could order one but 4 to 6 months wait.  Thanks for making me wait.  

So I called every WM dealer (except Alaska) yesterday to see what they might have.  Talked to 2 and left messages for all the others.  One said none available but could order.  The other said they had one but it was a really old order and shouldn't be here.  He wanted me to call him back today sometime to check. ::)  I said, how about you call me when you find out!  He called this morning and it was not available.  I'd hate to be that customer that ordered it and never notified it was in for a "long time".  So far, none of the others have called back - they've been open for 3 to 5 hours now.  One of the message said they would get back to me in a couple of days.  Wow...  Colorado is just a busy signal - still in business?  Another puts me in a phone tree but I need to know an extension to leave a message - Whaaaa?

I can see not having a mill in stock as it wouldn't have the options a customer might want.  But a commodity item like a setter or sharpener?  I would think you would want one on hand to make the sale, especially now with the long lead times.  Very frustrating. :-X
John Sawicky

Just North-East of Sacramento...

SkyTrak 9038, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 42" capacity/32" cut Bandmill up to 54' long - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

Offline SawyerTed

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Re: Drag sharpener vs CBN
« Reply #12 on: September 08, 2021, 12:34:32 PM »
The BMS 250 and BMT 250 paid for themselves in about a year (nearly 500 sharpenings).  I was expecting about 15-18 months payback but the amount of sawing I was doing shortened the payback period.  My costs now are my time, cutting oil and CBN wheels.  In the time it takes me to pack and ship a box of blades, I can sharpen at least half that box at home.

The good thing about sharpening my own blades is I do not hesitate to change blades often to ensure quality of cut.
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Offline Southside

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Re: Drag sharpener vs CBN
« Reply #13 on: September 08, 2021, 01:29:55 PM »
I can see not having a mill in stock as it wouldn't have the options a customer might want.  But a commodity item like a setter or sharpener?  I would think you would want one on hand to make the sale, especially now with the long lead times.  Very frustrating


They are produced in Poland, so I am sure that adds to the complexity these days. 
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Offline Lasershark

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Re: Drag sharpener vs CBN
« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2021, 02:27:09 AM »
Off topic but on-topic; I myself have been researching this question for months and I eventually settled on the Cooks Mfg sharper and setter package. I started with a BMS50 manual sharpener/setter but I was dissatisfied with the loose tolerances the machine was built to, the blade advance handle in particular felt very wishy-washy and I lost confidence in it. Additionally, I found the oil mist formed a fog in the small  sharpening room and that sharpening the blades was physically taxing enough I needed to take frequent breaks. 

The Cook's package offered several advantages; as a drag mechanism, you don't need an oil bath, it's automatic and it will also sharpen our 3" stellite tipped resaw bandsaw blades in the woodshop. It's also a solid 125 Lbs. The dual tooth setter comes with a pair of tension gauges built-in to fine tune each blade. Can't wait to actually try it when it finally arrives after a 3 month back-order!

Also; here's the results of my poll for  Best Value Tooth Setter 
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Offline Crossroads

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Re: Drag sharpener vs CBN
« Reply #15 on: September 10, 2021, 09:29:30 AM »
At this point I send my blades out, but will be buying my own sharpening setup next year. I am all mobile and go through about 20 bands a week, then I spend several hours every Monday dropping off and picking up bands. Monday is supposed to be a day off. When I order, it will definitely be a CBN. First though, I need to get electricity 😋
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Offline barbender

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Re: Drag sharpener vs CBN
« Reply #16 on: September 10, 2021, 05:43:01 PM »
LS, I understand not liking the oil, but I'll be waiting to see some pics of fully ground but unburned tooth tips when you get your Cook's up and running. I've not been able to get mine to not burn teeth, I feel it is nearly impossible.
Too many irons in the fire

Offline pineywoods

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Re: Drag sharpener vs CBN
« Reply #17 on: September 10, 2021, 06:09:57 PM »
How about both. cbn drag sharpener. I put a 10 degree cbn wheel on my OLD woodmizer drag sharpener. Made my own cam and use water/diesel fuel mix. Upgraded the wheel motor to 110volt 3600 rpm junkbox special. Go slow and no burned teeth. Worked well enough to completely wear out a cbn wheel..BUT I used it to re-profile a bunch of 0 degree blades to 10 degree..NOT a good idea.
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Offline JoshNZ

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Re: Drag sharpener vs CBN
« Reply #18 on: September 13, 2021, 03:39:51 PM »
The good thing about sharpening my own blades is I do not hesitate to change blades often to ensure quality of cut.
That there is the crux for me. To have a handful of blades in the back of my truck that I spent all of 2-3 minutes each sharpening and can do so again for just about free, completely removes the pressure of pushing blades when you're paying for, then waiting for them to be sharpened. And as Ted says it's all about quality of cut. A blade at the 60-70% life mark will still cut most things straight but might deviate a little in at a knot and it's the difference between slowing down and crossing your fingers that the last 30% of blade life will see good straight grain or just getting rid of it and burning on  8)...


I haven't setup for my CBN wheel yet but as it is now, the ltaga is pretty darn easy to use. I touch it with a diamond dresser between each blade then run it slowly for probably 20 seconds while I find the edge of the tooth and depth of the gullet. Then I turn it up to ~2 teeth per second, I don't even have time to go and pickup a broom before it's done.



I haven't yet added setting to my routine but it is on the way...

Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Drag sharpener vs CBN
« Reply #19 on: September 13, 2021, 10:59:52 PM »
For grinding fluid, the stuff WM sells is hard core nasty stuff to breathe and should only be used in a well ventilated or even forced ventilation area.  Years ago I switched to basic mineral oil, available anywhere, and it is much better on my nose, and seems to work as well. 

I was thinking of trying peanut oil.



YellowHammerisms:

Take steps to save steps.

If it wont roll, its not a log; its still a piece of tree.  Sawmills cut logs, not pieces of trees.

Kiln drying wood: When the cookies are burned, theyre burned, and you cant fix them.  Dont burn the cookies.


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