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Drag sharpener vs CBN

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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 



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

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

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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