Sharpening carbide gravers

Could you share any tips on sharpening carbide gravers? Anthony
Toepfer Keene NH

The only luck I have had sharpening carbide gravers is with the grs
sharpening machine ( think that is the brand we use at work) Using the
typical hand sharpening stone is no use.

Hi Anthony, The absolute best tool I have found for sharpening carbide
gravers and making carbide drills is the GRS Diamond Power Hone. I
have several other tools, one is a diamond lap that fits in my lathe,
one is a big diamond lap for lapidary work, one is a diamond wheel on
what looks like a washing machine motor; none even compare to the GRS
machine. I suggest the ceramic wheel with the diamond spray if you
really need sharp, ultra clean cuts. I am a watchmaker and use my
carbide gravers to make balance staffs. Finished on the GRS power
hone, using good steel, a nice staff will require almost no polishing
if it is cut with a graver finished on the ceramic stone.

Jon W. Horton
Certified Master Watchmaker
American Watchmakers Institute

Carbide gravers should be sharpened with diamond laps or hones since
they can chew up a conventional whetstone in very short order. I used
to sharpen mine by hand using EZ Lap diamond hones which are basically
a 2" x 1" diamond plate attached to a short plastic handle. After
roughing them out on the diamond, I would shapen the heel on a ceramic
stone. That was years ago. Now I use the GRS sharpening system which
consists of rotating diamond laps and a precision holding fixure. By
using this system, you are guaranteed perfect results every time, not
to mention the wide variety of graver configurations which can be
achieved with little effort. I start with 600 grit diamond lap and
finish on a ceramic lap followed by a few strokes across a piece of
leather treated with diamond spray. This imparts a mirror polish to
the graver.

For jewelers, carbide gravers are a godsend since gold does not fuse
to them as it does using conventional steel gravers, and once carbide
is polished, it remains that way for what seems like forever. The
downside is that it’s brittle and points can fail if you’re not
careful. But it makes fabulous brightcut gravers.

GRS sharpening systems can be found at

Sam Alfano