Tool Test: 3M Convolute Deburring Wheel
Someone saw this deburring wheel on Instagram and clued me in to it; sold. It’s really a metal-working tool for knocking off sharp edges and small bits of metal. But if, like me, you have rusty old tools sitting around your shop (say inherited chisels that haven’t been used for probably 40 years), it’s a godsend for the first steps in getting them back in working order.
This 3M convolute (which means rolled up in a spiral in case like me you didn’t know) 6″ wheel has a maximum 6,000 rpm rating, and is comprised of dense layers of nonwoven nylon impregnated with silicon carbide abrasive with a density rating of nine. The wheel resists loading, and breaks down fairly quickly (faster than aluminum oxide) to expose fresh abrasive. It’s intended for light to medium edge deburring on carbon steels, stainless steel and soft metals (as well as plastics, glass and composites, though I doubt I’ll ever use it for that) – but it does an excellent and fast job of removing rust, leaving a nice shiny surface behind, albeit with a noticeable scratch pattern. You can see the difference easily in the business end of my grandfather’s fishtail chisel and the still-rusty bits – that level of shiny was achieved in about 60 seconds (and with barely any heat buildup). To remove the scratches, I can move up to a finishing wheel, or just live with them where it doesn’t matter – better than rust.
Of course, you do have to be a bit careful – the wheel removes metal, so if you have surfaces that need to be dead flat (say, a plane sole or back of a paring chisel), this is not the rust-removing technique for that job.
But because I hollow-grind my chisels, I wasn’t worried in this case. PWM