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Like any other cutting tool, the blades of an ice auger should always be sharp. Sharp auger blades help you accomplish tasks with less strain and effort, minimizing the risk of damaging the motor, bending the shaft or even getting stuck in the ice. This is why learning how to sharpen an auger blade is so important.
While there is always the choice of sending your auger to the manufacturer for sharpening, the expenses can easily add up. You can sharpen it as soon as you need it, and you don’t have to hold off shipping it out to the manufacturer until it is too dull to be efficient. In this post, we tell you how to sharpen auger.
Tips and tricks to get the best edge
Removing the blades from the ice auger helps prevent the shims that will be used when fixing the blades.
It's important to examine the blades and which side should be sharpened. You also get to determine the proper angle of the blade. Trial and error are more applicable here, and enough light will help achieve perfection.
Don’t lift the auger and bang it down if drilling into the ice becomes difficult. Doing so may bend the blades and repairing or replacing them is not cheap.
If the blade is entirely blunt, start sharpening with a medium grit before moving on to a fine grit. You can also purchase a replacement blade.
Ensure that you test the blades on the ice to determine if the angle is correct.
Spray the bottom of the auger as well as blades with silicone before drilling. This will prevent ice buildup on the auger.
When removing the blades from the auger, cover them with a soft cloth to ensure the edges don’t hit each other.
Don't over-sharpen the blades because the loss of too much metal will make them useless.
Don’t tamper with the angle of the blades because it may result in chipping or bending.
How to sharpen an auger blade
Start by removing and inspecting the blades. Pay attention to how they are attached during removal so that you put them back correctly. Take care not to lose the small shims used to maintain blade angle. Inspect the blade closely for dings, excessive rust, notches, dents, chips, cracks and other signs of damage.
Ice auger blades have two surfaces i.e. a small sharp bevel that functions as the primary cutting edge and a larger bevel that separates and lifts ice. Use a coarse sharpening stone to remove visible scratches, burrs, and other imperfections. Clean up the secondary bevel until you get a smooth surface. Roll it up on the stone until you feel flat beveled surface. Sweep the other side down the stone, in the same manner, you would when shaving a sticker off the stone.
The next step involves progressive grinding and honing of the secondary edge. You will bring the edge as close to perfection as you can. Use a fine honing stone and finish up by honing with sharpening oil.
The primary cutting edge is as thin as a knife edge. You will need a fine honing stone and oil to make it nice and sharp. Be sure to sharpen it at an angle of 40-degrees for best longevity.
You can now reassemble the auger before heading out into the ice.
You will need the following tools to sharpen your auger blades with this method:
- Three stones
- Rag to wipe the blades
- Honing stone (preferably fine in texture)
The first step is to grind any dings, chips, craps, and burrs from the bevel. Lay the blade flat on a coarse stone such that the side that faces you when cutting is down. The cutting edge should face you. Roll the blade upward, ensuring that it faces you. Keep rolling until you feel the blade hit the bevel. Next, grind the blade on a stone with medium texture. Grind in a consistent angle until the blade is polished.
Use the honing stone to sharpen the blade until it gets polished. At this stage, keep honing the blade at a slightly different angle of 38-40 degrees. Once done, you will have achieved a smooth edge that is as wide as a thick piece of bread. The blades are now ready for use.
This method is best when working with flat surface cutting edges. It is quite simple and allows you to sharpen your blades anywhere anytime.
Start by laying a flat file on the surface of the cutting edge in such a manner that the file spans the entire blade surface. Make slow strokes and as the surface starts to develop, progress to making faster strokes. Take precautions like wearing a pair of gloves or putting the blades on a vice to prevent accidental cuts.
Hold the file with one hand and use the other hand to file upward. Be sure to stroke the edge forward, keeping in mind that most metals are designed to work in one direction. Moving in the same direction as the auger shaft, stroke the file up the narrow edge of the center point. Keep going until the cutting edge is even and flat.
Ensure that the straight edge has been re-established and make a few more strokes. Touch up within the outings. Your blade is now ready for use.
It is important to note that like most things in life, mastering how to sharpen auger blades takes time and practice. Once you get the hang of it, you can sharpen your augers quickly and more efficiently. You can save some money on sharpening costs and with luck, get a little bit of Zen serenity. However dull and blunt auger blades may seem, you should always assume that they are sharp enough to cut you. This isn’t a lesson you want to learn the hard way so wear gloves when sharpening auger blades.
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