The Beginner’s Guide to Honing

Photo: Emok

Have you heard of honing? It’s a machining process used in the manufacturing industry that’s used to improve the texture of a workpiece’s surface. From automotive engines and airplane components to knives and gears, honing is used in a wide range of manufacturing applications.

What Is Honing?

Not to be confused with lapping, honing is a machining process that involves the use of an abrasive material to grind down a workpiece’s surface. It’s performed in conjunction with a stone, known as a honing stone, to manipulate the shape and texture of a workpiece’s surface. As the honing stone rubs against the workpiece’s surface, it will remove micro-sized particles of material, resulting in a finished texture.

How Honing Stones Work

Also known simply as a hone, a honing stone is a tool used in honing operations that consists of abrasive grains bound together with glue or epoxy. The size of the grains varies depending on the desired surface texture. For a rough surface texture, a low-grit honing stone may be used. For a smooth surface texture, a high-grit honing stone may be used. Regardless, all honing operations involve the use of a honing stone. As the honing stone moves back and forth — typically at a slow rate of speed — it removes material from the workpiece’s surface.

Because they are made of many small grains bound together with glue or epoxy, honing stones are somewhat friable and susceptible to breaking. As a result, they are often treated with wax to extend their lifespan.

The Benefits of Honing

Honing stones work in a similar way grinding wheels, but they are often preferred by manufacturing companies because of their ability to contour to the shape of the workpiece. As previously mentioned, honing stones are friable, so they are able to bend and contour to the shape of the workpiece with which they are used.

Honing can be used to improve the surface texture of most metals and alloys. The honing stones used in this process often contain particles of diamond or cubic boron nitride (CBN). Therefore, they can remove material from otherwise hard and rigid workpieces.

Honing vs Lapping: What’s the Difference?

Both honing and lapping are used to improve the surface texture of a workpiece through the removal of material. The difference is that honing uses low velocity, whereas lapping uses high velocity. Furthermore, lapping is typically used as a final finishing process, whereas honing is performed during the early stages of finishing.

No tags for this post.