You should regularly maintain your ice auger as well as keep the blades sharp, just like with any other professional cutting tool. Only then your auger will drill properly and serve you well while searching for fish. We’ve checked the numerous accounts made by expert anglers they post to numerous groups, which explain why guys actually prefer doing like that. It’s easy. This would prevent your ice auger from being stuck in the ice, and even more. To say more, you’ll definitely reduce your expenses! All that’s real, provided you choose regular maintaining of your ice auger instead of constantly buying more blades for it.
Sooner or later, you will learn the blades on your ice auger became too dull to drill efficiently. Although such degradation of your working tool could be gradually monitored. Precautions can be taken to prevent your ice auger from becoming dull. You seek to get a perfect use of your ice auger at any time, don’t you? Then why not just keep an eye on it to monitor and fix its blades timely? Another good idea, as we have recently discovered, is to have a spare blades kit with you to fix an emergency like your blades being damaged or even broken by a stone in shallow water or against a hidden frozen branch.
There are cases you can easily tune-up the sharpness of your blades. In a worse situation you would have your blades to be professionally restored. Honing and grinding are two different operations to sharpen the blades. The difference between honing (an emergency sharpening on the spot) and full sharpening (grinding at home, for example) is that the metal is not removed from a blade while honing it, that is the blade is mostly flattened to reset the factory bevel. Another major difference is that honing can be performed both on primary edge and bottom (cutting edge and bottom). When grinding, all operations are to be performed on the primary (cutting) edge only! There will be some considerable metal amount removed by grinding tools.
Here is the three-stage sharpening operation sequence:
First stage is rough sharpening (grinding), during which a sufficiently large amount of metal should be removed from the surface on the cutting edge until serious damage to the cutting edge is repaired and its correct shape is restored.
Second stage is grinding (main sharpening) of the cutting edge. This is the operation to remove the metal from the blade surface by grinding, but rather in smaller quantities. Basically, grinding is needed here to eliminate all irregularities and roughness on the cutting edge after previously done rough sharpening. As a result, the blade acquires the desired sharpness.
Third stage is finishing of the blade, the latter being mostly polished, which option allows for a longer period of effective performance. Polishing should be usually done on versatile specific abrasive materials (of fine fraction), as well as a variety of polishing pastes being used. When finished, the blade performs like a razor.
Best Ice Auger Sharpener
The blades which came dull can be either replaced by spare ones, or you can undertake flattening them straight on the fishing spot, doing a quick honing of the ineffective blades. The basic principle of blade tune-up is that similar to a conventional knives honing operation.
Available are special ice auger sharpeners allowing you to do the blade at a certain angle.
The Strike Master Lazer are some of the very best simple ice auger sharpener you can buy. Strike Master sharpens Lazer Mag, Cobra, XL-3000, Mag 3000, Mag 2000, Mag III, Ultra Mag, Mora Hand and Lazer Hand, Electra Lazer 12000DP, Strike-Lite and other Ice Augers.
How to sharpen auger blades
In most cases the reason for the blades to seize drilling is that of a blade surface folding over on the cutting edge, such fold goes either up or down. The edge folds down more often than up. Moreover, the fold itself can be barely visible, but this slight deviation keeps the blades out of action. Here you can reveal the presence of a thick burr on the blade.
To manually track the fold, you have to test the surface by your nail: just go along the bottom and perpendicularly to the cutting edge, should you then feel the place where your nail clings to a burr, this is exactly the place where the blade folds over. As the second reason for a blade to perform inefficiently may serve accidental chips and dents to come out on the blade. These can be visually tracked. The edges of the dents can spread in different directions, either upwards or downwards, stretching towards the bottom of the dull blades. In this case the auger goes jerky, although still drills the ice.
In both cases the solution will be a quick flattening. Take an advantage of using the proposed tools:
Most often, this operation gives a result that allows you to continue fishing. But to recover factory sharpness, you have to re-sharpen or polish the blades. Proceed as below, completing all the stages as soon as at home.
How to sharpen ice auger blades at home
You will discover a true sharpening of the blades on your ice auger is almost unavailable when in the field. Moreover, owners of ice augers would rather send their blades to a sharpener than bother to do it by themselves; many guys do believe they will fail if try doing that at home.
Indeed, to sharpen rounded blades definitely requires equipment and experience. However, not even all experienced craftsmen undertake to sharpen ice auger blades, this operation has been for so long stereotypically considered troublesome.
It costs about half the cost of new blades to get some re-sharpened. What matters is that they be properly sharpened.
If they aren’t, the blades become inoperable very fast. There are different reasons for that. The first reason is that the specified angle of the cutting edge has been violated. This issue may be somewhat solved by positioning linings under the blades to compensate for the disturbed angle.
The second reason is that sharpening is performed on high-speed grinding equipment with thermal disturbance. Steel overheats, cutting edge loses its hardness. If it happens, you may throw the spoiled blades away.
Experts say, it is possible to restore the sharpness of your ice auger blades at home. What matters even more, they prove it is hardly possible to spoil the blades when they get sharpened manually, although the process takes much longer than sharpening on motorized equipment.
Of course, you should not try it straight forward on your blades that have rounded cutting edges, here you will need some experience. Try some straight cutting edge blades first, they are not that difficult to sharpen. Of course, this operations requires one certainty and clear understanding of the mechanics of this process, needs time to be spent on it, as well as this would require appropriate equipment and materials. Some prior experience will play the bonus. Say, those who are keen in sharpening their kitchen knives, would easily cope with ice auger blades.
Put a new start just to complete your truing and grinding the cutting edge at home, the operation is a good option to learn first. Generally, the rule is simple – before trying something complicated, develop your deep and clear understanding of the entire process, consider your options, examine the would-be scope of operations. In cases the damage to an item proves to be significant, it would be better quit than start. Just buy a new blade, and that will do. Obviously, one should keep and seek to restore proven old blades of high steel hardness index. These do deserve your respect, they are worth of each and every effort to be re-aligned and re-sharpened.
Blades with straight cutting edges are the easiest to be honed, grinded and polished. No special tools required. Greater attention should be paid to the blades having rounded cutting edges: extra accessories/instruments needed.
Sharpening ice auger blades
Sharpening flat blades with a straight cutting edge is the easiest operation. Rules for sharpening and grinding flat blades with a straight cutting edge should be as follows:
Best way to sharpen ice auger blades
- When minor truing of the cutting edge (for example, to eliminate some micro-teeth on the blade), then you need to align the edge of the blade along the surface of the blade; this should be done prior to any grinding. Now you can use a fine grained stone. Provided that the blade is undamaged, then the only thing you need right now is to check and align the plane flatness of the blade. After you finished flattening, the blade should be then grinded and polished on its one edge, that is the cutting edge to be machined only!
- For sharpening, an abrasive block or base with fixed sandpaper is placed on a flat table surface. An important condition is to eliminate any slip of the abrasive material on the surface. This can be done by placing a piece of rubber sheet or a damp cloth under the abrasive material. Before starting work, the abrasive bars are soaked in water for 10-20 minutes. Abrasive bars or stones should be periodically moistened with soapy water (e.g. use regular shaving cream to get a soap film) and rinsed with water to clean the metal particles off the surface; use your old toothbrush if needed. The finer the bar is, the more often it needs to be cleaned.Fig. 1
- All blades undergoing basic grinding and polishing operations when sharpened should be moved with care against the abrasive material, being at the same time positioned as “pushing”, that is away from you. Both grinding and polishing are to be performed only in the opposite direction, “pulling”, that is towards yourself. Make sure you hold a blade to be grinded firmly, pressing it well against the abrasive piece under it by your steady hands. For your safety hold the blade using an “extension” – a metal plate of sufficient thickness on which the blade is manually fixed to obtain a controlled path. And the screws attached (see the Fig.) to the plate serve here as a kind of support for your fingers (Fig. 1). The same plate provides for a more accurate operation to set the right working angle while grinding. Any movements of the blade on the abrasive, as well as positioning it under your grip should be uniform. Double-bevel blades are grinded and finished the same way, with alternate sharpening of the cutting edge on each bevel.Fig. 2
Mandatory monitoring of the grinding path is strongly recommended. If you doubt your own grip, then paint the surface of a sharpened cutting edge with regular marker before you start. Or just bother to put a control point (points) with a marker (Fig. 2) to outline the removed material area. By the way painted metal is removed, one can judge the grinding angle is observed (Fig. 3).
- Monitor all sharpening stages by the degree of the damaged area recovery. Stop as soon as the burr comes up on the bottom – check the reverse side of the blade for that. Check its uniformity along the entire surface of the blade, both bottom and cutting edge should be monitored.Fig. 3
As soon as a smooth burr appeared, you need to switch to a finer grain stone. As the grit of the stones gradually decreases, the burr becomes thinner.
- The final finishing of the blade’s edge may be skipped, as it is likely that the blade will perform quite sharp already after the grinding. But fine polishing will help to keep the blade sharp for longer term, as well as this enable for a longer life of the blades. Moreover, if there is a burr on the blade, the test with paper cutting will fail. The burr is actually removed by polishing. Tune-up the primary edge only! It is important! You can try polishing edge on the area of 0.5 mm with a slightly large angle, increasing it by half a degree relative to the main angle of sharpening.
- Attention! If only one blade of the entire kit is damaged, and a significant amount of metal is removed from its cutting edge to restore it, then the second blade, even if it does not have any damage, needs to be processed to get exactly the same uniform appearance.
One more question is what to do with blades that have chipped corners?
Well, if the chip is relatively small, up to 1 mm, it is not necessary to restore the angle geometry. You know, to restore the geometry, you need to remove about 1.5 mm of metal from the surface. Isn’t it rather a hard job? It is, and in most cases unjustified. To accurately align the chip, making its edges sharp, would be enough. At least, we did not notice any difference in how such blades “do” the ice at the start compared to those with “even” corner edge.
If the chip is large enough, then there are two options for restoring a corner. The removal of the metal from surface before the formation of a sharp corner is made only on a short section of the secondary cutting edge (Fig. 4). In this case, the metal is not removed from the primary cutting edge. When sharpening the side cutting edge, you can slightly change the angle of convergence of the two cutting edges. This will not affect your blades cutting performance significantly. But you need to remove less metal. And, once again, you will have to adjust the second blade uniformly, that is you need to complete the same operation as above on it.
With a significant damage to the corner, it is better to grind off the metal along the line of convergence of the two cutting edges. The sharpening angle is the same – 30 degrees. One more narrow cutting edge with two corners will turn out. For example, the Fig.5 shows a blade with a damaged corner, Fig. 6 – the same blade after the corner being grinded.
Regarding the appearance of your blades. It is great when your blades shine, but be realistic – the most of it will go off after your first ice. The blades will rust no matter how careful you are, and they rust quite strongly. To achieve the desired complete removal of corrosive stains on your blades is not the task. Probably, it is not worth your effort. Steel tends to corrode, stains and rust will still occur and appear. No use to remove metal from blades each time you notice that. No worries about your blades having their a bit rusty non-display appearance!
But the matter is rather different with those blades, the cutting edge of which has a spherical rounding. To get them sharp, everything will be a little different. In this case, the blade itself is fastened in a vice clamp with the help of screws, and the grinding stone moved over it. In this case, the cutting edge of the blades is on top. This position provides the best visual control of the sharpening angle for the cutting edge. Marking/outlining the surface of the cutting edge with a marker in this case is not only desirable, but also obligatory, since sharpening is done by sectors/in sections (Fig. 8). The more radial bending of the cutting edge, the smaller part of its surface will capture the flat abrasive material.
So, sharpening and grinding of the cutting edges of such blades is performed gradually, from one edge to another. As soon as you removed the first marked area on the surface, move right to the next … And so on, stage by stage, step by step. Marker paint is applied to the surface of the cutting edge each time before the next stage. In general, the process of sharpening and grinding is more laborious and complex than sharpening a blade with a straight cutting edge. But this is the only way to preserve the initial angle of sharpening for the cutting edge of a spherical rounding blade. And the more such a rounding is, the more laborious the work becomes.
The use of wide abrasive bars in this case will be inconvenient, it is better to use bars with a width of 10-15 mm (Fig. 9). Not that is because they are more productive, but because visual inspection will be more convenient on these. And all the same, it is very difficult when moving an abrasive against the treated surface to achieve smooth movement without any blockages.
Best Sharpening Stones
|1||Sharp Pebble Premium|
Whetstone Knife Sharpening
Stone 2 Side Grit
|2||Sharp Pebble Premium|
Stone 2 Side Grit
Knife Sharpening System, Apex Knife Sharpener
More stable results in blade tune-up can be achieved by using some special tools (Knife Sharpening System), in which the blade sharpened is attached to the base, while the abrasive bar is treating the surface of the cutting edge at a given angle. As a rule, such sharpeners are widely used to keep your kitchen knives (as well as hunting-, pen- or any other knives, as in Fig. 10).
Learn more about these at:
|1||Edge Pro Apex 3|
Knife Sharpener Kit
Best Overall Knife Sharpening System
|2||Edge Pro Apex 4|
Knife Sharpening System
The principle of operation of the device shown above is as follows. The abrasive bar should be fixed on the rod – to freely move in the longitudinal direction at a certain and adjustable angle against the surface to be grinded. The angle of inclination of the bar (also known as the angle of sharpening) is set on a pattern or on the surface of the plane of the cutting edge. Sharpening control is carried out on the marker (control) mark. The passage of the bar on the ground surface of the straight cutting edge occurs evenly, over its entire length, that is, as accurately as possible. Uniform clamping of the bar to the surface of the cutting edge is much easier to obtain than simply holding it in your hands.
And what is most important, with such a simple device the process of flat blades manual sharpening comes to be greatly simplified – not only with a straight and stepped cutting edge, but also with a rounded blades. Sharpening of such blades is made sector-wise, with the blade turning on the platform to maintain the angle of the cutting edge. This season we are going to try and test blades with rounded cutting edge, of which accounts we will let you know. We’ve adjusted our blades to the variable cutting angle.
Fig. 11 (HT Mini Nero Telescopic Russian Hand Auger Replacement Blades)
In the center of the blade it makes 30 degrees, and at the edges the cutting angle is increased by half a degree. We believe this adjustment will make the blades more versatile to cut the ice of variable density and hardness.
With the help of the device described as above it is also possible to provide a complete sharpening of blades having a variable angle of cutting edge, including “curved” blades for some models of ice augers. However, in the latter case, you need not to use any bars, but a special mandrel with hemispherical surface and sandpaper.
And now see the example of the “crashed” flat blades with rounded cutting edge tuned-up (Fig. 11). This is the type of blades owners are kind of being usually reluctant to give away for sharpening. The blades were a total junk, as they say, but after being tuned-up they totally restored their razor blade cutting performance immediately.
So, no rush to throw away your old blades. You may restore their efficiency right at home by yourself.
You can sharpen ice auger blades
Sharpening your Nils, Strike Master, Eskimo, ThunderBay, RAZR or HT auger blades at home isn’t difficult. Here’s a example on how to do it right.
Best Ice Auger Replacement Blades
We wish you fish!
The very best ice fishing and sharp blades to ye all!