It’s been a while since I’ve written about the broad subject of honing. In this column, I’d like to give you an overview of a type of honing called plateau honing.
Plateau honing is a process that improves cylinder wall surface finish by removing tiny peaks of torn or folded material and increasing bearing area. This type of finish allows lubricant to collect in the remaining valleys, improving lubrication control and retention. It also extends the life of components such as piston rings and seals because there are no peaks of material for them to remove during initial break-in.
Implementing ball-style honing tools can result in a plateau finish. A ball-style hone is a specialized abrasive tool whose small, abrasive globules are permanently mounted to flexible filaments. It is designed to be a low-cost tool for sophisticated surfacing, deburring and edge bending.
Ball-style hones are suitable for simple operations such as in the hosel hole of the head of a golf club to provide a coarser finish for adhesive bounding when re-shafting to complex finishing jobs such as in valve bodies, brake cylinders, master cylinders, firearm barrels and even musical instruments.