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Thread: Chem-Sharp, long

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Chugiak , Alaska

    Question Chem-Sharp, long

    This looks like the place to post this, hopefully someone out there has some experience with this stuff and can give me some advise.
    I have seen this on the shelf at the store, but hadn’t ever talked to anyone that’s used it, sounded scary and to good to be true. Chem-Sharp by Anchor. I picked up a “Kit” after reading on some old posts that it worked well, $35 what the heck I’ll try it.
    In the box was , not much, a pen shaped tungsten holder and a jar of what turned out to be powder. No instructions other than printed on the jar, ground electrode until glowing quickly dip it in until desired point is achieved, yea sure. I wondered what the heck is in this stuff, do I need a Hazmat suit? Strangely no warnings on the jar, none at all. So I go to Google it hoping to find some better directions and maybe find out what kind of acid or whatever is in this. To my amassment I can’t find anything except a few places to buy it and a caned stock” description I couldn’t even find an MSDS on it from the place that usually has them all.
    Man this is getting long, sorry, couldn’t find anything on the tool or what it’s for, so I tried to hold an electrode with it and heat the end with a torch until glowing and put it in the powder not sure why, but it just kind of melted and globed up on the end. Ok, when all else fails read the instructions, hmm ground electrode, glowing, quickly dip (hmm, how quickly) until sharp. OK here goes nothing, Holy Sh^% Violent chemical reaction turning the tip of the tungsten orange every time it’s dipped, smells like eh, brazing flux (Borax?) then hardened up on the end and didn’t look that great. I’ve tried it a few times, seems to work better on lathenated than thorenated and a little better on larger electrodes. I have a hard time getting the residue off, been using a scotchbrite but think some may be getting left behind and be shortening the tip life when it heats up, are you supposed to wipe it off while still hot or something? Anybody know where I can get some real directions, or has any suggestions? I like the idea of not having to grind.

    Everlast Sales and Support Team.

    877-755-9353 X207

  2. #2



    You are supposed to leave the tungsten in the torch, touch it to the metal (short it on lift arc) to make it red/white hot. Start by leaving about 1.5 to 2 inches sticking out from the cup or whatever it takes to get it down into the jar.

    Then put about 1/4 to 1/2" the end of it in the chem sharp gently swirl it around on the point, quickly pulling it in and out at the same time, only 3 or 4 times max. (Try to imagine teasing and poking a rattlesnake with a 5 foot stick quick). Forget about grinding it white hot and putting it in a holder or taking it out.

    If it clings, I think you left it in too long or put it in too deep until the chemical salts started to cool and recrystalize.

    It will cake up, but that's what it supposed to do. You might be able to break up a few chunks, but mostly just remove the caked up residue and discard. If it cakes too much, then you left it in too long.
    Last edited by performance; 04-21-2010 at 11:17 PM.

  3. #3

    Default Chem-Sharp MSDS

    FYI. Tried to load it, but to big. Here is the link to the Chem-Sharp MSDS. It is Sodium Nitrite, not to bad.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Chugiak , Alaska


    Thanks a lot Mark and dlong, Pretty interesting stuff, the swirling helps a lot. Seems like an oxidizer. I think the main problem was I was afraid of it and wasn’t giving it enough time to work. But I see potential, on the small electrodes it kind of ends up looking like, well, the end of a candy cane after a kid has sucked on the end for a while?? Kind of bumpy with streaks in it. But on the 3/32” I got a nice kind of blunt taper that works well.

    Everlast Sales and Support Team.

    877-755-9353 X207

  5. #5

    Default Chem-Sharp Test, really, really long

    I was playing around with Chem-sharp tungsten tip sharpening method just to see how well it worked. I decided to give it a try mostly because I didn’t want any more “pollutants” in me from the grinding dust in either my basement or garage workshops. It’s pretty easy to step outside into the breeze with nothing more than a pair of pliers, a propane torch, and a jar of Chem-sharp (I found it’s better to heat the tungsten with a propane torch and work the tip in the Chem-sarp with the pliers).

    First let me qualify my “Chem-sharp testing” as nothing more than curiosity by someone who is trying to learn how to weld, purely for a hobby purposes. So I am absolutely as green as a person can be; an honest to gosh “Pilgrim” trying to follow John Wayne’s footsteps.

    I had what I consider to be the absolute good fortune of acquiring an Everlast 250EX only a few weeks ago. Up until that time, I never so much as held a TIG torch in my hand. Needless to say, I make more than my fair share of mistakes.

    I “proudly” damaged the tungsten shown in the picture. Technically I had already known enough about the purpose and absolute requirement for the argon shield. I had read many articles and watched a lot of videos demonstrating the TIG welding process. I even knew enough to keep the large fan I had blowing on me positioned such that it couldn’t possibly blow any air over my practice table.

    After I had been doing nothing more than simply practicing running a pass along a piece of sheet metal, I decided to push it a little adding a little filler rod to a pass. The first pass or two went fine. Suddenly everything went wildly haywire and everything flared up in front of my eyes. I had no clue what happened. I spent hours trying to figure out what “I was doing” wrong. Before I even went into the garage and power the machine up, I had made a “Check List” of every setting. I double checked my check list; no accidental changes there. I checked to make sure I had argon in the tank; nearly full. The ball blow indicator was still right where I had set it. I could hear the air solenoid in the machine clicking when I hit the foot pedal. I was totally stumped, and I mean totally stumped. What could I be doing wrong?

    I finally decided to give it up for the day. To be honest, the first day I tried the machine out, I was like a kid on Christmas. I had fastened the argon tank in a safe corner between some shelving and the block wall. I had simply set the machine on the floor support by some scrap 2”x4”s. I had very carefully attached the argon hose to the barbed fittings at the tank and machine

    I already had turned the machine off so went over to the big fan and extra temporary work lighting and turned them off. Walked over to the argon tank to shut it off at the main; I had just had put my hand on the valve when I noticed a loud hissing sound; like my truck tire going flat. I followed the sound (I am sure every single one of you knew this as soon as I started describing “my” problem) and saw the argon hose had popped off of the barbed fitting on the machine. All that time beating my head because I couldn’t hear the hissing with the big fan running. Naturally I fired it back up one more time and everything was back to normal.

    As I look back on it, I think it’s funnier than heck. I should have checked that. No one had ever put up a video showing what happens when you light up an arc without the argon shield. That’s one lesson learned. Oh yeah, I had tightened the hose clamp to the point I was wary of breaking it the first time. I made sure to tighten it just as hard as I dared the second time. The next day I was setting up to practice and shortly after I had turned the argon on while I was checking the machine settings, Two nnew heavy duty hose clamps are now on each end of the hose.

    That story should give you an idea of just how new I am to TIG welding. So please take that into consideration. Yes, you’re also free to laugh at me. I am. I think it was hilarious……Now!

    Oh yeah, I was writing about the Chem-sharp test, sorry.

    The tungsten shown in the pictures is 2% Thoriated (red). It’s 3/32” diameter, 2” length, and factory sharpened at both ends. I have the pictures of the tips magnified quite a bit. Most of the finer scratches aren’t visible to the naked eye.

    1. Factory Sharpened--This is a new factory sharpened point
    2. Damaged—This is what happens without the argon gas shield
    3. Prepared For Sharpening—This is the tip prepared for sharpening. Note cross grinding marks. The intent is to remove a small layer from the tungsten to eliminate those marks
    4. Sharpened With Chem-sharp-- I intentionally dipped the tip into the Chem-sharp a little deeper than I normally would have to remove the cross marks from attempting to salvage it

    The tungsten that was sharpened with Chen-sharp was already becoming too short for practical use. Normally I would have broken the end off and started sharpening on a section of tungsten I could be sure wasn’t contaminated.

    I haven’t tried that particular piece of tungsten yet, but I am guessing it would have a slightly narrower arc.
    I have used Chem-sharp sharpened tips in both 2% Thoriated (red) and 2% Ceriated (orange) in several sizes up 1/8” without what I would think was a surprising result. On the other hand these were all standard unsharpened 7” pieces.

    I was kind of hoping an experienced eye might have a look and please add their thoughts or comments. No matter how hard I try, I can’t learn someone’s experience. The old saying of “How many years does it take to get 30 years of experience” is as true today as it was before the pyramids were built.

    Warmest Regards,

    BTW, I love that 250EX. Who would ever think a hobbyist could get all those bells and whistles on a machine for relatively speaking, so little investment. Heck, just one of my camera lenses cost more than the welder. I could have bought two new welders with change left over for what I spent on my main camera boy alone. A professional capability machine for a hobbyist; I love it.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Port Saint Lucie , Florida


    Thanks for the write up John,
    I have heard about the chem sharp but never tried it. I used to use a dedicated belt sander and drill and it was doing a great job at sharpening, but now after TIG ing in the wind and sticking tips a lot I reaad up about using a diamond wheel for sharpening. So at harbor freight I found a set of 3 diamond wheels a few weeks back that come with 3 different wheel sizes and a .250 and a .125 arbour to chuk in in my router. I have a CNC router in my garage and the router is held nice and tight at the right height for me so I just chuck in the diamond wheel and get out my drill. Put the drill in the slowest turning speed like about 40 or 50 rpm and cuts the tungstens in just a minute so I keep all of my tungstens in a clear tube near me when welding so when I run out I go to the routed and sharpen all of them at once.
    I would post pics but my camera sucks at close up pictures the points are not as shiney as a factory polished one but a LOT nicer than the belts sanded ones, And they seem to keep a better point now.

  7. Default Chem sharp

    Hi JohnS, Chem sharp is a neat product but also a kinda funky one at the same time. It works great, but like you were alluding to i think, ..... it takes a lot of practice to get it to work just right. Heat your tungsten just right, dip it in for just the right time, ... swirl it just right, and it works pretty neat. I dunno tho, ..... i just never seem to use it on a consistant basis. I think I'd rather concentrate on NOT dipping or contaminating my tungsten, than how to quickly recover it

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Chugiak , Alaska


    I started this thread and while back, and the jury is still out so to speak for me.
    I a while back I bought and old Jetline bench sharpener that had a bent spindle and recently got close enough to a buddies lathe to make a new one and search out some suitable pulleys and belts. And got it working good as new, apparently Jetline quit making them 10 or 20 years ago and only make big positioners and stuff now.
    I can say that having a precise angle on the tungsten does make a noticeable difference, but more so polishing from what I’ve noticed.
    I also can’t seem to not dip the tungsten once in a while, usually seems to happen when your almost done LOL so usually I just plow through and end up with something like fido’s butt at the finish. Not the best way but what can I say. That’s where the Chem-Sharp might be very useful. Lately I just keep a few extra’s sharpened and ready to go for a quick swap out, then later sit down and trim up and sharpen them back up for next time.
    My sharpener turns the tungsten while it’s grinding and polishing and makes a point that looks like a factory job. But my point here is for you guys that are using a grinder you might consider getting one of those scotch-bright polishing wheels and putting a final polish on the tungsten. The Chem-sharp seems to make them look lumpy in a way, and if you have a nice clear lens like the Everlast Defender (plug intendedJ) and look closely you can see the arc kind of being deflected by the bumps.
    Of course that all changes after a couple of restarts anyway really. So I suppose in the end it all depends what works best for you and what your welding on.

    Everlast Sales and Support Team.

    877-755-9353 X207

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Oshawa, Ontario


    Ray,I learned a neat trick from an old pro(my welding instructor at school). If you take the tungsten and chuck it in a drill(variable speed) and run it slow rpm while sharpening, you get that nice factory finish and a clean stable arc(till you dip it and we all do,I have been welding/fitting for fifteen years,five with tig) and at work I build sheet metal guards for the machines we build and some of those are as big as a small car(the guards) and i have a small cordless drill with a battery that is just about worn out and it works great for me

  10. #10


    Quote Originally Posted by agrrob View Post
    Ray,I learned a neat trick from an old pro(my welding instructor at school). If you take the tungsten and chuck it in a drill(variable speed) and run it slow rpm while sharpening, you get that nice factory finish and a clean stable arc(till you dip it and we all do,I have been welding/fitting for fifteen years,five with tig) and at work I build sheet metal guards for the machines we build and some of those are as big as a small car(the guards) and i have a small cordless drill with a battery that is just about worn out and it works great for me
    Good tip Rob, I have one of those cordless drills that is just about useless for drilling, it may have enough jam left in it to become a tungsten turner.

  11. #11


    You also need to make sure that the chuck on the drill is no bigger than 3/8 or the smaller tungstens will slip. I cured that by chucking up a pin vise and putting the tungsten in the pin vise. Eventually I just forgot about the drill motor and used the pin vise.

    A really cool trick I found and like is to put a scotch brite deburring wheel on the other side of the grinder and run the tungsten over it after sharpening. It seems to make a big difference in arc stability and tungsten longevity.

    Miller 212
    Everlast 250EX
    Everlast PowerPlasma 60
    Victor O/A
    Current Project: 21' Jet Sled Rat Boat.

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