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Thread: Is sharpening waste down the drain a problem?

  1. #1
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    Is sharpening waste down the drain a problem?

    I live in the city and I have a good sewer line (because I just replaced my main sewer line, that was a big expense).

    When I sharpen on my Tormek, I am often left with a lot of waste from the stone in a trough and I worry about dumping that in my drain. Growing up on the farm, my Mother used a Rainbow vacuum cleaner, that ran the air through water and she dumped that water with all its dirt into the toilet and it flushed into the septic tank, which in retrospect also seems wrong.

    Now consider this quote from another post (https://sawmillcreek.org/showthread....13#post3007113)

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom M King View Post
    I don't soak the Sigma's, but do use them under running water. There is no time spent getting ready, other than putting whichever one I use on the stone holder, which is not tightened for any, turn the water on, and go to work. I have a dedicated sharpening sink now, and water runs out of the ground, all around here, so I'm not really wasting water.

    edited to add: The only reason for soaking is so some stands on the surface. If the stone soaks it in, you have to put enough on it until it doesn't just soak it up. Soaking does that, but also, being supplied a constant supply on the surface, it doesn't matter if the stone is soaking it up, or not.
    So, as Tom sharpens, he is running grit down the drain. When I flatten my stones, I do it under running water, which I am sure runs much more down the drain than what Tom is doing.

    I found out that my wife mops the floor in the basement and then dumps the dirty water down the drain. These all feel like a similar problem.

    At what point do I need to worry about running things down my drain? I do not really understand if this stuff catches in the traps.

    I am NOT running a business sharpening tools and burning up my stones, so even though it looks like a lot of grit in the bottom of my containers, perhaps it is not as bad as I think and maybe I do not need to make the trek from my basement to dump the water outside after a long sharpening session.

    In my mind, running very heavy stuff down the drain just worries me a bit.

  2. #2
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    I did this:

    Trap-eze-shop-made.jpg

    You can buy one for about $50 or make one for a few bucks. Oops, now $78!!!
    "What kind of chump do you take me for?"
    "First class."

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by glenn bradley View Post
    I did this:

    Trap-eze-shop-made.jpg

    You can buy one for about $50 or make one for a few bucks. Oops, now $78!!!
    I need to crawl under there and take a look. This one might actually be a solid copper trap as crazy as that sounds... And yes, it is old. That is brilliant. I will crawl under there this weekend and take a look.

  4. #4
    My wife is a ceramics. They really put a lot of waste down the drain and we have a trap like that on her drains. They work, just need an occasional emptying. I can't conceive of needing one for a sharpening bench sink but then I don't use a lot of synthetic water stones.

    ken

  5. #5
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    My sharpening sink empties onto a pile of sawdust outside the house (whichever/whenever) we're working on. It doesn't even have a trap, because there are no sewer gases involved. I have used the kitchen sink in houses we've worked on in the past, before I built the dedicated one, and never had any problem. I'm sure we do a Lot more sharpening that any hobbiest, and there was never any problem. The one in a shop at home is the same, but it empties into an Azalea bush outside the wall.

    I even took the trap out to look at, on the one I did the video of, when we left that museum house, after being there for a year, and a half, and it was Very clean-cleaner than any normally used kitchen sink trap.

    Visualize the amount of stones you lose sharpening, and you'll see it's not much volume.
    Last edited by Tom M King; 04-02-2020 at 9:39 PM.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Pitonyak View Post
    I need to crawl under there and take a look. This one might actually be a solid copper trap as crazy as that sounds... And yes, it is old. That is brilliant. I will crawl under there this weekend and take a look.
    Just checked, copper pipe there entire way including the trap. Not modifying that trap.

  7. #7
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    It'll probably polish the inside of it, nice, and pretty. It doesn't accumulate in the trap, although it might in that jar trap, but not in a regular P-trap.

  8. #8
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    Andrew, the sludge left in the Tormek trough is a steel/ceramic slurry. Not the type of stuff Id expect to wash lightly downstream in residential plumbing. I use the little magnetic scoop to scrape out most of it, after decanting the water into a bush outside my shop. Then a paper towel wipes out enough of the rest that I can rinse the final particles out with a hose in the garden. The major sludge goes into the paper towel and into the garbage.

  9. #9
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    I've had sharpening waste (metal + stone) collect and settle in the trap, almost like cement, when sharpening directly into the shop sink. Be careful to always flush your swarf with copious amounts of water to assure that everything keeps moving through the trap.

  10. #10
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    Continue with care it is then.... :-)

    Honestly, I was not happy when I found out that my wife dumps dirty water down our main basement drain in the floor; the drain that has been causing me problems for years.

  11. #11
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    It's the volume of slurry that causes problems.

    Unless you're sharpening knives commercially, it's probably less material than your laundry removes.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Matthews View Post
    It's the volume of slurry that causes problems.

    Unless you're sharpening knives commercially, it's probably less material than your laundry removes.
    When i have a sharpening session on the Tormek, I am likely to sharpen a bunch of my stuff and/or a bunch of my friends stuff, and that leaves a bunch of stuff in the bottom of the trough. I guess that when I flatten a stone there is a bunch of water and the stone does not go down by much that I can see. Bu tI also do not see the Tormek wheel go down much yet there seems to be a bunch of heavy gook in that tray.

    So I will take special care with the Tormek stuff and not worry too much about my water stones.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom M King View Post
    It'll probably polish the inside of it, nice, and pretty. It doesn't accumulate in the trap, although it might in that jar trap, but not in a regular P-trap.

    I agree. After a few years I had less than an inch of metal, hard bits of glue, etc. When I made it I was thinking I was helping out the downstream system a lot. Turned out to be not such a big deal. My new sink will drain into a gravel pit.
    "What kind of chump do you take me for?"
    "First class."

  14. #14
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    Perhaps strain the trough through a coffee filter?

  15. #15
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    Never even considered this to be a potential problem..... till its too late...
    Glen, that gizmo is brilliant...
    not sure my stones and swarf is piling up somewhere that will soon cause a clog
    but better safe than sorry, thx for posting that trap, perfect...

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