Once in awhile, after cleaning, you can use an Aluminum Oxide Dressing Bar on your sintered diamond laps to expose diamond and make them cut better. They are generally sold by lapidary suppliers. The guy that got me started in lapidary many years ago showed me how to do it. You just use water and push the bar (or stick) against the lap back and forth for about 5-10 seconds. You can do that only a few times during the life of the lap.
Also, I like to use a few drops of mineral oil on the lap when sharpening. It lubricates and contains the metal so it doesn't form dust.
I use the powdered cleanser/brush mentioned above.
About once a year and if you have access to 'em - wait 'till just before you have to change your ultrasonic solution and run them through that.
Then steam clean them, & wipe dry. Ceramic comes out white as new - if your ultra solution isn't completely shot.
Try premixing diamond powder with a light grease or Vaseline and keep it in a little can or vial next to your sharpening rig for use on your ceramic lap.
(If you are a bacon lover, I suppose you could use bacon grease? Make your shop smell nice! Ask Sam about his wintergreen experience.)
A dab on your fingertip will put it exactly where you need it. You can buy the lapidary variety in a syringe applicator. As always - homemade is cheaper.
I find the commercially sold spray to be pretty wasteful as well as expensive.
Iron laps just get wiped thoroughly with alcohol before rolling fresh diamond powder into the surface with a steel brayer that I made for that purpose.
One thing I have noticed, and it's not really a big thing unless you are a perfectionist (or lapidary) - and that is that if you do not wipe off your gravers between steps, sometimes you can carry the coarser grits to the finer laps... contamination also happens when you grab a finer lap after just handling the coarse lap.
In reply to Doc's post above - I use a water drip system on my dedicated rough graver preformer.
Never get overheated gravers, dust is controlled and drains into a can or jug under the bench.
The dust created by BOTH HSS and the exotic carbide alloys used in graver blanks IS carcinogenic. Cobalt is the main culprit.
IMO they should have had warning labels on them way back when we started using these materials as graver blanks.
The bulk cases and crates do. Nothing is provided when sold "retail"... and hobbyists don't do much research on what's in what they buy.
I warn and explain how to mitigate this in every class I have ever taught. Other instructors should follow suit.
You should never eat around your benches, but people do. At least wash up first, and keep open beverage containers out of the sharpening area.
I've not been able to find much info on the hazards of diamond powders. It is pretty inert, but I suppose breathing the powder/dust could eventually plug up your lungs?
If anyone else knows of any source of info please post it!
tooth brush & wd 40. i use mineral oil as a lube. cleans rather quickly that way. wet is better than dry. you get a slightly better finish & the diamond lasts somewhat longer when used wet.
easy to tell when replacement is needed-- they simply begin to lose effectiveness !