Hand Tools Archive

Debonding Atoma plates

Patrick Chase
A while back I purchased a spare #140 Atoma surface, and finally decided that my existing coarse-stone-flattening plate was shot (it had worn in the center where it was very difficult to get stones flat even though the plate itself was near-perfect).

Stu outlined a process on his blog (http://www.toolsfromjapan.com/wordpress/?p=919) but there turns out to be an easier way.

The key here is that most acrylic abrasives (including the one on Nitto 5015 tape) break down irreversibly by 200C. The solution is therefore to simply bake the plate in an oven at 400F for a couple hours, then pry it apart. If you've done it right the adhesive will have turned dark brown and smell "burnt" when you pry it apart, which can be done easily with a box cutter or similar.

Heating the residue also degrades its solvent resistance, so you most any finish remover will do the trick. I've tried acetone, lacquer thinner, and NMP paint remover (the slow, "safe" kind). They all work.

As a bonus the stainless carrier sheet, the diamonds, and the nickel bonds holding them together are all impervious to such temperatures. In addition the adhesive becomes weak enough that you can pry the plate off without bending it, so this may be a way to recover out-of-flat plates (I've had good luck with Atoma "replacement sheets" on glass substrate... :-).

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