The cylinder hones that I am going to cover on this page are the ones that would be used when doing a very basic "rebuild" of an engine, often without even pulling the engine from the vehicle. This is typically called "reringing" the engine. I am not going to talk about the stationary machines that you would find in your Automotive Machine Shop.
There are two basic types of hones that you would use for this type of work.
The stone type is probably the oldest and most common type of portable hone. I am only going to touch on them here to say that I really do not feel that they have any place in quality engine repairs. The problem with this type being used in a portable manner is that it is impossible to really end up with a straight and round cylinder. Also, if there is enough wear in the cylinder that it needs his type of hone to try to make it smooth and round, it really needs to be bored to the next oversize. I have seen plenty of engine blocks that have been ruined by the use of this type of hone.
Enough said . . . so that leaves us with the flex type of hone.
This type of hone is often called a "berry brush" or a "dingle ball" hone and other interesting names.
Even though it looks pretty "low tech" it actually does the best job of preparing a cylinder for new piston rings as long as the cylinder is not worn excessively. This type of hone removes hardly any material and works great with almost any type of piston ring. We use this type of hone when a performance or racing engine is being "freshened up" during the racing season and any time the block is not worn and the customer is only replacing piston rings.
The best known brand of this hone are the ones made by
Brush Research Manufacturing also known as BRM.
Both of the above hones need to be used with some type of lubricant. If you can actually get honing oil it is probably best but many people use WD 40, CRC and similar light oils.
A slow speed corded or cordless drill works best to drive this type of hone.