Originally Posted by nicocummins
...Grooves are needed too? Where do grooves do better?
Head or block?
Grooves are needed for the fire rings. I have however made much thicker, rigid gaskets with a solid steel core that don't compress very much with the fire rings being about .010"-0.015" thicker than the gasket. In this case grooves don't need to be cut because the idea is that the fire ring will compress that .010"-.015" down to the gasket.
These rigid gaskets work very well on tractor pulling engines that aren't running coolant due to the fact that they won't compress enough to seal the coolant. Unless they use some kind of gasket sealant from the parts store. Tractor pulling guys just need the fire ring and gasket to hold up to extreme pressures for a short period of time. Then they tear it down and do it all over again. The gasket won't blow because there is nowhere for the fire ring to go since it is backed up by a solid steel gasket body.
I am not a machinist or engine builder, so I can't say which is better to machine, the head or the block. It seems to me that it would be easier to just machine the head though.