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Thread: Show us your sharpening stations

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    Show us your sharpening stations

    How do you sharpen your hand tools - plane cutters, chisels, etc? I've watched Paul Sellers in the past and I seem to recall he has a board with 3 different grades of sharpening stones. IIRC, those were water stones that he squirted with a spray bottle before using. I've also see Paul use sandpaper with a flat granite surface. I'm curious what other folks use and would love to see some pics of what I'll call your sharpening stations. Anyone care to share theirs?

    Thanks!
    Last edited by Mike Manning; 09-15-2021 at 4:32 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Minnesota
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    Sellers uses diamond stones with auto glass cleaner.

    I've got diamonds and Shaptons....water with a bit of soap.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  3. #3
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    Looks good Nathan. I notice you don't have the stones (or their bases) embedded to keep them from moving. I take it you don't have that problem?
    Last edited by Mike Manning; 09-15-2021 at 1:12 PM.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Manning View Post
    Looks good Nathan. I notice you don't have the stones (or their bases) embedded to keep them from moving. I take it you don't have that problem?
    No issue. 1/2 inch plywood covered with shelf liner. The diamond stones without holders, or shaptons in holders, don't slide at all on that stuff.
    I screwed the poplar on the outside to the plywood and ran the shelf liner underneath it. Cheap, quick, easy.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    Oskaloosa Iowa
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    I need to get more organized with my sharpening station.
    Need to find a place to leave them out, so I don't have to unpack them every time I need to sharpen.

    sharpening.jpg

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Freiburg, Germany
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    A simple shelf, at good standing height for me. Small wooden tray with a bridge collects sharpening smudge and flattening slurry which dries in the tray and can be disposed of later. Stones, water and rags always ready. Ive been very pleased with this setup. Sorry for bad pic quality
    IMG_1426.jpg

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
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    South West Ontario
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    I wanted some weight at the top of the sharpening station so it would not move around. A black granite off cut from a kitchen counter place works well. Its held underneath at three places so no wobble. The table is the right height with some storage in the drawer and shelf. The non slip mat works but I need a thinner one. The drawer has a Band Aid dispenser.

    The water stones work well on granite, after soaking I just spray them as I use them.

    I used an oil finish on the drawer but the water and mess stain it, varnish would have been better.
    79C26F85-E608-483E-864C-134FDB971385.jpg
    ​You can do a lot with very little! You can do a little more with a lot!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    Michiana
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    Here's the latest iteration. A Trend 300/1000 diamond plate and a couple of Shapton Glasstones in 6000 and 16000. I use Picocool cutting fluid from the tool room at work for lube and corrosion deterrence. A horsebutt leather strop for finish. The granite plate is handy for lapping and flattening using abrasive film. I use a LN honing guide for everything except touchups.

    Sharp solves all manner of problems.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    N. Idaho
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    Hi all,

    Good thread. Here's mine with shapton pros and an atoma diamond plate. (and mess!)

    IMG_1137.jpg

    I patterned it from the plan by LN that was in FWW about a decade ago, which has hardwood stops for the stones and angle blocks for setting a side-clamp gage that I use for plane blades (eclipse style in my case). I freehand chisels. I've recent gotten the LV gage and built some angle gage blocks, one of which is in the photo. I went with the shaptons because my shop used to freeze and they could stay outside without ill effect.

    I've since gone back using the plastic boxes for two stones and added another block to get the stones up off the surface so I can lap the backs while the blade is still clamped in. The other change I will make at some point is to widen the entire affair by ~20% to give enough room between stones so I don't have to move them around when lapping backs.

    Best,
    Chris
    "You can observe a lot just by watching."
    --Yogi Berra

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Cockeysville, Md
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    1,788
    Cluttered as usual.....

    Small 3x8 DMT stones from from 120 through 8000, 8x8 EzeLap plates from 150 to 1200, 2 Norton India stones in steel cases next to hard and soft Arkansas stones. 1 very used medium Spyderco and a strop. There's also a pile of Shaptons and Sun Tiger Waterstones in a box up in the loft. The 1200, 8000 DMT's and the Spyderco are used for 90% of my sharpening. Also a 1"x42"
    belt sander/grinder for those bad times.
    20210916_152759[1]_DxO.jpg
    Last edited by Brian Hale; 09-16-2021 at 5:47 PM. Reason: spelling
    The significant problems we encounter cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.

    The penalty for inaccuracy is more work

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Olympia, WA
    Posts
    5
    IMG_2962.jpg

    Four 3x8 DMT stones (XXCoarse, Coarse, Fine, XFine) and leather strop. I use C/F/XF and strop in my day-to-day but the XCoarse has been useful when I don't want to go to the grinder. I had a couple Eclipse-style guides that I used before I upgraded to the LN - worth the money IMO. The blunt gnarly chisel is for tightening the guide. The white box contains green honing compound stick. The WD-40 is for the guide when I'm done using it for the day. I use Spring Green for honing.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    So Cal
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    My sharpening station is just outside the back of the shop. I have garden hose spray to keep everything clean and wet. Shapton are my primary use stones.
    I have a second sharpening area where my Tormeks sit.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Aj

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Tokyo, Japan
    Posts
    476
    Sharpening systems are a matter of much personal preference, and personal need, so you're sure to get very different answers from different people!

    I've tried and used every sharpening method and type of stone you can imagine, including some pretty obscure stuff.
    What have I settled on?

    Oilstones. Often dismissed as slow, messy, old fashioned, etc. etc... They're none of that, in my experience.
    They're low maintenance (no need to flatten, for the most part, or to presoak, and no need for a sink and running water.), hard but offer good feedback (both of which I like), and the right combination of good quality oil stones are by no means any slower than, say, diamond plates and the like. They work well on every steel that I've ever owned, though they do work best on simple carbon steels, which are my preference anyway.

    I usually make wooden boxes for them, or simply make a Japanese style sharpening stone "dai." A thin layer of lightweight oil, and you're straight to work.
    I typically use one of the following progressions:

    One stone:
    1. Just a Vintage Washita, followed by a Leather Strop *Real washita stones are not mined anymore, and are expensive and hard to find. Anything new being sold as washita these days are just super low density soft arkansas stones.

    Two stones:
    1. Medium or Fine Norton India
    2. Hard Arkansas (Not a true hard or translucent, but just one step above the "soft"
    Followed by a leather strop, this is as sharp as you typically ever need. I recommend this combination to anyone interested in trying oilstones, and buying new oilstones.

    3 Stones:
    1. Medium or Fine Norton India
    2. Soft Arkansas or Hard Arkansas, or, if you have one, a real vintage Washita
    3. True Hard or Black Arkansas
    You can bring a razor to shaving sharpness with this progression and a leather strop.

    My least favorite oil stone is the Soft Arkansas, which seems to clog and dull/burnish easily. It helps to refreshen the surface with a diamond plate. I still use them though, depending on what I'm doing.
    My favorite are the Vintage Washita, and the Hard (one step above Soft, and one step below True Hard/Black) Arkansas stones. The Hard Arkansas seems to cut much finer than the soft, but almost as fast... Somtimes, I could even swear faster. Norton's Fine and Medium India stones are also some of my favorite -- both are prefilled and very good at quickly removing steel and bevel setting and repair.

    In recent years, I've also been getting slowly into Japanese Natural Whetstones, which are my second favorite behind Traditional Oilstones.
    Because I'm in Japan, I can pick up the cheaper varieties pretty easily. I tend to like the Binsui paired with a lower end finishing stone.
    I have very limited experience with Jnats, however, and have not tried any of the really high quality, expensive stones.

    As you can see, I have a strong preference for natural stones these days. I've used diamond and Japanese synthetic waterstones extensively, but I find them to actually be more trouble to prepare, use, and maintain, and don't like the feel and feedback of them, nor can I get the same kind of edge I get on an Arkansas stone.

    Really hard stones, like Arks, do take some skill and practice to get good at, though. A soft stone is more forgiving of poor / imperfect geometry. But they're great, just like diamond plates, when you want to be assured that you're creating a perfectly flat surface. You should never need to flatten them, except for the Washita, or maybe the soft (after many years of use).
    Last edited by Luke Dupont; 09-16-2021 at 11:38 PM.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    Texas Hill Country
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    Great posts all around. Really enjoying reading the thoughts and photos associated with how everyone sharpens their tools. I'm going to try to find the LN plan in FWW around a decade ago mentioned by Chris Charles. Should be on my FWW archive. Please carry on with your sharpening stations and thoughts about sharpening like Luke posted.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    N. Idaho
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    Andrew, nice set up. Wish I could use a garden hose

    Luke, I have to say I enjoyed the irony of you being in Tokyo and having a preference for Ark stones.

    Mike, I forgot to mention that I do have a slow speed grinder that's an important component to the system, as I find a hollow grind to be super helpful. Nothing fancy-I hand grind on a crowned wheel.

    Here's the link to the FWW article from the July/August 2010 issue in case the link doesn't work. Again my advice would be to widen the design by 2-3x and get the stones up. Otherwise a great system.

    https://www.finewoodworking.com/memb.../011213042.pdf

    Best,
    Chris
    "You can observe a lot just by watching."
    --Yogi Berra

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