Thursday, April 23, 2015

Sharpening station requirements

With my saw bench project winding down, time to move on the next one.
Starting to define my requirements.

Having a dedicated place always ready for sharpening is a real must, if you want to get seriously into hand tools woodworking.
Why?  Because sharp tools are a must and then you don't put off sharpening too long and have to go into a marathon sharpening session. Of course, the other approach is simply to have lots of tools to choose from, like 47 chisels, 118 hand planes, 68 handsaw etc :-)

But eventually all these puppies must take their indoctrination into my sharpening regiment.
I wont bore you with yet, another, guy dogma of what sharpening ought to be, but suffice to say that you must first flatten the back side (at least once) before working on the bevel then raise a burr, and cut it off on your finer media. I also got into the habit of using a strop, from my carving days, and do stop and strop often. It put off the inevitable trip to the sharpening station longer :-)

So what do I need to take into account here, for this dedicated area?
Although I most prefer hand sharpening versus powered grinders etc, sooo much easier on the edge and you don't quickly grind away into oblivion your precious tool steel, I do have a need for it.
If nothing else to rehab my rather large coll... err... "assortment of users tools".
I own two small 6 in grinders, one will be permanently dedicated to buffing/stropping, the other for grinding, edge dressing etc.

Discovered this paper wheel system called Razor sharp via my carving clubs.  Similar idea to the Tormek system, you change the grease to change the grit on it. Works really well.
Its an 8 in wheel but work fine on a 6in grinder, without the guard, and like any buffing system, on a grinder, you must approach the wheel from behind, or the wheel will grab and turf out your tool. 

There is another tool I am lustering about, the Worksharp 3000.

I prefer it to the WS2000, because it is slow speed and therefore can take glass platen with sharpening paper, bonus! I like a flat platen, I dislike the concave shape left by wheel grinders, I could then also speed up my back flattening tasks.

Like any self respecting Galoot, of course I got a hand crank small grinder.

Then there are the spot for three of my sharpening stones. Which ones? Throughout the years, I have tried pretty well every sharpening system knows to mankind. Oilstones, waterstones, diamond stones, sandpaper etc.
I like them all and prefer some to others depending on the tool and what I'm trying to accomplish.
As a general rule, I tend to finish off on my 6000 grit waterstone with a natural Nagura, then strop.
I read somewhere, long ago, that you should not ever use diamond stones on fine Japanese laminated tools. No ideas why? If any of you could shed some light on it or dispel this myth (?) please let me know. I tend to use my diamond stone for quick flattening job on chisel and plane iron.

While I'm at it I should also have a spot for plane sole flattening (disclaimer, I do not subscribe to the flat sole society, but rather to the Schwarz) I just so happened to have some pieces of granite left over from recent house renovation projects, bonus :-) Including a long back splash piece which we did not uses, went with mosaic tiles instead. I'm thinking a chunk of that would make a perfect surface for truing long jointer's plane sole, but it would be kinda long...

Trying my long granite piece on a No 8 jointer

Granite topped sharpening bench, from Lie-Nielsen site. I played on it during a recent visit this fall. This thing is massive. 

And there are all the small paraphernalia that comes with sharpening, jigs, angle gauges, files, cones carver's slip stones etc, etc. These should probably go into a drawer. 

Some of my most used sharpening paraphernalia.
I didn't bother show my scary sharp, using a piece of plate glass, pieces of granite, tiles etc 

I have more, mostly various slip stones for my carving gouges, only 3 are shown. There are also the oil stones, water stone flattening stone, honing compound and etc. What is shown in the pic is my usual portable kit. The last grey strop on the right is made with a piece of micron self adhesive paper from LV, and looking at it, I'm overdue to put in a new piece on it :-)

I also need some sort of dedicated spot for handsaw maintenance. Are you kidding? I own 68 of them puppies, of course I do :-)
I have 3 antique saw vises, Disstons and Sargent, but still I am thinking of making a wooden one. Why? Because I can :-)

Saw maintenance tools. The wooden stick is my Paul Sellers teeth cutting guide.

My 3 antique saw vises from L-R 
Sargent 103, unmarked No 19, Disston No 1

A quick roundup of my powered sharpening accessories 

Since I own two of these small Delta grinders, one will be permanently equipped for grinding: coarse carborundum for general shaping, and a Norton white cool wheel 60 grit.  It will also held my metal brush wheels. The other will be used for buffing, paper wheel and various buffing wheels.
To save space, I'm wondering if I should put them on a rotating table?

I recently got into wood turning, so will need the room to sharpen those long gouges. Thinking something like the Wolverine attachment. This will require lots of room in front of the grinder

There is one last piece of powered kit I am considering besides the Worksharp, it is the Ultimate power honer for carving gouges, available in kit form or fully assembled. The beauty of it is the maple shaped wheels, used with honing compound.
Ultimate power honer. Available from Chipping Away

Now, my only problem, is that all of this must fit into a small area, hum. I think I need a bigger box. (remember that Taco Bell commercial?) Maybe what I need is more than one dedicated sharpening station??

I am still in the requirements stage, and a long way from actual design of such an animal.
If you have one dedicated area, I would love to hear about yours and see pictures of it, along with your comments. Thanks

Bob, still sharpening his pencil and getting ready for his supervisor shift tonite.


  1. Hi Bob,
    Just my 3 cents worth on the WS3000
    I had the work sharp 3000. Bought a bazillion dollars worth of extra wheels, glass plates, diamond discs etc etc.
    Did it sharpen? Yes. But it came at a price. You only use a small portion of the disc - sandpaper or diamond, and rest is unused. I tried sharpening off ofthe bar free hand but I didn't like it. It also didn't seem to hold the edge once sharpened as compared to doing it on a stone.
    I sold the whole kit on ebay. I've since settled into diamond stones, an 8K japanese water stone, and stropping. No more mechanical wonders for me.
    Just my opinion - changing the discs, and the frequent sandpaper changes made using this a huge PITA.

  2. Ah! good points, I haven't thought of that. Whatever I uses, I always finish off on my 6000 water stone then strop. The only interest I have in the WS3000 is that it does essentially the same as the Veritas, but for a lot less. Of course, you get what you pay for, oh surprise :-) Years ago I considered those round japanese stone machines with water drip, but the wheels could be hard or expensive to find. That why I like the idea of using sandpaper on the Veritas or the WS3000.

  3. Crap fixed a typo then updated, but somehow this is now republished as of today???
    My apologies