My First Shop Appliance

In order to make things from wood, you need sharp tools.  I’m pretty sure everyone knows that.  I’ve taken a few classes, around the area, on sharpening chisels and plane irons, watched the YouTube videos, etc, etc, etc.  One thing I found for certain… there is a wide range of opinions on systems, methods, and results.  I’m not knocking anyone or any system.

I started with scary sharp.  I didn’t want to blow a ton of money on lots of stones until I learned a little bit more and got some direction.  I came across a set of Norton waterstones at an estate sale last year (220, 1000, 4000, and 8000) for a good price, so I grabbed them.  Each of these systems worked fine, but the jigs were a bit of a pain, the sandpaper expensive, the water stones were messy, and the flattening process was no picnic.  All of this took a lot of time.

What do you do when a task takes time?  You procrastinate.  Now the tools are duller than they should be and the work suffers.

My desire to learn brought me to Paul Sellers “Working Wood” series.  I bought the book and a couple of the DVD’s.  The “Master Sharpening” video is great, and it walks you through the entire gammet of tools.  Paul uses diamond stones, which I had been reading about.  What did I like best?  No flattening, very little mess from water, and they were not as expensive as I thought they might be.

I purchased an extra course, course, fine, and extra fine from DMT.  They are American made and require very little maintenance.  Without a holder, they were a little difficult to use.  So, I decided to make an appliance to hold my new stones, much the way Paul holds his.

I took a piece of yellow pine, 1×10, about a foot long.  I left an edge margin of about 5/8″ and 1/2″ between stones.  I used a marking knife to score around the first stone, then chiseled out a recess 1/8″ deep. I cleaned the recess with my recently acquired Miller Falls 67 Router (more on that in another post).  Working down the line, I created four recesses.  After that, I trimmed the board to length, cleaned up all the edges, attached a bench hook for stabilization, and sharpened my first iron.  No muss, no fuss, just a really sharp edge.

First recess            First Plate Mounted

4 DMT Plates          Bench Hook

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