Home > Woodworking > Work Sharp – Sharpening Stand, Part 2

Work Sharp – Sharpening Stand, Part 2

I’ve been taking Friday’s off to use up some of my accumulated vacation and although our household has been quite busy, it has helped get me back in the shop. I was able to work on my sharpening station Friday and Sunday and I am pretty close to completion. What remains is important but shouldn’t be all that difficult to engineer and that is to rig up a leveling system. By design the Work Sharp is situated lower than the honing table so it must be raised. This allows the device to be leveled and made flush to the honing table.

Friday Build

I had already roughed out the dimensions and cut most of the stand components as you can see from my previous post. The top, what I will call the “honing table” still needed to be shaped and sized to fit the stand. Once I had double checked that everything was going to fit (as far as I could see), I set to work cutting the dado’s for the 10 media slides that would mount on the right hand side. Using 1/8″ ply from my previous build meant I already had the methodology and experience to cut these slots without a lot of retooling. Susan and I were heading in to town for shopping, a pre-birthday lunch celebration and to pick up our daughter after school so it was a brief session but enough to get me ready for glue-up later in the day.

Once back from town I got back to work. First I  finish shaping the honing table top. I was a little concerned about how to make a presentable half-circle cut-off for the media but I guess I’m getting better at it because it went fairly smoothly. I placed the WS up against the board and traced around the WS with a pencil. The resulting line was a little iffy so I made sure not to take too much off at the band saw. Then using the largest spindle on my sander I then iteratively sanded and fit the honing table to the Work Sharp. It turned out fairly reasonable so with all the components ready, I set about gluing up the stand structure.

I used my trusty corner clamps to aid in keeping things square and reinforced the glue joints with 3/4″ brads using my nailer. I was sure to use a couple of drops of oil in the nailer and set my pressure to 75 psi. This seemed to work out about right as I didn’t have any jams and the brads had enough energy to sink their heads without me needing to set them. Perhaps a record, I only had one brad pop out the side which stinks but hey, it isn’t rocket surgery, I simply used a nail set on it and patch it with filler later (or not). Last time using the 23 gauge pins, they were all over the place having difficulty penetrating the oak I was using so this is a major improvement. I decided the stand could use a back, so I cut one out of 1/8″ ply and attached with glue and nails. This would not only make the stand look better but would also add a bit of strength the structure.

While the glue dried I measured and cut 10, 1/8″ ply squares that would hold the media discs. The first cut, a tad smallish. The second cut, still a tad smallish. This third cut, tad to tight. Bollocks, they all fit so I’ll use them all!

Sharpening Stand - End of Friday

I was running out of day so before wrapping up, I contemplated how I was going to construct the drawer. 1/2″ plywood sides, front and back and 1/8″ ply bottom was a start. I haven’t built many drawers, but I have studied their construction as of recent. Fine Woodworking has had several very detailed articles on case and drawer construction methods. The FWW magazine also had an interesting Master Class section entitled “Carved pulls give a handmade touch”. Instead of drilling a finger hole in the front, I decided to try my hand at a carved finger pull. I knew it would be crude, but thought I’d try none-the-less. In order to try this, I was going to need to upgrade the front to a solid wood so I replaced the ply with 1/2″ pine. In retrospect it would have been easier to use a thicker stock but the drawer was small and I was thinking thinner would be more appropriate. My final design was to cut 1/8″ dados for the drawer bottom using butt joints to join the sides to the front and back. The back would be nailed but I would use small dowels to reinforce the glued front. Finally I would countersink a small screw in the center back to keep the floating bottom from coming loose. In theory the bottom could expand seasonally towards the front but I didn’t leave much room in that groove so I’m relying on the ply to be pretty stable. I’m hopeful but at least I’m beginning to think like a woodworker.

Saturday Build

The drawer took longer because I was doing so many things for the first time. All in all I think it all worked out great and as my wife keeps telling me, “It’s not a race”. There was a mention on the FWW Shop Talk Live podcast about trying to focus on what went right instead of what didn’t on the build. It’s a small thing but I think I have a different attitude now when things go unexpectedly . Some procedures go smoothly and some don’t but as long as you’re safe there isn’t anything that can’t be fixed (or simply overlooked). I refuse to get caught up in snobbery or competition. My work has gone from C- to B- and occasionally I get a B or B+. In time I hope to get even better grades but really, what does it really matter? I’m building, learning and having fun. Now don’t get me wrong, I want to build beautiful things and one day I will but I’m not going to get hung up on it.

Drawer with Through Pull

I still had a little time left in the afternoon so I worked on the media slides. I wanted to add short pieces of dowel to the center of each slide to keep the honing media from shifting on the slide. The only 1/2″ dowel I had on hand was one that had “been around” and had some nice mold, or rather spalting on it. I began by chucking that sucker in my hand drill and using sand paper to clean up a length then cut them by hand to approximately 18 mm in length. I counter sunk a small screw in the center of each slide then glued and screwed each with a dowel. Hey a miracle, they all fit. I did inadvertently drill through the top of a couple of the dowels mainly because the screws were pretty tight and I didn’t think I was drilling quite deeply enough but I was wrong on that count. Again I didn’t stress on this as it is shop furniture and I simply mixed up some glue and sawdust to fill in the small holes. Problem solved.

I was finished for now. The only thing left is to devise a leveling system for the Work Sharp so it can be made dead flat to the honing table. I have some ideas kicking around but nothing finalized, this will be for the next session.


Sharpening Stand - Sunday

The final act on Sunday was to slather on a bit of Tung Oil finish. During this process a couple of refinements came to mind. First I was thinking it “would be nice” to add a bit of cord management to the back. Strain relief and perhaps a cord wrap. While was put wiping finish on the back, I tipped the structure forward to get down low and rather stupidly dumped all my media slides out. Hummm, it “would be nice” if there was door to prevent those expensive glass discs from flying out. But that would happen only if you are moving the structure which won’t happen often. Still, I’ve already dropped those darn discs twice so I can predict trouble in my future.

You have been reading an excerpt from the shop journal of the Turtlecovebrewer.

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