ShopNotes Drill Press Sharpening Station

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Project by DaveTPilot posted 03-10-2012 02:35 AM 23428 views 107 times favorited 26 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have been wanting to buy a Work Sharp Tool Sharpener for quite some time now. I love working with sharp tools but a hate sharpening them. Because of that, I tend to use chisels and planes that are duller than they should be, at my own peril, but at $200, I have been finding it difficult to justify the cost of the Work Sharp.

I was looking through some of my past issues of ShopNotes and when I saw the cover of Vol 18 Issue 107, I remembered that I wanted to build that some day. The tag line for the cover project was Razor Sharp in Record Time – Low Cost Sharpening Machine.

I took the magazine to the shop and began an inventory of wood and required parts. Much to my joy, I had almost everything I needed for the entire project. The construction is straight forward and a lot of fun. I did make some modifications…it wouldn’t be a DaveTPilot project if I didn’t make some mods :)

First, the project was designed for a full size drill press. Currently, I only own a small Harbor Freight drill press with a 4” throat. It amazes me that I have not yet acquired a full size drill press. I am constantly cursing my drill press for being too small and too anemic in the power department. A real drill press is definitely next on my wish list, but I digress. For now, I needed to modify the base slightly to fit the shallow throat of my diminutive drill press. This was as simple as drilling a half circle with my 2-1/8” Forstner bit. It was a perfect fit as you can see here

Next, the author of the project recommended a drill press speed of 250 RPM. The lowest speed on my drill press is 650 RPM. Fearing that it might me a little too fast, I decided to use pulleys of different sizes to slow down the sharpening machine a bit more. Pulleys of the sizes I wanted were not readily available at the local hardware store so I figured I could just make some out of wood…and that’s what I did.

It was really quite easy to do. First, I glued up two blocks of plywood, (3/4” and 1/2”), then cut out circles on the band saw using a shop made circle cutting jig. Then I made a jig to hold the circle over my dado blade and making several light passes, I cut the groove for the pulleys.

The last modifications I made was in the bearings. I used a 6” Lazy Susan bearing, instead of the thrust bearing called for in the plans, which is in essence a large thrust bearing. I also used flanged ball bearings for the bottom bearings under each pulley and flanged sleeve bearings for the tops.

I used Red Krylon Fusion Spray Paint that I had for making table saw inserts. I didn’t have enough to paint the Storage Case so I’ll need to make another trip to the hardware store. As a side note, that paint is fantastic. You can use it on wood or plastic, it dries extremely fast and you do not need primer. Great for some shop projects.

The system work great! There are 8 disks but I only have 6 different grits of sandpaper right now. I have 80, 150, 220, 320, 400 and 600 grit. I sharpened a chisel and a plane blade today and the results were fantastic. They are literally razor sharp, I can slice paper with them, and I cut shavings thin enough to read through with my $20 Harbor Freight bench plane! The sharpening is very fast as well. It took only a few minutes to sharpening each tool.

  • I added a picture of the freshly painted Storage Case. **

-- How valuable is time to a person who spends his disparaging the beliefs of others? --David Berthelette

26 comments so far

View schloemoe's profile


709 posts in 4221 days

#1 posted 03-10-2012 03:20 AM

Looks like a must do in the future. I don’t 200.00 dollars either….........................Schloemoe

-- schloemoe, Oregon , http://www.

View Roger's profile


21055 posts in 4087 days

#2 posted 03-10-2012 04:07 AM

oh yess. I likes it. I’ll bet this works like a charm. HF link belt?

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View Dusty56's profile


11866 posts in 4971 days

#3 posted 03-10-2012 04:13 AM

Looks like a great way to save 200 dollars , but too late for me : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View RandyM68's profile


693 posts in 3601 days

#4 posted 03-10-2012 04:14 AM

This is the second sharpening jig I’ve seen in the last couple of hours. I favorited both, but this one looks easier to build. Thanks.

-- I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you. I'm sorry,thanks.

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10963 posts in 5335 days

#5 posted 03-10-2012 05:02 AM


You did a good job on that lil sharpener!

A COOL way of getting more out of the ole cheapie drill press!

Thanks for posting it…

Anything new on your router table?

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:

View Ken90712's profile


18081 posts in 4472 days

#6 posted 03-10-2012 08:47 AM

Great work, I remember reading this article and wondering how good it really was. Glad to hear your happy with yours. It looks great!!!!!!!

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View eddie's profile


8565 posts in 3897 days

#7 posted 03-10-2012 10:02 AM

Sharpe tool a must and like you i often use to long putting off the duty this is a jig that that i need thanks for the post

-- Jesus Is Alright with me

View Kevin May's profile

Kevin May

74 posts in 3598 days

#8 posted 03-10-2012 12:17 PM

Really nice and useful. Thanks for the notes.

-- Kevin May "Making wood useful and fun!"

View Maveric777's profile


2694 posts in 4359 days

#9 posted 03-10-2012 01:17 PM

I really like this! I got to be honest in saying I hate sharpening my tools. I know I need to, but I just hate it. Not to mention I am just to much of a tight was to drop the $200 for doing it. This is right up my alley. I just so happen to have a small drill press on my bench that never gets used any more. I am SOOO doing this!

Thanks for sharing!

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

View Martyroc's profile


2712 posts in 3589 days

#10 posted 03-10-2012 02:07 PM

That’s awesome, I have that article/plans and it’s on my to do list, nice to see it came out so good.

-- Martin ....always count the number of fingers you have before, and after using the saw.

View chrisstef's profile


18138 posts in 4289 days

#11 posted 03-10-2012 02:23 PM

ohh hell yea … ive got a dog of a drill press, a 1/6 hp .. yes i said 1/6 hp … craftsman that just might spin that slow. 200 semolians seems a little much for me too but sandpaper on glass is getting old for me. You dont by chance sell spare time do ya?

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View sras's profile


6426 posts in 4412 days

#12 posted 03-10-2012 03:50 PM

This is a great project! Definitely need to do this.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View chrisstef's profile


18138 posts in 4289 days

#13 posted 03-10-2012 04:11 PM

Now that ive bee staring at this for an hour ive gotta ask … what hold the angle of your tool to the sanding disk? I see that there are marks for 20, 25,30 degrees does the round bar slide back n forth to get the angles?

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

9997 posts in 3611 days

#14 posted 03-10-2012 06:05 PM

nicely executed!!!

Another one on my list.

-- Matt -- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

View drfunk's profile


223 posts in 3960 days

#15 posted 03-10-2012 06:47 PM

I see a hand cranked version in my future.

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