Budget sharpening tray

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Project by RaggedKerf posted 08-23-2012 01:54 AM 3812 views 4 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The pictures pretty much show you everything but the dimensions. The base is 1/4” birch plywood 24” in length and 8” wide, which matched perfectly an offcut I had laying around collecting sawdust. The dividers and the back are just 1/2” x 1.5” strips cut off the edges of 2×4s during my workbench build (please see my Lumberjocks blog (text) or go to my Wordpress blog for a few more pictures and back story if you’re curious). The tiles are just el cheapo BORG tiles I got for less than $2 (for all 3). I would have liked to have gone the marble or granite route, but for some reason the only ones they had in stock at my local store were the big 18” monsters and I wasn’t about to shell out something like $35 for three tiles. The sandpaper wraps around the edges and is held in place with friction by a nice snug fit. Ignore the blue painter’s tape, that’s left over from when I sharpened my hand plane irons on the floor (hey, I had no bench so the earth became my bench).

I used countersunk #8 1/2” flat head wood screws to secure everything. I took my block plane to the edges to add a comfort chamfer, then used some sandpaper to smooth everthing else. In all it took about 20 minutes and used up some of my offcuts. I think I spent half the time cutting the wood.

The tray makes for a convenient size to store and carry the tiles and paper, and is easy to clamp to my bench (even the bench being built!).

Thanks to Dan from Dan's Workhop for the inspiration. The post is from 2009 and his version is much bigger and includes a base and everything…my shop is way to small for all that (and I don’t have the money, anyway) but the idea is great! Awesome blog and incredible tips! Thanks man!

Thanks for looking!

-- Steve

2 comments so far

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 3876 days

#1 posted 08-23-2012 04:03 AM

You can get a better selection of papers for sharpening at an auto store. The silicon carbide (gray ones) hold up better. Look for one of the assortment packs that go up to 1000 or 1500 grit. Compound after that. The green cuts pretty well.

Sandpaper for sharpening does a great job but it does get expensive in the long run. Although not the greatest quality, you can get a cheap set of diamond stones for $12-$15 that will last much longer.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View RaggedKerf's profile


425 posts in 2999 days

#2 posted 08-23-2012 11:38 AM

I think the diamond stones are going to be my next purchase because I have been tearing through the sandpaper lately. I’ve used just plain vanilla 100 grit for my coarse because I had a ton of it left over from some project a few years ago. The other two grades (600 and 800) were wet/dry and have held up so much better. I think you can see in the photo how the plain dry paper, when moistened just a bit to collect the swarf just gets wrecked.

I did not know that the diamond stones were so inexpensive though! Time for a search…

-- Steve

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