Secret sliding sharpening station
In my small shop, having a dedicated sharpening station was out of the question. So beneath my benchtop I installed sliding trays for rough, fine, and ultra-fine diamond sharpening stones and a leather hone. The trays fit between the dogholes along the front of the bench.
The trays that hold the diamond stones start out as 11⁄2"-thick hardwood about 1⁄2" wider than the stone. (Make sure the width of the tray fits between dogholes.) To keep the bench edge clear for clamping, I made the trays short enough to slide well under the bench, as shown in the inset, without sticking out the other side.
In each tray, form a pocket to fit the sharpening stone. The depth of the pocket should match the thickness of the stone so that it sits flush with the top of the tray. Remove some material from the top face of each tray with a few partial passes over the jointer or by using a bandsaw. The resulting pocket depth should be 1⁄8". Drill a finger-hole in the pocket to make removing the stones easier.
For the honing tray, glue a strip of leather directly to the top of the tray. As with the other trays, reduce the thickness at the front end of the tray so the leather sits flush with the back end of the tray.
The tray front doubles as both a handle and a stop. To keep the trays from being pulled all the way out, fasten a turnbutton to the back end. Apply a waterproof finish, such as polyurethane, to protect the trays from moisture.
To create the structure that holds the trays under the benchtop, glue hardwood runners the same thickness as the trays to a support panel made of 1⁄2" plywood. Position the runners so the trays fit snugly between them yet slide easily. Size the length of the runners and width of the plywood so when the full length of the stone is exposed, the turnbutton hits the back of the plywood. Screw this assembly under the benchtop.
—Keith Stadler, Paris, France
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