My Low-Budget Builds #1: MDF and Granite Sharpening Station: Overview and Why You Need a Dedicated Sharpening Station

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Kenny posted 02-29-2012 03:02 PM 2334 reads 1 time favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of My Low-Budget Builds series Part 2: MDF and Granite Sharpening Station: Materials needed and basic design »

I’ve decided to make a series about some of my low-budget builds and cheap solutions to common problems many of us encounter in the shop.

The first area I plan to cover is sharpening. It’s something we all need to do, and I find many people make it much harder and more of a pain than is necessary. Others simply spend a fortune in an attempt to make it “quick and easy”, and many times this ends up being more hassle than they bargained for.

Anyone who uses edged tools should have a sharpening station that is ready to go at all times. Sharp tools are key to good woodwork, and if it’s time consuming to set-up your sharpening station and or a huge hassle to set up your machine, you will put it off longer than you should, and your work will suffer from it.
Sharpening should be something you do every day while you work, not something that is put off or only done at the beginning or end of your time in the shop. You are using dull tolls if you work this way, there is no question about it.

However, if sharpening can be performed quickly and easily without the need to drag out and set-up heavy equipment, or spending 10 minutes digging out and setting up stones, you will sharpen more often, you will not use dull tools, and stopping to sharpen won’t be a big hassle that messes up your work flow. It will become part of your work flow and be a simple routine that takes seconds instead of minutes.

What I use, and what I am going to build for this blog, is a simple self-contained sharpening station. You can set it up for use with any number of sharpening mediums, be it sandpaper on glass or granite, water-stones, oil-stones, or even a Work-sharp or some other machine or tool.

It is simple to build, contains everything you will need for sharpening, has it’s own lighting so you can set it up wherever you like and still see, is covered to keep everything clean and ready to use, and best of all, it dosn’t cost much to build and is something you will use everytime you work in your shop AND it will make your work easier and more enjoyable.

My next segment will include a list of materials, a basic design plan and some options to consider based on how you work, available space, and what you use to sharpen with. And while mine will use granite for a flat surface, there are other options that may be more cost efficient for some, like 1/4” or 3/8” plate glass. I will also give you several rsources to find affordable granite that will be plenty flat enough to use.

I’ll be working on the next segment and have it up shortly.

Thanks for reading!

-- Kenny

4 comments so far

View kedmiston's profile


18 posts in 2358 days

#1 posted 02-29-2012 03:27 PM

Talk about timely…I’ve been scratching my head lately trying to decide what I want to build. I have recently (yesterday) purchased 5 pieces of 1/4” glass cut to 18”x6” each, and plan to put 1/2 sheets of the 3M Micro Abrasive Film of varying grits on each.

Now I need a station to house it all. Can’t wait to see your next installment! Thanks

View DIYaholic's profile


19623 posts in 2699 days

#2 posted 02-29-2012 04:54 PM

I just purchased; 2- 12” x 12” granite floor tiles, Asst’d grits of 1/2 sheet abrasive sheets, medium duty spray adhesive. I just needed to design & build my dedicated sharpening station.

It’s a great thing that I procrastinate so well. I’m going to follow your BLOG & reappropriate (ie; steal) all applicable ideas!!!

I know how much effort goes into a blog. So, I THANK YOU, for taking the time to do this extremely timely blog!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View WVTODD's profile


120 posts in 2568 days

#3 posted 02-29-2012 05:02 PM

Im in the same boat, just cant deside how or what i need.

View Kenny 's profile


260 posts in 2472 days

#4 posted 02-29-2012 06:08 PM

Just glad I could help! I’m figuring out dimensions for this, and. I’m going to try to keep it sized so it can be made from 1/2 a sheet of 3/4” MDF.

I will be using a laminate over the working surface of the MDF to keep it from getting wet, although there are other options should you not have any laminate and you simply don’t want to buy a full sheet from a home center.
One other option, which would actually be very afforable and durable too, is to use a sheet of acrylic or plexi-glass and adhere it to the MDF using contact adhesive and a roller to get if leveled out very well.
The only reason it’s there is to keep the MDF dry and protected, so as long as it’s flat, durable, stable and water-proof, it should be OK to use.

If you were to opt to use plate glass, I suggest avoiding tempered unless you are very careful around it. If you drop a chisel or plane iron on the edge or corner, it is very likely to shatter, unlike normal glass that will just chip. If you’ve never seen tempered glass break, it’s an amazing site to see! It will literally explode into thousands of tiny pieces, nothing like standard plate glass which will chip, crack or break into big pieces.

Anyway, I should have segment 2 up later tonight, and I’ll begin building and taking photos tonight or tomorrow.


-- Kenny

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics