Nothing fancy, just a functional shop thing.

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Project by Daren Nelson posted 12-10-2007 11:47 PM 4323 views 1 time favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I was reading here about how different guys store their wet stones. I decided to show how I store mine, dry by the way. I am sort of a wet and oil stone nut. I am a professional sharpener, but even as a kid my Dad taught me how to use a oil stone to put a razor edge on a pocket knife (8-9 years old ?).

I use my stones for the obvious knives, chisels, plane irons…I read alot about Scary Sharp and honing jigs and other gadgets on these forums. For the novice they are great. I am a freehand sharpener. I use a combination of man made wet stones like Carborundum (silicone carbide) and naturals for sharpening, or in other words grinding an edge on. And natural oil stones for honing/polishing to a razor. I don’t want anyone to think free hand sharpening cannot produce as good of results as the jigs and scary sharp, that would just offend me (kinda like calling me a liar)

I put a video on YouTube of me sharpening a dull butchers knife to a shaving instrument in less than 60 seconds with my wheeled sharpening/polishing grinder. I had some guys comment I was a “hack” on the video. I just crank those deli knives out like that because I will see them again next week, they are hard on them. For true honing I use the stones.

Ok now the quick and dirty project, nothing fancy just functional. I am proud of my stones (don’t have alot of money in them, but have been lucky to find some good ones) and wanted to keep them from being damaged. I have had them in a tool box separated by foam padding, but that is just not very cool trying to get everything situated back in there right. I had many times thought about making a wooden chest for them. But I knew as soon as I did I would find a couple more stones and the box would be the wrong size.

I just picked out my favorite/most used stones and threw this little thing together out of some scrap white oak. You can see how it works, closed up they more or less protect each other. I can swing out the one I want and remove it from its holder. I left the dowel a little long, I figure I will run across a another stone or 2 that I will want to add. I can just make another holder for that stone and since the holders can slide up and off the dowel I can add my new stone in the appropriate order.

I have 2 Carborundum stones on the bottom, they are 2 sided for a total of 4 grits from course down to under 400. Then 2 naturals one finer than the other, followed by 2 oil polishing stones on top. I have “sacrificial” cheap stones that I lap all these with. It is important to lap your stones as they wear to keep them flat. I have silicon carbide powder I mix with oil/water and just rub the stones together.

Gosh, this is more like a blog that a project, but I am not much of a blogger I guess, just long winded. Thanks for taking the time to read it all. Here is one more picture of the thing closed up. I think hand sharpening with stones is a very Zen thing, you get into the groove and you just know it is going to be sharp. For beginners it can be frustrating, but once you get the hang of it, it is very fun and easy (or am I just weird?)

sharpening stone holder

One more thing. Here is that video of me sharpening with a machine, if you are interested. I removed all the rude comment guys who did not know what they were talking about posted. They were ignorant, they did not know any better.

19 comments so far

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4185 days

#1 posted 12-11-2007 12:14 AM

gee .. that sure was a great BLOG …
Do we get a video of you “not” using the machine?

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Daren Nelson's profile

Daren Nelson

767 posts in 3930 days

#2 posted 12-11-2007 12:28 AM

”Do we get a video of you “not” using the machine?”

I am working on some more videos. First is conditioning your stones, that is step one to good sharpening.

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4185 days

#3 posted 12-11-2007 12:38 AM

(will the first one give us tips on what IS a good stone?)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14173 posts in 4007 days

#4 posted 12-11-2007 01:29 AM

too cool. great read.

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View dalec's profile


612 posts in 3912 days

#5 posted 12-11-2007 01:46 AM

Hand sharpening knives/tools has been a mystery to me. I have just enough ability to get something sharp enough, but never have been able to get razor sharp. Never taught how to do it.

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3809 posts in 4046 days

#6 posted 12-11-2007 02:07 AM

I like what you are doing. Teach me!


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View rpmurphy509's profile


288 posts in 3878 days

#7 posted 12-11-2007 02:21 AM

Neat idea for storage, and a huge helping of food-for-thought on sharpening.
Looking forward to some more videos.

-- Still learning everything

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 3986 days

#8 posted 12-11-2007 02:28 AM

That’s a good system for storing the stones.clever.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 3909 days

#9 posted 12-11-2007 02:40 AM

Teach me too I’m a knife collector and have had trouble sharpening for years. I’m sure tool sharpening will give me ideas about knives in general.

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View Daren Nelson's profile

Daren Nelson

767 posts in 3930 days

#10 posted 12-11-2007 04:00 AM

I guess I can put together a sharpening series. It’s funny how I learned sitting beside Dad, watching and listening. That is part of it too, the sound the metal makes on the stone. Kind of like when a batter hits a home run and doesn’t have to look up, he can tell by the sound of the “crack of the bat”. You can tell when you are making good contact (continuing with my baseball analogy) with the stone. You don’t have to swing hard, just right. You can feel it in your fingers too.

It is funny. I was just talking to my wife the other day about knife sharpening. I have guys drop pocket,fillet,hunting…knives off here all the time. They could not sharpen them to save their lives, they tried. Not knocking a guy who can’t sharpen a knife, just making an observation and how it relates to the past.

I shave with a straight razor, I think just for the novelty of it (and to keep my “skills”). I was shaving and we were talking. There was a day, not so long ago, that every man had to know how to sharpen. Sure some would go the the barber shop to get a shave and a shoe shine. But most had a straight razor a razor hone and a strop, that was their shaving kit. Some of you fellers are old enough to remember them, I am 40, heck they had triple blade comfort razors before I had whiskers. Totally off subject, maybe?

View Karson's profile


35125 posts in 4424 days

#11 posted 12-11-2007 06:00 AM

Great storage design. Nice job. I sat through Frank Klausz seminar on tools and he showed us his sharpening station. Two stones Norton Waterstones.

And his fingers jig for sharpening.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 4021 days

#12 posted 12-11-2007 10:35 AM

I like the storage system Daren! A couple q’s -

How often do you flatten the stones you use…


Do you use a strop?

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4185 days

#13 posted 12-11-2007 12:23 PM

I’m pleased to hear that you are “going to” do more blogs/tutorials on sharpening! :)
(and yes, the shaving definitely relates to this conversation)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Daren Nelson's profile

Daren Nelson

767 posts in 3930 days

#14 posted 12-11-2007 01:12 PM

Dorje, how often I flatten them depends. The water stones are softer and need it more often. That is how water stones work they let loose particles and the slurry helps the sharpening process and keeps the stone from getting clogged with metal. I guess I don’t have a real answer other than when I think they need it. I probably do it more often than absolutely necessary, I have seen guys use well cupped stones and do good work with them. I am just more comfortable with a really flat stone, it is easier for me to keep the proper angle. I think a flat stone will be easier for a guy to learn on too, that is why I mentioned lapping them as a first step to using them.

And yes I use a strop, every knife that I sharpen gets stropped. That little video I linked, I stropped that knife after I shut off the camera. I have a leather with a rough side and a smooth side. The rough side has jewelers rouge worked into it. The smooth side is the last step in sharpening.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4242 days

#15 posted 12-11-2007 03:31 PM

Thanks! I enjoyed the video, too!

Like you, my dad taught me how to sharpen a knife at a very young age. Sometimes when I see all these jigs and systems I feel liike I must be really missing the boat. It’s good to know that someone out there is still doing it the old-fashioned way.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

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