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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Sanding And Sharpening

Anyone who reads my blog posts know I enjoy making my own tools and accessories whenever possible. This sometimes puts me at odds with some people. I get emails from time to time telling me to try this brand of this, or this brand of that, and that I'll see how much better it is than what I made. I will be the first to admit that sometimes the people who tell me this are absolutely correct. Other times, well, not so much.
When I get a chance to do so though, I do try to give some of these suggestions a chance. It all comes down to if and when I can get the items at a reasonable cost and if that cost is worth it to me to take a chance on it.
That will be the subject of the first part of my blog.
Here is the sander I made a while back besides the Robert Sorby Sandmaster that I recently caught on sale.
This is one of those times that the suggestion made to me was correct, well, mostly.
The sander I made does do the job it was intended to do. There is nothing at all wrong with it. However, I also have to give the Sorby brand Sandmaster due credit. It does the same job, but it seems to do it faster and smoother.
Here is the first bowl, made of rose wood, that I sanded with the Robert Sorby Sandmaster.
The sale that was going on when I bought the Sorby tool has now passed. They do have them on Amazon last time I checked though if you'd like to search for them there. Also, the Sandmaster is available from several other well known suppliers.
Next up is the lathe tool sharpening jig.
This is the Complete 4pc Precision Sharpening System  from Penn State Industries. You can find it here if you are interested.
I do like this system. I do not regret buying it. is easier to set up than my shop made system. However, besides being a little more convenient, I do not see the difference at all between the grind quality off this jig compared to my shop made one. I mention this because I got three different emails telling me that this jig would create a more repeatable, and "better" grind. I have to completely disagree with that statement. I can grind two tools, one on the Penn State version, and one on my shop made version, and you cannot tell the difference in them.
All that being said, I do recommend this system to anyone who can afford it. You do get a lot for the $129.95 price tag compared to similar systems. For me personally, the better flat rest, compared to the crappy ones I've been using that came with my grinder, made it worth the price of admission.
Since I was improving sharpening devices in the shop, I decided to finally get around to remaking my oil stone holder. 
This is my old holder. It is something I had thrown together in less than an hour. It served it's purpose, but I had grown tired of it. It is hard to tell from the photo, but the stones are in their plastic containers that they come in. These containers allow the stones to move a bit and gets aggravating when trying to sharpen some tools. It was time to upgrade it.
I wanted something that held the stones more firmly. However, I still needed to be able to cover the stones to keep saw dust out of them.
This is my roll around cart with all my sanders and such. I wanted the sharpening station on this cart. However, I needed it to be movable so that those rare occasions when I'm running out of room on my work bench and piling things up here on the cart it can be moved.
So I sat down and thought about how I wanted to do all this. It was one of those rare occasions that I actually drew up a plan on paper before beginning. Maybe I ought to do this more instead of just making it up as I go along.
Here is what I came up with.
It is a simple box that sits on the sanding bench. The latch in the from keeps the lid secure in the front. The plywood is attached to the front board and slides into slots in the side boards and the back.
When I need to move it, the whole thing just pulls up and can be sat aside. There is four dowels glued into the bottom of the sharpening station that set into corresponding holes in the bench top.
This is what it looks like with the top removed.
I like this much better than my older design. I saved the plastic containers in case I need them in the future. Under the cover, the two diamond plates on the right end still retain their plastic covers. I use only water on them and I didn't want oil from the stones to get on them since oil and water doesn't mix well. Also, I seldom use the diamond plates. I like my oil stones better. The only time the diamond plates get used is when I have a badly damage or new tool that I need to change the bevel on quickly. After they leave the diamond plates, they get actually sharpened on the oil stones.

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