Full Chisel Blog

October 10, 2008

Small Sharpening Stone

Filed under: Mortice & Tenon,Of Interest,Proper Tools,Sharpening,Techniques,Uncategorized — Stephen Shepherd @ 8:53 am

While perusing the blog of the Village Carpenter, I saw a wonderful little box for a small sharpening stone.  I recently purchased an inexpensive soft Arkansas, hard Washita stone, glued to a piece of cedar.

Well it is a fine stone, but the base left something to be desired.  So thinking of that fine little sharpening stone container, I decided to make one for this stone.  I am sure the reason this stone was $2.00 is that it had a natural fracture, so my stone ended up being in two pieces, but allures.

I found an appropriate piece of blue mineral stained pine and proceeded to cut out, rip and mortise a little box to protect the stone.  Now because it was broken, I had to permanently (?) mount it in the base, in a shallow mortise.  The top could be thicker to fit over the exposed stone.

Sharpen Stone Box

After I ripped the piece in two, I used the stone and a pencil to layout the outline of the stone on the base.  I then used a sharp knife to score all the way around, paying attention to the corners.  I then used a chisel to worry out the waste.  I then used the router plane to smooth out the bottom to the proper depth.

 Stone container

The stone is still glued to its cedar base.  I turned it over on the side rest (bench hook) and used a broad flat chisel to split off and pare off the wood.  At some point the stone became two at the fault vein within the stone.  I carefully pared off the glue, then scraped it smooth.  The underside was a bit rough still had saw marks, which add a tooth to the liquid hide glue I used to glue it into the base, pictured above on the left.

 Sharpening Stone Box

 I had to face the stone after the hide glue had dried, then planed off the sides to thin and square them up a bit.  All in all, the box is just the right size.  I will finish it with walnut oil, being careful not to get any on the stone.  I do not use lubrication of any kind while sharpening, I use water to clean the stone after I have sharpened but I sharpen dry.

You will notice on the stone some glazing, most of this washes off with water but there were some persistent spots on the stone.  Well sitting beside my desk with the stone in hand, I picked up a pink erasure and it removed some of the glazing.  I tried an art gum erasure and that worked too, the kneaded erasure wasn’t of any help, but the real surprise was the gray abrasive ink erasure.  I have one that is half pink and half ink and the abrasive ink erasure removed all of the glazing.  Give it a try.



  1. Nice job on the box and what a great idea to try on the eraser, Mr. S!

    Though I usually use a light spot or two of thinned oil, I do often enough use them dry. The eraser I have should work–pieces from the belt cleaner for stationary belt sanders. (Sorry for the power tool image I planted in your head.)

    Because oil stones are often a dime a dozen at garage sales, I have always bought ones in craftsman-made boxes. So I don’t need to make a box. But each one of the three stones I use have obviously different boxes made by three different guys. A ready made visual clue as to which stone I want to use at the moment.

    Take care, Mike

    Comment by Mike — October 11, 2008 @ 5:13 am

  2. Looks great, Stephen! I have some walnut flakes that I got from Olde Mill Cabinet Shoppe. You mix it with water and it adds a light stain to pine, making it look aged. Does walnut oil darken pine more than flakes? Maybe you can post a photo of the sharpening stone box once it’s finished?

    Comment by The Village Carpenter — October 12, 2008 @ 7:33 am

  3. Mike,

    You are forgiven on the power tool reference. I have an interesting hand grinder that I made with a wide carborundum wheel, so that is pushing the envelope as well. The erasure idea was a fluke, then I tried to buy some today at office supply stores, no one had any. I need to find a recipe.


    By walnut flakes you mean flakes of walnut hulls, right? Yes I have used the hulls, works great on linen and cotton fabric as well. I would like to find some butternut hulls which makes a particularly wonderful yellow brown dye.

    The walnut oil is basically clear slight amber color oil, that does not add more color than wetting the surface with water, it has no darkening pigments or chemicals. It is not quite as durable as linseed oil but is a drying oil, so it can make a finish. I will post a picture with a finish.

    And thanks for the inspiration.


    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — October 12, 2008 @ 4:59 pm

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