I came across some Mahogany at a salvage store and decided to make a box for my sharpening oilstone. I got the idea from a Bill Carter video (https://youtu.be/cdDSkDjyolQ) to add an end grain block on each end of the stone so one can use the whole length of the stone. Does anyone have any experience with this design? Most of the examples I’ve seen do not have the end grain blocks.
Those boxes are very beautiful. Presumably, a portion of the end-grain block is morticed into the base of the box, which looks to be at least an inch deep, and twice that in some cases.
I’m about to build a holder for diamond plates and I wonder if the same thing would be of use. What is the sharpening technique that would benefit from this? I assume that the end-grain is to be used as a landing surface for the tool at the end of the sharpening stroke? I guess the end grain would need to be very closely aligned to the surface of the stone in order to avoid damaging the edge as it runs from one surface to the other.
Also, the watery slurry from diamond-plate sharpening might be more damaging to end-grain than oily slurry from an oilstone.
Stu - Surrey, UK
Hello Stu, I finished the box a few days ago. What you deduced is correct, the blocks help prevent rolling the tool over the edge when sharpening. I think the blocks are most useful when sharpening by hand since the blade is held at an angle, so you won’t hit the gap between stone and block. It let’s you use the whole surface of the stone, so I presume it can be used with diamond plates as well. I carved a 1/2″ mortice for the stone and blocks, I think you may need to glue them for a 1/4″ thick diamond plate.
That’s a really nice oilstone box there Rafael.
How did you finish it, and what kind of stone is it, if I may ask ?
I find oil finish not so good as I tend to leave black finger print on the box afterward. I tried shellac which was better.
Benoît, I finished it with shellac, the oil wipes off easily from it. The stone, I believe, is a Washita stone. I purchased it from a seller in the UK, so it has made it back to the US after who knows how long. I use it to resharpen my blades as it does it really quickly and it’s hard enough not to dish out as fast as water stones do.
Thank you Stu, the wood, I was told, came from a renovation job at a local university, it’s most likely sapele.
Rafael ,the box is beautiful-well done!! The stone does look like a Washita or soft Arkansas. I use Arkansas stones for my daily sharpening and like them very much. If anyone is looking for new quality stones Dan’s Whetstones in Arkansas still is pulling quality stone from the original quarries, they do have a website. You can generate a lot of discussion about honing oils. Light oil does lubricate, but in doing so does slow sharpening. Kerosene also works to carry away the swarf and lets the grit of the stone cut quicker but is not lubricating. I use about 2/3 kerosene and 1/3 baby oil (good smelling mineral oil) which is a good compromise. Enjoy your stone!
Benoît, after a few months of use I’ve settled on using it for my routine sharpening tasks. I sharpen by hand. It is quick and complemented by a strop and green compound I obtain a very sharp edge. All my chisels and irons are made of vintage cast steel or O1 steel, except one block plane. The block plane uses an A2 blade and I sharpen it on the Washita stone w/o great difficulty.
Kjord, thank you, I’m happy with the box and the stone so far. Which stones do you use?
I’ve been considering getting a black Arkansas for some time, but I don’t think I really need it at this point. I’ve a stone similar to an Arkansas that I got from a dealer in Canada, it’s harder than the Washita, it can refine the edge of my tools a bit but I don’t feel that it makes a big difference, after a few passes the extra sharpness wears out and the edge settles. I haven’t used Kerosene since I was a boy at my father’s workshop. I’ve been using mineral oil and neatsfoot oil on my stones. I haven’t made up my mind about which one I prefer yet, if I’m refreshing an edge, it only takes half a minute to sharpen on the Washita.
I’m waiting in the mail for a Washita stone that appears to be of the Lily White or No. 1 grade. It’s not labeled, I’m just taking a gamble, but it was a good size and not very expensive. I’ll make a box for it too. I’ll post here how it turns out.
- This reply was modified 2 years, 8 months ago by Rafael Herrera.
- This reply was modified 2 years, 8 months ago by Rafael Herrera.
It’s too bad I read this late into making a box myself.. That’s a great idea to put end stops! So you only run end strokes on it? I’m thinking of you start the strokes on the blocks you run the risk of catching the edge or corner of your stone. What’s the plan once the stone wears? I’m guessing you also have to trim the blocks as you go through the life of the stone?
I’m a bit overwhelmed halfway into chopping my first recess of my first box. I realized I could only go down 1/8″ in one row of vertical chops after cleaning up with the no.71. Takes me 45mins and I have a lot more to go. Is this too slow a pace or just par for the course for an 8″ run?
I lapped the stone, still in the box, with silicon carbide grit on a piece of glass a few days ago. It abraded the blocks too, so it’s all very even. When I sharpen I move the edges diagonal to the stone/block gap, so they don’t catch. If the stone has sharp edges at the ends, one can get a nice fit. The stone and blocks are press fitted in the box, if I take it out they get misaligned, so I leave it there permanently.
You may be a little more aggressive when chopping, but the important thing is to have a tight fit so the stone doesn’t sit loose in the box. You could also use a Forstner bit to remove material faster. For the lid, you may not like the holes left by the center point, so you will have to use your router to remove the last 1/8″. Take your time, a nicely fitted box is ice to have.
Here’s another box I made. I got the stone from a Canadian dealer, he claims it’s Novaculite, of the same type as Arkansas stones.
I’ve two reason why I didn’t add end grain blocks, one the dealer chanfered the corners of the stone so a block would not mate flush with the stone, and second the wooden blocks I used to make the box weren’t long enough. The stone is wider on one end than the other, but I managed to get a good fit, the lid goes only one way.
It’s a hard stone and I use it sometimes to refine an edge, I don’t get remarkable results, so I don’t use it very often.
Yeah I’ll have to consider those end blocks for the next stone I get, if ever. Finally done up with my oilstone boxes. I’ve found out chopping the recesses gets easier once I’ve got a rhythm going. Got to learn a lot about handling the router plane too. I should’ve used a wooden base, and perhaps avoided deep gouges along the edges of the recess.
I went basic with this as I figured it’s an improvement no matter what versus keeping a nice stone just wrapped in a paper towel. I had another cheap SiC/AlO 8″ combination stone that was being kept in the original cardboard packaging so I made one for it too.
The smaller 5″ stone was a hand-down from my late father in law and I think despite its size it’s remarkably useful. I can’t identify it but it’s hard enough that it doesn’t dish yet despite many sharpenings now. It can raise a burr quickly if I use it aggresively, but can also produce a fine edge if I lighten the stroke. Only needs a strop after. I’d guess it’s a 600-800 geit from the scratch pattern. You can see the ends are in bad shape as I got it, so I think end blocks are not suitable.
On Paul’s blog he mentioned keeping a slightly loose fit for the lid and I figured you’d need to take out combination stones frequently to swap sides over so I went with that. I once got it so snug I had trouble taking out the test fit, hence I trimmed 1mm on two sides of the recess.
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