48 comments on “Sharpening Plate Holder

    • Thank you everybody for the answers. I think I will have to do some saving up but Eze-lap looks like the option I will go for. Is there any reason why I cannot get the fine first to replace the worn one and replace the others as they wear out? I am not sure of the exact grit of the cheap ones I have and thought I may have difficulty getting an even finish swapping between the lower and higher quality plates. Does anyone have any experience of this?

      • No reason not to do it that way if the other hones are still working. I do recommend getting atleast 3″ wide though. I ended up getting a set of 2″ wide and while I do well with them, I feel the the lack of width on plane blades.

        • Thanks ehisey, I agree that sounds like the better size. The cheap ones I have currently are 2″ and are a little small especially for 4 1/2 and 5 1/2 plane irons. A 3″ fine/super fine Eze-lap sound just the ticket.

    • From what I’ve seen, you want to choose diamond plates with a solid steel core, upon which the diamond surface is embedded into. These will last a whole lot longer. Further, they should be embedded with monocrystalline diamonds because, as they wear, they retain their grit size far better. The cheap ones do not have a steel or solid core and they maybe using polycrystalline diamonds and both will cause it to wear out and such. I learned about this from a, “Stumpy Nubs” video, “sharpening 101″…

      • Was going to say the same thing and reference the same source. James “stumpy Nubs” Hamilton said the good plates, I assume DMT and EZ-Lap, embed the diamonds in a bed of molten nickel. I’ve been using the DMT’s at the same grits as Paul for about 3 or 4 months now and have been happy with them so far.

        I built a plate holder based on one of Paul’s earlier videos. My results were just ‘okay’. I used a table saw to cut the grid line and chisel to take out the bulk of the material – no router plane at the time. I didn’t glue the plates in, in fact I bored a 1″ hold in the middle of each recess so the plates could be removed if needed. Watching this video I think I’ll built another using birch ply and applying a finish as Paul did.

        • I used plywood base and just glued 3/4 inch strips of plywood around the plates to hold them . also drilled hole underneath to push them out if necessary. no problem with keeping plates solidly in place after 3 months.

    • If plywood is made with the propper resins (phenolic) it should withstand water contact (and also detergentes) witn no problem at all
      Glueing wood for water contact, must be done with the propper glue also: epoxy o a water resistant melamine based
      regards
      carlos

  1. I store them in a ‘stack’ (box, 3 shelves), vertically, then I can use the edge of all three.
    A simple holder then used whilst sharpening, gets round the problems
    Paul demonstrates when using them.

  2. This is a nice project and appliance. An alternative approach is to simply attach two battens, one at the bottom and one at the top, which trap the stones between them. I prefer this because it allows me to slide any stone I want up to an edge. I don’t need that often, but sometimes it helps. Also, I frequently clean my stones with scouring powder, e.g., Comet and it is easy to get the stones in and out (no adhesive). Finally, I have a fourth grit that I use on occasion and can pop it into the holder when needed. It’s true you must take care with just battens to avoid tipping the appliance and dropping the stones. I think I used a couple of paint stirring sticks as my battens. Put the stones on the ply, drop on the battens to determine their positions, put a bead of glue under each, and tack them with some brads. Not fancy.

    Paul’s is nicer, and you’ll learn more making it. What one might try is making Paul’l but don’t apply any adhesive, and place the stones 1/4″ from the edge (or closer if you dare). That’s probably close enough. If you need to move stones to an edge, you can (since they aren’t glued down).

    • I agree. Paul´s design is fine for chisel and plane sharpening, but if you use your stones for knife sharpening (specially the ones with longer blades) it´s difficultlt to use the center stone… Interchangeable pockets are therefor a must.

      • Made one over the weekend from the book notes about it. I ended up glueing strips of Hardboard to a some MDF I had a around to make pockets tall enough to hold the stones with feet on so I can remove the stone for travel or long blade sharpening I need it.

  3. After reading Paul’s earlier write up or perhaps seeing an earlier video I made my sharpening plates with these differences: I bought the DMT 8″ Dia-Sharp Diamond Kit from sharpeningsupplies.com which included 4 stones extra corse, coarse, fine and extra fine
    (220 mesh, 325 mesh, 600 mesh, 1200 mesh). So I built two sharpening plate holders each holding 2 plates. I did this by adding gluing notched ash batons to 1 inch plywood (made by gluing back to back 1/2 plywood). This allows access to a side of each stone and is easier to store. I glued cork to the bottom of each holder and I find that no vise cleat is necessary to hold them. (I first made a holder as Paul does out of oak, but it soon warped and would not hold the plates.)

  4. In my own experience and trial and error aswell as what others have already mentioned i have to agree that this approach just isnt flexible enough and very limiting to what you can do.
    If all you ever do is sharpen chisels and plane irons on them this method seems to work rather well for Paul.

    However for knives and other tools having the plates glued down like that just isnt practical, as you obviously would be bumping into the other stones and it would be difficult to hold some of them.

    Personally i just use a block of wood with tapered sides to give me a bit more clearance for my fingers and add a bit of stability, throw a piece or rubber mat under and on it to stop it and the Plate/Stone from sliding around. Gives me acces to all 4 edges of the Stone and plenty of clearance for my fingers.

    But in the end everyones gotta decide what works best for themselves.

  5. I made one of these out of pine. It’s what I had. It is working well for me. Are there down sides to using a 3/4 inch think pine board instead of plywood? Will it tend to warp over time where the plywood would not?

  6. Paul mentioned he had finished the holder with shellac or Danish oil. Was the finish applied inside the recesses? If so, does the silicon adhere to the finish or does it matter?

    Thank you Paul for another outstanding educational video

  7. I made my first sharpening holder 15 yrs. ago after attending one of Paul’s workshops in
    Elm Mott, TX. Mine is comprised of 4/4 walnut, with a rebate underneath, unfinished. I let
    in the plates with a cordless router like Paul, and the water and slurry stains are not nearly
    as visible due to the deep shade of the walnut. I use mine for planes and chisels as well as
    short knife edges that can be ground on the perimeters. I also have several other jigs
    for stropping edges such as spokeshaves, long knives, and have tried most of the water and
    arkanasas stones over the years. I agree with Paul that the nature of system increases the likelihood of my sharpening more frequently, resulting in safer work and better results over the long haul.

  8. I made mine 2 years ago based on seeing Paul’s, but my method wasn’t quite as good. I just used a chisel for the most part as I still haven’t put a wooden base on my router plane. It was quite slow to do but then again I was working on a kitchen counter at the time. I added the leather strop to the end of mine so I just keep moving over once I’m finished going through the stones in one movement.

    I think I’ll make mine again at some stage because I think it would have been good to silicone the stones in and put a seal on the ply like Paul did. I’ve had the stones fall out a couple times when it’s getting moved about the place.

    • 3/4 ply. It’s cabinet grade – 12 layer ply. Home centers do not carry. However, a lumber yard should have it or can order. They generally come in 5’ x 5’ sheets. You can use standard ply as well. Especially for this application. Edge joined two hardwood scraps is equally suffice.

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