Sharpening station dovetails

  • 12 Sep 2018 6:39 PM
    Message # 6666805

    I have a 12" × 18" granite plate that will be attached to one end of the bench--following Rob's design--as a base for my diamond plate and sharpening stones. The bench is beech, and the support frame for the granite plate MUST have dovetails! The tail boards (the sides or the front and rear--whichever is best functionally and traditionally--of the support) will be beech. 

    What will be a great, darker, wood for the pin boards (in either front and back or sides orientation, as noted above) to make the dovetails as beautiful as possible? There is an excellent hardwood supplier locally, and I also have plenty of cherry and walnut in inventory. 

    Since the granite plate weighs about 80 pounds, there will also be two angled supports joined with mortises and tenons so the eye won't be distracted from the dovetails on the horizontal support structure. Your recommendations for the best wood to contrast with beech will help me make the best decision. 

    Thanks in advance! Doc Bailey

    Last modified: 12 Sep 2018 7:06 PM | Emerson (Bill)
  • 13 Sep 2018 10:44 AM
    Reply # 6667560 on 6666805
    Anonymous

    Well Doc, since maple and cherry have always been a beautiful contrast, I can't imagine beech and cherry wouldn't look great also. Walnut would give more contrast and still look good, but then again just the end grain of the beech will provide a subtle color contrast which couldn't go unnoticed. The problem I'm considering is, as a support for a wet stone sharpening system, how the heck are you going to keep these joints looking good over their lifetime?

    Jim

  • 14 Sep 2018 10:50 AM
    Reply # 6669023 on 6666805

    Jim, thanks for your input and end-grain reminder. When I'm using stones, they will be in a cookie sheet to contain the water and slurry. The cookie sheet will sit on a large piece of tool chest drawer liner so sliding should not be an issue. When using wet/dry sandpaper your concern about moisture affecting the dovetails over time is valid--and any suggestions are welcome. The entire support will be protected with several coats of spar varnish cut 1:1 with mineral spirits, and the spar varnish will be renewed as needed. Other ideas? 

  • 14 Sep 2018 4:13 PM
    Reply # 6669527 on 6666805
    Anonymous

    Hi Bill,

    I'm curious about the use of Spar Varnish on this project.  Spar Varnish has an additive which prevents the applied film from curing to a hard finish.  This elasticity is meant to allow the finish film to yawn as the wood project moves with the changing atmospheric humidity over the seasons.  Of course the softer film does not provide the protection against normal wear and tear that furniture/floor grade varnishes do.  So Spar is used mostly for outside projects.

    Is your workbench/sharpening bench outside?

    Larry

  • 15 Sep 2018 1:06 AM
    Reply # 6670011 on 6666805

    Larry, 

    I'm currently completing an outside project which should benefit from the spar varnish. Both my bench and the attached sharpening station (still in the planning/design phase) are inside my radiant-heated shop, and the temperature and humidity are well controlled. 

    The spar varnish for the sharpening station was to provide durability, but I was not aware of the softening agent you mention. What finish sequence would you recommend? 

    I'm always looking to learn and to apply best practices and procedures. Thank you!

    Bill


  • 15 Sep 2018 9:56 AM
    Reply # 6670390 on 6670011
    Anonymous
    Emerson (Bill) wrote:

    Larry, 

    I'm currently completing an outside project which should benefit from the spar varnish. Both my bench and the attached sharpening station (still in the planning/design phase) are inside my radiant-heated shop, and the temperature and humidity are well controlled. 

    The spar varnish for the sharpening station was to provide durability, but I was not aware of the softening agent you mention. What finish sequence would you recommend? 

    I'm always looking to learn and to apply best practices and procedures. Thank you!

    Bill



    Not sure how to answer that Bill.  If your trying to emulate Rob's set up the key is the stones he's using.  Most of the metal removal is on diamond stones which make very little slurry problem but he chooses to live with the mess created by the Shaptons.  His set up makes sharpening convenient and quick with no complications (ie. cookie sheets, drawer liner, wet/dry paper).  The focus is on the sharpening, not on a pretty set up - a mess will be created, minimize it.

    I like your idea of the granite plate, flat, impervious to water, easy to wipe down.  You mention your using water stones and wet/dry paper both of which make lots of mess.  I suspect that the prep and subsequent clean up will soon become a dreaded chore as the novelty of a new set up wears off.  Sharpening and your wood working in general will suffer.  Design your station so that the only visible surface is the granite block.  This is an instance where function trumps form.

    I fear I can't think of any finish that will stand up to regular wipe downs involving grit laden slurry.  All would soon become scuffed and stained black from the metal swarf.  A possible answer would be to use black woods like Ebony or African Blackwood for the frame and a good penetrating oil. The most durable pretty frame material would be stainless steel.

    Sorry I couldn't be more helpful.  How about a dovetailed drawer tucked safely underneath the granite surface to hold the stones and keep them clean?

    Carry on.

    Larry


  • 16 Sep 2018 3:41 PM
    Reply # 6671538 on 6666805

    Larry,

    You must have read my mind about the drawer below the granite plate--something like the "great minds think alike" principle. 

    Along with that drawer, I plan to caulk where the exposed plate contacts the support structure. That should minimize, if not altogether eliminate, water & slurry leaking from the plate surface to the underside parts of the support structure. 

    Several coats of poly on the entire support structure--if applied with an eye toward function and appearance (to match my bench finish)--should provide long-term benefits. 

    With the end grain reminders (please see earlier comments), my current thinking is to use beech throughout the support structure. 

    Again, thanks for your input. 

    Bill

    Last modified: 16 Sep 2018 3:42 PM | Emerson (Bill)
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