The Bucket

Okay...the last thing the woodworking world needs is another article on sharpening. Jig vs no jig, water stone vs oil stone vs abrasive paper, power vs hand....yikes! For the record, I use a wheel grinder and Japanese water stones to sharpen most things in my shop. I use a honing guide except for when I don't and I use a belt grinder for doing knives. Enough about that...I want to talk about my bucket. 

I was watching this video awhile back of a dude sharpening his Japanese irons and was interested in the bucket he had. There is nothing special about the bucket but I was interested in the role it played in his sharpening routine. I don't have a sink in my shop so using water stones was a bit of a pain. I stored them in a small Tupperware-like container and would carefully pull them out so I didn't get water everywhere. Then I would gently spritz them with a spray bottle, again being careful to not get the surrounding area wet. When it came to flattening the stones, I would have to head to the kitchen sink and hope that I didn't get caught befouling the kitchen with my dirty stones.

So off to the hardware store to get a 5 gal bucket. I filled it up and dropped the stones in leaning them against the side. Instead of putting the stones on a separate surface, I made a stone bridge from a red oak cut-off that spans the mouth of the bucket. I didn't bother to put finish on the bridge...it took about 10 minutes to make so I figure I'll make a new one in 10 years when this one had had the biscuit. Once the stone is on the bridge I can simply dip my hand in the water and scoop up a handful of stone lube without worrying about getting water everywhere. Any extra water lands back in the bucket. I keep an old towel clamped to the bucket to I can easily dry the blade to inspect my work and to dry my hands. I keep a separate rag soaked in Moovit oil to coat the blade to prevent rust. I know that link looks like a shameless plug but that's where I get it from. I'm sure if you search it out you will find other sellers.

Nothing fancy here...just a plain old bucket.

Stones are fully submerged on end.

The bridge has a layer of PSA-backed rubber to stop stones from slipping.

I always try to make sharpening as easy as possible. Like a lot of people, I'm lazy and if sharpening is laborious and a pain I will put off doing it. Putting off sharpening is a good way to create tear-out and could lead to a 'design change'. So give the bucket a try. At most you're out a bucket and a bit of time.

Sorry about the photo quality. I was using my phone. (tsk..tsk..tsk)

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