Now that I’m back home, I’m continuing to work on my new workbench. I’ll put up a post on that later, for now I’d like to show you how I built a small bench hook for my new sharpening stones.
This is the setup that Homestead Heritage used, though at a dedicated sharpening station, and it’s a good one. It’s cheap and easy to make, portable, and holds everything in place.
First, you’ll need a piece of plywood or similar flat wood. I used some scraps of 3/8″ rough plywood that I had leftover from the bench itself. You’ll need to use your stones as a measuring reference. I bought 8″ diamond sharpening stones from DMT, and they’re 3″ wide. My ideal bench hook size then was about 9″ x 8″, the length allowing an extra inch for the hook blocks and the width sized for two stones and some extra space. My scrap was 7 1/4″ wide, so I went with that, it’s not too important.
I also grabbed a length of 1×3, cut it to match the plywood width, and then carefully split it down the middle to get two 1 1/4″ x 3/4″ blocks. Now I should have done this step first since I ended up having to hang one of the blocks off the end of the plywood a bit with that extra 1/4″, but it worked out ok.
Above you can see the pieces I cut along with screws and the sharpening stones. Ignore the clamp, I haven’t finished the face of my bench yet or fastened the top to the base.
Of course, the drywall screws I had picked out were a bit too long for 3/4″ block and 3/8″ plywood at 1 1/4″ inchs. I rummaged around and found some screws from a door knob kit I believe, around 1/2″ long which is too short. So I drilled 3/8″ holes halfway through the blocks and then predrilled the remainder with a small bit.
You can see the size difference in the screws, the different bits I used, and the clamped pre-drilling set up in the photo above. Fortunately I got the distance for the inset good enough that none of the screws came through the other side of the plywood, and they’re holding well.
Now that they were all pre-drilled, I lightly clamped one block onto the plywood as shown above and then used a speed square to get it into the right place. I wanted the bench hook to be reasonably straight once complete. Then I screwed the block down, flipped the plywood over and spun it around, and screwed the second block to the opposite side making a sort of zigzag shape when viewed from the side. This second one is the one I lined the stone up on, realized the hook was a bit short, and cheated the block off the end of the plywood a bit to compensate.
That’s all it takes. I set the hook on the bench, slid it forward until the bottom block caught on the edge of the bench, and placed the two stones on top. Now I can apply pressure pushing my blades along the stone without worrying about it walking away, but it’s easy to move out of the way when I’m done sharpening.
So far it works great. I flattened and sharpened my dad’s cheap Stanley low angle block plane (the $20 version), and was able to finish off my table’s top tapers now just waiting on sandpaper to finish. I’ll buy a nice Lie Nielsen block plane when I can afford it, but for now this works.