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Each time I start a new dulcimer or group of dulcimers I take an hour or two and sharpen everything in sight. Occasional stropping keeps my tools sharp but starting a new project is a convenient time to do any necessary grinding and honing.
Since I work in a small shop almost everything happens on the bench. In the photograph above is the setup I use for honing. It is nothing more than a bench hook on which I place my sharpening stones. When not in use the bench hook, diamond stones, and fine water stones live on a shelf and when in use I move it to the bench. The coarse waterstones live in a container of water near by. I usually remember to feed them. I use the same spray bottle I use to mist sides during bending to spritz water on the stones.
I prefer using waterstones because I get a lot of feedback through my fingers while honing and quickly achieve a polished edge. I bought the diamond stones years ago. They are handy when honing a narrow tools that could easily gouge a waterstone but as I have gotten better at using waterstones I rarely need them. When the waterstones need flattening I lap the coarse stones on a cinder block with some water and lap the fine stones on the coarse stones.
On the other end of the bench and not in the photograph is a cherry dulcimer about to receive frets. As I said, everything happens on the bench.
Well, almost everything.
In the photograph above is a small heard of small planes. I really do use all of them though not at the same time. There’s also some small spokeshaves keeping them company.
After shipping a dulcimer this afternoon I got the urge to do some deep reorganization in the workshop. This is never a good idea.
I did some less destructive cleaning and reorganization in the shop several days ago and now I can’t find a few things. My shop may look chaotic but it is my chaos and I understand how it works! Organization does have certain advantages but an organically grown chaos can have its own hidden sense of pattern and structure.
While cleaning and reorganizing these shelves I decided to put the planes I rarely use in storage. There is empty space on the shelves now. This has never happened before. I’m sure it won’t be there for long.
When posting picture of planes on a shelf someone will usually comment that I am storing them blade down. Many believe you should never store a plane blade down because the blade will become dull or get nicked.
These shelves are soft pine that has become wavy and warped. I don’t worry about the soft pine touching the blades and on the larger planes the warp in the shelves often keeps the blades from touching the shelves.
I strop my plane blades and chisels often so one way or the other they rarely become dull.
Yes, my life is this fascinating.