If you don’t have a dedicated sharpening area in your shop I suggest you find room for one ASAP.
For many years I kept my sharpening equipment in this oak box under a table in my shop. It wasn’t convenient and because of this I always put off sharpening. By the time I brought out the sharpening kit my tools were so dull and so many in need of sharpening that I would spend the better part of a day putting an edge on my plane irons and chisels. This is not fun. I want to build things not sharpen tools.
Then one day a local auctioneer gave me an old cabinet. It had come out of a woodshop and the previous owner had covered the top with HDPE. The plastic top was water resistant and would be perfect for a sharpening table. I moved some things around and found a space for it within a few feet of my workbench.
As you can see in the picture it has several drawers to hold all of my sharpening equipment. The stones are kept on top ready for use. On the left you see a small plastic container of water to soak and clean the water stones. On the right is a small granite surface plate used to flatten the water stones. Behind the granite plate is a spray bottle of water to keep the stones wet. In the picture you can also see another of those swing arm lamps I told you about. Good task lighting is impotant. You can also see rags for wiping the tools and keeping the top dry and even a towel for drying my hands. Everything needed for sharpening is just a few steps away from my bench.
Now as soon as a tools cutting performance begins to fall off I stop what I’m doing and sharpen it. I can take out a plane iron, sharpen it and be back to work in 5 to 10 minutes. The same with a chisel. No more marathon sharpening sessions. I should have done this years ago and so should you.
The convenience of having a dedicated sharpening station is beyond belief. It allows you to spend much more time doing what you like to do in your woodshop and much , much less time honing and lapping cutting edges. Your tools will be sharper and you will enjoy using them more. You will spend less time sharpening, but you will be sharpening more often. This will increase your sharpening skills and make the job go even faster.
If you already have a dedicated space for sharpening tell us about yours.