If like me you have been confused by the ever bewildering advice on sharpening then I am probably not going to be able to clarify it for you. Its amazing how many options there are and each with their advocates. As always probably the best advice is to adopt one way of sharpening and get really good at it. There is no “instant” cure. So……this weekend I decided that it’s about time that I set myself up properly. I went down to the local marble/granite store that we seem to have on ever corner (and only 1 Starbucks in the town) with straight edge in hand. When I asked for a piece of granite about 16 x 32 inches the instant response was “Sure! We have offcuts that we throw away all the time of about that size – how many do you want?” “Just one” was probably not the answer they wanted but the guy walked me out back to the cutting shed. There on the floor neatly stacked was a pile of black smooth, dead flat granite pieces about 16 x 30 that the guys had just finished cutting. I picked one and asked them how much and the owner just said “Nothing! All yours!” so I gave the guys in the workshop a few bucks each anyway and walked away with my piece of granite.
The next step was to mount the damn thing on a bench. On a previous visit my father and I had installed an old piece of formica topped kitchen counter as a corner bench in the basement. Ideal for a sharpening bench – very heavy and solid – and mess just wipes straight off it. So I put a rail top and bottom and then made an additional detachable rail at the top edge to hold my “really messy job” pan – and old baking tray that I use for de-rusting, really messy cleaning and painting/staining smaller pieces. Bought some spray glue and there you go – a practically free sharpening station with an inch thick piece of solid dead flat granite at the best price!!