Making Sharpening “Stones” The Cheap Way Homemade Woodworking Tools

Sharpening stones are expensive and if you only use them to sharpen your chisels and plane blades, it may make more sense to make your own.

the stones ready to use

These are easy and very low cost to make using a cloth backed 2″x72″ grinding belt. These are typically less than $10 each and you can get a number of “stones” out of one belt. Like everything else abrasive, these do wear out, but not as quickly as regular wet / dry sandpaper. When they do, a new one can be made in minutes.

To get started, I cut a piece of 3/4″ MDF to the size of the stone for my sharpening jig. Plywood can also be used, as long as it’s completely flat and smooth, but I would avoid solid wood as it can cup.
In this example, I’m using regular wood glue to adhere the piece of belt to the MDF:

the block and paper
spreading glue

Spray adhesive works well too and is faster, as shown in the video. The main thing is that the belt is well attached to the substrate so that it won’t wrinkle.
Also worth mentioning that it’s probably a good idea to put the belt on both side. That way, when one side wears out, the other will be fresh and ready to use. It also will help to stop the plywood or MDF from curling. Another advantage is a finer or coarser grit could be used on the other side, upping the versatility of the stone.

While it does take longer, using regular glue does have the advantage of being stronger and potentially flatter, since spray glue can clump up. After the “stone” was finished, I used it to very quickly sharpen a 3/4″ chisel:

clamping the parts
a freshly sharpened chisel

A lot of guys like to go higher than 400 grit, and it can make a difference. But if you are just looking for a very sharp chisel that will get the job done without an hours worth of honing, this will make your day. It works for me.

Here’s a video of making the “stone” and a quick demonstration on how well the chisel cuts after using it: