Closer to Fine

Yes, yes. Go ahead and yell at me about the IKEA shelving.

Yes, yes. Go ahead and yell at me about the IKEA shelving.

This morning, I rearranged some utility shelving so I’d have storage in my bench room. My shooting plane, carving tools, hardware and other less-often-needed items are now in easy reach of my workbench and tool chest.

But sharpening is still a challenge. In my old house, I had a vintage concrete utility sink with a wide drainboard at the back; it was perfect for sharpening…except that my shop was on the second floor. So I usually used the bathroom sink.

Oh to have that utility sink in this place.

In this house, the basement is nice and dry, gets a fair amount of natural light and has high enough ceilings to accommodate even my tallest friends. But the cheap, thin, plastic utility sink is absolute crap. There’s no drainboard, and it’s far too deep to place stones in the bottom for sharpening.

But after looking for a vintage utility sink (with a drainboard to the side) for the last few weeks, I gave up – all the decent ones I can find are insanely expensive (a built-in drainboard is apparently rare). Instead, I bought a Naniwa sink bridge for $65. It adjusts to fit sinks 15-3/4″ to 21-5/8″, and securely holds stones up to 3-7/8″ wide x 9-7/8″ long. It’ll do.

But I’m now on the hunt for a vintage double-bowl concrete sink and metal stand, sans drainboard. From someone who will haul it to me and help me get it into the basement. (Once in a while, it sucks to be single – though the lack of a truck is far more vexing.)


But for the future – far in the future – I’ve a different plan: a dedicated sharpening station. Opposite the newly placed shelving (and about 6 strides from my bench) is an old enameled sink of the perfect depth, but it currently has no water running to it. I figure it would be fairly easy to drop down lines from the shutoff valves almost directly above…but with my luck, tapping into that waste line will cause no end of problems.

I have enough troubles to be getting on with for now.



About fitz

Woodworker, writer, editor, teacher, ailurophile, Shakespearean. Will write for air-dried walnut.
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9 Responses to Closer to Fine

  1. steverennells says:

    I have that same crap plastic utility sink in my basement. I made a bridge out of a 2×4. I cut one to fit snug in the sink well and another one longer and nailed them together. I have a stone holder and it rests on top. A wet rag draped over the bridge keeps the stone holder from slipping around. It ain’t pretty but it works.

  2. richmondp says:

    I went through all that waterstone hassle also: I like water because it is always available, no matter what job site I am on and it doesn’t stain anything I slop it on; I like oilstones because they are simple and what I grew up with, but oil can be a mess in the wrong setting. I settled on diamond stones with a water bottle for job site use. I’m still transitioning from oilstones to diamond and water in my shop. Old habits die hard.

    • fitz says:

      I’ve tried all kinds (kinda have to, given my job). But for home, it’s waterstones for me (and I just splashed out on a new set (1k, 4k and 8k) of Shapton Pros). My grandfather’s oil stone, I consider a decorative piece. But hey — it worked for him for 65 years in his shop.

  3. John Wolf says:

    I think I might build one of those “stone ponds” like were in your magazine, then when it needed emptying “throw the water out the back door like we did before we had a sink with a hole in the bottom” (according to my elderly neighbor). That would be light, and avoid possible plumbing nightmares. Could look pretty nice too.

  4. Gye Greene says:

    Why the heck is there an “abandoned” sink in the corner of your basement? Odd.

    Regardless: in the interim, maybe install a shelf above, with a jug with a spigot? (Something like this: You’d have to refill it every once in a while, but…


    • fitz says:

      There’s an abandoned shower and toilet on the other side of that bockety blue wall (I would like to get those hooked back up someday). My guess is there used to be a wall in front of the sink. Or no wall at all.

  5. Ann says:

    From the condition of the wood at the bottom of the partition, the rectangle of rust on the floor and maybe even the marks on the wall behind the purple storage bin, there have definitely been times your basement was not dry.

    Water above the shallow sink seems far more accessible than the also needed sewer to remove said water. The cleanout is above the level of that sink.

    Might be far easier to hook up a tea brewing jug, or old picnic thermos with a spigot, and a bucket under the shallow sink, that you can dump occasionally down the deep sink.

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