If you're a regular reader of this blog you probably know that I am a huge fan of the Scary Sharp system or method of sharpening. (Here's a link to my original post on Scary Sharp, and I've added a label if you want to read more about my experiences with it.) Last year, when I was getting ready for my classes with Roy, I decided I wanted to take Scary Sharp with me, so I created a smaller, portable version that could travel.
First, I needed a flat surface to bond the sandpaper to - and it had to be small. After poking around my local Borg, I found these small marble tiles that were just the right size and seemed pretty flat (and actually, if you can't find ones that are flat enough, you could lap them, although I don't really think you need to do that). The tiles are approximately 3"x6" and about 3/8" thick.
I sprayed nasty adhesive (I still want to create my own non-toxic version of this) on one face of the tile and on the back of the abrasive sheet. After it tacked up, I placed the sticky face of the tile on the sticky back of the paper and then trimmed the sheet flush to the edges of the tile. I decided I wanted six grits, so six tiles in my kit.
Here it is with my marking knife for scale:
From left to right: 100, 180, 320, 600, 1000, and 2000 grit. I was basically trying to double the grit on each consecutive tile, which I find works well. But of course you could have less grits if you wanted to spend more time on each one, but I find it too tedious. Plus, with more grits, each one lasts longer.
Here's a shot of the kit rolled up in its canvas cloth:
The tiles are on edge in this shot, which is why the proportions look different. Also, what you can't see, is that I cut spacers from file folder stock to put between each tile to keep the abrasive clean and protect it from its neighboring tile.
I'm not really done messing with this kit yet (it's only been a year). I have an extra tile that I might experiment with - I am thinking of bonding some leather to it to use as a strop with the Lee Valley green compound. If that works, I'll post about it. Eventually.