I use a boot tray to hold my sharpening gear. That way I can keep my stones in the tray underneath my bench and then place the tray on the benchtop for sharpening. The low walls of the boot tray keep water and oil from splashing on my benchtop.
I used to buy my boot trays from the home center for about $20, but they were a seasonal item – available only in cold months – and sometimes featured odd ornamentation. The bottom of my current boot tray is supposed to look like cast iron filigree. But it doesn’t really. And all its filigree weirdness doesn’t do a good job of supporting my sharpening stones.
So, I cut a piece of Masonite to cover the bottom of the tray and everything works fine.
Still, I get asked for recommendations on a sharpening tray, and I’ve struggled to offer anything decent. Somehow during the last year or so I stumbled onto IKEA’s Italian-made Baggmuck shoe tray, a $3.99 polypropylene home accessory that is perfect for storing sharpening gear. It’s available all year round. The base is simple – no filigree – and the price is right.
The overall size is 28” x 14”, which is a good size for a set of stones and other accessories you might use (a honing guide, thin ruler, angle-setting guide, small try square etc.). It fits neatly under most workbenches. And did I mention it’s $3.99?
If you have an IKEA near you I recommend you drive out and buy one or four (and satisfy your meatball lust) instead of ordering one online. Though IKEA is a powerhouse retailer, it has a lot to learn about shipping things through USPS, FedEx etc. It took so long to receive my Baggmuck that I had almost forgotten I’d ordered it.
Yes, I know you can build a sharpening tray out of plywood scraps and avoid IKEA. But the “shoe tray” is just $3.99, and they have meatballs….
— Christopher Schwarz
Read other entries in the Anarchist’s Gift Guide.