Best honing guide for chisels?


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I use a $10 vise-type honing guide for sharpening, and it works really well on plane blades, but I can't get squared chisels from it.

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I did some modifications to my honing guide:

 

 

 it really improves the result, I can cut arm hair with the chisels I sharpened, but they are way off square.

 

Leevalley has a free shipping deal now, I think maybe it's a good time to upgrade. I did some searches on Veritas Mk.II Honing Guide, people have trouble with keeping the blade squared in the jig, especially when sharpening chisels. Some of them said it won't give you a squared secondary bevel which I don't mind at all, all my chisels don't have it anyway. Some of them said it just can't hold chisels good enough, they tend to slip in the jig too much. Which one is true? After reading  this review, I'm totally lost.

 

Some people say honing guides are not a onesize-fits-all affair, Kell's jig is the best for chisels.

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But it's more expensive than the Veritas one (when you plus the shipping), and it looks like it will be a pain to keep the same bevel angle every time. Also, I like the Lie Nielsen skew block planes very much, if I brought the Veritas one, their skew registration jig will give me the ability to sharpen a skewed blade.

 

Should I just keep using my old honing guide and wait Veritas to release Mk III? Any suggestions ? Thanks.

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I have a little trouble with chisels smaller than 1/4" in the MKII, otherwise, it's golden.  If you're exerting so much force while you're honing that you can knock a chisel out of square in the jig, you're doing something wrong.

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a lot of people have problems with honing guides. In my humble opinion a lot of the people who have blogged about it automatically assume it's the guides fault, or don't fully understand whats causing the issue, or how to fix it.

 

potential user errors to consider:

1) the blade might not be square in the jig

2) the user might be applying to much force. I see this a lot, the blade is made of steel and will flex when you gorilla it.

 

potential tool related errors: 

 

yep, your blade could be the problem

1) is the top of your blade perfectly parallel (side to side) to the bottom, if it's not this will cause a skew, because in the honing guide the top of the blade is the reference surface not the bottom like it is while being used.

2) does the blade taper (narrow from back to front), if so this will cause a skew.

 

jig related errors:

 this is a hard one to explain, but the primary issue is one of amplification. lets say the honing guide is .001" higher on one side than the other, because the paint is thicker or something, this get amplified by the amount the tool projects from the jig, and the angle you are honing at.

 

 

in my opinion the best way to address these issues with the mark 2 is to minimize blade projection, and shim between the top and bottom pieces with aluminum foil as needed.

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I have the original Eclipse jig that the first one shown is a copy of.  The Eclipse does fine.  I think I bought it new in the early '70s. 

 

 I expect all the Eclipse copies now are made in China, so you know what you'll get with that.  I also have the whole MkII setup, and would recommend that as the one to get.  I can whet by hand, but anyone can get a perfect edge with the MKII.  I can turn my helpers loose with it, and feel confident that I will get handed a properly honed blade.  Even if you hone one several times by hand in between, it's good to have it perfect to start with from honing with a guide.

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Yes  :ph34r:. What do you think craftspeople did before honing guides?

Seriously though honing guides are fine, whatever helps the user get good results is more than fine with me.

 

From what I have seen from some of the old timers shops I visited as a kid (grandfathers friends), they didn't hone narrow chisels at all, if they did, anything it was just a few swipes on a strop. To be fair, it kind of makes sense as well. I can't think of a scenario that requires a super sharp narrow chisel. Most of the places people use narrow chisels, don't require a fine finish, and because the chisel is narrow it doesn't require a lot of effort to use even when dull.

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I use the same cheapie jig in the original post, because I can't get it right freehand on chisels wider than 1/4".  I freehand 1/8" and 1/4" chisels, cause it's easy...

 

The jig often needs a slight bit of tuning.  With a file, clean ONE side of the jig so the chisel sits squarely.  If your chisels aren't square, file appropriately...  The other side needs to be curved, to apply pressure at one point.  Don't file both sides.

 

I normally use a setting tool (a version is described on Lie Nielsen's website) to set the jig for a microbevel, and hone ONLY on the 4000 and 8000 grit stone.  Once the microbevel gets wider than ~ 3/32", I back the jig up 5 degrees and freshen the primary bevel on XC-C-F-XF DMT plates, about 5 stokes each, until the micro is just a hair.  I then go back to the micro setting and finish.

 

We've timed this, using the setting jig, against freehanders, and beaten them!  :D

 

I have both the MKI and MKII Veritas guides in my drawer, and that's where they usually stay...

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I've bought a couple different honing jigs, including the MKII and in the long run I've ended up not using them because I find them too fiddly to set up and I get just as good results going freehand. 

 

I'm not saying freehand is for everybody and I'm not saying that the jigs aren't the right tool for everyone.  What I am saying is that to my way of thinking, if I have to build jig to help set up the jig ...

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Sharpening always seems to result in much debate. I fret far too much over it, never sure whether the amount of force I'm using is correct...finally convinced myself that most of the time my problems are not because the tool isn't sharp it's my technique for using the tool. I have a cheap diamond stone for grinding and use 3m lapping film on glass for honing with an eclipse style jig. I worry when I see these debates whether my tools are really sharp! I can cut end grain pine and oak so is that sharp enough? Following link is interesting apologies if you have all seen it before: http://www3.telus.net/BrentBeach/Sharpen/jig%20faq%2002.html#jigyes

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Kell III here, it's the one where the user has to make a wedge(s) to hold the chisel.  As the wheels are well outside the track of the honing medium, all blades are honed dead square (provided they're inserted square and wedged reasonably tight)  One of the issues I have is honing a single, square bevel on Japanese chisel.  Paring chisels are honed at 25deg, those hit with a hammer at 30deg...it's almost impossible over time to keep the edge square and true with the bevel flat, as a quick look at examples of old chisels on ebay will testify, so in this case, although freehanding is good, a guide wins hands down - Rob

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Sharpening always seems to result in much debate. I fret far too much over it, never sure whether the amount of force I'm using is correct...finally convinced myself that most of the time my problems are not because the tool isn't sharp it's my technique for using the tool. I have a cheap diamond stone for grinding and use 3m lapping film on glass for honing with an eclipse style jig. I worry when I see these debates whether my tools are really sharp! I can cut end grain pine and oak so is that sharp enough? Following link is interesting apologies if you have all seen it before: http://www3.telus.net/BrentBeach/Sharpen/jig%20faq%2002.html#jigyes

 

Darren, IMHO this can be interesting but it can be a dangerous rabbit hole. This will really show my ignorance but I tried reading it before and found it boring. I think if you can cut end grain crisply then your tools are sharp enough. 

That said if your work dictates a super duper extra sharp edge then the information in the post may be useful. 

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Darren, IMHO this can be interesting but it can be a dangerous rabbit hole. This will really show my ignorance but I tried reading it before and found it boring. I think if you can cut end grain crisply then your tools are sharp enough.

That said if your work dictates a super duper extra sharp edge then the information in the post may be useful.

Graham I agree and I think the rabbit hole can get quite crowded :-) I haven't read it all either. But I got the following: there's a finite limit to sharp. Honing needn't take more than 3 grits to get a good edge. Stropping can spoil an edge. As a beginner and with no training a honing guide is a really good option.

It may seem remiss but sharpening wasn't covered in my beginners classes! It is something I struggled with for some time. Sifting all the advice on the Internet was a nightmare. The short version of this article, a David Charlesworth article and a Lie Nielsen article in fine woodworking helped me to establish a basic system. I still worry when I see discussions on different guides and people sharpening on granite :-) is my 5 micron polished micro bevel good enough.

Apologies for the long reply. Is there a pinned topic on sharpening? For beginners?

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Darren, IMHO this can be interesting but it can be a dangerous rabbit hole. This will really show my ignorance but I tried reading it before and found it boring. I think if you can cut end grain crisply then your tools are sharp enough. 

That said if your work dictates a super duper extra sharp edge then the information in the post may be useful. 

I agree with Graham, sharpening and honing is a really dangerous rabbit hole!  That said, we all need to find our own way and no one way is 'best'.  The litmus test is cutting end grain cleanly...if your chisels will do that then they're sharp enough, especially on something soft like pine, which is difficult to work with.  Put a hundred woodworkers into a 'shop with a remit to 'discuss sharpening and honing', lock the doors and you'll end up with a thousand variations on the theme, all of which are correct.  In it's simplest terms, a sharp edge is nothing more than the intersection of two flat planes, but as woodworkers we like to get that intersection as fine as possible - Rob

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Put a hundred woodworkers into a 'shop with a remit to 'discuss sharpening and honing', lock the doors and you'll end up with a thousand variations on the theme, all of which are correct. 

 

And a high probability of a fight breaking out.  :D

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Darren, I wish I could help but I have no experience of your system. Hopefully someone here does. Did you see pghmyn's recent post  Not an expensive option to try out. To echo Rob, everything will work, the trick is finding the knack and the system that's right for you. That wasn't very helpful was it  :)

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