Buying a honing guide


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Hey folks!

I'm new here, so if this has been covered already, well, I hope you can bear with me ;)

 

I'm about to place an order for my very first honing guide, and I'm thinking I might as well do it properly or not do it at all, so I'm looking at the veritas mk II honing guide. Any reason why this is a bad idea? should I be looking at something from another supplier for better bang for my buck?

 

I've read up and watched a ton of videos on sharpening, and so far I'm covered for plate glass and sandpaper, I can raise a burr and chase it all around the shop, but I'm in no way confident in my ability to make a consistent bevel on my chisels and planes, let alone righting the offset left by a previous owner. I'm also more interested in getting better at working wood than making bevels, so there's going to be a honing guide in my shop pretty soon :)

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That would be the one I would recommend, but they are coming out with an updated, side clamping version, but date not announced.  Some people have trouble with the current one's mounting method, and also for narrow chisels.

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Yup MKII is also my recommendation. LN have one out "very soon" - I saw a prototype March 2013 at a LN event featuring Deneb. He showed it and said its release was imminent. I'm still waiting almost a year on....

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I like my veritas mk2, but would much rather have a very nice side clamp setup. Then there is no way for as small blade or narrow chisel to slip out of square. Lie Nielsen's new version of the side clamping jig has been coming out next month for like 3 months now. 

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==>I'm looking at the veritas mk II honing guide. Any reason why this is a bad idea?

Certainly not a bad idea...

 

However, as much as I would like to say, "Get a MKII and you'll be fine honing everything in your kit", it may not work-out that way... A great deal depends on what tools you're sharpening. For instance, the MKII can't handle English-pattern mortise chisels (but the Veritas MkI does). It also doesn't handle fine Japanese chisels as well as other designs...

 

With that being said, the MKII is certainly a goto-jig and many folks have one in their kit (I've got one, but it's not my goto). However, you may also need a second jig to fill the function-gap of the MKII.

 

I'd start with the MKII and get some experience. But I'd also avoid force-fitting a square peg into a round hole -- avoid English-pattern mortisers, fine Japanese bench/paring/dovetail chisels, fine Western-pattern dovetail chisels, spokeshave irons, etc (these are better handled with a side-clamping jig)... You won't be happy with the results and frustration will set-in...

 

For your second jig (and yes, you'll probably need a second jig at some point), I'd match my tools to the jig -- for example, If you do small-scale work and use fine chisels or small planes, Richard Kell's MKI is excellent. If you have a collection of English-pattern chisels, then his MKIII is perfect.

 

Anyway, develop your skill with tools made from softer steels (O1/O2/etc), not with A2 plane irons. If you don't have something to learn with, get a couple of inexpensive DIY chisels from the BORG or eBay. BTW, don't learn on narrow chisels -- get something that's 3/4" or so...

 

Good luck.

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I have the Veritas MKII, the Bridge City Toolworks honing jig, the Kell jig (in two sizes), and the $10 Eclipse jig.

 

I strongly prefer side clamping, as the Veritas and Bridge City tool have allowed chisels to skew in the holder despite what I felt to be a good tightening.

 

The Kell jig is a thing of beauty, but the outboard tires can require runners to be installed alongside of your stones.  Not a big deal, but mildly annoying.

 

The Eclipse guide as modified by Deneb in the Lie-Nielsen video, with its narrow central wheel, is my go to guide.  Easy to camber a plane blade, secure  side clamping, practically free.

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==>but the outboard tires can require runners to be installed alongside of your stones.  

Yea, it's annoying...

 

Have you seen Richard's YouTube video on his MKII LGE jig? He demos his 'recommended' outrigger set-up... I did something similar... Fixes the issue nicely...

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Thanks for the warm welcome and great feedback everyone!

 

This is both really helpful and quite frustrating at the same time, because everyone is "go for it" but at the same time "but here's something you didn't know that might want you to rethink it."

 

To sum up, it looks like #1 veritas and/or lie nielsen are putting out a new honing guide "soon," so I should consider that. and #2 it won't be up to ALL honing jobs. Fortunately, #2 cancels out #1 to some degree (the mk III won't do everything either), and I don't have a lot of non-standard chisels and plane blades to sharpen anyways, so I think I'll be going for the MKII.

 

I'm not really expecting the be all end all solution to honing with this guide, but I expect it'll do most of what I want until I figure out what I'm missing - mr. Kell's jigs and guides look pretty nice :)

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I wouldn't hold out for too long on the LN honing guide.  I was at one of their tool events today, and they didn't even use it for their sharpening demos today.  I am guessing they are still working out the kinks on it.

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==>Not to high jack but how does Deneb mod the eclipse style?

There's a video on YouTube and a PDF on LN's site. The mods have also been published in FWW/PopW if you have the DVD archives. To get the most from that style of jig, the mods are very helpful...

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=>I have the Veritas MKII, the Bridge City Toolworks honing jig, the Kell jig (in two sizes), and the $10 Eclipse jig. I strongly prefer side clamping

+1

 

To that list, I'll add the Veritas MkI, the Kell No3/skew and No3/deep, Kell No2/wide, some specialty Japanese-chisel/iron jigs as well as evaluation prototypes from a few others. 

 

I use secondary bevels on most of my edge tools (there are exceptions for certain BU plane irons, etc -- but the reasons are beyond scope). For those tools with a secondary bevel, I use a honing guide because the odds of consistently free-handing a secondary bevel is are next to nill. When I use a guide, I strongly prefer side-clamping/out-rigged wheels for non-cambered edges...

 

The Kell Jigs are my go-to for chisels:

The No1 jig is the best by far for narrow chisels, dovetail chisels, etc.

The No3/deep is about the only jig that handles English-pattern mortise chisels.

The No3/skew(no longer made) is perfect for just about any skew chisel or plane iron.

The No2/wide(no longer made) is the only jig that handles very wide Japanese chisels (up to 5 3/8" wide).

 

Most of my chisel and plane iron sharpening is on a Kell No2/LGE.

 

The modified Eclipse is my go-to for cambered edges.

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Hey folks!

 

...I'm about to place an order for my very first honing guide, and I'm thinking I might as well do it properly or not do it at all, so I'm looking at the veritas mk II honing guide. Any reason why this is a bad idea? should I be looking at something from another supplier for better bang for my buck?

 

I've read up and watched a ton of videos on sharpening, and so far I'm covered for plate glass and sandpaper, I can raise a burr and chase it all around the shop, but I'm in no way confident in my ability to make a consistent bevel on my chisels and planes, let alone righting the offset left by a previous owner. I'm also more interested in getting better at working wood than making bevels, so there's going to be a honing guide in my shop pretty soon :)

 

Just to offer a different opinion.

 

If you're raising a wire edge or burr, you've got the bevel down pat. But the bevel is the easy part of honing and getting an relatively precise angle is pretty easy in a more traditional honing approach. In traditional honing it only takes a couple passes on the honed bevel.

 

The harder part is a truly flat face and a flat sharpening medium. Honing guides cause people to focus on the bevel and ignore the back. Dulling wear happens on both the surfaces that make up an edge and removing the wear on the flat face is easy if you make sure and keep everything flat at each sharpening. This way you're actually doing the prep work for subsequent sharpening each time you sharpen.

 

Sand paper sharpening is notorious for dubbing or slight rounding of the surfaces that make up an edge. The paper backing has enough give that it rolls slightly ahead of the tool and causes the dubbing. Film backed abrasives are better but you'll get some dubbing with them too.

 

Steve Elliot has a page on this web showing the wear progression on a plane iron. He's got some images there that are pretty clear but I've added information to one showing how it relates to honing:

 

wear-formation.jpg

 

If you're going to remove the wear from the flat face by working only on the bevel, as you would with a honing guide, you'll have to hone everything away up to the blue line. If you hone the flat face to remove that wear, i.e. honing the flat face to the brown line, you only have to hone to the brown line on the flat face and the orange line on the bevel. You only have to remove a few microns of steel with this traditional honing method. You remove even less on the bevel if you have a ground bevel at an angle about 5° less than the honed bevel. It's very fast and effecient and takes less time than just the tinkering set-up of a honing guide.

 

Honing is a gateway skill to hand tool woodworking but I strongly believe grinding is a gateway skill to effective grinding. There's no real substitute to learning to grind.

 

I'm not going to save you any money with this but I can give you links to all you'll need and the cost will be about $250. I have no relationship with any of the dealers involved other than using their products. These will last you a life-time and nothing else will be required other than a very occasional resupply of oil.  Don't feel bad about having trouble with sharpening, the overwhelming majority of woodworkers can't effectively sharpen. We frequently get planes back from customers for tuning and the issues almost invariably go back to poor sharpening technique. Some of those customers have been well-known, successful woodworkers. We've taught quite a few workshops at various woodworking schools and these always require the ability to sharpen. We've helped a lot of people with their sharpening and I don't recall a single sharpening problem that originated on the bevel, it's always problems with dealing with the flat face.

 

We have a to a video where I show traditional honing but also using a diamond stone to maintain a fresh abrasive surface on the stones that are truly flat:

 

I advise you not to spend money on a honing guide. At best they can only help you with the easy tools and are a sure-fire method to slow your honing. I think it's far better to just learn traditional honing which will even work on more difficult profiled tools like gouges and molding planes.

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