Robert Larson Honing guide

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In the hobbyist realm of wood working, I find it difficult to believe the average joe can really crank down and learn the intricate art of chisel sharpening the mastery required of a seasoned carpenter/luthier/furniture maker. For those that can, congratulations. I am not among those talented folks. So with that, I  am coming from this as a guy who would say he was "ok" sharpening chisels. 


Initial Impressions ->


Upon receipt, I was quite pleased with the weight. It's feels really solid, without being cumbersome. The adjustment knob works smoothly, and clamps with a reassuring amount of force. The lettering for the angling is very legible, albeit unless you plan on bringing out a caliper its rather useless. While the finished product isnt a shiny ferrari, it is very usable, well constructed, and has no sharp edges to make it uncomfortable to use. 


Pictures : 






I chose the roughest, nastiest 1/2" chisel I had. Literally had gouges in the front. I totally forgot to take pictures of it, so you just have to take my word unfortunately. I started with a fine tooth bastard file, and flattened out the gouges to the face. Yes, it flattened the blade, but it needed to be done. I then proceeded on the back treatment. Worked up through my diamond stones from 150 to 400 grit, then a 1000 grit water stone. Then I proceeded on the face, which needed a lot of work. I set the angle just a tad lower, roughly 28 degrees. I proceed up through the diamond stones to set the angle. From there I went back to work on the back, working up through 4000 grit sandpaper on a granite block  (yes I use high quality wet/dry paper, works well). Then I proceeded on the face, starting at my 1000 grit whetstone working up to the 4000 grit, alternating from back to the face with each raise in grit level. 


The results -> I did not spend a whole bunch of time on this, as I was mostly testing it out. With some actual effort and few more minutes, the results would be even better. 







As you can see, I was able to quickly and easily set the angle, and get a VERY sharp tip. For the average chisel user, I would highly recommend this. I was able to get remarkably thin shavings on maple end grain, and overall quite impressed at how simple and effective this tool is. For 12$ on amazon, its quite a good tool to pick up. It makes it less of a chore, and for resharpenings, I can imagine it would take longer to place it in the tool then it would to get your results. Not as fast as simply slapping it on, but its worth it to gaurantee a consistent, sharp edge on your chisels.


And yes, its ACTUALLY sharp! Gets my thumbs up :)



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That is what I call an "Eclipse" jig.  A must have, in my opinion, especially considering the low cost and versatility (esp. narrow chisels).


The video (LN?) has been recommended several times here on the forum for how to make improvements to this jig.



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 Nice! I went through the review section, and didn't see anything, so I figured I'd post something. Quite pleased with the results, and none of the tutorial vids from the "big players" show a honing guide from what I've seen unfortunately. Glad to see it well received :) 

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The first one I ever bought was an Eclipse.  It's the one that all these copies are based on.  I have no doubt that it helped me learn how to sharpen an edge when I was young.  I recommend that anyone start with one of these, as opposed to trying to learn how to do it by hand.  I'm sure if you have average co-ordination or better, you can learn how without a guide, but this will teach you what a sharp edge really is quicker than feeling in the dark by hand to start with.  You have to experience what sharp is before you understand what you are trying to do.


When I was younger, and just learning, I didn't have anyone to show me how that had anything any better than old carborundum oil stones, or something of about that ilk.  I ordered a set of Arkansas stones, and taught myself.  I doubt I would have been able to without the Eclipse.  I never knew anything about feeling for a wire edge.  I learned it by feel of the edge on the stone, and acquiring that feel would have been put off a long time without the guide.  Oil stones give the best "feel" feedback, so I was lucky that I chose the oilstones to start with too.


Even today, I don't ever worry about a wire edge forming.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have one just like that. I've had it for several years and it sure does help keeping the bevel true across the end of the chisel.

I made a small wooden guide for 25 degree and 30 degree settings to keep everything as accurate as I can for consistency on reuse.



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One day earlier this week, I decided to sharpen an accumulation of chisels that I've bought on ebay since this past Summer.  I dug out 14 that needed to be reground.  After grinding the bevels-didn't take long on the CBN wheel just grinding by eye without clamping them into the piece that meshes with the Veritas grinding stand. 


With that many to hone, I decided to pull out the old Eclipse jig. I have a MkII that works great, but is a bit more fiddly, and with this many edges to do, and not much time to put in it, I decided that the Eclipse would be a lot faster.  After honing these 14, I'm convinced it's faster using the jig, doing that many, than doing them by hand.


They were all ground to 30 degrees.  I eyed the adjustment on the first one to fit on a flat stone, and scribed a line on the plywood base of the grinder-hadn't used this guide since I made up this grinding rig.  Some people build jigs with stops, but all you need is something to hold the jig against, and a knife line to sight.


One big help with this jig, is to use this screwdriver:,41182   I had boogered up the slotted head on this original Eclipse screw over the years using various screwdrivers, none of which work as good as this one, and none could put the torque I wanted on the screw as easily.  I wish I'd had it the same day the guide had come back then.


All the chisels took the hollow ground bevel from 1,200 waterstone through 13,000, and then the finest two grits of the Diamond Lapping film.  The part of the backs sticking out past the guide were all flattened, and polished in this same session, on the same stones.  All bevels and cutting edges of the backs were mirror polished, and way sharper than a store bought razor blade.


It went so fast, that I decided not to bother with microbevels, which made it an even faster process with this guide.


It's served me well for probably 40 years.  I do hone by hand when I'm in the middle of a job, and an edge needs a touch up, but in this production run, the guide was a lot less tiring, I'm sure, and all the edges were perfect.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 4 months later...

The Eclipse type jig certainly is the one to own when you begin in  sharpening.

I did'nt use it when  I was a beginner,  but now I can't do without it.  I learned to sharpen free hand  using  Mike Dunbar's technique (sand papers of several grits glued up onto a flat  surface) That   technique is simple, efficient,  fast, clean  and inexpensive and it is a good method to start with. But it is evern more efficient with jigs.


I can see two reasons to use a jig:

1- You can achieve a perfect bevel and edge every time,, you never miss a sharpening,  whatever abrasive  you  may use (sand paper, or water sones, oil stones diamond stones  etc.) and whatever may be your habits   ( bevel angle values,   secondary bevel, radiused edges etc.)

2- Since the bevel   remains consistent,,through the sharpening process, you should only have to shape the bevel onc for all . Iand you should hardly have to put thoses blades on the Tormek once or twice in a decade...That saves a lot of time and a lot of wear.


Then Which type of guide is better ?  Eclipse  or Veritas MK2 ?

In fact I do own  and use  both of them.


The Eclipse is  inexpensive, accurate, and faster to set up  than the MK2,. It fits  most of the common  blades, especially chisel and plane blades, the blades you sharpen the most frequently. 

I use it all the time.


On the other side the MK2 is more versatile : you can hold  almost any  blades you can find, including  thick, tapered, short , or skewed blades.

The  MK2.has another plus; that may be important for some people but not for me.   For a given bevel angle, the blade projection on the MK2 :remains the same,  whatever the blade thickness may be. The reason for that is that The MK2 always registers against the upper  face of the blade, not the under face. . In the case of the Eclipse , only  narrow blades register that way, Wide blades (palne blades)  register through their under face, thus  the blade projection is increased when the blade thickness is increased..

But in fact this is not a concern for me. The  corrections for thick blades are minimal and bevel value  accuracy doesn't make as much sense as angle conssistency. If  I have to sharpen a blade to an accurate angle value, I tune the blade projection with  a "Bevel Box" (the kind of  inexpensive digital device than measures angles to a tenth of a degree) .


Another minus for the Eclipse jig, is that indeed you will have to slightly  a modify it  with a file ,  as shown in the video by  Deneb Puchalski. In fact on my Eclipse, you could probably skip two  of the  three  modifications that are shown in the video .   I only use to enlarge    the notch for narrow blades, to allow  the jig to hold  more sorts of chisels (thicker blades,  tapered faces, un-parallel  sides.and the like) . I never find it necessary to file either the top surface (the one for wider blades) nor the  lower angle (as  I don't own blades with high bevel angles)


The MK2  comes with an sophisticated device  jig to set the correct blade

projection.It<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<scathat You have to mount it  into a sliding dove-tail at the front edge of the jig. It is very accurate and seems to fit al the possibles cases for a blade. But I find it complicated to use: you have to put it on and apart   at each use, you have to choose  the proper scale beetweel several,  and  to make sure  the blade doesn't contact  the steel stop fitted on the device.


In fact for both Eclipse and MK2 jig, I use the same home made wooden jig  for quick and consistent settings of  bevel angles. , One side Of the wwoden jig is  for chisel blades , the other for plane blades,. At one end .I screwed on a  piece of steel  that can be used as a screw driver to fasten the Eclipse screw.






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