Sharp tools make for easier, more accurate and more enjoyable woodworking. They require much less effort to use and the cuts they make are precise, crisp and clean. Whether you’re a novice or accomplished woodworker, using a honing guide with your bench stones is a fast and efficient way to get super-sharp cutting tools.
Veritas Side-Clamping Honing Guide (#05M0940)
Veritas Short-Blade Honing Guide (#05M0930)
The Veritas Mk.II Standard Honing Guide (#05M0901) has long been one of the most popular guides on the market for good reason. It’s very easy to use and gives you bang-on bevel angles and micro-bevels every time. Lee Valley has introduced two new honing guides: one that will likely appeal to woodworkers looking for a basic guide at a very attractive price; and another designed primarily for honing short blades.
The Veritas Side-Clamping Honing Guide (#05M0940) is an upscale version of the traditional Eclipse-style honing guide that’s been around in one form or another for umpteen decades (or perhaps it’s a scaled-down version of the venerable Veritas Mk.II). The guide consists of a durable black zinc-coated aluminum alloy body with stainless steel guide rods and threaded rod, along with a brass roller and clamping nut. It has a three-point clamping system that secures blades from 1/8″ to 2-1/2″ wide. Most blades and chisels can be clamped into either the upper or lower position on the jig. However, I found the thicker 3/16″ blades were easier to secure in the upper position (furthest from the guide rods). I also found it much easier to position the jig with the roller facing down when clamping a blade in place. This kept the three points of contact with the jig firmly on the blade. Lee Valley supplies a paper scale for setting blade projection, although aligning a blade to a line on the paper scale isn’t very accurate. You’re better off making your own registration jig.
I think most woodworkers will find this new side-clamping guide to be very easy to use and, more importantly, appreciate that it can accommodate just about any width of blade or chisel.
If you have several short blades, then the Veritas Short-Blade Honing Guide (#05M0930) is a worthwhile addition to your honing arsenal. Made of the same durable material as the side-clamping guide, it’s designed to hone blades and chisels at either 25° or 30°. The guide comes with a registration jig and a shim that enable you to hone blades that are 1/8″, 3/16″ or 1/4″ thick and up to 2-1/2″ wide. Two metal holding fingers secure the blade firmly in the guide. Because the end of the blade rests flush on the registration jig it’s guaranteed to be at the proper angle. The included shim enables you to create a micro bevel on blades. I found the guide easy to set up and handle. It’s particularly useful for honing skewed blades, which can’t be done on the side-clamping guide, and requires the purchase of an accessory jig for use with the Mk.II. It’ll also make quick work honing the narrow side rabbet and combination plane blades.
While the roller on both of these guide is only 1″ wide (versus 2-1/8″ on the Mk.II), I found it didn’t make the jig any less stable during honing. And the narrower roller does make it a tad easier to rock the guide slightly to create a camber, if that’s the approach you’re taking.