The system is ready to go, only requiring you to attach the abrasive discs onto the platters. Attaching them isn’t difficult, just don’t rush the job. The beauty of the Mk.II is that you never need to worry about gouged or uneven stone surfaces. You can always have a fresh and sharp grinding and honing surface. At $3.75 per abrasive disc, you’re ahead of the game; I’ve sharpened over 40 plane blades and chisels with the original abrasives that came with the tool, and there is still more sharpening to be had before I change the abrasives.
“Easy and efficient” are bywords for the Mk.II; it took me about an hour of practice to feel comfortable with how the tool operates. Once you get the hang of it, changing platters is surprisingly fast.
The tool holder and blade projection gauges are as superbly crafted as the rest of the system. They are precise and easy to use. The tool holder can handle blades up to 2 11/13″ wide, which covers most of the blades in my shop. I had a minor problem when sharpening Japanese chisels, as the top face of the chisels aren’t entirely flat, making it difficult to clamp them on the tool holder. To get around that, I used a thin strip of softwood as a cushion that conformed to the uneven shape of the blade.
To use the Mk.II, you begin by putting your tool in the holder, under the clamp that has two knurled brass nuts, and placing the holder in the blade projection (setting) gauge. When everything is in position, tighten the brass nuts to clamp your tool.
Adjust the height of the bar that the tool holder rests and glides on. This height adjustment determines the sharpening angle. The bar moves up and down in 5º increments within the range of 15-45º. Alternately you can adjust the height by eyeballing the blade bevel as it contacts the disc.
When sharpening, follow the instruction about disc rotation and where the tool holder should be placed on the bar. I lightly sanded and waxed the bar that the tool holder slides on to make it slide smoother. This system is the fastest and easiest way to put an incredible bevel to any cutting edge. I was able to go through four grits in less than three minutes with a 1″ chisel. The Veritas Mk.II made quick work of even badly nicked chisels. For chisels and plane blades that are not nicked badly, this system delivers a razor sharp edge within 90 seconds or less!
You can also lap blade backs on the abrasive discs. This operation requires a little more practice and finesse. Thankfully, flattening tool backs needs to be done only once for every new chisel and plane blade.
The disc rotates at 650rpm; I would have liked a motor with a high/low rpm selection, or even variable speed.
As usual, Lee Valley Tools has put out another innovative tool that makes the woodworker’s life easier. It’s a very well designed and well built machine; easy to use and highly effective. Additional abrasive discs in 120, 220, and 500 grits, other accessories are available.