More Consistency With A Veritas Mkii Honing Guide
The Veritas MKII honing guide is a wonderful help at the sharpening station, but there are some things I don't like about it. The blade projection guide that comes with it is a little fiddly to use when centering blades of different widths, I find it difficult to consistently get a blade set at 90 degrees, and the stop is made of metal so there is a chance that I may chip a blade.
I like the fact that there are so many options for different blade angles, but I really only regularly sharpen two angles, 25 degrees for may plane blades and 30 degrees for my chisels.
Some people set wooden stops at different depths along the edge of there sharpening station to help speed up the setting of the blade. I didn't want to use up bench real estate for this option, so I made a simple little jig.
A piece of 3/4" hard maple from the scrap bin is cut just a bit wider than my widest plane blade 2 3/8" and one edge is squared up using the shooting board. It is very important that this jig is square and all edges are parallel.
I used the original MKII projection guide and set up a plane blade in the honing guide as usual, making sure the blade was at 90 degrees to the guide. I then used the plane blade in the guide to set the distance for the small wooden stop block on the jig. I glued the stop in position making sure that it was parallel to the edge.
That's really all there is to it. I did the same for the 30 degree side except that because the stop was already glued in place I had to trim the edge down to size. I used the shooting board to be sure that the trimmed edge was parallel to the stop and worked my way back until the distance to the stop was correct.
When I need to sharpen a plane blade I put the jig in my vise with the 25 degree side up. If it was a chisel I would just flip the jig to the 30 degree side.
The plane blade is set in place with the flat side against the wall and the bevel facing me.
The MKII honing guide slips over the blade and it is very easy to then just eyeball center.
The honing guide rests on the edge of the jig and is naturally 90 degrees to the blade.
The knobs are tightened down and I'm ready to go. It's a perfectly repeatable set-up and works with all my plane and chisel sizes except for the very small chisels, but I sharpen those freehand anyway.
So here is just a little tip for sharpening.
I have three diamond plates for sharpening. Fine 600gr, x-fine 1200gr, and xx-fine 8,000gr.
Sometimes I need a much courser grit to remove a lot of material. Perhaps I chip a blade or I have and old blade that needs a new edge. I don't need it often enough to justify buying another diamond plate, so here is my solution.
220, 320, and 400 grit wet dry paper.
But the real tip is cutting them to fit right over the plates I have. My diamond plates are now any grit I need them to be.