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Veritas Mark II Honing Guide

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Alf

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Not so much a review, more some observations. It’s no good kidding ourselves that I know anything about the technicalities of sharpening and so forth, so this is just a collection of things that have struck me so far about this guide. I anticipate, as time goes on, my view may change slightly with more familiarity, but after quite a “sharpening fest”, here’s what I noticed so far. If you get confused just look at the pictures. It’s what I do…

First, some background information. I used this guide on a double-sided diamond stone and a freshly flattened, fine, natural oilstone. The former lubricated with paraffin and the latter with Neatsfoot oil. My previous honing guide experience is with a narrow-wheeled side-gripping guide of the “Eclipse” type, and the Stanley two-wheel model; I‘ve never used the MkI guide. <Pause while small children stop and point at this phenomenon who’s never used the MkI> By and large I hone freehand more often than not, finding guides more on the restrictive side of the scale than the helpful one. I’ll try and keep that prejudice out of things as far as possible, but I’m only human (No jokes, please. I have a piece of paper to prove it :p ) so you should be aware it exists. This example is one of the first twenty assembled from production parts, but came with instructions still in draft form and non-retail packaging.


Clockwise from the top: blade carrier, roller carrier and registration jig.

The very first thing that struck me with this guide is the weight. This is one heavy bit of kit for a honing guide, at 1lb 9oz all in. That’s often a good sign of quality in a tool, and this is no exception. Materials are die-cast zinc/aluminium alloy, brass and steel; all appear to be finely machined and the shiny black finish is immaculate. It consists of three parts; a roller carrier, blade carrier and registration jig. Having the roller and blade clamp separately allows adjustment in the distance between the roller and the blade edge, which gives plenty of flexibility in what blade lengths and angles can be maintained with this guide.


No, I don’t know the technical term, but the bumpy bits register in the valley bits to get repeatable settings for the three roller/clamp positions. Sort of like an oversized Incra jig tooth system. Maybe. :?


Which then gets locked off by tightening up the blade carrier locking knob. You could say “Initiate the BCLK”, but on the whole probably better not…

The registration jig takes the old idea of a length and/or squareness stop to make angle setting repeatable and transfers it from a bench top actually onto the jig. For the actual technicalities of the whole thing, you’re best bet is to take a look at the instructions here - except they‘re not there. Oh woe is me! 8-[ Well the description will explain it better than I can, even so. The maximum width it can take is 2 7/8” and 15/32” in thickness. Ah, don’tcha just love fractions of an inch… Erm, about 73mm x 10mm in new money.

Setting it up to use is pretty straightforward. A selection of stop points for various angles is provided on the registration jig, so it’s a simple matter to select the desired one,


Here it is set up for a 30° bevel at the standard angle (yellow) setting for a 2“ wide blade.

fasten the jig on the front,


See how it makes a sliding dovetail? Loosening off the knob on the reg jig is best done only slightly, or the thing slops around a bit.

slip the blade in to register against the stop and the side,



and tighten the clamp.


Yes, all right. So you'd need to put it back together again first :roll:

The latter needs to be tightened a little on each side at a time to avoid skewing the clamp bar - which I personally find a major main in the neck. It’s not an uncommon method, and I understand why it has to be done, but it’s jolly annoying all the same. The registration jig is supposed to line up roughly with the scale on the blade carrier for the width of blade you’re honing, which wasn’t difficult, but did get me hunting for the 6” rule more often than not. I anticipate that’ll be less of a problem with practice, and with fewer tools… :oops: But in the meantime I might draw a rough scale on the “spare” side of the reg jig, just to make life a little easier. One of the more simple pleasures I enjoyed was the fact the blade clamp is designed to stay open even when you hold the guide upside down. Nice. :D



Anyway, you then remove the reg jig; taking care to avoid cutting your fingers, which I nearly did a couple of times #-o ; and hone. Easy.


Nice pink non-slip mat, eh? Very girlie. :roll:

As long as you don’t want a cambered blade, ‘cos that wide roller (almost 2” width bears on the stone) just will not let you hone anything but square. I know that’d be a plus point for a lot of users, so heigh ho. :lol:

Ergonomically it’s pretty comfortable to use; there are natural places to rest your thumbs and no nasty edges.



I did feel slightly overwhelmed with the multitude of brass knobs at one point, but that passed with further familiarity. I don’t believe wooden knobs will be offered as an option, but you could always ask… One drawback to the sleek finish and using oilstones was it took on all the attributes of a bar of soap in a bath, and it hit the deck at least twice. :shock: No damage done because it bounced on the matting round my bench, but don’t put out your foot to cushion it… <Ouch>

I decided right away that there was little point in testing this jig with the common bench plane blades and so forth; I trust Veritas’ R&D folks can be relied upon not to overlook the obvious things, and it‘d be like testing an infill on some B&Q pine... As far as I’m concerned this honing guide would get used for more demanding or unusual tasks, and I wanted to see how far I could push it. So I assembled some really diabolical blades to throw at it. :twisted:


See? Told you I needed a wide range of tools from which to choose :p

All the plane blades - from a tapered one out of a wooden jointer to the 3/16” grooving blade for the Lewin combination plane - were held perfectly firmly by the guide. The stop worked well on the majority of them, including the often awkward “shouldered” irons such as for the bench rebate plane.



The fact it registers on the left hand side of the blade (as looked at when using the plane) surprisingly proved to be a limitation. I daresay there’s a good reason for it that I’ve failed to realise, but traditionally I thought the right hand side was the important one - thinking of rebate planes and so forth.


Irons from the Lewin Combination Plane all register on the right edge, as you can see. Yes, all right, put your hands down. I know the honing world isn‘t exactly awash with them, but it’s just an example… :roll:

Having it registering on the left also makes it no use as a stop for the majority of skewed blades, which is a shame.


A woodie skew rebate iron (before rehab, I hasten to add) often a problem for other guides to hold adequately. That was fine, but I had to eyeball the blade projection, and I was just getting used to the whole stop thing

Okay, so it’s not designed for skew blades, but being able to get the bevel angle accurate using the guide would be something - only leaving you to worry about the skew angle. One blade that suddenly became a positive delight to hone was from the #80 scraper. The width, short length and 45° bevel angle, which have stymied many another honing guide, proved to be non-existent problems. Vunderbar!


The short, weedy slice of processed cheese that Stanley supply with the modern #80 scraper in lieu of a blade, brilliantly held

Chisels proved slightly more problematic, as they often do. The clamping bar on the guide pivots to accommodate tapered blades very satisfactorily. I was actually able to clamp up the 1/8” mortise chisel in the pictures, hold it by the handle and shake the guide about and it didn’t move at all. Holy smokes! :shock: However, with some other chisels, particularly older, bevel edged ones, wide and narrow, I had some swivelling problems. I think it’s to do with them being not ground perfectly flat on their faces (the bevelled side) - whether from manufacture or wear with age I don’t know. I fiddled about a bit with them, and found they were held much, much better if they were placed off-centre in the blade clamp. My suspicion is the surface of the clamping bar may make the difference. In the centre the surface is level right from front to back, whereas on either side only the front and back “rim” bears on the blade, which seems to give better grip. I don’t know, but it does seem to work better off-centre; my only minor concern being how much that might effect the clamping set up over time. The actual length of blade needed to clamp it is pretty negligible, and then, right behind the blade clamp, there’s a simply huge space to accommodate the biggest handle you could imagine, if you wanted to. It’s an excellent guide for short and tapered blades, it really is.


From left to right: the clamp bears both front and back on this extremely tapered (and abused - by someone else) mortise chisel; the ends of the clamp bars demonstrate the amount of pivot required to achieve a firm grip; and its short length is no problem; the less extreme taper of a large firmer is no trouble at all and rock solid; the short length of a Japanese chisel is no problem either, with plenty of room for the socket, handle and the Royal Philharmonic… Or do I exaggerate again…? :-k

So, erm, where’ve we got to? Ah yes, back bevels. Okay, so I did say it’d be a cold day in Hell before I got excited about a honing guide, but I admit I was looking forward to trying the back bevelling function. Again, I suggest the instructions are the best place to find a coherent explanation of how it works, but you‘ll have to make do with me...


Left: The blade carrier set at position 3 (green), the stop placed at the 10° point on the green scale, width set to 2” for this second example of Stanley processed cheese. Probably low fat too… Right: Remember to put the blade in the other way up from normal. Don’t laugh too much, but I didn’t at first… :oops:


None the wiser? Trust me, it does work. Very well. Very easily.


One, very even, 10° back bevel. Smashing

Unless you want a back bevel of less than 10° when you have to start playing with spacer blocks and the roller running off the stone and so forth. Me? I’m lazy and 10° is just fine and dandy, thank you… :oops: Okay, so I may get to it later, and I’ll let you know.

So, anything I’ve missed? Lots. But things I’ve remembered: There’s the whole micro-bevel using the roller adjustment thing, which is beyond me, quite frankly. But it’s not new, so I hope you’ll forgive me. Apparently the roller needs regular oiling, which makes sense, but I would worry about the care it might need in the hurly burly chez Alf. Already I’ve managed to make my mark on the stop, and that’s when I was being careful. :oops:



What I’d really like next is to see advantage taken of the separate roller/clamp system. An alternative roller carrier with a narrow wheel for us in the Cambered Club. And blade carriers; one specifically for skewed blades (Edit: Apparently that's on its way - great minds, eh...?). And the stop on the other side - but there must be something I‘ve missed there...? And stop points for angles like 38°. Esoteric? Not if you've got a 12° bedding angle in a bevel up plane and you want york pitch. And…

<Gulp>

I’m sounding excited about the possibilities of a honing guide. Time to stop. :shock:



So, the verdict? Nope, not going there. [-X It’d be like giving my thoughts on a table saw. :wink: What I will say, as a reluctant honing guide user, is that for its ability with particularly high and low angles in blades both long and short I’d have it in the workshop.

There you are; 2000-odd words on something I don't know diddly about. And I didn’t once mention traffic ligh…

D’oh. #-o


Now, please, sir. I’ve been very good and eaten all my greens. Can I give my unqualified opinion on something I know a tiny bit about? [-o< :lol:

Edit - Well more of a rewrite in fact, to take into account the change in the design of clamping bar from the not-quite-production one I initially reviewed, and the finished product I now have, the section on clamping chisels is different from that commented on below.

Veritas MkII Honing Guide £36.50 from BriMarc

NB: In the interests of full disclosure, I should say that in this case Lee Valley have very kindly said I can keep this review guide, for which many thanks. I have made every effort to not let this affect my review, and I hope this is self-evident, but you, the reader, will always be the final judge.
 

Noel

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Even exerting pressure on each corner of a plane iron as you hone should give you some camber? Did I read that somewhere? Derek?

Noel

Edit: just went off to have a look for. Canny find it but I'm sure it was in one of Derek's reviews.. But perhaps blade thickness is a factor?
 

Chris Knight

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Alf,
Brilliant! You may not know a lot about honing guides but you certainly explain them well.

It is a real shame that it doesn't appear to hold chisel blades firmly. One of the things I was looking forward to is the ability to sharpen chisels that have a back that is not in a parallel plane to the face; since the usual guides use the latter for registration and in an out of parallel situation it is very hard to shape the edge properly.
 

DaveL

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Alf,

Thanks for doing that, I have never used the MK1 but still use an eclipse guide, this looks like an improvement.
As Chris said you explian thing well.=D>
I might add it to the 'One of Those Please List' :roll: well I don't need any more socks or hankies. :x
 

Midnight

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As long as you don’t want a cambered blade, ‘cos that wide roller (almost 2” width bears on the stone) just will not let you hone anything but square. I know that’d be a plus point for a lot of users, so heigh ho.
ummmmmmmm.... I managed to get camber... very slight, granted (I only had 15 mins this mornin before runnin out the door like a mad thing t get to work) but it's there none the less... every bit as controlable as the Mk I too.. :p

One drawback to the sleek finish and using oilstones was it took on all the attributes of a bar of soap in a bath, and it hit the deck at least twice.
<cough> waterstones <cough>
:whistle:

Okay, so it’s not designed for skew blades, but being able to get the bevel angle accurate using the guide would be something - only leaving you to worry about the skew angle.
I'd similar probs with my #140 blade

soooooo..... ya gonna order one...?????
 

MikeW

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Thank you for the detailed review, Alf.

Perhaps like you, I am mostly a by-hand sharpener. I will take a blade or chisel occassionaly to the Tormek to quickly make a big change, but that's it.

So far I haven't found a chisel or plane blade that my hands have failed to grip...

But it wasn't always so. I have the LV honing guide and use to use it for back and secondary bevels.

Maybe I just don't care to be that accurate anymore? Maybe I've just decided that by frequent honing of chisels and blades (or swapping blades while planing) that I rarely need to do a full sharpen anyway.

Maybe Rob will send you a heavy smoother to review. Eh Rob?

Again, thanks. Mike
 

Alf

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I've had some news as regards the tapered-in-thickness blades - some adjustments are being made now to the full production version to correct the lower jaw not pivoting completely. The info I was given was the guide I have was "assembled using full production parts", but evidently the speed of change at LV rendered that null and void - unbeknownst to me. :roll: I'll just go and edit that in.

Noel, the wider wheel makes the amount of camber you can achieve, as Mike says, very slight. Too slight for me, I'm afraid. I would also have some concerns about how the roller would like it, if I did it regularly.

Cheers, Alf
 
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Thanks Alf. Very nice review yet again; you really should take this up full time :wink:

How does it compare to the eclipse you have?

How much will it cost?????
 

Rob Lee

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MikeW":2or3saww said:
(snip)
Maybe Rob will send you a heavy smoother to review. Eh Rob?

(snip)
Most certainly! .... and the blades too...

... and the jointer, and the router, and the.... whoops - getting a bit ahead of myself :-$ :oops:

Heavy smooth goes on the mills Monday...

Cheers -

Rob
 

MikeW

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Rob Lee":2832mwj1 said:
MikeW":2832mwj1 said:
(snip)
Maybe Rob will send you a heavy smoother to review. Eh Rob?

(snip)
Most certainly! .... and the blades too...

... and the jointer, and the router, and the.... whoops - getting a bit ahead of myself :-$ :oops:

Heavy smooth goes on the mills Monday...

Cheers -

Rob
If you want it tested on some narly burls and just plain ol' exotics (like the Bubinga in my avatar) send me one.

Rob, probably I speak for more people here than myself, but I appreciate not only your sense of humor, but esp. in your "leaking" of "sensitive" company information!

Speaking of which, I am sending you a PM.
 

Alf

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Rob Lee":1dkxbmj0 said:
MikeW":1dkxbmj0 said:
(snip)
Maybe Rob will send you a heavy smoother to review. Eh Rob?

(snip)
Most certainly! .... and the blades too...

... and the jointer, and the router, and the.... whoops - getting a bit ahead of myself :-$ :oops:
Not far enough ahead for some people, I'll wager. :D

Hindsight's a wonderful thing, isn't it? If I'd known a year ago what I know now, I'd have made my reviews a lot shorter... #-o :lol:

Cheers, Alf
 

Midnight

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Hindsight's a wonderful thing, isn't it? If I'd known a year ago what I know now, I'd have made my reviews a lot shorter...
self inflicted injuries... no sympathy

:p :wink:
 

Alf

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Sorry 'bout that, Tony. I was going to come back to this and it slipped my mind. :oops:
Tony":3v8a7yx2 said:
How does it compare to the eclipse you have?
Well it'd be a bit like comparing a low angle smoother to a #4 1/2 really... :wink: I prefer the narrow wheel on it I think; at least I feel the jig is helping me, rather than me just being there to push the jig. But I can see a lot of people preferring things the other way round. At the moment it also has the edge on holding chisels compared with the example of the Veritas I have.

Tony":3v8a7yx2 said:
How much will it cost?????
No idea, but watch this space.

Cheers, Alf
 

Derek Cohen (Perth Oz)

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Great review Alf - as always :D

I will add a few comments and observations here (at some time I must collect all my data and do a proper review, but it looks like my offerings have developed into several chapters).

The blade clamp

If there is a weakness in the design of the Mk II honing guide I see it in the blade clamp. I recognize that this uses space more efficiently (that is, it extends only when needed) and is less likely to cause the blade to move out of position (as the twisting motion of the screw down on the Mk I can do), but it is more susceptible to placing uneven pressure on the blade, so causing it to be slightly tilted on the base. This would lead to a skewed grind/hone. Careful adjustment (that is, equal pressure on each side) is necessary. Having said this, the issue is more pertinent to narrow blades, such as chisel blades. In practice, I did not experience this to be a problem with plane blades or wide chisel blades (of at least 1” and wider).

Cambering blades

The wide wheel of the guide provides excellent stability (and probably reduces some wear on waterstones) and the blade will not cant over as easily as, say, an Eclipse guide. However, honing a camber on plane blade can still be achieved, and this is done by using downward finger pressure on the bevel.


Registering on right side

The blades register on the right side (bevel up). This suits most planes and chisels. It is ideal for a #140 skew block plane


Setting up for skew blades

While there is no apparent provision made for honing skew blades on the Mk II, I have included a slight modification and related methodology that will made this a doddle. See picture 1, which is the Mk II set up with the blade from my Stanley #140 skew block plane.

http://www.woodworkforums.ubeaut.com.au/attachment.php?attachmentid=9196

After a little experimentation, I determined that the 17° (green) mark coincides with a 25° skew bevel, and the 13° (green) mark coincides with a 20° skew bevel. (see picture 2). To set up the registration guide, the following must be done:

http://www.woodworkforums.ubeaut.com.au/attachment.php?attachmentid=9197

1. Mark a horizontal line across the registration guide with masking tape (picture 3). http://www.woodworkforums.ubeaut.com.au/attachment.php?attachmentid=9198

You can see (in Picture 4) that the skew blade is set up in the same way as any other square blade. http://www.woodworkforums.ubeaut.com.au/attachment.php?attachmentid=9199

2. Mark off the guide lines for 25° and 20° on the registration guide (picture 5).
http://www.woodworkforums.ubeaut.com.au/attachment.php?attachmentid=9200

Picture 6 demonstrates the final set up.
http://www.woodworkforums.ubeaut.com.au/attachment.php?attachmentid=9201

Chisel vs plane blades

So far my impression is that the Mk II is a superior quality honing guide with plane blades. It is capable of a satisfactory performance on chisels, but narrow blades certainly cause this is to be a more demanding process. This is largely due to the nature of the blade clamp. My experience is that the Mk I is capable of greater down force on the blade, but (and it is a BIG “but”) the Mk I is not in the same league for ease of set up, and the Mk II is capable of clamping a much wider range of plane and chisel blade sizes (both in terms of width and thickness). One differences in design is the width of the bed (I have no other technical term for this part) on which the blade rests, with the Mk I being about twice the width of the Mk II. This may be a double-edged sword since, on the one hand, it may provide less support, but on the other hand it makes it possible to clamp short blades (such as Japanese chisels), which the Mk I does not do as well.

Regards from Perth

Derek
 

Alf

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Registering on right side

The blades register on the right side (bevel up)
That was the thing I remembered and then forgot by the time I got the blasted Word document open. #-o Thank you, Derek. It's been driving me mad. And does, to a certain extent, provide an explanation for the stop registering on the "left". Except all the stop point angles say "bevel down" to me, at least as far as plane blades are concerned. :-k

Setting up for skew blades

While there is no apparent provision made for honing skew blades on the Mk II, I have included a slight modification and related methodology that will made this a doddle. See picture 1, which is the Mk II set up with the blade from my Stanley #140 skew block plane.
Seems there might be something in the works for skews... But never mind that - nice method on the #140 blade. I don't currently have a blade skewed the right way to put against the stop, but all being well I'll be able to replicate it for myself some time next week... :whistle:

Cheers, Alf
 

Derek Cohen (Perth Oz)

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I don't currently have a blade skewed the right way to put against the stop
Alf

Just use the line (as marked in the pictures) as the "stop" (i.e. line the bevel edge up with the line) for a skew blade that runs the other way.

Regards from Perth

Derek
 

Alf

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I don't currently have a blade skewed the right way to put against the stop
Just use the line (as marked in the pictures) as the "stop" (i.e. line the bevel edge up with the line) for a skew blade that runs the other way.
Yeah, I had worked that out. It was just a ham-fisted drive-by gloat. Evidentally I'm out of practice... :roll: :lol:

Cheers, Alf
 
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