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Veritas Mk.II Honing Guide

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Review by TheWoodenOyster posted 03-11-2014 02:21 PM 2546 views 0 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Veritas Mk.II Honing Guide No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

Overall, the Veritas MKII leaves something to be desired and is not worth the price.

There are three main issues that I found with the system:

1. Not so big of an issue: The time sacrifice it takes to setup is time better spent woodworking. It is isn’t terribly painful to set up, but it does take a few minutes to get going with it.

2. A little bit bigger issue: It is very difficult to get the chisel or plane iron in the jig at 90 degrees perfectly. Even using the equipment that comes with the set, it is not an easy chore to get the blade held in at the exact correct angle. I always found that my blades were at 91 or 89 degrees, which ends in establishing a new bevel that is crooked on your tools, NOT OK.

3. The big problem: The honing guide does not hold onto plane irons and chisels well at all. Once you put any significant pressure on the assembly and the tool held in it, it comes out of the alignment that was already bad in the first place. The two-knob clamping system does not work effectively.

I know there might be some guys out there who love this thing, but it was definitely not for me. I tried it for about a year or so and finally got frustrated enough to put it on the shelf (where it rusted even though I dried it and oiled it, how hard is it to use stainless?). I went to the cheapo $10 one and it works great, though I now do most of my sharpening by hand. If the cheap $10 is good enough for Lie-Nielsen at their traveling shows, then it is good enough for me.

All in all, this tool isn’t worth it. If you are a beginner and looking for a honing guide, get the cheap one, or learn to do it by hand, you won’t ruin your blades. I thought this would be good for a beginner because it took all of the stupid out of the equation, well not really. If you are familiar with car dependability, this ought to sum it up: I thought I was getting a toyota camry, but I got a jaguar instead.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster




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TheWoodenOyster

871 posts in 592 days



20 comments so far

View HillbillyShooter's profile

HillbillyShooter

4604 posts in 949 days


#1 posted 03-11-2014 03:26 PM

FYI: After Ford bought Jaguar and before TaTa (sp.?) motors of India acquired it, Jaguar went from being one of the least dependable cars to one of the most dependable. Other than that, thanks for your observations, but I prefer my Tormex.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View lepelerin's profile

lepelerin

321 posts in 982 days


#2 posted 03-11-2014 03:58 PM

I do have one and I love it. I have no problem getting consistency in my sharpening with it.
Unfortunately, as you mentioned, it does not take out all the stupid out of the equation equation.
Glad the cheapo meets your needs.

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

3365 posts in 1470 days


#3 posted 03-11-2014 04:12 PM

What brand is the inexpensive version you prefer?

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View CharlesA's profile

CharlesA

1437 posts in 455 days


#4 posted 03-11-2014 04:31 PM

To each his own. I’ve not had trouble getting blades secure, especially plane blades, unless they’re 1/4 or smaller, and even if I’m careful I can get them secure, so I don’t understand that one.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View CooperDBM's profile

CooperDBM

16 posts in 1003 days


#5 posted 03-11-2014 05:44 PM

I have this jig and get good results from it. Your second problem may be a result of the third problem. For the third problem you do have to be careful to tighten the screws evenly, going back and forth in increments so that the jaws stay parallel. I find that it holds well but you do have to be careful not to hit or lean on the butt end of the chisel or blade. I do sometimes tap the butt end sideways to fine tune the lateral angle.

Your first point would be true for any jig. I hope to graduate away from jigs someday but for now I need them.

-- Dave, Ottawa, ON

View MrFid's profile

MrFid

529 posts in 561 days


#6 posted 03-11-2014 06:15 PM

I have one and love it as well, but I know what you’re saying about the blade slipping. What fixed it for me was that I consciously started tightening the two tightening nuts a quarter turn at a time each until the bar was squeezing the blade correctly. If you tighten one more than the other, the bar doesn’t put pressure on the whole blade, only one corner of it. Maybe this is the issue? Sorry to hear that you don’t like it, but glad to hear that you’ve found something that works for you.

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

View Purrmaster's profile

Purrmaster

799 posts in 750 days


#7 posted 03-11-2014 08:57 PM

I’d guess the cheap one he’s referring to is: http://www.rockler.com/honing-guide

You might want to contact Lee Valley/Veritas customer service to see if maybe something’s wrong with it. They have very good customer service. Sorry to hear it didn’t work out for you. It is a pricey honing guide.

View Richard Hillius's profile

Richard Hillius

131 posts in 337 days


#8 posted 03-11-2014 09:02 PM

It’s key to keep the bars parallel to each other and even than I know what you are saying and I rarely use mine for sharpening chisels anymore. It does work good for plane irons but I typically only use it when I first set the bevel than I freehand hone because it takes longer to setup than to just do it by hand.

It’s not a bad tool and for skewed irons it’s probably the best option out there but it does have it flaws and I think the straight up sharpening jig with the two side jaws and center wheel is hard to beat for a fraction of the price.

View MoKC's profile

MoKC

4 posts in 1309 days


#9 posted 03-11-2014 11:04 PM

I second your thoughts about this jig. I went through two of them and I was disappointed. I wrote a long review of my problems here. http://mo-hogany.blogspot.com/2013/03/veritas-mkii-honing-guide-problems.html

View Luke's profile

Luke

538 posts in 1951 days


#10 posted 03-12-2014 03:49 AM

I have one as well and absolutely love it. All comments above are valid too. As for the rusting issue… I haven’t used any kind of de-rusting agent and it has not a spot on it. I’ve had mine for about 5 years.

-- LAS, http://www.abettersign.com

View rad457's profile

rad457

177 posts in 463 days


#11 posted 03-12-2014 05:39 AM

Have had mine for about a year, great tool! do not use it as much anymore as do not need it to touch up blades.
pretty well do most of my blades free hand.

-- Andre of Alberta. Finger Prints show your hands were on the wood.

View TheWoodenOyster's profile

TheWoodenOyster

871 posts in 592 days


#12 posted 03-12-2014 06:00 AM

Thanks for your input guys. I am fully aware that I was supposed to tighten each side equally as I clamped the blade down. I tried that dozens of times and always got the same result. It is a little bizarre to me that those clamp bars would be perfectly straight and not have a little camber in them so that they tightened down on the blades like a bowclamp does on a tabletop during glue up. I found that as I tightened, I always ended up with solid contact on the corners of the blade, but not much holding power in the middle. Maybe I was clamping down too hard, but any softer and the blade would slip.

Glad the jig works for some of you. I gave it a whack, but it didn’t work out for me. Makes me feel like I’m stupid and was doing something wrong, but I really don’t think that was the case. Sometimes one thing works for 9 out of 10 people. I guess I was just person number 10.

You know sharpening, of all the things we do, it is probably the most personalized. We all get very attached to our methods and love them because they work for us. Honest truth is there are plenty of effective ways to sharpen and I think it takes everyone a few methods to find the one that works for them.

Again, thanks for the responses and I hope I didn’t make anyone mad, but it doesn’t seem I did. I just wanted to give an honest review of my experience.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View lj61673's profile

lj61673

231 posts in 1056 days


#13 posted 03-12-2014 11:03 AM

Thanks for the honest review. I have this jig too and it does have several quirks when it comes to narrow chisels.
as for the “not perfectly square” aspect, that will be true with any jig and may also be a result of unequal pressure exerted by your fingers. You should always get in the habit of checking progress every few strokes to make sure the bevel is being polished perpendicular to the edge and adjust your finger pressure accordingly to keep it correct.

View carver1942's profile

carver1942

88 posts in 361 days


#14 posted 03-12-2014 12:49 PM

Thanks for the review. Not all tools work out for all folks. I consider this jig one of my best tools. The issues you point out are there. I have just learned to work thru them. I use it constantly and are able to get a razor sharp edge on my plane blades quickly. I use wet dry emery paper on a flat steel plate. Veritas should think about improving the hold down system. Repeat ability is an issue many have with this tool. Sorry to hear it’s not working out for you.
regards
Ed

View bowedcurly's profile

bowedcurly

482 posts in 386 days


#15 posted 03-13-2014 06:45 AM

I think Veritas is giving away free no bake cookies with the purchase of a bicycle

-- Staining killed the wood<<<<<>>>>>Dyeing gave it life

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