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Review by tblake1984 posted 09-05-2015 05:08 PM 15609 views 3 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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I’ll make this succinct.

The Good:

[1] Once you set it up a few times, it gets pretty quick and repeatable. I do think the overall “system” is a great concept.
[2] I did not have any issues with my irons or chisels sliding around in the guide. It seems reliable in this respect.
[3] Veritas customer support has been one of the best customer support experiences I have EVER had – this is really the only reason I have not given this guide 0 stars.

The Bad (i.e., the review narrative):

[1] cost – $70
[2] can be a little finicky to set up the first few times but eventually you get the hang of it
[3] the roller bearings gather slurry and I don’t think they will last forever. It seems like you will end up purchasing a replacement roller at some point. I have oiled the bearings and still, after just a few uses, I can feel a little bit of grinding in the roller. Also, be careful with oiling the bearings – if you overdo it, it will leak out during use and foul your stones.

I bought this thing a month ago from a local Woodcraft and from day one, have not been able to get a straight microbevel. See the picture. The primary bevel is perfect but the microbevel is consistently skewed to the left on every tool I use it on. I can hone by hand but have trouble getting microbevels right so this is really the only reason I purchased this guide but in this state, it is unusable. I have used a workaround by keeping the guide in the primary bevel setting and backing the iron or chisel off the guide stop 3-4mm to do a microbevel.

To their credit, Veritas has been extremely supportive. Linda MacPherson was very responsive and helpful. First, she sent me a replacement unit and a prepaid shipping label for the bad one. However, this brand new guide exhibited the same problem out of the box (the picture is of the results from the second brand new MkII). After updating Linda on the issue, she arranged to have one tested first before they sent it to me and I am currently awaiting that third MkII right now. If this third MkII shows the same issue, I am at a point now where I will return it to Woodcraft.

I use shapton stones and a DMT duosharp diamond plate for flattening and I have watched all the videos and tips for using this guide and I still have the issue. I know I am not the only one. I also know Veritas is normally a very reliable company but I think they have run into some QA issues with this product.

To summarize: I would take your money elsewhere.

[UPDATE 10/12/15]

I figured I would update this post because Veritas really came through from a customer service standpoint.

Well, it took three tries and some manual testing on Veritas’ part to get me a guide that honed straight. I think this is evidence that my technique was correct and that the guide itself had a manufacturing defect. The third guide arrived and I could tell that it was indeed tested prior to shipping to me as they promised in their email. I also noticed a difference between #3 and the other two that produced skewed bevels. It appears that the defect is occurring on the roller as the third guide is wearing evenly (the roller is shiny when the guide is new but after your first use, will get roughed up from the sharpening medium). The first two guides exhibited this “roughing” inconsistently while this third guide, is rough even across the width of the roller. Also, the roller bearings seem to be holding up a bit better. The first two guides I had exhibited slight binding in the bearings after the first few uses but this third one rolls free even after many uses now.

Now that I have one that sharpens straight, I will increase my rating to four stars but I would HIGHLY suggest you contact Veritas if you run into this issue and request that they test the replacement first before sending it to you.




View tblake1984's profile

tblake1984

28 posts in 983 days



13 comments so far

View BurlyBob's profile

BurlyBob

4944 posts in 2077 days


#1 posted 09-05-2015 10:12 PM

I’ve had that occur also but I think it’s sometimes due to me not tightening the clamp evenly. I’ve been using wet and dry paper to 3000grit on granite counter scraps. I’m very pleased with the results I get. It’s way superior to anything I could do freehand.

View ellen35's profile

ellen35

2732 posts in 3244 days


#2 posted 09-06-2015 10:30 AM

It is finicky to use but it does work. I found myself going back to my old fashioned method of sharpening using just my chisel, my waterstone and and smooth movements back and forth.
One thing I do not like is that you cannot use the entire stone as you need some balance for the roller.

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View CooperDBM's profile

CooperDBM

31 posts in 2158 days


#3 posted 09-06-2015 02:27 PM

One thing I found was that the micro-bevel knob had to be set 180 degrees (pointing down) from the zero position to get a straight micro-bevel. If you set the knob to 90 or 270 degrees (pointing horizontal) then you get a skewed micro-bevel, like your picture. Something to do with the cam mechanism I guess. I don’t think the documentation discusses this and I don’t know the reason for the 90 and 270 degree positions.

Other than that I’ve liked the guide once I learned to tighten the clamping knobs evenly in stages.

-- Dave, Ottawa, ON

View HillbillyShooter's profile

HillbillyShooter

5811 posts in 2104 days


#4 posted 09-07-2015 03:28 PM

IMHO this is the best system for use with flat stones, and the results are equal to or better than I get with my Tormex. However, the use is pretty much limited to sharpening chisels and plane blades. As for a skewed bevel, I check the primary bevel every 5-10 strokes and the secondary bevel every 3-5 strokes for a skew. If a skew is found I correct by using more pressure on the opposite side for the next series of strokes. I use both diamond and water stones, preferring the water stones for the final polish of 4,000 up. I find the water stones are just as fast as the diamond without leaving the dull surface appearance. I also have the Arkansas stones I started sharpening with but seldom use them.

Finally, I’ve found that stropping the blade before and after each use really extends the time between sharpening sessions.

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

View CharlesA's profile

CharlesA

3287 posts in 1609 days


#5 posted 09-07-2015 04:24 PM



Other than that I ve liked the guide once I learned to tighten the clamping knobs evenly in stages.

- CooperDBM

+1

I used to get uneven results, but when I started to really bear down on the clamping knobs, I started to get pretty uniformly stellar results.

-- "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 dbray45's profile

dbray45

3295 posts in 2588 days


#6 posted 09-07-2015 06:33 PM

I have an older version and it has worked for me. I just ordered the jig for skewed blades and will see how well that works.

Of late, my main new tool places have been Lee Valley and LN. They have been producing seriously nice tools, have been very consistant, and thier tech support have been really good.

-- David in Damascus, MD

View Richard's profile

Richard

1912 posts in 2502 days


#7 posted 09-08-2015 07:58 PM


It is finicky to use but it does work. I found myself going back to my old fashioned method of sharpening using just my chisel, my waterstone and and smooth movements back and forth.
One thing I do not like is that you cannot use the entire stone as you need some balance for the roller.

- ellen35


I had thought of getting one of these since it seemed like it would make the process faster . but I think I will stick with my Scary Sharpe for now since I have gotten used to it and I don’t like to have to Fuss with a tool to make it work. I don’t use chisels much and My chisels my not be as sharp as some others but I can get nice thin shavings with them when I do use them .

View matt352's profile

matt352

5 posts in 1193 days


#8 posted 09-11-2015 03:31 PM

Thanks for posting this review, it matches my experience exactly.

Thinking about the skewed grind, I narrowed it down to either (1) the iron isn’t square in the guide or (2) guide isn’t holding the iron parallel to the stone. I checked (1) with a machinist square and it was perfect, so moved on to (2).

I tested parallelism by clamping a straight edge to the back of the iron in the guide and measured the distance from each end to a flat cast iron table. I tried several irons and micro-bevel settings.

In the worst case, with a brand new apron plane iron, the guide held the iron 0.5 degrees out of parallel.

This is the problem, and it is repeatable. Tightening/loosening the clamp screws didn’t make any difference.

I read everything that I could find and I suspect that this defect is common (universal?), but users tend to blame themselves or compensate using the cambered roller. There are many reports along the lines of “All my problems went away when I switched to the cambered roller.”

I decided that I was happier with my old eclipse clone, so returned the Mk2.

Lee Valley service was exceptional, as always!

View CooperDBM's profile

CooperDBM

31 posts in 2158 days


#9 posted 09-11-2015 09:38 PM

When it comes to the micro-bevel, I believe any apparent skew at the top of the micro-bevel (between the primary and micro-bevels) will be much greater than the skew at the cutting edge. For a 25 degree primary and 27 degree micro-bevel the skew at the top, looking straight down on the blade, will be almost 12 times the skew at the cutting edge.

If you just have a primary bevel the skew at the top and cutting edge will be the same.

Matt, the micro-bevel mechanism does seem to cause the guide to tilt a bit. As I said earlier it seems worse when you use the 90 and 270 degree positions. At 180 degrees (straight down) I still see a slight skew which looks a lot worse that it is.

-- Dave, Ottawa, ON

View Gerald Thompson's profile

Gerald Thompson

820 posts in 2046 days


#10 posted 09-17-2015 12:07 AM

I am so glad I got the MKII. It forced me to learn to sharpen by hand.

-- Jerry

View Bill_Steele's profile

Bill_Steele

200 posts in 1543 days


#11 posted 09-22-2015 08:30 PM

I have the MkII and I like it. I have also experienced the skew. To minimize or eliminate the “skew” I make sure my water stones are flat and I try to make sure that whatever I’m clamping in the guide is centered over the roller. I use the registration jig for initial setup (establish or match the primary angle).

Make sure if you are just honing (and not establishing a primary bevel) that you start with the micro-bevel knob oriented in the same direction (down for me) used to cut the original micro-bevel. With the first stone/grit take a few swipes (using the guide) and see how the scratch pattern is oriented. If it is skewed then lightly tap the side of the blade/chisel (I use the removed registration jig) closer to the tip to very slightly move it in the direction you need in order to minimize/eliminate the skew. In your case I would have tapped on the right side of the plane iron to advance that corner slightly ahead of where it is now.

It’s not really going to be obvious to the eye that you have moved it—but take a few more swipes and notice that the scratch pattern has moved. Repeat the adjustment as need. This is kind of a trial and error sorta approach, but it has worked for me. Think of it as the kind of adjustment you might make to a block plane that is adjusted by tapping the front or back of the plane to advance or retract the plane iron.

I find that once I get the alignment correct I can go ahead and sharpen through all grits (without the need for further adjustment) and I get pretty decent results.

View Holt's profile

Holt

163 posts in 2441 days


#12 posted 08-03-2016 07:04 PM


One thing I do not like is that you cannot use the entire stone as you need some balance for the roller.

- ellen35

Could you not make a stone holder with a small platform to let you get full travel on the stone?

-- ...Specialization is for insects.

View JKN's profile

JKN

8 posts in 508 days


#13 posted 10-10-2016 05:30 PM

I had the exact same experience with the skewed microbevel in the picture below. I called Veritas and they shipped me another entire unit that day. The new one produces a microbevel that is pretty much perfect.
I’m very happy with it now

John

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