Setting up a honing guide for sharpening

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Forum topic by kmetzger posted 12-07-2013 07:44 PM 1256 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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145 posts in 1239 days

12-07-2013 07:44 PM

I’ve been woodworking for 30 years and never realized how sloppy I’ve been about grinding and sharpening until I was asked to teach teenagers how to sharpen here at our school for woodworking in Mexico. After a lot of research I decided to go with the Eclipse honing guide on waterstones and grind to a 25° for both chisels and plane irons. I found two handy articles on an easy way to set up the honing guide, but to set up the honing guide for this angle I get a very different result than what I found in these two articles.

Christopher Schwarz says: The bottom line is that if I put the thinnest plane iron in my honing guide and set it to extend 1-1/2” from the front of the jig, it will sharpen the tool at 30°. If I put the thickest plane iron I have in my shop in the honing guide and set it to extend 1-1/2” from the guide, then it will sharpen the tool at a little more than 31°. Does that matter? No, no and no.
The point is that a 1-1/2” projection will return your tool to that same angle every time you sharpen. This will greatly reduce your time on the stones and save abrasive material, steel ….

The Lie-Nielsen article recommends
1 9/16” = 30°
2 1/8” – 25°

But I get 25° (checking with my brass Richard Kell angle gauge) by setting my honing guide 2 5/8” from the edge. That’s a whopping ½ inch difference.

If anyone out there has a honing guide and a digital angle finder, I’d appreciate it if you could do some checking and let me know how far from the front of the jig you set a blade to get a 25° angle.

-- Kim, Ajijic, Mexico,

4 replies so far

View David White's profile

David White

120 posts in 2702 days

#1 posted 12-07-2013 08:10 PM

I have given up on honing guides as I never got good results with them. Instead I have practised hand sharpening with the scary sharp method until I can do it pretty well. Yesterday I sharpened my block plane blade to razor sharp in about 2 minutes.


View Robert Brown's profile

Robert Brown

143 posts in 2112 days

#2 posted 12-07-2013 10:09 PM

The Eclipses have been discontinued. The Eclipse clones may not be built to the original dimensions. There may even variability among the clones themselves. This could explain your 1/2 inch difference.

View kmetzger's profile


145 posts in 1239 days

#3 posted 12-07-2013 10:11 PM

Hi Robert – I know they’ve been discontinued, but I have an original Eclipse.

-- Kim, Ajijic, Mexico,

View Gerald Thompson's profile

Gerald Thompson

804 posts in 1655 days

#4 posted 12-08-2013 12:04 AM

I never thought I could hand sharpen. After giving it a go a few times I now waste little time in keeping blades sharp.
My next self training will be grinding. I still have a horrible time even with a jig.

-- Jerry

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