LumberJocks

Veritas Sharpening System... not so great or is it me?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Hand Tools forum

Forum topic by OxBaker posted 02-23-2015 11:45 PM 1314 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View OxBaker's profile

OxBaker

11 posts in 651 days


02-23-2015 11:45 PM

I used to sharpen freehand but then I read one of Tom Fidgen’s books and he said jigs are the way to go. So, I ran down to the Woodcraft in Tiagard, Ore., and, since they didn’t have a Mark 5 in stock, I picked up a Veritas Sharpening System for $45.

It boasted duplicatable results but I’ve yet to duplicate anything except copious amounts of frustration. Is there something I”m doing wrong? It seems pretty straight forward but (and I’m not going to lie here) I’m a f’ing knuckle head sometimes.

-- Tracer rounds work both ways, amigo.


14 replies so far

View fuigb's profile

fuigb

403 posts in 2418 days


#1 posted 02-24-2015 12:09 AM

Not sure what you got for 45 bucks, but a couple of years ago I got the Veritas mark Ii for maybe 20 dollars more. Results are stunning when the jig is paired with scary-sharp method, meaning a flat base and good sandpaper. No more unintended skewing or rolling over the bevels. Search Youtube for terms sharpening and Polthaus. If after that the results doesn’t knock you out, well, they will. No other alternative.

-- - Crud. Go tell your mother that I need a Band-aid.

View ColonelTravis's profile

ColonelTravis

1189 posts in 1354 days


#2 posted 02-24-2015 12:50 AM

Are you talking about this thing?

Even if you are I couldn’t help you, never tried it. Honestly, I don’t know why they even make it. Not saying it’s bad, just saying that their Mk.II is so brainlessly great. I had the small silver one (not veritas) that’s relatively cheap and sold all over, didn’t like it. Then I got the Mk.II. Love it. I know it’s not as fast as freehand but I don’t care. If you’re frustrated, take it back and wait for the Mk.II. Razor sharp every time.

View TheWoodenOyster's profile

TheWoodenOyster

1275 posts in 1395 days


#3 posted 02-24-2015 01:11 AM

I might have to disagree with my fellow Texan. I wouldn’t suggest buying an mkII. I very strongly disliked mine.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View OxBaker's profile

OxBaker

11 posts in 651 days


#4 posted 02-24-2015 01:29 AM

Oyster, what about the mkII did you find so disagreeable? I’ve only read good things about it.

-- Tracer rounds work both ways, amigo.

View Bogeyguy's profile

Bogeyguy

548 posts in 1528 days


#5 posted 02-24-2015 01:34 AM

Been doing freehand since hmmmm, 1969. Works well for me.

-- Art, Pittsburgh.

View OxBaker's profile

OxBaker

11 posts in 651 days


#6 posted 02-24-2015 05:45 AM

Col. Travis, Sir: yes, that’s the beast of torment.

-- Tracer rounds work both ways, amigo.

View BubbaIBA's profile

BubbaIBA

383 posts in 1837 days


#7 posted 02-24-2015 12:28 PM

The MKII is fiddlely, will easily lose its squireness, is a PITA to use, and uncomfortable to hold….other than that what’s not to love.

Do a google on Accidental Woodworker and read about his experience with the MKII.

BTW, I have one gathering dust as well as many of the other “jigs”, my question for the OP is: If you have been sharpening free hand for years why go to a jig just because someone wrote in a book that was the way to go? Sharp is sharp no matter how you get there.

As always YMMV,

ken

View dbw's profile

dbw

143 posts in 1097 days


#8 posted 02-24-2015 12:55 PM

The Veritas in the photo is an “economy” version of the Mark II. I almost bought one. However, I had a $25 off of $100 coupon at Woodcraft so I bought the Mark II along with some other stuff I was going to buy anyway. The coupon essentially brought the price down from $70 to $45. There is a bit of a learning curve in using the Mark II and once I figured out how to use it my results were spectacular. By the way I sharpen on a piece of granite and use wet/dry paper. I start at 120 and go up to 2000 grit. It takes a while and like OxBaker says the results are “scary sharp”.

-- measure 3 times, cut once

View Gerald Thompson's profile

Gerald Thompson

808 posts in 1695 days


#9 posted 02-24-2015 02:13 PM

I love the Mark ll. It led to me into hand sharpening. This is faster and I get a better edge IMHO.

-- Jerry

View OxBaker's profile

OxBaker

11 posts in 651 days


#10 posted 02-24-2015 06:44 PM

Bubba, I’m new to wood working entirely. I’ve only ever used hand tools and for just one year. I got started by watching Paul Sellers who espouses hand sharpening. Then along comes Tom Fidgen and although Sellers is cool, Fidgen is just a degree or two cooler and since I’m always striving to be cooler, well, it goes without saying, if Fidgen suggests a jig I getting a jig.

But all coolness aside, if I can achieve repeatable precision with a jig, make a few passes on the fine grit stone to produce a micro-bevel about one- or two-degrees shy of the grounded bevel… well, that makes sense. However, for me, I’ve got a better chance of beating Cowboy Bill Watts a bunk house brawl than repeated results with the Veritas Sharpening System.

-- Tracer rounds work both ways, amigo.

View Don W's profile

Don W

17958 posts in 2028 days


#11 posted 02-24-2015 09:07 PM

First mistake is believing that kind of precision helps. A degree one way or the other has little or no consequences. And second, most guys start out with a jig with the hopes of getting to freehand. Why you’d go the opposite direction is a mystery.

I’d suggest getting your $45 back and buy some wood, and make something with your free hand sharpened tools.

That’s just my opinion, but once your training wheels come off, very few people put them back on.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.net

View dbw's profile

dbw

143 posts in 1097 days


#12 posted 02-24-2015 11:55 PM

Don is right. A sharpening jig is a crutch. That said, sometimes crutches are good!! I know several people who can’t walk without crutches. There is a guy who teaches a sharpening class at my local Woodcraft and he tells me in his class he starts everyone on he mkII and then he takes it away and asks the students to sharpen freehand, including creating a micro bevel.

-- measure 3 times, cut once

View BubbaIBA's profile

BubbaIBA

383 posts in 1837 days


#13 posted 02-25-2015 01:49 AM

Oxbaker,

Sorry I miss-understood your post, I read “I used to sharpen freehand” as having sharpened free hand for years….My bad.

Over the years I’ve been down most sharpening roads, some work better than others and jigs if they work with your tools and stones can help you find sharp. But, there’s that damn but again, not all tools play well with all jigs and/or stones. Either of the Vertias jigs have problems keeping the iron square with many tools and as I posted earlier the MKII is fiddlely and clumsy in hand.

I doubt you are doing anything wrong, it is just the nature of the jig.

Just a suggestion, find someone to show you sharp, how it looks, how the light reflects, how it feels as your fingers run along the edge. Then learn to hollow grind on a wheel, once you have a hollow grind the honing of the bevel free hand is almost anti-climatic it is so easy. BTW, most of the “tests” for sharp are BS, your eyes and your fingers are the best test, anything else, e.g. shaving arm hair, paring end grain, just begins the dulling a pristine edge.

Once you know sharp and how to get there, you will have a skill that will stay with you for life with no need to replace anything but stones, it is quicker, and easier and the developed skill will work with any iron.

ken

View OxBaker's profile

OxBaker

11 posts in 651 days


#14 posted 02-25-2015 03:13 AM

For sale: Veritas Shapen System, $cheap.

I’m going back to freehand, but here’s what I didn’t like about the Paul Sellers method. He espouses a convex bevel and it seemed over time my bevel angle got steeper and steeper. Still sharp (could’ve shaved Andre the Giant’s entire back, which is saying something) but steeper over time. I’ll just have to keep an eye out for that. I do like knowing my bevel angles and I’m not sure I can ballpark them freehand. I find 20 degrees works best for my pairing chisels and 30 for my bench chisels, which I use for chopping. Maybe I’ll use the jig to reset the bevel angles as needed.

I like the sounds of a hollow bevel. I’ve seen it done on video. It’s got to be a snap to sharpen. So little material to remove.

-- Tracer rounds work both ways, amigo.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com