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Happy New Years

Posted by is9582 on December 31, 2015 with No Comments

I wanted to wish everyone a safe and prosperous New Year!  Let’s make 2016 even better than 2015!

I’ll have more articles and information in the coming days and weeks, so check back often. 

Lee Laird

My Honing Guides

Posted by is9582 on December 26, 2015 with No Commentsas , , , , , , , , , ,

I thought I’d supplement my last blog with just a bit more info, relating to the honing guides I currently own. I’ve had a range over the years, and those in the photo below, are a fair representation of those.

 

All of my current guides.

All of my current guides.

 

In the photo, the guide listed as

1. This guide is by Veritas, and was their first version, as far as I know. This one holds the tool via downward pressure, via a large screw and a disc that touches the top surface of said tool. I struggled getting tools perfectly square, but the newer version 2.0 (I believe this is correct) has attachments that aide in this and accurate setting of angles.

2. This guide is the Sharp Skate which has the bronze unit that holds the blades (with the pins removed, the far top on each end, the internal mechanism can be skewed to set positions with pin-holes or possibly in between). It also comes with the black “tray” on which it sits, with lines the blade can engage, to set the angle precisely. The bottom has wheels that run laterally, which is how this guide (and the tool it holds) is moved. This can hold the larger irons for Japanese hand planes, as well as Western tools.

3. This guide is an older Eclipse style made by Record/Marples, and as you can see, it has thicker castings in areas, and a finger-friendly nurled cap to tighten the guide.

4. This is a very recent Eclipse style, replacing my old worn unit.

5. This is the old worn unit (with the rusty wheel).

6. This one is the Kell honing guide (they now have another version that has wheels with a larger diameter, which can also be had as replacements that fit on the earlier units), which has two clear-plastic discs, that make contact with the side of the tool, rather than galling the inside bronze surface of each wheel. There is another version, that does not handle as wide of irons or chisels, but each are easy to use.

There are a range of honing guides on the market, and one that I have on my hit list, made by Lie-Nielsen. Their new guide is made with precision that is not unlike their planes, and there are a number of different jaws for the guide, depending on the tool which you are sharpening/honing. They even have jaws for their skew block plane irons, both left and right available skewed 18-degrees, as well as a 30-degree skewed version for the side rabbit plane irons, and others. This looks to be THE honing guide! Thomas Lie-Nielsen does advise that he doesn’t guarantee it to work with all irons/blades/chisels, as it was made to work with Lie-Nielsen products, but it should work for a wide range of sharpening

I hope this might give a little more insight into some of the honing guides on the market, and even a few from the past. Thanks for stopping by to check out the info, and let me know if you have any questions or comments.

Lee Laird

Eclipse-type honing guide

Posted by is9582 on December 25, 2015 with No Commentsas , , , , , , , ,

I know there are lots of woodworkers that have one of the old Eclipse honing guides, or more likely, one of the many variants based on the original Eclipse. I decided I’d provide some details in print, along with a few photos, to help others get the most use from one of these honing guides (photo below, of my old decommissioned guide).

 

This is a photo of the type of honing guide I am referencing in this article. Most variants look very similar, even though some will have differences.

This is a photo of the type of honing guide I am referencing in this article. Most variants look very similar, even though some will have differences.

 

When most of this style guide are purchased, they have silver paint covering most if not all of the aluminum casting. As they are a fairly inexpensive purchase, the first thing to check is whether the two outside sections of the upper bed, are making contact before any material between them. As you close the jaws together, there is a good chance the center section will be raised above the outside sections, and you can see how a plane iron set onto the bed, could either tip right or left, ruining square as well as repeatability.

 

The pencil is drawing attention to the difference between the lighter colored section next to the upper jaw, and the darker section towards the center.

The pencil is drawing attention to the difference between the lighter colored section next to the upper jaw, and the darker section towards the center.

 

There is a quick and simple remedy, which is to file away material that is blocking the outside sections, which you want to support the iron. Using a Sharpie (I prefer black), I mark a little over 1/8″ from the very corner of where the bed meets the upper jaws (see photo above), all along each jaw. This marks the area that I want to leave untouched by my file. Clamp the honing guide into a vise, and using a flat file, remove material until you get down to actual aluminum, which is a darker grey. Check to see if there is still a hump, and if so, continue the filing operation. When you can confirm there is no rocking back and forth, or look from the underside and make sure the only light you see under the iron, is from the center portion of the guide. Ok, the first part is complete.

 

The pencil is against the wall of the lower jaw, with the red arrows pointing to locations where materials must be removed.

The pencil is against the wall of the lower jaw, with the red arrows pointing to locations where materials must be removed.

 

The next area to look at is the lower jaws (see photo above, of guide that is already filed), which can help hold irons that are too narrow to hold in the top jaws, as well as many chisels. They create a very small triangle (or at least it looks like this if the two jaws are together), but it is too small to hold many chisels, especially chisels that have square sides or others. On the inside of one jaw, it is created so the lower jaw is a straight edge, but the other has a slight curve across the jaw. We need to remove materials from 1/16″ – 1/8″ below the lip on the lower jaw, all the way to the support rods. Use the edge of your flat file to work this area, so it opens the little triangle up so the side walls are much more gradual. As you work these two lower jaws, make sure you follow the original shape of each, so follow the curve around with the file stroke and don’t straighten it out. Ok, that’s two parts down. We are getting much closer, and if you don’t or won’t ever sharpen/hone at angles at or above 45-degrees, you are done!

 

The pencil is pointed towards what was the front bulged area, that has been flattened to gain a higher angle of presentation to the stone.

The pencil is pointed towards what was the front bulged area, that has been flattened to gain a higher angle of presentation to the stone.

 

If like many of us, you do have certain irons that you wish to apply these higher angles, we have one more step. The bodies of these guides have a bulge as it transitions from going straight down from the upper jaws, to moving towards the very bottom of the casting. On whichever side you will use as the “front”, or the same side the sharp edge of your irons will be, you need to flatten (or at least remove) enough of the bulge to obtain your needed sharpening angle. It will do you no good to have your honing guide hitting your stone, while your iron is still up in the air. There are two ways to handle this issue. If you are handy with a flat file, you can file across the bulge, testing to see how much to remove. If you and files don’t get along that well, place some sandpaper on a sturdy flat surface, and pull the guide back, while holding the wheel and the bulge on the surface. You need to make certain you don’t go too far, as you still need strength in the casting, to support the guide rod (see photo below).

 

This shows how much material remained next to the guide rod, which can become weak if too much is removed.

This shows how much material remained next to the guide rod, which can become weak if too much is removed.

 

As some will notice, the wheel on this old guide is pretty rusted. It is a good idea to wipe down the wheel after each usage, as some wheels will rust, even if others do not. Obviously, this one didn’t get all of the loving attention it deserved. If you use oil stones, this is really a moot point, but for those using the quicker-cutting water stones, it will only take a moment to give it a wipe, but don’t put any oil where it might get onto your water stones. It’s just safer to wipe.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope this will help make these inexpensive guides work better for each of you. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.

Lee Laird

LeeLairdWoodworking@gmail.com

Happy Holidays!

Posted by is9582 on December 24, 2015 with No Commentsas , , , ,

From my family to all of my readership, we want to thank everyone for the continued support, and wish you a very happy holidays! Please stay safe during any travels you may make and enjoy visiting with your family, as much as we do with ours.     I’ll be back after the workbench build […]

Workbench top progress

Posted by is9582 on December 18, 2015 with No Commentsas , , , , , , , , , , ,

I was planning to plane the larger 6’+ sections of the Soft Maple, that I bought for my workbench upgrade, on my saw horses. This morning I had some time scheduled to start on these bigger slabs, and when I looked at my saw horses, I just wasn’t sure I would get the results I […]