Before I get started on the main topic, I wanted to pass along that I am now on Instagram as LeeLairdWoodworking as well as Twitter as @LeeLairdWW, in case anyone didn’t know. It’s been a bit since I had time to write a proper article, so if you’d like, you can see what I’m up to on one of the other feeds. Ok, so on with the article.
I was working at my bench a couple of days ago and went to measure a sharpening stone, as I was preparing to make a new honing guide board, since I’d just purchased the new Lie-Nielsen Honing Guide and a few add-ons. (If you’d like to read about the build, hop over to Highland Woodworking and it should be up in the not too distant future, or you can check out some of the other articles I’ve written for Highland).
Ok, so I measured the sharpening stone, using a tape measure that was close, and engaging it’s built-in clip at the end of the tape. It measure almost exactly 8 1/2″ long. I was about to go cut some wood, and I’m not sure why, but I decided to measure one more time starting at the 1″ mark, just for confirmation. Whoa, this time it measure 8 1/4″ long. As you might imagine, I checked both ways a number of times, before believing what I was seeing. As it turned out, the end clip wasn’t bent at a 90-degree angle, but the tip was back towards the tape measures body. This caused the tip to make contact while the measuring tape wasn’t completely lined up with the edge of the stone.
I’ve owned this tape measure for 20+ years, and I can recall over the years that I’d measure multiple times only to end up with the wrong size. Jeez, I wish I’d dug a little deeper back then, to figure out the actual cause.
Since I knew I can always use the tape measure in the second mode above, I decided to see if I could actually fix the problem. I held the tip, as close to the bend as possible, while holding the other leg of the metal piece that makes the tip.
While holding both very tightly, I gradually bent the tip towards the 90-degree mark, and then released. I was afraid it might break if I went to fast, or too far. After a number of small movements, I decided to call it a day. I got the tape so it measures within 1/16″ comparing between the tip and the alignment mode. I found this reasonable enough to stop there.
Mainly, I wanted to make sure everyone checks their tape measures, to see if they are actually reading accurately, before wasting time or resources. Of course, I don’t usually use this when I’m making critical measurements, but, knowing your tools are correct sure helps have more confidence.
I hope you enjoyed the information and please let me know if you have any comments or suggestions.
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.
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.
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