First page of the Kell archive.

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

Barr Chisel set and leather roll

Posted by is9582 on July 22, 2012 with No Commentsas , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I’ll start this entry by just saying it out loud, “I love chisels”! There, now no one will ever mistake why I have so many from different makers. Haha.

I ordered the four piece chisel set (1/4″, 1/2″, 3/4″, 1″) from Highland Woodworking and with the length of time it took to ship from Barr, I might guess he makes them as the orders arrive. This is in no way meant as a slight, only as info for anyone that decides they would like a set. 
When the chisels arrived, I was pleased to see the leather roll in which the chisels lived. The roll was nicely stitched and has a decent heft to it. Each of the four chisels had grey duct tape wrapped around the cutting tips. I assume this is so they don’t accidentally cut into the leather in transit. A couple of minutes using a paper towel and some nail polish remover and all of the sticky residue was history. The handles are made from Ash and have heavy duty hoops to prevent any splitting. Interestingly, the 1″ chisel is the only one in the set that has the Barr logo on it. The size of the logo is somewhat limiting, and is stamped into the steel on the top surface. 
1/2″ Chisel with duct tape as received.
1/4″ Chisel with tape removed.
1/4″ Chisel back after removing tape.
These aren’t actually my first Barr tools, as I purchased a mortising chisel from Barr a couple of years ago. The mortising chisel arrived with a note regarding how to resharpen when needed. I found this interesting and when I read through the note, I saw why he’d included it. Most chisels I’ve used, whether mortising, bench or paring, usually had either a flat bevel or one that was concave, created on grinding wheel. Some have had a combination of the two. Well, Barr does seem to use a grinding wheel for the initial bevel, but instead of honing a flat for the secondary bevel, he creates a convex bevel. Basically, starting at the secondary angle and lifting the handle as the chisel is moved across the stone, until it just reaches the cutting edge. He references this as a cutting edge similar to the cutting shape of a Japanese sword, although the sword would have this shape on both sides of the long cutting edge. Think of a knife with a hollow ground on both sides, and instead of the concave shape of each side, in place make it a convex shape. This shape has more meat behind the cutting edge and was likely at least a contributing reason the Japanese swords were so strong. This was the concept behind Barr’s mortising chisel, but I thought it was unique to the manner in which this type of chisel is used, with the heavy pounding down into wood and potentially levering. Well, I was partly surprised when this set of bench chisels arrived with similar edge shapes. I suppose those that are highly skilled at hand sharpening might just leave the shape alone, but I prefer a flat bevel, which is primarily due to edge strength and ease of honing. I find it much easier to repeat the flat, without accidentally changing the honing geometry, which for me was too easy to do when I was hand sharpening. I’d find that after subsequent sharpenings that I’d raised the angle well beyond what I intended. 
Side view of 1/4″ chisel after reshaping bevel and honing.
Like most tools, these were ground to a decent level, but still required some honing on the water stones. I worked the backs up through 8000 grit, removing all grinding marks. I then moved to changing the bevels to my desired shape. For this, I used my Kell honing guide. These chisels are stout and with the change in thickness occurring quickly, as you move back from the tip, I found this guide held the chisels consistently. When I first started out, I pulled out one of my old diamond stones that was in the 400 grit range. I knew it would take quite a bit of time to remove the steel, and since I use the stone with some water, I didn’t harm the temper. I worked on the 1″ and 3/4″ chisels over multiple days, as my back is still a work in progress, and standing for long times is a problem. The smaller 1/2″ and 1/4″ chisels with the smaller amount of steel to remove, went quickly. After working the bevels to the point where I could just feel a burr, I moved over to my waterstones. I worked the bevels up through 8000 grit, as well. After the time on the stones, they were shaving sharp.  
I’ve used them briefly, after honing, and I like the way they feel. During the time I was waiting for these to ship, I decided to also get the 1/8″ and 3/8″ versions of these chisels. Since I like to cut dovetails, I just prefer to have coverage over the sizes between the 1/4″ jump in the set. Hopefully it won’t take as long for the other two to arrive. As info, the leather roll that comes with the four piece set, happens to have six pouches for chisels. It was almost like it was meant to have the other two chisels in the set. 😉
I’ll update the blog as I have more time under my belt with these chisels. Let me know if you have any questions.