side clamping honing guide

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Blog entry by Chris McDowell posted 07-30-2012 12:41 AM 6070 reads 3 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I ordered a side-clamping honing guide I found online for $15 that I will use when I sharpen the Irwin Marples chisels I bought. I got it in the mail this week, but I don’t have all the sandpaper I need yet to use the scary sharp method. I bought the honing guide, granite stones, spray-on adhesive, and 2000 grit sandpaper this month and reached my limit, so I’ll have to wait on the rest of the sandpaper for a little while.

The honing guide is apparently a copy of a older guide called the Eclipse. While I was researching the Eclipse I found an article (read here) posted by another LJ called Mafe where he made a jig for his Eclipse that would set the angles up easily for his blades. I thought it was a great idea so I made a similar one.

I used a small piece of leftover 1×6 from my worktable, measured everything, then cut and glued it together.

One side is 30mm for 30 degrees and the other side is 40mm for 25 degrees. All I have to do is put the chisel on whichever side I need and clamp the honing guide down. No need to measure everytime.

Even with something this simple I ended up cutting the wrong sized piece 3 times even though I measured 5 times and thought I had it right all 5 times. I finally got it right at the last moment when I ran out of wood big enough to safely cut on the miter saw. I had to modify the base piece a little because the divider is a lot smaller than I planned, but it all worked out.

I visually checked the accuracy of my measurements on the granite stone.

I set it at 25 degrees first.

Looks pretty good to me. The main bevel looks perfectly flat against the granite stone. I then set it at 30 degrees.

From what I can tell, it should put a secondary bevel in about the right spot. I’ve never sharpened chisels before so I’m not too knowledgeable about the necessity of a secondary bevel. One of the videos I watched only showed how to flatten the back and grind/hone the 25 degree main bevel. It didn’t go any farther. Other videos I’ve watched only show the secondary bevel being honed, giving the impression that the main bevel only needs to be ground and honed every once in a while. I’ve obviously decided to go with the secondary bevel, which is why I made the jig to include 30 degrees.

I can store the jig and guide the same way Mafe stores his, by clamping the guide to the jig:

Mafe did make his two-sided so that he can set his plane blades on the other side (the honing guide has a wider clamp for plane blades which is above the narrow clamp for chisels, thus needing different measurements for the angles), but I didn’t think about it until later. Also, I don’t have any planes. I want to get some one day so I’ll just make another jig when that day comes.

When I do make my first attempt at sharpening (which, as you can tell, I’ve decided to go with scary sharp since diamond stones are so expensive), I will log my experience here. Should be interesting.

-- Chris, , FACEBOOK: , Proverbs 16:9

7 comments so far

View DIYaholic's profile


19799 posts in 3070 days

#1 posted 07-30-2012 03:47 AM

I’m about to embark on the “scary sharp” method to sharpen my chisels. I too, have no experience in sharpening. Should be a fun leaning experience.

I will have to remember the “eclipse” & setup jig. Thanks for posting this most timely information.

Welcome to LJs & Good luck.

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View Newage Neanderthal's profile

Newage Neanderthal

190 posts in 2945 days

#2 posted 07-30-2012 03:20 PM

I started out with scary sharp. It works well and don’t let any of the sharpening snobs tell you otherwise. I actually switched because it was too expensive. It’s a great way to start but if you end up doing a good bit of sharpening the paper adds up, especially the high grit stuff. I just got stones one at a time, starting at 8000 and working down, so for a while doing two systems together. Now I use a course diamond stone, followed by 1000, 4000, 8000 stones.

-- . @NANeanderthal on twitter

View Mosquito's profile


9778 posts in 2687 days

#3 posted 07-30-2012 03:29 PM

I had been meaning to make one of these, but I’ve moved away from using the guide for most of my sharpening. Sometimes I’ll use it to re-establish the primary bevel if I’m using a primary and secondary bevel. I’ve also been starting to sharpen the same way Paul Sellers mentioned, with a rounded edge.

I also started with scary sharp before moving to diamond stones. Biggest thing I learned with the scary sharp, don’t push the blade, only pull it back. Sometimes the paper bulges up in front of the blade if you push, which rounds the edge, and might tear the paper.

Otherwise I agree with Newage Neanderthal. Eventually you reach a point where you have to decide if you really want to keep buying paper, or just bite the bullet and get stones. Either way, as long as the edge gets sharp, that’s all that really matters.

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

View BigTiny's profile


1676 posts in 3283 days

#4 posted 08-03-2012 03:50 PM

A friend of mine uses a variation of the scary sharp method. He has an old record player that he stripped down to make his own power sharpener. He cut a disk out of MDF with a hole in the center for the spindle. On this he attaches disks of sandpaper with a different grit on each side. Two disks give him the four grits he normally uses. He has a guide bar that fits over the disk and a jig that rides on the bar while holding the chisel or plate blade., Sure makes sharpening faster. Just be sure to set it for “LP” or you run the risk of burning your edge.

As for these jigs, you can make one out of a few pieces of scrap and a nut and bolt. Less than a buck versus $15? I’ll spend the 15 minutes it would take.


-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2882 days

#5 posted 08-03-2012 04:08 PM

Cliff….. Quit buying stuff. Now I have to repack the stuff.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View Chris McDowell's profile

Chris McDowell

644 posts in 2547 days

#6 posted 08-03-2012 09:33 PM

Oops, sorry about messing you up, Dallas. Believe me, I don’t plan on buying anything else for a while. While I had the extra cash I decided to start getting some of the things I need for sharpening. When I bought the chisels a month ago I didn’t think about the fact that I couldn’t really use them until they were sharp. In hindsight, I should’ve spent the $30 credit card rewards cash on something that I could actually use. Now I’m at a standstill. Lesson learned.

-- Chris, , FACEBOOK: , Proverbs 16:9

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2882 days

#7 posted 08-03-2012 09:38 PM

No Problem.. I was kidding. Looks good!

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

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