Well worth the extra upfront cost!!

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Review by MrFid posted 04-21-2013 02:29 AM 4480 views 1 time favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Well worth the extra upfront cost!! Well worth the extra upfront cost!! Well worth the extra upfront cost!! Click the pictures to enlarge them

I purchased the Veritas Mark II honing guide from my local Woodcraft store (not sure if they all do it this way, but it was kept behind a door at mine, wasn’t with the other honing guides (for good reason). I took it home, and got it out of it’s packaging, and inspected. The thing that I noticed first was the heft. It is well cast, and the brass knobs are beautifully machined. First impression: high quality tool. The instruction manual is a lengthy read, but super well written and helpful, with pictures, tips, and advice.

I tried the system with a plane blade from a Bailey No. 5 jack that I have been restoring. This was really the last step in that restoration. Here is what the blade looked like before I dealt with it:

And here is is after a sharpening session with the Mk2:

Wow. The thing was sharp in no time (I use a combination of Scary Sharp, waterstones, and diamond stones for the primary bevel. I just have too much sharpening stuff at this point I think.) I worked it to a primary bevel of 25 degrees, secondary bevel of 30 degrees, and no back bevel. The guide helped immensely in squaring up the blade, and cutting perfect angles. I have no way of verifying that it really is 25 and 30 degrees, but it’s good enough for me to be consistent, and close enough to those numbers that I don’t notice a difference from where it should be.

So here goes:

1. Heavy duty tool. This thing was clearly built to last.
2. EASY to set the guide to any angle you find convenient or necessary. I have yet to try anything un-standard with it angle-wise, but I have no doubt of its capabilities.
4. Easy to apply a microbevel for chisels using the wheel adjuster. No need to re-square the chisel in the vice.
5. If held properly, the MK2 will sharpen at exactly a right angle, and to exactly the bevel desired.

1. None.

Random things I have noticed:
1. The brass barrel gets grungy quickly due to its tendency to be rolling across abrasives, sometimes wet ones. I’d think it would be important to keep this wheel dry when not in use.
2. The instruction tome recommended oiling the barrel every so often. I plan to do so with maybe some 3-in-1 or T9. Taking suggestions on something better to use instead.
3. You were likely concerned about why there was no pro number 3. Just keeping you on your toes.
4. This is THE BEST HONING GUIDE OUT THERE. I know it is pricey. So worth it. Your edges will be ridiculous in no time, and there’s a satisfaction that I take knowing that my angles are correct. I admit that I am not a badass who can hone by hand to any desired angle. This thing is perfect for someone who is either too unskilled or too anal about sharpness to hone by hand.

Thanks for reading. A sharp tool is a safe tool.


-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

View MrFid's profile


906 posts in 2705 days

22 comments so far

View Douglas's profile


424 posts in 3360 days

#1 posted 04-21-2013 04:14 AM

I just ordered one this morning. I have a side clamping “eclipse” guide that doesn’t track, so my blades are getting skewed slightly. I’m hoping this will help with that, and address other issues.

-- Douglas in Chicago -

View MrFid's profile


906 posts in 2705 days

#2 posted 04-21-2013 05:13 AM

This one should definitely help with that Douglas. The one thing that could lead to skewed blades (where you don’t want them) is not holding it correctly. I have read of people not liking it because they tried to hold it one handed. Read the directions carefully and watch some videos on youtube and it’ll be awesome.

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

View felkadelic's profile


220 posts in 3340 days

#3 posted 04-21-2013 05:18 AM

Between the MKII, the skew guide, and the camber roller I can’t imagine needing anything else for honing.

View NolanUK's profile


3 posts in 2665 days

#4 posted 04-21-2013 11:04 AM

I have one of these purchased from Axmister in the UK. I have been very happy with it, I don’t use it that often but she ever I do I’m always glad I bought it.

View Richard's profile


400 posts in 3492 days

#5 posted 04-22-2013 05:24 AM

I bought one a few months ago and absolutely love it!

-- "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain

View sikrap's profile


1121 posts in 4159 days

#6 posted 04-22-2013 01:31 PM

It is an excellent tool. One thing that I would add is that its a good idea to wipe off the brass roller between grits. I know its probably not absolutely necessary, but I don’t like the grit from the 1000 stone contaminating the 6000 stone or the 13000 stone.

-- Dave, Colonie, NY

View a1Jim's profile


118079 posts in 4378 days

#7 posted 04-22-2013 01:34 PM

View toddbeaulieu's profile


842 posts in 3805 days

#8 posted 04-22-2013 03:07 PM

I like my jig, as well – it’s the only one I use. My two complaints with it is that they didn’t use stainless for the locking bolts. Considering the jig lives its life in water, that’s a silly shortcut IMO. Mine are pretty corroded. Also, the knurled nuts are AWFUL on my fingers!

View MrFid's profile


906 posts in 2705 days

#9 posted 04-22-2013 04:03 PM

Thanks for everyone’s comments. Dave – I agree with wiping down the roller between grits/stones. I’ll definitely make that a habit. Todd – I actually like the knurled nuts since my hand are often wet while sharpening. Gives some purchase while tightening. Maybe I’ll eat my words as I use it more. Thanks again!

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

View toddbeaulieu's profile


842 posts in 3805 days

#10 posted 04-22-2013 04:05 PM

My complaint is based on how hard they can be to loosen. Tightening them isn’t usually an issue, but after sharpening they can become “stuck” and there have been times where it just hurt like heck to get them loose.

View MrFid's profile


906 posts in 2705 days

#11 posted 04-22-2013 04:34 PM

Oh I see. I guess I haven’t had that problem yet, but I can see how it would be a pain. Thanks!

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3916 days

#12 posted 04-22-2013 07:25 PM

thanks for the rewiew :-)

though I would say one thing after I have had it for a couple of years
you better be sure you thight those brass knobs realy thight or you
will making a skew blade before you know it

another thing is you want to take the role apart and clean and oil it after each session
its amazing how much grindingmudd there is building up in the roller

good luck with your new toy :-)


View Woodknack's profile


13431 posts in 3181 days

#13 posted 04-23-2013 01:20 AM

Nice review, 2 quick questions…

1. How well does it hold narrow chisels like 1/8” & 1/4”?
2. Will it rock and allow you to sharpen a cambered iron?

-- Rick M,

View MrFid's profile


906 posts in 2705 days

#14 posted 04-23-2013 01:59 AM

Hi Rick,

Can’t speak directly to a 1/8” chisel, but it definitely can handle a 1/4”. The only question would be if the 1/8 had enough purchase with the clamp bar that secures the chisel. For a mortising chisel (that’s what I’ve always called a chisel with no edge bevel), it would be fine. For a paring chisel you’d probably need to really tighten the clamp.
As it is right now, it will not allow a cambered iron. With the camber roller (sold separately I guess), you’d be able to handle cambers, but I don’t have this accessory so I can’t speak to it. You could probably tilt it onto its side for a minor camber (like what I use on a smoothing plane, for instance), which would preserve the angle you have set for the bevel. For a scrub plane or something similar, I’d definitely think you’d want the camber roller, although I guess for a scrub plane I’m not all that picky on bevel angle to begin with. Hope this helps!


-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

View nwbusa's profile


1022 posts in 3087 days

#15 posted 04-23-2013 02:03 AM

Nice review, agree on all points.

Rick, the guide works very well with 1/8” & 1/4” chisels (I’ve sharpened both sizes with mine). You have to purchase the camber roller separately but it’s a nice add-on and well worth the cost IMO.

-- John, BC, Canada

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