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What does one get for the extra cost?
The pleasure of spending more.
Actually, there are woodworkers who can free-hand the proper angle on the plane blades and chisels. But, if you're not sure . . .
 

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I use a cheap Eclipe type and it works well except the mouth need filing to accept thicker blades like a shoulder plane.

I usually sharpen freehand but have been using the jig lately and have grown to like the accuracy.

I’m going to buy the Lie Nielsen jig with adapers for spokeshaves.
 

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I liked it, didn’t like messing with it, I get a bit impatient. hand sharpening is more for me.
I could see a jig for the spoke shave would be nice, that blade is small to hold onto…seen people clamp them in a vise grip to sharpen, I need to give it a try.
 

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I recommend you get a slow speed grinder and hollow grind plane blades. Then practice the side sharpening technique. It’s the method I use and can vouch for it.
I only use my jig for sharpening expensive Japanese chisels. I don’t hollow grind them because every particle of steel is precious. Using the guide allows me to remove smallest amounts .
Good Luck
 

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I recommend you get a slow speed grinder and hollow grind plane blades. Then practice the side sharpening technique. It’s the method I use and can vouch for it.
I only use my jig for sharpening expensive Japanese chisels. I don’t hollow grind them because every particle of steel is precious. Using the guide allows me to remove smallest amounts .
Good Luck
To expand on hollow grinding, you will get two registration points on the bevel, making easier to hone as less material is removed. I do a slightly altered side sharpening, more at a skew angle (edge of blade to length of stone). I’ve been doing it this way for decades and is very quick and ultra sharp!

For those that wish to do so, search on “Tools for Working Wood” website for sharpening videos by (IIRC) Walt Frazier. The DVDs were a few bucks each and did an excellent job of describing Unknown Craftsman’s technique.
 

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The expensive honing guides do have an advantage. If you look at the picture that Matt posted of the Vertitas guide, there's a guide, so you can insert your chisel and the bevel angle is automatically set correctly for you (The right amount of chisel blade is protruding). I think it's worthwhile, it saves time sharpening, and the easier that you make sharpening, the more likely you are to do it.
Some people can sharpen "Free hand", but I really don't recommend it as a beginner.. When I was starting, I tried freehand sharpening, and over time, my angle got progressively worse.. Yes, it's possible to sharpen free hand, and if that's your thing, I'm not going to talk you out of it, but I really recommend getting a good honing guide.
 

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I started out on a $15 eclipse style guide and it's really sufficient. The convenience of the Veritas is easily matched by making a marked block or, like I did, just marking the blade angles on the end of my workbench.

Also you really do need to learn to sharpen freehand. Plenty of things like spokeshave or combination plane irons don't work in a standard honing guide so you'll need to figure it out eventually. I still use the guide for my bench planes but chisels are actually pretty easy even for a beginner.

Using the sharpie trick is super helpful for getting it right.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I had the eclipse style but messed it up when having to grind down a hock plane blade. I had given the blade a cup with hand-sharpening and needed a hard-reset on a diamond stone. I agree I should get that ability down, to speed up the process if anything.

The wheel on the eclipse stopped rotating and ground a flat spot on the diamond stone, if you're wondering.
 

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For 10$ I would grab what @Matt1371 is offering. I have that same honing guide and I think it works well. You can visit the Lee Valley website and download the instructions. Once you have honed the primary and secondary bevels -- you can just strop without the honing guide and maintain an edge for quite a while.
 

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Most of the tools I sharpen are gouges (curved "chisels"), so the guide would have to rotate the tool through various arc segments of a circle while maintaining the bevel angle. For example, a #8 gouge has a cutting edge that curves through 120 degrees of arc. Imagine the challenge of sharpening a Pacific NW style "crooked knife" with a constantly varying curvature. You have to get skilled at free-handing the sharpening process.
 

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I recommend you watch the Lie-Nielsen sharpening videos found on YouTube. Their method takes a lot of the guess work out of it and helps you get consistent results. As with anything woodworking related, there is no one right way of doing it so you need to find the method that works for you, but their method was a game changer for me.

Their honing guide is now $150. Ouch. You don't need it to follow their method, but to answer your question about what does one get for the extra cost, it is the ability to get different jaws to hold different types of chisels and plane irons that don't fit well with the standard jaws.
 
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