Veritas - Mk.II Sharpening System (Rating: 5)

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:

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

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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:

Pros:
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.

Cons:
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