A cheap, easy and accurate shop made Honing Jig

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Forum topic by Dan posted 09-30-2011 07:34 PM 33623 views 8 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Dan's profile


3653 posts in 3856 days

09-30-2011 07:34 PM

For about the past two years I have been using the good old eclipse honing jig for my plane irons and chisels. Its not a perfect jig but it had always worked out just fine for me.

It was not until recently I started having some issues with the eclipse jig. The issues were rather minor but when trying to get a perfect edge even minor issues become a big problem. I use the scary sharp method to both grind and hone my tools. The biggest issue I was having with the eclipse jig was the roller ball was picking up debris/grit and transferring it to my finer grit papers. Even after wiping the roller off it still seemed to transfer debris. That is a problem when honing a micro bevel on the very fine abrasive because you don’t want the edge hitting that debris. It was also ripping and scratching my fine abrasives. Another issue I had with the eclipse jig was it not clamping the plane irons square. I restore a lot of old irons and often those irons are not square on the sides which makes a side clamping jig hard to use if trying to get the iron square.

So I decided to try a new jig and rather then buying one I went the shop made route and I made my own using Brent Beach’s jig design.

A lot of you are probably aware of Brent’s site but if you aren’t I strongly suggest checking it out. I have learned a ton about sharpening and honing from reading the information on his site. His site covers pretty much everything you need to know about sharpening and I still read through it from time to to refresh my brain.

He has a very simple, cheap and easy jig that he uses and recommends. He has plans and directions of use on his site that are very easy to follow. So I went a head and followed his plan and made my own. It took me maybe 20 or 30 min to make it and only a couple dollars in hardware.

I finished the jig and after using it on one iron I tossed it aside and went right back to my eclipse jig. I was just so used to the feel of the eclipse jig that when I used the new one it felt so awkward and I didn’t like it at all.. I continued with the eclipse jig for another several months and just dealt with the minor issues.

Last week I decided to give the Brent Beach style jig another try. It still felt very awkward and different but I stuck with it and after a little while I started to adapt and get used to the feeling. I sharpened a few irons and now I have a whole new opinion of the jig. It works great! It clamps from the top so its very easy to get a blade square, no wheel so the only thing touching the paper or stone is the iron and its as accurate if not more accurate then my eclipse. The jig takes a bit of getting used to but once you get the hang of it its a great help and a fine jig. I recommend it to anyone who was like me and having problems with other jigs or those who do not yet have a honing jig…

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

5 replies so far

View Bertha's profile


13588 posts in 3669 days

#1 posted 09-30-2011 08:03 PM

Dan, this thing could double as a back flattening jig too. I like having something to grab onto during those marathon sessions. Yours will work for small irons, too, unlike the Eclipse.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View jeth's profile


262 posts in 3814 days

#2 posted 10-01-2011 05:36 AM

Dan, had you seen this ?
It’s based on Beachs’ jig, but beveled to create a single point of contact, rather than the whole width of a block riding on your plate.

I built one for plane blades and it works good with very little practise, pretty much self squaring, as long as you keep even pressure as is always required across the blade tip when sharpening the single point of contact means the blade tip will always be able to sit flat. I also made the other “tilted” jig on his site which is great for chisels and would work for smaller blades also.

Edit.. another advantage of the single point design is that, with a bit of shaping, you could have a pair of wing nuts set into the bottom bevel section to tighten by hand. I have wingnuts on my tilted version and it is super easy to set up. The wingnuts are on top on the angled version as no back bevel required on chisels.

View rance's profile


4276 posts in 4136 days

#3 posted 10-01-2011 06:13 AM

Nice jig Dan.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View jeth's profile


262 posts in 3814 days

#4 posted 10-01-2011 07:02 AM

Found a couple of pics of my tilted chisel jig.

And here is the point which rests on the glass, this has seen a fair bit of use, is made of soft, very resinous pine, but as you can see the point is still fairly, well, pointy.

With the jig you can just about see the little angle block used to set the blade at the right extension for the bevel you want, this one is 25/29 deg.

Check out Mark Lovett Wells’ site linked above for full info on construction and use, and also one of the best blow by blow tutorials on scary sharp I’ve seen. Like Beachs site just generally good reading for anyone who wants to learn more about sharpening.

View mich's profile


16 posts in 3995 days

#5 posted 10-13-2011 09:21 AM

I’ve been using that jig for 3 yrs now. I’m not good with free hand sharpening, and you’ll NEVER find any commercial sharpening jig here ( in Indonesia).

@ Jeth: I’ve seen those single point jig, but I’m not sure that it’ll work…., but now I think I’ll give it a try. I build another (beveled) jig last night and couldn’t get a perfect square. (the bottom riding edge is NOT parallel to the bevel edge where the tool rest.
Now I realised what would be the advantage of the single point jig. I’ll modif the one I just built to a single point to solve the ‘unsquare’ issue.


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