Hand Tools Archive

Honing Jig Pictures *PIC*

Steve Elliott
Here are a few pictures of an earlier version of my jig, taken a few years ago. I've made a new one that looks a little sleeker but works the same. There are three parts: the wheeled jig that clamps to the blade, a clamp that holds the sharpening stone and rests on curved end pieces that allow the stone to rock sideways, and runners for the wheels to ride on. I think of the first two parts as "the roller" and "the rocker" because of their function.

The sharpening stone (or cast iron plate for diamond grit) is aligned with the top of the rocker by placing them both on a flat surface and tightening the bolts. When placed between the runners it is held in position by a bar that engages one of the clamp's end pieces.

To clamp the blade in the roller I use a plywood jig that sets the blade extension to produce the bevel angle I want. Both the bevel and the back bevel can be honed without changing the blade's position in the roller.

The wheels of the roller run on tracks that are just a few thousandths of an inch lower than the top of the iron plate. That way the blade never touches them even if the blade is rotated sideways while honing.

I like to relieve the corners of my smoothing plane blades and can do that by tilting the iron plate so that only the corner of the blade touches it.

All the parts plus diamond paste and the little plywood jig to set the extension fit into a metal case for storage.

Now for the MOST IMPORTANT PART. Don't try this at home! I developed this while testing plane blades for sharpness and edge retention. Accurate results required exactly repeatable blade geometry and the jig provides that. These pictures show the Mark IV version so you can imagine all the fiddling around it took to get to this one. For ordinary woodworking using one of the sharpening methods we like to argue about is a better choice. If I was starting today I'd look into the buffer method David Weaver and Winston Chang have developed.

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