News & Views Issue 88: Sharpening Short Stuff

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This article is from Issue 88 of Woodcraft Magazine.

After searching for an easy and inexpensive way to sharpen my planes and chisels, I was glad to find “Cheapskate’s Guide to Diamonds” in issue #78 (June/July 2017). I recently built the sharpening station and have used it on a few of my plane irons and long chisels with great results.

My problem is that some of my tools are too short to sharpen. When I set them in the honing guide, they can’t reach the stops on the setting jig. How can I adjust the guide and/or setting jig to suit shorter tools? 

—Tyler Newton, Fredericksburg, VA

Senior Editor Joe Hurst-Wajszczuk replies:

I’m glad that you liked the story and, more importantly, that you have discovered the joy of a truly sharp edge.

The honing guide shown in the original story was one of several versions. I chose a mid-sized guide because it worked with a wide variety of blades. To accommodate shorter tools, simply trim the honing guide base, as shown below. You can eliminate the counterbores—the T-bolts can register on the bottom edge of the honing guide base—but you will need to the shorten the threaded hole so that it doesn’t poke through the top.

An angle gauge can help to position new stops on your setting jig to match the modified guide, but you don’t need to be that precise. To determine the location of a 25° stop, insert any blade with a factory edge into your guide and position it so that its bevel rests flat on the glass. Positioning a stop about 1/8" closer will create an approximate 2° secondary bevel.


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