Understand Honing Guides


Honing guides are not a one-size-fits-all affair. We examine the weaknesses and strengths of four popular models.
By Christopher Schwarz
Pages: 70-74

From the February 2008 issue #167
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With the exception of your two hands, there is no such thing as the perfect honing guide for every shape and size of woodworking tool.

Some guides are great for short tools. Some are great for chisels. Others excel at gripping odd-shaped tools. But none of the guides handle all the tools all the time.

During the last decade, I’ve taught a lot of people to sharpen chisels and plane irons, so I’ve gotten to use many of the student’s honing guides. Some of these guides I’ve purchased for our shop at Popular Woodworking. Other guides haven’t impressed me much.

The honing guides in this article are four models that I’ve found to be useful and commonly available. Now, I don’t think you need to buy four honing guides to get your tools sharp. Depending on your work, you might need one or maybe two.

Or, perhaps if your hands are willing, you might not need any of these guides at all.


From the February 2008 issue #167
Buy this issue now