My Embarrassing Tool-setting Jig
This is by request. And for me this is like showing you my basement. Did you see the pawn shop’s basement in “Pulp Fiction?” It’s like that , but without the Spandex, leather and shotguns.
A reader asked to see the angle-setting guide I use for setting my tools in my side-clamp honing guide when sharpening. It was featured (briefly) in the DVD “Handplane Basics” that we released late last year.
Before we get into details and philosophy, let me state that I know this jig isn’t a new idea. And my version is junky blue-stained Eastern white pine. It is nothing like the sexy guide made by Deneb Puchalski at Lie-Nielsen Toolworks. Heck, that thing has a leather thong. No lie.
But mine is smaller (and now I can hear Deneb laughing all the way from Maine). And … it works.
OK, here is why I have this thing and why I use it every day. People get obsessed about angles in sharpening. I do not. I am obsessed with consistency. Setting your honing guide consistently is the key to quick and fast results.
Yes, I know that different thicknesses of irons can throw off the angles when sharpening plane blades. No, I do not care. No, I’m not listening. Nunga, nunga, nunga, nunga. Why am I not listening? Because the differences in angles caused by slight variations in iron thicknesses are pretty petty. Do the math if you like.
So I set all my plane irons in my jig using the same stop for 30° (or a second stop for 35° when I want a steeper edge). It might not actually be 30°. But it is perfect every time, requires just a few strokes to pull up a wire edge and (like I said before) mine is smaller (stop snickering Megan!).
On the flip side of this jig are three other stops. Two are for chisels , one for 30° and one for 35°. Same philosophy. These angles work. I use the lower angle for paring chisels and the steeper one for chopping chisels.
The third stop is for honing a 15° back bevel on a plane iron. This takes my 45° bevel-down planes up to 60° with just a few swipes on a polishing stone. Then I can remove the back bevel by grinding away the primary bevel if I please.
Below is a SketchUp file that shows my jig and its measurements. Or build Deneb’s if you want to impress the ladies with your thong.
– Christopher Schwarz
Other Sharpening Resources You Should Investigate
– Download a pdf of Deneb’s jig from the Lie-Nielsen web site.
– Brent Beach is a sharpening madman. Take a free afternoon and dive down into the rabbet hole of his web site. You might come up a different person. (www3.telus.net/BrentBeach/)
– “Perfect Edge” by Ron Hock , a great new book on sharpening by one of the nicest and smartest guys in the business.
– “Handplane Basics” DVD, my tutorial that started this crazy entry. Geeze do I look that dorky?