Honing Guide Modifications

Okay, I know it’s Easter Sunday.  I will be giving thanks for Jesus’ sacrifice for my sins in my own way today, and celebrating His resurrection. But I was out in the shop this morning, wasting time before my wife and kids left for church (I’m not Catholic, so I don’t pretend), trying to solve an unforeseen problem, when I came across this fantastic idea to make your average, run-of-the-mill side honing guide (Eclipse style), work on my new set of Lie-Nielsen chisels.  I had to post this post-haste for anyone else having the same problem. Yes, I finally pulled the trigger, and with the help of some overtime, finally bought a set of the finest chisels I can afford.


Finally, some good steel

The lovely denim pouch was made by my daughter Emma.  She’s a great sew-and-sew. Well, I went anxiously about the task of honing.  I use the Eclipse-style side clamping guide, and I really like it.  Cheap, effective, and simple.  I’ve had it for years. However, when I got to my 3/4″ and 1″ chisels, I found that the thickness of the chisel blades prevented me from sliding the chisel up far enough to get the proper angle.  The blades were so thick that they ran into the guide rods on the guide.IMG_0203 And the blades get thicker as they approach the handle, meaning I was never going to get the projection I needed.



Well, a quick internet search yielded several choices of honing guides that won’t have this problem.  All expensive.  Too expensive for me, anyway.  I just spent $300 on a set of chisels, for cripes’ sake. Scrolling through some images of DIY honing guides I came across an image of a modification to this guide that was a great idea.  I don’t know the gentleman’s name to give him credit, but he credited David Charlesworth with the original idea. The idea is to attach small aluminum plates to the top bed of the guide, where you usually mount wider blades and irons for honing.  This allows you to move your thicker chisels up and away from the guide’s guide rods. IMG_0199 I just happened to have some aluminum stock in the shop (I’m an admitted pack-rat), and in a few minutes had my solution. IMG_0200 You can see how the aluminum pieces make a new ledge against which the chisel back can now register, raising the blade up another ~1/8″ or so. The only thing to do to the guide was to file a chamfer on the upper part of the guide to allow the blade to be forced up against the new ledge when  tightening the guide.

IMG_0198IMG_0197 The guy who gave me the idea glued the pieces on with superglue, but I’m going to go ahead and drill and tap holes for 10-32 screws so I can remove them for honing plane irons.  Unfortunately I have to run out and pick up a drill bit and 10-32 tap, so I won’t be finishing this today, but you get the idea how it will work.

That’s it.  Happy honing.

4/6/15  Post Script

I picked up the tap and finished the guide.  I used a 6-32 instead of 10-32.  6-32 is plenty to hold the small pieces of aluminum. It works great. IMG_0204 IMG_0205 IMG_0206

About Sam

Young, good-looking, manly--you get the picture. Novice woodworker with just too much rolling around upstairs to keep to myself. Random thoughts, philosophical questions, the occasional flash of insight or just dumb luck that needs to be shared with anyone who cares.
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1 Response to Honing Guide Modifications

  1. Paul Rametta says:

    Well it’s good knowing that you’re having a happy Easter regardless of why. God’s already blessed you many times over….me too, more than I deserve. Enjoy your new toys…I have but one wood chisel that desperately needs sharpening, but I have little need for it anyway. Have a good day.


    Sent from my iPad


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