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Thread: Honing angle measurement: evolution

  1. #1
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    Honing angle measurement: evolution

    We are blessed to have many talented craftspeople on this wonderful site. Lots of you grind, hone, and polish your edge tools the way craftspeople of old did it: by hand and eye and ear and the hair on your hand. My hat is off to you.

    I use the Eclipse jig.

    I find value in knowing that one honing and polishing is going to turn out the same as all the others. Moreover, by being able to dial in any desired primary and secondary bevel, and perhaps put a back bevel on the blade, I can decide in advance what I want from the tool, and I can get it in one try. This helps me see what specific modifications produce.

    Through the years, my method of measuring the angles has evolved. When I stumbled onto the scene with my very first plane, a L-N 4-1/2 (quite a leap of hubris for a novice!), I made myself a gauge from stiff cardboard:

    1. cardboard reference.jpg


    That's my blood on the right side. Here's the gauge in use:

    2. using the cardboard.jpg


    I've found it to be very accurate, though for some reason it never has occurred to me to put a back brace on it to make it stand on its own!

    As far as the sharpening procedure is concerned, I am a disciple of the endlessly knowledgeable and generous David Charlesworth. You know, waterstones and the ruler trick. Last year in his workshop I moved on from my trusty cardboard gauge and started just measuring the projection from the Eclipse jig. As you can see in the photo above, I marked my blades for primary and secondary bevel projections. This one, 37 mm, is for the primary honing bevel of 33º:

    3. 37 mm.jpg


    Since then I've been wanting to make David's little Formica gauges. Shelter In Place finally gave me the time to make them.

    4a. gauges bench.jpg


    Here is the primary bevel from the 37 mm extension, fitted into the 33º Formica gauge:

    4b. the new way.jpg


    As a hobbyist, I appreciate learning techniques from the experience of accomplished craftspeople. In the past year I've turned a corner in my understanding of tool setup and use, and this has enabled me to imagine and realize new projects. The tools have ridden along obligingly on my growing knowledge and skill.

    5. gauges glamor shot.jpg
    Last edited by Bob Jones 5443; 03-25-2020 at 9:46 PM.

  2. #2
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    That's a good way to do it.

    I had to come up with a simple solution, that my helpers could use with any jig, since we have several choices of jigs for different purposes. Fast, and foolproof-please don't ask details about explaining why I say fool proof. I hire people that no one else will.

    We don't do micro-bevels unless we are using oil stones, and that's the only time the MK II comes into play. It's just in the picture to show that you can even set that with these, and no co-ordinated fumbling required with the thing for use on the front of it. The old Record jig is only used with heavily cambered irons. That narrow chisel was just stuck in it because it was close at hand the morning that I stuck these together.

    I figured they would be made to see if they worked, and if they did, I'd make some nicer ones. We're still using these some years later.

    They don't measure angles, but you can judge over/under.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Tom M King; 03-25-2020 at 9:59 PM.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for sharing Bob Jones number 5,443. DC seems to have an inquisitive and inventive mind. I envy those who have taken his classes.
    David

  4. #4
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    Nifty jig for a multi-person shop, Tom. I dare say mine are too fussy to throw around among personnel.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Eisenhauer View Post
    DC seems to have an inquisitive and inventive mind. I envy those who have taken his classes.
    Too true. I sometimes feel like I'm gloating when I mention I spent a week with David. If you can do it, do it. He's an institution.

    If you can't get to Devon, England, get his three books and read every word.

  6. #6
    Good solutions. I've settled on a slightly different approach, I think based on a LN video or Chris Schwarz article. Yes... here it is after consulting the Great Google...

    https://www.popularwoodworking.com/w...-for-dullards/

    I think there is a FWW article by the LN folks using the same concept, but on a sharpening board.

    Best,
    Chris
    "You can observe a lot just by watching."
    --Yogi Berra

  7. #7
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    That is the same principle as the first Lee Valley honing guide, an oblong block of aluminium with 4 angles, one on each corner. You rotated it or flipped it over, a central screw held it down on another piece of aluminium. I gave mine away when I bought the mark II then regretted it. It was much faster to set and the block was wide enough it squared the blade in the guide beautifully, something the mark II is bad at and very fiddly as the squaring mechanism is too close to the blade edge and too short. The original guide is sadly no longer available.

    Tom, if you covered the top of your guide in Formica before adding the angle blocks I think it would increase the squaring precision.
    ​You can do a lot with very little! You can do a little more with a lot!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Jones 5443 View Post
    Too true. I sometimes feel like I'm gloating when I mention I spent a week with David. If you can do it, do it. He's an institution.

    If you can't get to Devon, England, get his three books and read every word.
    Not to hijack your thread or also gloat, but I returned last week from the third and fourth of four courses offered by David. I took the Mortise & Tenon course, followed by the Drawer Making course. I can safely say that there is no way I could have accomplished what I did solely by reading books or watching videos (which I do). In my opinion, there is no substitute for person to person instruction and real-time critique (lots in my case) of progress and errors.

    Last August and September, I took the Tool Tuning and Dovetail courses. As a result, I was pleasantly surprised how much better my tool maintenance and setup has become. I am now installing a Belfast sink, and associated plumbing, in my basement so I can have a dedicated sharpening station.

    In addition to David's books, don't forget about his DVD series. Lie Nielsen has David's video instruction collection as DVDs or online streaming. With the current world events, it might be a while before David is ready to open his Devon shop for more courses.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by William Fretwell View Post
    That is the same principle as the first Lee Valley honing guide, an oblong block of aluminium with 4 angles, one on each corner. You rotated it or flipped it over, a central screw held it down on another piece of aluminium. I gave mine away when I bought the mark II then regretted it. It was much faster to set and the block was wide enough it squared the blade in the guide beautifully, something the mark II is bad at and very fiddly as the squaring mechanism is too close to the blade edge and too short. The original guide is sadly no longer available.

    Tom, if you covered the top of your guide in Formica before adding the angle blocks I think it would increase the squaring precision.
    I planned to make some "good" ones out of leftover Corian, as I was sticking those together, but it's never been needed so far. Those have been used some hundreds of times since the morning I had the idea. The original Eclipse jig is used when anything needs to stay square. The MK II keeps a cambered roller on it, and the Record with the little ball for a roller can be put on almost any kind of way.

    We use super sharp chisels for a lot of things other than "normal" woodworking, and we were on a job where there was a lot of sharpening needed every day. At that time, the helpers I had could almost read a tape measure, if two of them worked together. No time to order something, think about it, or introduce another "complicated" step. I've had no reason to change the jigs since that day, but have added one more at 18, and 27, and it might have taken three minutes to make it.

  10. #10
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    Stone Mountain, GA
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    You can use a similar type of gauge block to assist in finding the angle when freehand sharpening.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Christopher Charles View Post
    Good solutions. I've settled on a slightly different approach, I think based on a LN video or Chris Schwarz article. Yes... here it is after consulting the Great Google...

    https://www.popularwoodworking.com/w...-for-dullards/

    I think there is a FWW article by the LN folks using the same concept, but on a sharpening board.

    Best,
    Chris
    Christopher, your link sent me to the April 2013 issue. I didn’t see anything about honing angles, but they were successful at taking my email address before they let me in.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Kreinhop View Post
    Not to hijack your thread or also gloat, but I returned last week from the third and fourth of four courses offered by David. I took the Mortise & Tenon course, followed by the Drawer Making course. I can safely say that there is no way I could have accomplished what I did solely by reading books or watching videos (which I do). In my opinion, there is no substitute for person to person instruction and real-time critique (lots in my case) of progress and errors.

    Last August and September, I took the Tool Tuning and Dovetail courses. As a result, I was pleasantly surprised how much better my tool maintenance and setup has become. I am now installing a Belfast sink, and associated plumbing, in my basement so I can have a dedicated sharpening station.

    In addition to David's books, don't forget about his DVD series. Lie Nielsen has David's video instruction collection as DVDs or online streaming. With the current world events, it might be a while before David is ready to open his Devon shop for more courses.
    Mike, last week?? I guess that will be his last course for a while with this respiratory pandemic afoot.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by William Fretwell View Post
    That is the same principle as the first Lee Valley honing guide, an oblong block of aluminium with 4 angles, one on each corner. You rotated it or flipped it over, a central screw held it down on another piece of aluminium. I gave mine away when I bought the mark II then regretted it. It was much faster to set and the block was wide enough it squared the blade in the guide beautifully, something the mark II is bad at and very fiddly as the squaring mechanism is too close to the blade edge and too short. The original guide is sadly no longer available.

    Tom, if you covered the top of your guide in Formica before adding the angle blocks I think it would increase the squaring precision.
    William, I forgot to mention in my jig/guide history that I used to have the Veritas kit with the Eclipse-like roller and that angle jig with five settings. At some point I just committed to the cardboard guide and actually threw the Veritas system away (I think). I never felt great about touching the aluminum jig with a honed iron just to find 35°.

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