Shopmade Honing Guide
Use this simple jig to hone a front and back bevel on plane irons
Long before I discovered the Veritas honing guide, I made my own jig to sharpen plane irons using my favorite sharpening technique: abrasive paper on glass. The jig is inexpensive and easy to make. Plus, when I’m sharpening plane blades, it allows me to hone at any angle, not just the angle options available on the commercial guides. It also allows me to incorporate back bevels into plane iron sharpening.
Not all woodworkers use back bevels. I like a back-bevel because it eliminates the need to flatten the back of the blade before the first sharpening. And throughout its life, any wear on the back of the iron is completely removed by the honed back bevel. Additionally, flipping between front and back honing removes the wire edge that honing produces.
There is one downside to a back bevel– the increased cutting angle that results might make the blade less effective when used with soft and stringy wood. Also note, back bevels should not be used on bench chisels.
A jig for both bevels
This jig can be made from any wood, but I prefer hard maple. For hardware, I use two machine screws with matching washers and T-nuts. I usually use no. 6 screws because the T-nut pins are smaller and less likely to split the wood when tapped into place. The screw length can range from 3/4 in. to 1-3/4 in., since the heads are countersunk and you can adjust the depth of this countersink to suit the screw length.
The jig (click for full size PDF drawing) is comprised of two jaws, a tall jaw and a short jaw, which clamp to hold the plane iron for sharpening. I sized them to hold most standard plane blades, but the dimensions can be modified.
The tall jaw measures 1-in. thick by…