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Sharpening sled. Worth £60?

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tv1
 tv1
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22/05/2021 11:34 am  
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https://www.rutlands.com/sp+premium-honing-guide-sled+R7515#nogo

 

Keeping my tools sharp and effective is one of the challenges that I've yet to master.  Chisels, planes, screwdrivers, some - if not most - of them are getting quite blunt.

I've tried a variety of gadgets and YT techniques over the years, but none of them have really worked effectively or repeatedly.

I'm pretty sure that some of you (and Mr B himself) would look at that and say "£60? you're having a laugh!".  Rutlands isn't the cheapest supplier, but if it's going to work reliably and help me keep my screwdrivers sharp, perhaps it's worth it?  I've probably spent >£60 on other (cheaper) bits and pieces that haven't really done the job.

Worth it, or not?

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Jonathan Hodgson
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22/05/2021 1:54 pm  

I think the only important question is, does it work?

Sharpening is something we should be doing regularly, "getting quite blunt" should be synonymous with "no longer usable for shaving" rather than "I don't have a mallet big enough to get the chisel through the wood". (I'm not claiming to be there myself, just saying that is what we should aspire to)

A sharp tool will do the job more cleanly, more quickly, and more safely (assuming you remember to keep your various appendages behind the sharp bit) and make the whole job more pleasurable. You're hopefully going to be spending many hours using the tools, don't you want those hours to be as pleasurable as possible?

So if this is the jig that will make sharpening quick and effective FOR YOU, then I'd say £60 is worth it.


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Rocknroller912
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22/05/2021 3:48 pm  

@tv101

There are a lot of factors in keeping hand tools sharp and my experience over 60 years of woodworking is that’s there is no magic bullet that’s suddenly going to work. Particularly so in regard to jigs and devices for holding blades. I find the roller style jig that Mark demonstrated on one of the live streams to be the most cost effective solution for planes and chisels. Reflected light from the edge is my guide to how good an edge I’ve got before testing it for real.
If you posted photos of specific tools it would help to identify any problems eg if they were bought new or second hand and possibly been overheated by grinding. Buying an expensive honing guide would be a last resort for me after checking for any other issues. I would prefer to spend the money on a new chisel or plane.

Some people call me a tool, others are less complimentary. Tools being useful things.


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tv1
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22/05/2021 5:48 pm  

I find the roller style jig that Mark demonstrated on one of the live streams to be the most cost effective solution for planes and chisels.

I watched that livestream too @rocknroller912, and have had one of the roller guides in my Amazon basket ever since.  Just never pressed the BUY button!

Looking at it critically, that Rutlands gadget is really just a fancy roller guide and sharpening stone holder combined into one unit.  I guess the upside is that you're not running the guide on top of the stone, so there's no wear to the stone.

But that's a small upside given that a guide costs ~£10 and the Rutlands fancy jobbie is £60.

That puts a different perspective on it ...

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Jonathan Hodgson
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22/05/2021 8:46 pm  

there is no magic bullet that’s suddenly going to work.

@rocknroller912 I'm not suggesting there's a magic bullet, I don't even know if this jig is an effective bullet, my point is that with a job that we should be doing as often as sharpening it only takes a small improvement for even a fairly expensive tool to pay for itself.

There are also those like Rob Cosman who are against honing guides because they feel the extra hassle of putting the tool into the guide makes sharpening more of a chore and interrupts your work flow (he likes his tools like razors and will resharpen multiple times during a job). To be quite honest I'd say that if you're practiced at putting a tool in a guide and have stop blocks set up then it's a matter of seconds, so the issue is more psychological than practical, but it's still a valid reason for some people.


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Jonathan Hodgson
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22/05/2021 9:00 pm  

I guess the upside is that you're not running the guide on top of the stone, so there's no wear to the stone

@tv101 - you're dragging a hardened steel edge over the stone, I doubt you need to worry about the extra wear from a wheel.

Those sub £10 guides aren't very well made in my experience. We have several at the hackspace and one original eclipse 36 (which is what they are copies of). The eclipse is probably 40 years old, and still feels smoother and more precise than the new ones. The new ones are not unusable though, and there are a couple of youtube videos on giving them a bit of a tune up.

The ultimate of the eclipse style guides is the Lie Nielsen, which has greatly extended the concept with interchangeable jaws for different tools (e.g. skew chisels), but the price of even the basic unit is in a different league.


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tv1
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22/05/2021 9:20 pm  

Cheers @jonhodgson.  I was stretching a bit when thinking of possible upsides for that tool! 

There are “vintage” Eclipse 36s on eBay for <£20.  That’s probably a better approach that giving £60 to Rutland.

Thanks for the pointer.

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Jonathan Hodgson
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22/05/2021 9:29 pm  

@tv1, the nice thing about picking up a vintage one is that if you don't get on with it you can probably sell it on for much what you bought it for.

And you get a bit of history.

 


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Bpower
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22/05/2021 10:58 pm  

Just to put my two cents in here. I've been a "hand tool" woodworker for a while now and I prefer to freehand my sharpening. I have invested in good diamond plates and they have been working very well for years. When I think I need to sharpen up I just pull out the plates and, within a minute or two, I can shave the hairs off my arm. I also made myself some leather strops to get that nice razor sharpness that I like. I do own a honing guide. I have the veritas sharpening system from lee valley. https://www.leevalley.com/en-ca/shop/tools/sharpening/guides/33001-veritas-sharpening-system?item=05M0210 . But to be honest, I only bring it out if I think I have gone really horribly out of square or I want to check the bevel angle. I am no expert on sharpening but I believe I can get any blade sharper than it probably needs to be. I always strive for scary sharp but you really don't need it to be anywhere near that to get great cuts. I would say just don't over think it. Sharpening is just another one of those things that, the more you do, the better you understand and get at it. 


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Rocknroller912
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23/05/2021 1:26 pm  

@bpower

I also prefer free hand sharpening on diamond stones and try to only use a guide if I’ve gone off square. Little and often works for me to keep an edge. However after years of free hand sharpening I’ve developed arthritis in one finger joint due to holding blades down, so find I have to use a guide more often than I used to. The tools I still have to free hand are old chisels dating back to the 1930s that are too short to fit in a jig.

Some people call me a tool, others are less complimentary. Tools being useful things.


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tv1
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23/05/2021 7:55 pm  

Decision made ....

I've bought the Veritas Honing Guide "system", based on the recommendation of my local friendly cabinet maker!

It's not really much cheaper than the Rutlands gadget, but the Veritas kit is possibly less fur coat and more knickers.

😉

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mattbeels
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23/05/2021 9:02 pm  

Veritas is a really good brand. Post a pic when you get it!

Pratice on scrap...


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Koendb
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23/05/2021 9:52 pm  

I find the roller style jig that Mark demonstrated on one of the live streams to be the most cost effective solution for planes and chisels. 

In which live stream was this? i recently bought 2 planers and a set of chisels myself, but I have no clue how I need to sharpen these, so I am looking for information on this. I've seen a few woodworkers on youtube explain how to do it, but I am afraid to actually try it out, because last thing I want is to screw up my tools , just because i am doing it wrong 🙂


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Rocknroller912
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23/05/2021 10:53 pm  

@koendb

This one, it’s worth going for a quality one from a wood supplier and not Amazon or eBay as they can be cheap versions from China which as previously commented don’t work too well. The guide also helps keep fingers away from the edge.

Some people call me a tool, others are less complimentary. Tools being useful things.


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Koendb
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23/05/2021 10:56 pm  

@rocknroller912 Thank you sir! Watching right now 🙂


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