Ideas are everywhere when you’re hungry…

Last fall I crossed paths with a sandwich board on my walk to lunch (O.K., I tripped). As I walked around the sign I had one of those moments where I saw something that wasn’t there (typically I imagine IRS agents—they’re everywhere you know…) The offending culprit is pictured below.

Sandwich Board/Honing Guide

Empirically we understand concrete is a painful abrasive (knees never forget) and while regaining my balance I imagined the sidewalk as an endless… abrasive… honing stone… and I was tripping over a… crude honing guide! Sounds weird, but a ray of light leaked into my cranial garden and in that instant, an idea germinated.

I returned from lunch, grabbed a chisel and mocked up the idea using my Razr cell phone. That was all the validation I needed to pursue the development of our HG-1 Honing Guide. And we are thrilled with the results. (In a pinch, a cell phone makes a crappy honing guide, but as you can see, schematically it worked out very well. Don’t be surprised if the “Woodworking Taliban” embraces this ridiculous cell phone alternative …)

Cell phone/Honing Guide

The HG-1 is completely different than previous designs. Most significant is the built-in squaring guide which will keep cutting edges that have to be square to the sides in perfect alignment (shoulder plane irons are one example). The other new development is the infinitely adjustable micro-bevel system controlled by the knob at the back of the plane. This was a crucial development for this tool because of the profiled irons our HP-6 Mini Multi-Plane employs.

We will formally announce this new product (and the reference set-up guide for precise primary bevels) in a couple of weeks, with many more details and pricing. Needless to say, it will work well for chisels, irons and really shines when used on our aluminum profiled stones for HP-6 molding irons. Below are a couple of pics to see how the guide unfolded.

Oh, and I forgot, the yakisoba was delicious.


HG-1 Side View

HG-1 Rear View

HG-1 w/chisel

2 comments on this post:

  1. Hi John, I’m curious about this honing guide. First off, it looks very nice and seems to be feature packed. I’m currently using a Veritas MKII guide, that appears to be very similar in terms of functionality, but there are two short comings that I find with it, and I am wondering if your’s corrects.

    First, the clamping secion on the Veritas has two screws and essentially bends a bar around your iron slightly to provide pressure. I find it doesn’t really secure the iron well though no matter how tight you make it and there is always a chance that the blade can skew from 90 degrees. Don’t get me wrong, it’s firmly in place but not so much so that some hand pressure couldn’t move it. I’m curious how well does the clamping mechanism work on the Bridge City guide?

    Secondly, the Veritas has a fence that you set the blade to 90 but it is then removed. Am I correct in saying that on the Bridge City guide the fence is always in place? Because that’s what it looks like in the pictures.

    Last, do you have any plans on offering a camber roller as well?

  2. The 90 degree reference on our guide does not need to be removed with the exception of wide plane irons (it easily slides in and out of a dovetailed way)and if an iron/chisel scoots off 90 degrees in our guide I would expect it to be returned for a refund. (I have never seen the guide you own so I can’t comment on it.)

    The math on a camber roller does not make sense to us. If one wants to make a .002″-.003″ camber on a plane iron, the roller (because it is narrow than the iron) needs a camber of about .001″. In practice, it is just easier to “overpower” the corners of your iron with pressure to achieve the same result. That said, if you have a lathe or drill press, you can make your own camber roller and insert it into the HG-1–it is easily field removed.

    There are a couple of tools where a more aggressive cambered roller does make sense and if we get enough requests, we will offer a solution as an accessory.

    We are really happy with this little guy and it is particularly useful for our HP-6 owners–all those irons need to be square and the micro-adjuster is critical because they are profiled irons.

    Hope this helps.


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