I’ve probably been down every sharpening rabbit hole that exists. I’m always searching for the ultimate in terms of edge maintenance. It’s not all about the keenest edge possible. For me, it’s just as important to have a system that’s quick and easy to use. I’ve had a great system for my plane irons for a while. However, I’ve never been satisfied with the various systems I’ve tried for chisel maintenance.
For a while, I used the Veritas Mk II honing guide. It worked great, but that was fussy and took too long to setup. I turned to a cheap Eclipse knock-off guide to simplify setup. I still use it for my plane irons, but it tends to skew my chisels and doesn’t work for my narrowest blades. Next, I braved the world of free-hand sharpening. I had consistency issues, and felt that I had to regrind more often. This is due to the fact that you’re removing material from both the edge and the heal of the bevel instead of just the edge. It was about this time that someone recommended the Kell honing guide.
I was hesitant at first , due to the initial cost. On a whim, I made the short trip down to Highland Hardware and picked one up. I quickly fell in love. Using a simple stop block, it’s every bit as simple as the Eclipse style guides. It’s exceptionally well made, and always holds my blades square. It even works with my 1/8th inch chisel. My only complaint is that the design limits you to using the center part of your sharpening stones. As a result, beware of uneven stone wear and keep on top of your stone maintenance. Did I mention that this thing is beautiful?
I have no affiliation with Mr. Kell or Highland Hardware, but the jig can be found here: http://www.highlandwoodworking.com/kellhoningjig1incapacity.aspx