I own one of those cheap eclipse style honing guides. With a little modification it does a passable job on my plane irons. It slips, so I crank down on the screw. The slot is stripping out so I can tell that its time in my workshop is short. I’d like to step up to this high class beauty someday.
I know I should be able to sharpen an iron freehand, blindfolded and behind the back but I actually find honing guides to be very helpful with plane blades. They allow me to get a true edge quickly on my water stones and get back to work. That’s more important to me than pleasing the forum dwellers with my honing prowess.
It doesn’t matter to me how other people sharpen. I have enough to worry about keeping my own irons sharp, but lately I’ve laid the honing guide to the side when it comes to chisels.
I’m currently building the school box project from The Joiner and Cabinet Maker and one of the things that I’ve really tried to do is keep my chisels razor sharp for chopping out dovetail waste. This means touching them up whenever they start to dull and the canary in the coal mine here is crushing in the end grain. This was one of the most helpful insights I’ve gained thus far from reading Chris Schwarz’s notes on the build, and if I’m being honest, something I’ve been lax about. I’ve definitely pushed through a few more tails than I should have to avoid going back to the stones, and part of that was the jig.
While I found that it saves me time and effort with the plane irons, when it comes to chisels, I can get a new edge and hone it freehand much faster than I can with the guide. Developing this confidence has helped me keep sharper edges and work more efficiently and effectively.
I could pull up a soap box and shout about how everyone should go guide-less, but I’d rather not. I’ll just put a fresh edge on these and get back to work.