Eclipse Honing Guide

Made by James Neil Tools in England, this guide looks and works like a small vise, gripping the blade from the sides. Of all the guides I tested, this one had the most positive gripping action, especially on narrow chisel blades. A knurled, slotted knob tightens the self-centering clamp jaws. First, hand-tighten the knob, then snug it gently with a flat-blade screwdriver. The guide jaws are stepped. Use the inside set of jaws for narrow blades ('A in. to lVa in. wide); the outside set is for wide blades (Vh in. to 27/« in. wide).

The instructions that come with the guide give blade-tip-to-guide measurements for setting 25° and 30° bevels on chisels and plane irons. For example, to set a 25° bevel on a chisel, the distance between the blade tip and front edge of the jaws would be 1 Va in. If you want to hone the blade at an angle other than 25° or 30° you'll need a magnetic angle-finder, the Veritas angle jig (see Veritas Honing Guide section) or other protracting device. Price: $15.95.

Note: In recent years, the Eclipse design has been imitated by several overseas manufacturers. One Taiwanese-made version that I tested (imported by Boyne Industries for Leichtung Tools) has a wider blade capacity than the original Eclipse (up to 3'/2 in.). The original is noticeably better machined, but the spinoffs cost somewhat less (about $9.95).

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