Even if you have the most advanced or expensive hand planes in the world, they would mean nothing when they are dull. A hand plane is as good as its blade. Keeping them as sharp as possible the whole time is important, no matter what kind of woodworking project you have.

While sharpening a hand plane, most people hold it with their hand to keep it from moving. But do you know that there is a simpler, better, and more effective way to hold your hand plane while sharpening? There is a tool called honing guide. No, don’t worry. You don’t need to buy it. In fact, in this article, I will show you exactly how to make a wonderful magnetic honing guide.

Tools and Materials

As always, first you need to gather some tools and materials before starting the project:

  • 8 pcs of neodymium magnets, 10 x 15mm
  • Super Glue
  • A small plastic wheel (better if it comes with a metal base plate
  • Alcohol pad
  • Sharpening stone or sandpaper
  • Water
  • Metal file
  • Vise

Let’s Begin

Follow these steps to make your own magnetic honing guide.

 

  1. All tools must get attracted to magnet
    First and foremost, make sure all your hand planes are magnet friendly. To check it, you can use an HDD magnet. Proceed to the next step only if your tools are attracted to the magnet.
  1. Use a file to roughen your wheel’s base plate
    The next step deals with the base plate from the wheel. It needs to be rough enough to make the glue sticks better.

 

  1. Laying out the magnets
    Before gluing your magnets, make sure to lay them out first. Next, arrange all magnets on your wheel’s base plate. Then, transfer them to a metal piece.
  1. Cleaning off
    At this step, clean your wheel’s base plate and magnets to provide dry surface for the glue. You can do this with an alcohol pad.
  1. Gluing
    Gluing is the next step. Apply a thin coat of glue to each magnet. Then, clamp the magnet together by pushing them together. Wait for a few minutes until the glue dries.
  1. Soaking
    For this step, you can use either a diamond stone, oil stone, low-grit water stone, or even a sandpaper. If you use one of the stone, make sure you soaked it before use for about 10 minutes.
  1. Assembly
    Once you are done with the soaking, it’s time for the assembly. At this step, attach your hand plane to the honing guide. The blade needs to be at the perfect angle before you can proceed to the next step. Basically, the tip of your blade should be at the flat surface with the stone. You may try with 20 – 30 degree to begin. Adjust the angle accordingly until you get the right angle. This is how you can know you’ve got the right angle? When you push the blade gently with your hand, the blade will push a layer of water and your finger will be a bit wet. Once you got this feeling, you can stop adjusting the angle.
  1. Testing part I
    At this step, you will basically test whether the honing guide works perfectly or not. There are many ways you can do this. You are free to choose your own method. Mine, as you can see in the following image is much simpler. I just moved it back and forward. Despite any method you choose, just make sure of one thing. Your honing guide keeps your blade at 1 direction. It should only move back and forward, not any other direction.
  1. Final testing
    Now, here comes the final testing. Everything you’ve done until now is for this step. Take your blade to a real project and try working on a wood. If you managed to make some good cuts, then your blade is sharp enough. That also means your magnetic honing guide worked perfect. Just make sure to keep that blade and all other blades you have sharp enough. With this magnetic honing guide, it won’t be a difficult task to get it done.