The Veritas (LV) Skew Angle Jig



The Veritas Skew Angle Jig has just been released. This is one of two accessories for the Veritas Honing Guide Mk II. The other not dealt with here is a unit with a cambered wheel for honing cambered or radiused blades.

The basic Mk II was designed to focus specifically on straight bevels. Before the skew jig was developed, I outlined a strategy to create templates for honing skew blades in Advanced Angles on the LV Honing Guide Mk II

Several months ago I was sent a pre-production version of the jig by Lee Valley for evaluation and feedback. With the release of the production model I was sent this version as well, and I am now in a position to offer my observations on the final form. What I plan to do is illustrate and demonstrate what the skew jig does. The aim is to help you decide whether this jig is going to be useful in your own workshop.

Of course, the skew jig is only going to interest those who (a) have skew blades they wish to sharpen, and (b) already use, or plane to use, the Veritas Honing Guide Mk II.

It is quite amazing how many tools-with-skew-blades are in my workshop. Here are a few for inspection.

There are skew chisels (for dovetails), a Lie-Nielsen #98/99 side rabbet set, a Stanley #79 side rabbet plane, a Stanley #46 combination plane plus a set of skew blades, a shop-made dovetail plane, an ECE skew filletster, and a Stanley #140 skew block plane.

In my experimentation with the Skew Jig I managed to cover several different blade types, such as those above, and will detail these below.

Overall, I think that the concept of the skew jig is terrific makes my templates appear hard work! It is straightforward to grasp the principals of its design. I think that we need to start with this. The following instructions and illustrations are taken from the Lee Valley website.  Pictures have been added of setting angles on commonly used blades.

The jig attaches to the guide using the same dovetail feature along the front of the blade carrier as the standard registration jig. It is used with the blade carrier set to the 2 (yellow) standard-angle configuration.

The jig is designed to hone bevel angles of 20, 25, 30 and 35, and skew angles from 10 to 45 in 5 increments. Skew angles for 18, 22 and 28 are also included, as these are common angles for skew plane blades.

The fence is reversible to accommodate left and right skews. Simply flip it over end for end to orient the blade stop left or right, as needed.

Setting up for the #98/99 LN or Stanley Side Rabbet Planes

Step 1: Set the Bevel Angle

Place the fence in the appropriate groove for the bevel angle you are honing. The fence shown is set for a 25 bevel angle. In the following picture, the jig is being used to determine the skew angle. This is 30.

The fence is reversible to accommodate left and right skews. Simply flip it over end for end to orient the blade stop left or right, as needed.

Step 2: Setting the Skew Angle

Having established the skew angle, slide the fence so that the blade stop is tangent to the appropriate skew angle line. If the skew angle is known, go directly to this step.

Step 3: Centre the Blade

and you are ready to go.



Setting up for the Stanley #79 Side Rabbet Plane

The blades for the Stanley #79 Side Rabbet Plane have a 30 degree skew angle and should be honed with a bevel of 25 degrees.

These blades are too short to fit the Veritas skew jig set at the desired bevel angle.

However they will fit if set for a 35 degree bevel angle.

Now, if the Blade Carrier is locked on the GREEN setting, the bevel will be honed at approx. 25 degrees (the #79 blade is small and I could not be completely sure that my readings were accurate).



Setting up for the Stanley #46 Combination Plane

The Stanley #46 Combination plane: blades have a 20 degree skew angle and the bevels are 25 degrees.

This was straight forward to set up and hone.

The Stanley and LN #140 Skew Block Plane

My Stanley #140 skew block plane has the unusual skew angle of 21 degrees (and a bevel of 20 degrees). If I used a 20 degree skew angle, the blade would be canted in the mouth. So it required a custom setting.

Since my skew angle was already established, the bevel angle was set by squaring the bevel edge with the fence. Note that the example below is set up for 25 degrees.



Skew Chisels

I have wide Crown skew chisels (left and right): These have a skew angle of 40 degrees and a bevel of 25 degrees.

If the blade enters from the direct rear of the Honing Guide, then the maximum width blade it can fit (with the skew) is . This is also going to lead to a poor centering of the bevel for honing.

Instead, the blade should enter from the side of the Honing Guide.


 

Conclusions

The Veritas Skew Jig essentially delivers what it sets out to do, that is, establish the honing angle for skew blades in association with the Veritas Honing Guide Mk II. It does this with the minimum of complexity and is quick in execution.

There is no difficulty for blades either with skew angles that are known (but not honed), or with blades with non-standard but established skew angles. For those unhoned blades with non-standard skew angles, the bevel will first have to be established, and in these situations I suggest you refer to my directions for creating templates.

Derek Cohen
Perth, Australia
April 2006