Lie Nielsen


I recently purchased a Lie Nielsen Honing Guide. I really love the build quality, but I’m getting a poor result with my sharpening.
I’m hoping that by putting this out to the ‘hive mind’ of the internet, someone might be able to help me identify my problem.
I’ve checked the jaws of the tool close tightly, (they do) and they also close without any wayward flexing or offset.
When I clamp a chisel in the jaws, the chisel is perfectly square, as you can see in the photo.
However, after some sharpening, the honing is definitely not square.
Am I doing something wrong here?
Lie Nielsen Honing Guide problem_2
Lie Nielsen Honing Guide problem_1
I really want this to be my ‘go to’ system and I have two very decent diamond stones which I’m pleased with for the actual cutting. I just want to move away from freehand sharpening and I figured this would be a good guide. However, I’m wary about buying to extra set of jaws I need for some different chisels, before I can rectify this problem.
Hope someone out there can advise.
Thanks, Gary

9 replies on “Wha?”

Using the guide doesn’t mean it will be square. I thought the same thing until I read Tom Nielsen writing about this. He said that the guide will not by itself give you square bevelsedges. You still have to look at the bevel and adjust as necessary to bring it square. The center wheel can pivot and give you the results you have there. After you have used it a while you will adjust automatically for it. It took me a bit to do especially so with the narrow width chisels.

Looking at the guide wheel, it looks like you are putting more pressure on one side. The wheel has more wear on it on the same side as the wider grind area.

Also, check that the chisel is currently square. If the chisel is out of square and the guide is square, your result will look like what you have.

If you want to dictate the squareness of the edge through the guide then a wider guide wheel is in order. Either a Kell or Veritas jig. The LN is a very well executed Eclipse jig (with added features) and the narrow wheel allows you to put a slight camber on blades but will not prevent a camber where it’s not desired.

Another issue is with tapered plane blades. They may not play nicely with parallel jaws if the sides don’t seat firmly.


I agree with what Ralph said. The honing guide will only keep the angle of the bevel fixed. The narrow wheel allows one to rock the blade creating edges that are both straight and convex (cambered). You can see from your photo that the roller wheel is not worn evenly, which is mosly likely due to bearing or leaning down on one side, this will create a skewed edge. I personally hone from one side and then flip around and hone on the other. This wears my stones more evenly and also compensates for lack of symmetry in my body.

Thanks so much, Ralph. I thought I was going mad, but remembered reading your posts on this. I think your guide ended up being one with slight manufacturing defects, but I think I missed the info about ‘human error’! Will go back to this on a mission of keeping myself straight and not blaming the guide.

Thanks Niels, nice to know I can resolve this with a bit of concentration and haven’t wasted my money.

Compare your Lie Nielsen to a Veritas Mk II guide and you will soon see the cause of your problem. I have both of these guides and use the Veritas for anything wider than ½” and the Lie Nielsen for anything narrower than that.

According to Mr. Nielsen it’s all about finger pressure. Uneven pressure will result in a blade not being sharpened square to itself. I have the cheap version of the small center roller guide and he is entirely correct. I have even found that this will happen with the vaunted Veritas mkII honing guide. Uneven pressure, uneven blade edge.
Kicked off LumberJocks and darn proud of it.

Phew, good to see other with exactly the same problem, I also thought it was the guides fault. Will try a little harder next time.


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