Using a General 809 Honing Guide

I somehow have two of these. Did not like them initially, but a few weeks ago I acquired an old spoke pointer which has a very thin, short blade, and I had to use the 809. I can not find instructions anywhere on the internet so here is what I learned.

Besides regular plane blades and chisels, the 809 can be used for very narrow things like a 1/8″ chisel, short blades like from a spokeshave, or even skewed cutters. Those $10 Eclipse clone guides just don’t work for these. On the downside, an 809 is made to hone only a 30 degree bevel. It has a roller foot that rides along the bench instead of on the stone and that means the foot has to be reset each time you change to a stone with a different thickness.

General 809 Honing Guide
General 809 Honing Guide

There is a flat area on the bottom underneath the blade clamp. That flat is thirty degrees to the surface that clamps the blade. Retract the blade so it does not touch the stone. Loosen the knuckle knob in the center of the guide so the foot swings free, then place a business card on the stone under the flat area. Press down and hold the front of the guide so the flat rests securely on the business card. At the rear, move the foot down so it touches the bench and tighten the knuckle knob.

Set Guide Foot to Make 30 Degree Angle
Set Guide Foot to Make 30 Degree Angle

With the business card still in place under the guide flat, loosen the blade clamp and slide the blade down to touch the stone evenly. Tighten the blade clamp, remove the business card and commence honing.

When you advance to the next higher grit, it’s likely the stone will not be the same thickness. I have stones ranging from 3/8″ to 1″. So on each change, repeat the foot setting process – press the flat against business card, loosen knuckle knob, adjust foot to touch bench, tighten knuckle knob. Do not change the blade setting.

Readjusting Foot for Thicker Stone
Readjusting Foot for Thicker Stone

The stock 809 clamp only works for blades 2 inches or longer. For shorter blades we have to help it. To handle this short cutter from the spoke pointer, I sandwiched the blade with three rulers, one on top of the blade, one underneath and one a bit thinner than the cutter in the middle. It honed up great and the spoke pointer works like a charm.

Short Blade Support
Short Blade Support

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