Kell Honing Guide - Canadian Woodworking Magazine

Quick and easy to use with durable, replaceable rollers


Kell Honing Guide

We all know how important it is to keep plane blades and chisels in tip-top condition; sharp tools make for safer, easier, more accurate, and more enjoyable woodworking.
Lapping the backs of new blades and chisels, and grinding the correct bevel angle is best done with a tool like the Veritas Mk.II Sharpening System. Once you have sharpened your blade, smoothing the surface of the bevel and putting on an ultra keen cutting edge is easily accomplished with a good quality honing guide.
While you only have to re-sharpen a chisel when the cutting bevel becomes altered through successive honing, or when it gets nicked, you will find that honing should be a 'regular maintenance' item in your shop. It only takes a few minutes, and makes a big difference in the cutting quality of your tools.
I always hone my tools before the start of every new project, and often several times during the project. All the honing guides that I have tried are designed primarily for straight-edged and Western style tools. Typically they fall short when it comes to Japanese chisels and very narrow or short bodied chisels. Fortunately, the Kell Honing Guide fills the gap.

The Kell Honing Guide is superbly manufactured from solid brass and stainless steel for the body and guide pins, and Ertalite (a super durable low friction composite acetal resin) for the rollers. The guide comes in two versions; a narrow version handles blades up to 1" in width, while a wide guide accepts blades up to 2-5/8". 
Unlike other honing guides that exert pressure on the top and bottom of the blade, the Kell Guide applies pressure on the sides of the tool. This is ideal for narrow chisels, which are often slightly rounded on the bottom. It was also the only guide that easily handles my Japanese chisels, which have rather short blades and an angled top.
The Kell Guide is simple and quick to use, and also exceptionally well balanced. The length of the blade projection from the end of the guide determines the bevel angle; you measure from the side of the stainless rod to the cutting edge of your blade. Some people may find this a bit awkward, but with a bit of practice, you can set the angle pretty quickly.
Bear in mind that you don’t need to apply a lot of force when tightening the hexagonal nut, and that you should dry the stainless steel rod after use, else it may rust. I found that the replaceable Ertalite wheels didn’t wear my waterstones as much as the brass wheels found on other guides. At only 1" x 3-1/2" overall (narrow version), this guide fits neatly in an apron pocket. A very cool tool that does a super job.


  • Brass and steel body
  • Replaceable Ertalite rollers

AVAILABLE FROM:Tools for Woodworking
RETAIL PRICE:$60 US (narrow)
$69 US (wide)
MODEL #:RK1006-00 (narrow)
RK1007-00 (wide)
Carl Duguay, June 2009
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