Review By Dean Bielanowski  Veritas Website - http://www.leevalley.com

 

Veritas® Basic Grinding Set

 

 

Veritas
Basic Grinding Set Review
By Dean Bielanowski

 

Sharpening is a skill that is learnt only through practice and trial and error. No matter what jigs you may buy, you will probably find that they are only a means to and end, but in saying that, they certainly do have value of their own. Today we are looking at the Veritas Basic Grinding Set, which is actually composed of 2 items which are sold separately (or can be bought as a set together) and can be used on most 6" or 8" bench grinders to provide a larger, more solid tool rest. 

We received the Grinder Tool Rest (top) courtesy of Lee Valley/Veritas and purchased the Veritas Grinding Jig (bottom left) to go with it from a local supplier.

The set as pictured above is valued at US$67.50

Now, we must mention that there are plenty of similar tool rests and jigs on the market and most are less expensive than our set under review, so our aim for this review is to see whether the additional cost is warranted in both the build and functionality of the Veritas set.

Let's take a closer look...

If you were to buy the set for US$67.50, you would receive the 3 items pictured in the image at the top of this review, i.e. the tool rest, the grinding jig and an angle setting guide. The angle setting guide is made of hardened plastic and we will take a closer look at it later. The tool rest and grinding jig are formed from hard aluminium and these are further hardened by an anodizing process. This gives the jigs a solid feel, with a little weight about them (perhaps a similar weight/density to what you would expect with brass), more so than many other cheaper, common tool rests - so points are scored there. It is up to you to purchase the screws/washers/nuts and to drill the holes to secure the tool rest in front of your bench grinder or sander.

The grinding jig also features brass and plastic/nylon elements which we will get to. But let's examine each component separately... 

Tool Rest

The Veritas Grinder Tool Rest can be set up just about anywhere. You really only need a small area of flat surface in front on your grinding wheels to mount the tool rest. You must be able to screw the tool rest down of course in the name of safety, and accuracy. The tool rest is suitable for almost all 6" or 8" bench grinders. I have a Ryobi 6" grinder and I found I had to saw off the standard tool rest holding arm on my machine as it interfered with the Veritas tool rest. No dramas, because it really is an upgrade on the default that's for sure!

Veritas® Grinder Tool RestThe one inch wheels on my grinder snugly fit within the housing on the tool rest. This is the maximum wheel width you can use with this item. Anything up to one inch in width is fine. The total width of the tool rest table is four inches. When not in use, the pivoting 'arms' along with the table angle adjustment ability allows you to easily tuck the tool rest away for free-hand grinding. Since the entire tool rest can pivot around two points, as well as slide up and down within the main arms, you can set it to almost any angle and position imaginable, so it is no trouble to set it up to handle all your tool sharpening needs. In practice, you may find it takes a little time to set your exact angle, particularly if you have not used dual pivoting tool rests before. Time needed for setup decreases with practice so don't worry too much.

The adjustment handles are spring-loaded, so you can pull them outwards, rotate them and then re-engage them to give yourself more room to tighten the tool rest in your chosen position. Much like a ratchet wrench in operation, with a touch extra work needed, however, these types of fastening devices are used widely in many types of woodworking machinery.

Looking at the anatomy of the table itself, we find it is grooved to accommodate sliding jigs like the Veritas grinding jig and is also center-drilled for jigs that require rotational movement. You could easily build your own small jigs to fit the grooved track, customized for your needs.

The purpose of any aftermarket tool rest for a bench grinder is to provide a large area to lay your tools on and to be able to set angles more easily. The Veritas model certainly meets both those criteria. You will be able to use the tool rest by itself to some level of success, however, for more accurate results, a grinding jig is useful. Let's take a look at Veritas version.

Veritas Grinding Jig

The Veritas Grinding Jig was custom-made for the Veritas Tool Rest, however, it can be used on almost any standard tool rest as well thanks to its design. Its main purpose is to firmly hold your tool in the correct orientation for grinding. For plane blades, chisels etc, this is at 90 degrees to the wheel, which is also hopefully 90 degrees to the table (for good measure). You can also adjust the alignment pin and clamping thumbscrews for skew grinding at 30 degrees either direction. The grinding jig is composed of the same material as the tool rest (hard anodized aluminium) and features brass clamping screws, nylon washers for extra durability and high friction pads to provide strong clamping pressure.

In practice, setting and clamping your chisels, plane blades or skews is really quick and easy. For plane blades and chisels, you make sure your adjustment pin and one clamp screw are aligned and then simply butt the side of your chisel up against both components to set your tool in the correct position. Now screw down both clamps to hold it in perfect alignment. This probably takes less than 5-6 seconds. Your chisel or blade is now ready for grinding (assuming you have the table set correctly). Next you simply seat the grinding jig in the slot on the tool rest, power up your grinder and slide the jig back and forth carefully to grind your edges. We found there was a little 'play' in the grinding jig which could cause you to misalign it while sliding it side-to-side. Not a big deal, however, it does require you to concentrate on keeping the edge closest to you seated along the bottom part of the tool rest slot.
You should be concentrating anyway right? There is perhaps a little too much play, whether this is by design or manufacturing issue I cannot say at this stage, but I am investigating.

To set a skew chisel at 30 degrees in the jig, all you need do is move the alignment pin to the new position and away you go. See Veritas diagram included below:

Angle Setting Guide

Included with the basic tool rest is an angle setting jig. This jig is made out of hardened plastic and serves 2 purposes... Firstly, it can be used to quickly determine the angle of any common flat-bottomed blade, whether it be a chisel or planer blade etc. When I mention "common", I am referring to those angles commonly found on chisels. The angle finder can determine the blade angle only if it is either 20, 25, 30 or 35 degrees. Due to the shape and mould of the jig, all you need to do is either lay your chisel blade flat on a bench or surface and slide the jig up to the blade, then decide which of its four angled surfaces match your blade's surface and read the degree measurement from the jig for that particular surface. Alternatively, you can slide your chisel or blade to rest in the jig to determine the angle (see picture in right column).

The second purpose of the jig is to accurately set your tool rest to the correct angle relative to your grinder's wheel. The process is very simple, but relatively difficult to describe without extensive explanation and diagrams, however, the instructions that ship with the tool rest explain everything clearly. Let me just say that once you have grasped the concept of using the jig to set the table angle to the wheel, the process really is a 'no-brainer'.

Conclusion
Well, I hope the above text has given you an idea of the features and application of the Veritas basic grinding set and grinding jig. You may recall, our quest was to determine whether the Veritas set was worth the extra money over other generic sets that cost considerably less? This is still a tough question to answer...

I think that if you are looking for a good quality tool rest and grinding jig and have a mindset to buying only quality items that will last the distance, then you can't really go wrong with this set, however, if you believe you can find something just as good functionality-wise elsewhere, and don't mind sacrificing a little build/component quality for the saving in dollars that it brings, then perhaps go for a cheaper outfit. What you are paying extra here for is the quality of the set, the build, the finish, the rigidity and accuracy of the item. These are synonymous qualities that Veritas are well known for. And if you do undertake a lot of grinding on a regular basis in your shop or woodworking den, then you will appreciate why this item does require a little larger investment.

Available to Order Online through these companies...
Click graphic to go to their direct product page for this item


In Australia

www.timbecon.com.au

 

Veritas Basic Grinding Set Photos
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Here is the tool rest set up in front of our bench grinder.


Thanks to the maneuverability
of the tool rest, we can slide it down and out of the way for freehand grinding.


The tool rest snugly accommodates our 1" thick
white wheel.


You will have to buy yourself a couple carriage bolts to secure the tool rest to the table. these are not included in the set.


The clamping adjustment handles can be pulled out and rotated to make your life a little easier.


The angle setting jig. Look closely and you can see the four angle markings in the circles.


Within 5 seconds, I have determined that the angle of this firmer chisel is 25 degrees.


Here is the grinding jig which is sold separately to the tool rest. Nice brass fittings!


And here we are grinding a perfect 25 degree angle on our firmer chisel. All you need to do is slide the jig side-to-side across the wheel. Accuracy is high.


Our skew chisel needed some attention before tackling the lathe. The Veritas grinding jig can easily be set up to hold a perfect 30 degree angle on the jig, giving us a nice 90 degree angle to the wheel. Note the position of the brass positioning pin at the bottom.
 

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