Believe it or not, it works just fine so long as you don't rock the bevel on the abrasive surface. I start at 1200 grit and end with a "gold stone" 10,000 grit (+-) If you aren't comfortable holding an angle free hand, you can make a wooden bevel gauge. Japanese craftsmen work on their knees which allows them to use the entire body as a brace to hold the blade at the right angle.

You can do this easily if you lock your wrists when you've got the angle and push with your shoulders. I did the wooden block screwed to the blade thing and the "scary sharp" sandpaper glued to glass. I'll try the freehand method before shelling out some clams first. And, Japanese blades are, often, two to three times thicker than our own Western counterparts making them easier to hold true while honing a blade.

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Today's question : sharpening the little plane blades of the stanley 12-101. (plus another one I got with no name on it but it's basically the same thing just heavy framed) Lay your blade bevel on your stone, oil or water, or even fine sandpaper on a perfectly flat surface, like plate glass or the top of your table saw, and rock it back and forth while putting a bit of pressure on it. I'm not real impressed with the "small blade holder", so bare handing the small blade you have is certainly a good way to go. Yes, I can basically hand hold darn near any edge tool and hone to an accurate bevel it on a water stone.

Up3ld Tk Tsy4 I was thinking about the veritas mk2: then there's the small blade holder: Do I need both? You will feel when the bevel is flat against the abrasive surface. But I have been doing it for more years than I wish to cop out to.

Then, when it is flat, maintain that angle and without rocking it back and forth, apply pressure and rub it around. It does take a bit of time to develop the instinct needed to hold a blade on the right bevel without rocking it and putting a belly in the bevel, a basic no no!

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