An excellent sharpening system has just gotten better and cheaper! The Veritas Mark II ($300) sharpens chisels, plane irons, carving gouges and V-tools incredibly fast with a minimum of fuss. The Mark II is a simpler version of the Mark I, a sharpening system that ran away with our Editors' Choice Award (AW #89, October 2001), and it costs $100 less. The Mark I had a grinder (you don't really need it) and drive belt that was difficult to track (the Mark II solves this problem).You don't need to be an expert sharpener to get professional results with this machine. Completely sharpening any tool takes only a matter of minutes, and it's just about impossible to overheat an edge. Simply stick an 8-in. diam-eter piece of self-adhesive sandpaper onto one of three interchangeable discs and mount the disc on the machine. Raise the tool rest to one of its preset heights (they correspond to any sharpening angle between 15 and 45 degrees, in 5-degree intervals) and you're ready to go. The sandpaper ranges from coarse to super-fine. The coarse grit will quickly form an entirely new bevel, so there's no need to use a grinder. The super-fine paper will give you a keen edge that's ready to use, with no further honing required. Each sandpaper disc will last through at least 50 sharpenings, and replacements cost $2.60 to $5 each.
Lee Valley Tools, (800) 871-8158
Mark II Sharpening System, #05M31.01, $300.