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Thread: chip breaker distance?

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    chip breaker distance?

    How far from the edge should the chip breaker be from the edge of the blade on a smoothing plane?

    Is it the same for all planes or do you seat it back further for more aggressive cuts?


    Thanks,

    Brian
    That's not even a smile! That's just a bunch of teeth playing with my mind!

  2. #2
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    Ok,
    Another ?,

    How much is the ideal gap of the mouth of the plane vs the size of your shaving?

    Ie, my smoothing plane takes an average .002 inch shaving out of cherry but the mouth is open about 1/16". I don't see the difference playing with it, but when I get into some weird grain I do get tearout. Would closing the mouth down reduce or eliminate the tear out?


    Thanks!
    That's not even a smile! That's just a bunch of teeth playing with my mind!

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Altop View Post
    How far from the edge should the chip breaker be from the edge of the blade on a smoothing plane?

    Is it the same for all planes or do you seat it back further for more aggressive cuts?


    Thanks,

    Brian
    I'm far from an expert on hand planes, so I figure if I toss out an answer, the real experts will chime in to correct me.

    On the first question, I believe I've seen recommendations that the edge of the chipbreaker should be somewhere around 1/32" away from the edge of the blade.

    On the second question, I think you're right about setting it farther back for the more aggressive cuts.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  4. #4
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    Vaughn as usual is correct. A good starting point is about 1/32 back from the edge for the chipbreaker. Remember to hone a sharp edge on the underside of the chipbreaker so it seats well on the iron. Also polish the curved top of the chipbreaker, and maybe wax it, so shavings slide over it more easily.

    The mouth of the plane should be just a bit bigger than the shaving you are putting through it. If your shaving is .002, aim for .004 or so. Sometimes such fine gaps will clog and you have to open it up. Sometimes having the chipbreaker so close to the edge will also clog, so be ready to make adjustments and experiment.

    When doing more coarse work, set the chipbreaker further back, and open the mouth up more.

  5. #5
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    Thank you both!!

    Brian
    That's not even a smile! That's just a bunch of teeth playing with my mind!

  6. #6
    Don't hesitate to experiment with the setback of the chip breaker. In many instances it's not nearly as critical as it might seem. Some of the best planemakers in the world don't use chip breakers at all in their planes, but then they also use very thick irons. There's good reason to believe that the chip breaker functions mostly to help prevent blade chatter, especially on older planes with thin blades. It's an old argument.

    I have mostly old Stanley planes and keep the chip breaker between 1/32 - 1/16" and don't worry about it very much.

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