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Thread: Plane setup

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    Kansas City, Missouri
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    Plane setup

    I've got a frog plane (I think) that I was wondering how far the chip breaker needed to be back from the cutting edge of the blade?

    As for use, I assume like wood carving, that the direction of the grain makes a big difference in which direction you should be cutting?

    Any recommended resources for setting up and tuning planes?

    This is the plane, it's a Dunlap, but doesn't have any markings that I've found.
    Last edited by Darren Wright; 04-12-2013 at 03:54 AM.
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Gonzales, Louisiana
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    115
    I'm not sure what you mean by it being a "frog plane" but it does indeed have a part called the frog. That is the wedge shaped portion that iron (blade) is secured to.

    You are very correct about going with the grain - the grain run-out as it is called.

    As for the chip breaker - the utility of a chip breaker is at it's highest with a smoothing plane such as you have there. It's one of the smaller of a family of planes referred to as bench planes. The simplest way to explain setting it is to say it needs to be very near the edge of the iron (blade).

    The role of the chip breaker is, put simply, to fold the curl upwards as the iron shears along.

    The only feature more important to that and a very sharp iron is the opening of the mouth (where the iron (blade) protrudes. This should be set as finely as possible while still allowing the curl of wood to pass through without obstruction. I can not tell if your plane has an adjustable frog - there are bolts just behind the frog which allow for it to be moved forward and backward in turn adjusting the distance of the iron (blade) from the front of the mouth hence "adjusting the mouth."

    Some things do do for a simple tune-up:

    The Iron: Sharpen the iron (blade). This seems to be the most daunting difficult tune-up for most beginning with hand tools. It's understandable as most don't have a good example to base what is sharp and what is not upon. The back of the iron should be not only flat but polished flat for at least the first 1/4 but its easier to lap the back about 1/2-3/4" to aid in keeping it flat. The bevel is typically ground anywhere from 25-35 deg - I prefer 25 plus what's called a micro bevel which gives a final angle of around 28 deg. Do not stress or fret over this. I suggest a sharpening guide - $15 can get you a very serviceable guide - and wet dry sandpaper in the grits 220-250x, 400x, 2500x. For more on this google search "scary sharp method." Stones are cheaper in the long run but ones worth using will set you back $100 and they take more energy to master.

    The chip breaker:
    The top of the curved area should be clean and smooth. I polish and wax mine. The under side of it, where it meets the iron (blade) should be ground to sharply meet the iron (blade) with no gaps to prevent curls from finding a home wedged between the two.

    The lever cap should also be clean and smooth.

    The bottom of the plane, called the sole, should be lapped flat and smooth. This is again something important for smoothing planes but not as much for it's bigger brothers. Maxing the sole helps to keep the plane sliding along and makes a tremendous difference.

    When I speak about using wax I am referring to Renaissance Wax. It's a but pricy as far as waxes go but it and beeswax the only waxes I have been able to verify do not affect future finishing of the lumber.

    If you want to read on planing techniques as described by tradesmen in the 17th century go to my blog: www.creoleproject.blogspot.com and read the article "Moxon's Tool Chest."

    Good luck and please do ask for clarification if you don't understand my rambling or have further questions.

    Jean 'aka Tom' Becnel

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Thanks Tom, I think I had seen a picture of a very similar plane referred to as a "frog" plane. It does have an adjustable frog, so perhaps that is what they were referring to. I think I've got the blade sharp enough, at a 25* angle, and the chip breaker ground and set correctly, so will try the wax on it and closing up the gap in the mouth. Having the mouth gap correct makes sense to me.

    I'll check out the blog too, Thanks again!
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  4. #4
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    Make sure the blade's bevel is DOWN!
    Jim D.
    Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim DeLaney View Post
    Make sure the blade's bevel is DOWN!
    check! It was.
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Nashua Iowa
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    Moving the frog forward closes the mouth. This is done when a light shaving is wanted . Eveyone thinks a shaving thin enough to see through or like tissue paper is the test of a set up on a plane. The only problem is a person get fine shavings but no work. To me it is a show and tell thing.
    Closing or opening the mouth actuall controls the the way the wood splits ahead of the cutter.
    It will take a little playing with to get it right then usually it is left alone. If you are planning hardwood a 30 % bevel is a little stronger.

    Tom

  7. #7
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    Jan 2012
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    Gonzales, Louisiana
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Bussey View Post
    Moving the frog forward closes the mouth. This is done when a light shaving is wanted . Eveyone thinks a shaving thin enough to see through or like tissue paper is the test of a set up on a plane. The only problem is a person get fine shavings but no work. To me it is a show and tell thing.
    Closing or opening the mouth actuall controls the the way the wood splits ahead of the cutter.
    It will take a little playing with to get it right then usually it is left alone. If you are planning hardwood a 30 % bevel is a little stronger.

    Tom
    Right-on on the show and tell thing... But it IS a smoother an each plane has it's own particular job.

  8. #8
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    Had some improvement in the plane setup, making curlies is getting easier.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Bellingham
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    Since the Nimitz just deployed you probably won't be making it back here for a while, but when you do, you need to come up and visit. We can then go over how to set up all the different bench planes.
    “When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.” - John Ruskin
    “Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.” - Oscar Wilde

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    GTA Ontario Canada
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    Darren there is a visit that i would not miss the opportunity to take up.
    cheers

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