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Thread: Planes, Me, and finally Yipee!

  1. #1
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    Planes, Me, and finally Yipee!

    Hi All,

    I have not done well with planes. Yeah, I could make one make shavings but quality control was putrid. I only used a plane when I wanted to hack some wood down and then finish with a belt sander or whatever,

    I have a couple WWII Stanley planes. I took some time and worked at truing the sole. I read several, "How To" articles. I sharpened the blade on my WorkSharp 3000 (I don't know why anyone would buy a model 2000. It requires the sharpening gene and the 3000 does not.).

    Anyway I have been using the "Jack" plane and by-golly I can curl up some beautiful shavings.

    I have been planning on purchasing a Veritas or Neilson plane at the Woodworking Show on May 4th. Now I am wondering if a more sophisticated plane will help this rank amature or am I just trying to buy my way to even better work.

    The plane I have is a Stanley and has a heart just below the Stanley name. The heart contains "SW." I don't know how to do it or ??? But I have the blade adjusted as far as it will go. This gives me fine shavings. I don't see any way to set the blade to put the "adjustment" in the middle of the travel of the adjusting knob. The blade is plenty long. However, when I get it set with 1/16" of the blade exposed, I can't make the adjustment slot be in the desired position.

    I am sure that the above sounds like, "If I put the gizmo next to the whatcha call it and tighten the thingie I don't get a good set-up." to someone who knows planes.

    Should I keep fussing with this old plane or should I get something more sophisticated?

    Enjoy,

    Jim

    Oh, the plane is 13 and a fraction inches long.
    First of all you have to be smarter than the machine.
    VOTING MEMBER

  2. #2
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    Oct 2006
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    ozarks
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim C Bradley View Post

    The plane I have is a Stanley and has a heart just below the Stanley name. The heart contains "SW." I don't know how to do it or ??? But I have the blade adjusted as far as it will go. This gives me fine shavings. I don't see any way to set the blade to put the "adjustment" in the middle of the travel of the adjusting knob. The blade is plenty long. However, when I get it set with 1/16" of the blade exposed, I can't make the adjustment slot be in the desired position.

    I am sure that the above sounds like, "If I put the gizmo next to the whatcha call it and tighten the thingie I don't get a good set-up." to someone who knows planes.

    Should I keep fussing with this old plane or should I get something more sophisticated?

    Enjoy,

    Jim

    Oh, the plane is 13 and a fraction inches long.

    jim,
    the blade position on the frog is determined by the placement of the chip breaker......this alone is what will give you cutting deapth control.
    the frog is adjustable front to back so that you can open or close the planes mouth.
    i don`t own any of the "new and improved" planes on the market so i can`t offer any firsthand experience as to whether or not they`re better than the antiques....i would immagine that if you cough up the bucks for one you`d get a properly set up plane right out of the box?
    if it where me i`d find a local fellow who can show you how to tune what you have...it`s really not rocket science or magic
    [SIZE="1"] associated with several importers and manufacturers.[/SIZE]

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim C Bradley View Post
    Should I keep fussing with this old plane or should I get something more sophisticated?
    New is nice, it may come properly adjusted and ready to go. But as some point it is going to need to be sharpened and readjusted and your going to be back where you are now. So I side with Todd. You need to just learn how to do it yourself. We all go through that learning curve, but once you get it, I dare say you will find you use your planes all the time. I know I do.
    God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,
    the good fortune to run into the ones I do,
    and the eyesight to tell the difference.


    Kudzu Craft Lightweight Skin on frame Kayaks.
    Custom built boats and Kits

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    St. Louis, MO
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    583
    As the others noted, it's the location of the chip breaker. I set mine with its leading edge about 1/16" behind the cutting edge of the blade. Mount it to the back of the blade so that the bevel edge is face down when it's inserted into the plane. Then drop it in place.

    If there's a lot of slop in the depth adjustment, it's generally caused by the "tooth" of the yoke floating loosely within the slot in the chip breaker. If the slop is annoying, and it's a user plane, sometimes i'll peen the slot in the chip breaker a bit tighter with a ball peen hammer.

    after the cutting iron / chip breaker assembly is set onto the frog, install the lever cap. It should be tight enough to hold the cutting iron snug during use, but loose enough to allow you to smoothly operate the depth and lateral adjustments without loosening or removing the lever cap. It's easy to exert too much force on the frog assembly making things much more prone to cracking or chipping during use.

    When setting the depth, always make sure the depth adjustment wheel is snug - not loose. This makes sure the blade won't shift during use. If you're backing the iron off for a shallower cut, back it off, then run the adjustment wheel back up snug as if you were about to adjust the cutting iron for a deeper cut. Just leave it there, and you're ready to go.

    If you're getting more chatter than you think you should, look for ways to keep the cutting iron from rocking, bending, or flexing. See that it's seated flatly against the frog, and that the frog seats flat against the sole casting. I've flattened several frogs with a good long fine flat file, or some sandpaper on a piece of glass or cast iron machine top. You may also check the leading edge of your chip breaker - make sure it seats flat across the width of the cutting iron. They rarely do out of the box, and it's an easy fix with a fine flat file or hone.

    Instead of buying a new plane, you might consider purchasing a new thicker aftermarket blade and/or chip breaker for your current plane. Hock, Lee Valley (Veritas is their brand), Cliffton, and Lie Nielsen make good A2, O2, or high carbon blades for the old planes. They're thicker (reducing chatter) and hold an edge much better than most original stock blades. I like the A2 steel and high carbon blades. The after market chip breakers are thicker and go a long way towards reducing chatter with the original thin blades. I'm partial to the Cliffton 2 piece chip breaker, but the heavier one piece models look like they'd work quite well. I've upgraded the blades and chip breakers on most of my older user planes - makes quite a difference for 1/3 the cost of a new high quality plane.

    That said, i've purchased some new planes as well. I've got 3 Veritas models (low angle block, low angle smoother, and medium shoulder plane) that i really do love using. No regrets.

    Have fun - once you get the hang of the plane, it's a really versatile and useful tool. I like using mine quite a bit.

    Paul Hubbman

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    Oceanside, So. Calif. 5 mi. to the ocean
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    Hi and thanks for the responses.

    I have probably used a plane more in the past couple weeks than I have in the past 20 years. Even with the little that I know, it is a handy tool.

    I will keep working with the two planes. My skill level is improving rapidly. I'm having fun. Well not all fun. I found some new muscles and that 32" is too darned low for the work surface if you are smoothing a flat surface. I also got a crick in the back that lasted for two days until I gave up and went to the chiropractor (bless him).

    Enjoy,

    Jim

    I am just starting a new work bench. I was going to make it 32" high. I changed my mind to 36"---If I don't like it I can shorten the legs. Any comments about where the bench top should be for planing? I will have legs flush with the top so I can fasten boards so the edge, to be planed, is just a bit above the bench top height.

    I did the 32" because I though I would be more efficient leaning into the plane a bit when working on a surface. However, right now, after the back ache, I think standing more upright would make it so I could work longer.
    Last edited by Jim C Bradley; 04-17-2008 at 03:05 AM. Reason: Wanted to add a PS
    First of all you have to be smarter than the machine.
    VOTING MEMBER

  6. #6
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    jim, benches are a very subjective tool, what works for one may not work so well for someone else. mine hits me at the wrist and that`s fine for what i do....but....if i where pushing a scrub plane for 4-6 hrs at a whack i think i`d rather have it about midway between my wrist-n-elbow...
    [SIZE="1"] associated with several importers and manufacturers.[/SIZE]

  7. #7
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    Tod,

    I have redesigned the work bench. I'm glad I was no further along than having a ton of poplar unloaded onto my wood rack. Man that stuff is HEAVY. 1 3/4 x 12 x 8ft weigh 41.5 pounds. I weighed it because it felt so heavy. It seems heavier than the 55# sections of euclyptus and the 57# piece of steel I have moved recently. I'm probably aging on an accelerated basis.

    I am going for 36" height. That is just above my wrist. I planed some plywood I put on the top of my drill press (35 1/2" high) and did not get the back ache. So I tried the 32" height again and again the back ache.

    If I decide to go higher I can add a slab of 3/4" birch plywood to the top. If I decide to go down a little I can use a saw on the legs.

    Thanks again!

    Enjoy,

    Jim
    First of all you have to be smarter than the machine.
    VOTING MEMBER

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