Planes

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Planes

Postby ToneWood » Fri May 18, 2012 9:00 am

Planes don't seem like a traditional green woodworking tool but their use came up this week in a discussion on bowlmate & bowl making, so thought perhaps it would be best to move it out to it own separate thread. Here's one like mine, which is a Marples M4 with "double-iron":
Image

A couple of handy plane links:
Stanley assembly pamphlet.: http://www.tooltrip.com/tooltrip9/stanl ... sheets.pdf
http://www.using-tools.com/planes-woodworking.htm
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Re: Planes

Postby ToneWood » Fri May 18, 2012 9:02 am

Just spent the last 1.5 hours adjusting and working with the plane on my blank - it's done a good job. :) It took me a while to get the darn thing adjusted right* (did think about giving up at one point) but once it started taking shavings off it was a joy to use - well, until it got bunged up anyway. Just wish I'd noticed that I was wearing my best white shirt before I came in though :(. There is still some work to do to flatten the face but the bulk of it is done, including a 2" long x 0.5" kink in the edge grain.

First impressions: The Marples M4 has a "double-iron". Think I got that set right on the third attempt (too small, too large, just right). The long lever on top-back didn't seem to do much, perhaps for finer work? The spring lever on the front seemed useless - used my fingers or a screw-driver most of the time instead - perhaps it is just intended to release pressure for the reverse-thread adjuster on the back (why a reverse thread?!), perhaps the the spring on the face plate has become too weak Despite all the adjusters, once set it was great to use. I dare say it comes easier with experience.
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Re: Planes

Postby ToneWood » Fri May 18, 2012 1:13 pm

Another forum member kindly sent me several useful plane links. This video link is very good:
http://www.pbs.org/woodwrightsshop/video/3100/3105.html
I used to sometimes watch Roy Underhill on Woodwright's Shop (a rustic New Yankee Workshop?!) on PBS in the USA, even before my current interest in green wood working.
He is unique character, although he strikes me as a woodwork-specific version of a couple of our own national treasures, Jack Hargreaves(rural life)/Ray Mears(bushcraft).
[His book provides a good introduction to traditional green woodworking tools.]

The program describes a planing problem called "banana'ing" - which I had already encountered. Also, after watching that, I now strongly suspect that I need to
adjust the plane's "frog" - to open up the plane's mouth so that it doesn't clog up so easily. I did also consider putting an 8" bevel on my plane iron, to
make it more suited to rough planing but decided against it. On a plane iron" sharpening video on youtube, I noticed they guy lightly beveled the corners
with, I think, just a single stroke - will probably try that.
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Re: Planes

Postby ToneWood » Fri May 18, 2012 1:19 pm

While at the PBS Woodwright's Shop website [see previous post], I noticed a now familiar name, that of active forum member Peter Follansnbee - he appears in 2 shows one on spoon carving and another on stool-making. I've only watched the first one so far - it was very good. It mentioned that he works at the Plymouth/Mayflower outdoor museum (I forget the name) - we visited there once in the 1990s, while visiting friends in Falmouth, MA, so perhaps I might have seen Peter in action?! I do recall watching demonstrations by skilled workers there, I felt quite at home there with the thatched buildings (and on Martha Vineyard where some of the cottages "feel" much like those where I grew-up & live now but they have shingles instead of thatch).

Somebody asked me just this weekend how I came to be interested in taking up green woodworking, I couldn't think of an answer. But looking back I suppose numerous people, including all those listed above and others that I know or met must have influenced me. So blame Peter, Roy, Jack & Ray ;)
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Re: Planes

Postby jrccaim » Sat May 19, 2012 4:39 am

ToneWood wrote:Just spent the last 1.5 hours adjusting and working with the plane on my blank - it's done a good job. :) It took me a while to get the darn thing adjusted right* (did think about giving up at one point) but once it started taking shavings off it was a joy to use - well, until it got bunged up anyway. Just wish I'd noticed that I was wearing my best white shirt before I came in though :(. There is still some work to do to flatten the face but the bulk of it is done, including a 2" long x 0.5" kink in the edge grain.

First impressions: The Marples M4 has a "double-iron". Think I got that set right on the third attempt (too small, too large, just right). The long lever on top-back didn't seem to do much, perhaps for finer work? The spring lever on the front seemed useless - used my fingers or a screw-driver most of the time instead - perhaps it is just intended to release pressure for the reverse-thread adjuster on the back (why a reverse thread?!), perhaps the the spring on the face plate has become too weak Despite all the adjusters, once set it was great to use. I dare say it comes easier with experience.


Oh boy. I could write a whole book on planes (warning: I am a plane fanatic; I must own about 20 of them) but Mr Garret Hack has already done so. The Plane Book. Google it. However, some quickie pointers. First the long lever on the back is used to adjust the skew of the blade; blade has to be parallel to the long edge of the plane. Moving it right or left unskews the blade. You want to have the opening perfectly rectangular. Turn the plane upside down to make sure the opening is really rectangular. Second, you have to really fiddle with the *(&^ hold-down screw until the spring catch works properly. Ideally you set it tight enough so's it doesen't come apart and loose enough so the spring catch works. Bit difficult with older planes; threads are worn. Maybe thread-locker is your friend. Will try it. Third, with a straight-edge make sure the sole is flat, dead flat. Measure with a straight-edge, with the blade in but withdrawn all the way. Across and down. Irregular means you tape a sheet of wet-and-dry to something really flat and lap away. Sole not flat, plane won't work at all.

Fourth, you have to adjust the throat. This is the opening of the plane. My current rule of thumb is that the throat should be as wide as the shaving you intend to take. You can easily take 0.1mm shavings if the blade is sharp; I have measured them. To start, try 0.5mm. In order to do this, take the plane apart, pull off the cap iron and blades. You will see a widget attached to the base of the plane. It is called the frog :). It's held by two (usually) screws. Loosening these allows you to slide the frog back (wide throat) and forward (narrow throat). This takes some experimentation.

All this fiddling can be exasperating, one reason I have so many planes. I have them all tuned differently. One for really coarse work, scrubbing it is called. About 6mm throat, curved blade. Another medium, about 1-0.5mm throat, another really fine. And finally there is the wood. Sometimes only one of my planes will work at all. I shrug, and plane away. Marples makes, or made, very, very good planes. I think you've got a treasure. But they still take a lot of tuning. I have yet to encounter a double-bladed plane, so next time you have the thing apart would you please take a picture of all the pieces and post?

Oops. Reading my post (fifth edition) and looking at your pic I suspect that your "second blade" is really a cap iron. Can't tell from the pic. If it is, I am on known grounds; if it isn't I have something new to learn. Can't tell the players without the program, so a pic is doubly welcome.
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Re: Planes

Postby ToneWood » Sat May 19, 2012 9:30 am

I was just sadden to read on the Chisel & Gouge terminology threadthat forum member Ian S. passed away last week :(.

Hi jrrcaim,
Yes, I will take a picture next time I have my Marples M4 plane apart. I didn't have time to give it a full makeover before using it this week, I just washed it, sharpened it and oiled it but I plan to:
* Strip it down and
* Clean it electrolysis. We've discussed this on the Restoring Tools thread but I came across a good video on restoring planes on your tube that shows quite simply how to do this - they used washing soda in water as their electrolyte.
* Level the base, if necessary, as you suggest. I already have 5 sheets on wet and dry stuck to some (tempered :( ) glass for sharpening/leveling.
* Adjust the frog. I think you are right, the frog probably needs to be adjusted. I guess I am using, my Marples M4 plane for scrubbing(?) and it was probably set for much finer work (planing the edges of shelves and such like), so probably need to open it right up.
* Sharpen the blade/iron again. I sharpened it pretty well before using it but I think I could do better - I might even dispense with the secondary "micro" bevel (TBD) - polish up the minimal back bevel.
* Clean & file, if necessary, the mouth/grooves where things slide.
* Fix the Handle!! Almost forgot the biggest flaw. Will re-glue or possibly replace the handle. I tried gluing the handle back together (I can see that it was glued at the same spot before) with wood glue - it didn't work, but I washed the whole thing afterwards, so perhaps that was to blame. I'll try once more with wood glue. Then perhaps with polyurethane/gorilla glue or araldite/epoxy resin. Failing that I might buy a new handle off ebay or try carve one (the carving doesn't worry me but drilling it does :D).

Yes, it only has a single blade, the other piece is indeed the "plane iron cap". When screwed to the blade, "single plane iron", they become the "double plane iron" - basically a single blade & "shaving buster" (apparently it doesn't really bust shavings though - see PBS video above). This is all new information to me that I have gleaned from different sources this week. I previously sharpening one of those little palm planes, a month or so ago, and that just had the single blade - so that was a nice, simpler introduction to the archaic world of planes, a world I never expected to deal with. :D

I sent my "little" brother a video link on using draw knives to shape guitar necks (he made a guitar as a teenager), his response made me laugh out loud:
"That was why god invented end mills, lathes and CNC machines! Having hand carved a maple neck with a wood chisel I would not want to EVER repeat the experience!"
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Re: Planes

Postby ToneWood » Sat May 19, 2012 9:46 pm

jrccaim wrote:Oh boy. I could write a whole book on planes (warning: I am a plane fanatic; I must own about 20 of them) but Mr Garret Hack has already done so. The Plane Book. Google it....
Here it is on Amazon - with the handy LookInside feature: The Handplane Book [Paperback] by Garrett Hack (Author)
Image
Another Taunton Press (USA) book (publisher of Wille Sundqvist's book).

There are some gorgeous planes around [see google] with shiny brass and beautiful featured wood - a bit OTT really but "sure is pretty".
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Re: Planes

Postby jrccaim » Sun May 20, 2012 5:28 am

ToneWood wrote: Yes, it only has a single blade, the other piece is indeed the "plane iron cap". When screwed to the blade, "single plane iron", they become the "double plane iron" - basically a single blade & "shaving buster" (apparently it doesn't really bust shavings though - see PBS video above). This is all new information to me that I have gleaned from different sources this week. I previously sharpening one of those little palm planes, a month or so ago, and that just had the single blade - so that was a nice, simpler introduction to the archaic world of planes, a world I never expected to deal with. :D


Ah. I am on familiar ground after all. Purpose of end cap is to impart a curl to the shavings, so it will get out of your way and out the front of the plane. That is why it has that sort of barrel shape to it. Rule with end-caps: first, file it so it is absolutely flush fit with the blade. Marples might not need it, most planes will. If there is a gap it will collect debris and you will be annoyed. Make sure your blade is dead flat about where the end cap fits. I do this when I sharpen, with a stone. Second, adjust the end-cap about 1-2 mm away from the edge. The books say 1/16" and that's about 1.6mm but it does bear some experimenting.

I own not only palm planes but finger planes. Yes, palm planes do not have end caps, but then they are not called upon to make 2-meter long shavings! They also have a lower bedding angle than a smoother like the Marples. Love my palm plane(s) because they can smooth out places no other plane can. If, of course, they are sharp enough!
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Re: Planes

Postby ToneWood » Sun May 20, 2012 1:22 pm

I just put away all my tools as it seemed about to rain. So I stripped everything down, clean the tanins off the cutting edges & stropped them. Packed them away then realised that the rain had held off! :D Needed a break tho'. Took too much wood off the top of my bowl with my v. sharp draw knife - a consequence of a kink in the wood fibres (originally near a knot) that I had previously evened out with the plane but subsequently forgotten about :(

So I used the plane a little again today. Clogged straight away, so I moved the frog back to open up the mouth and voila - it now works much better :) The end cap also worked pretty well today and most of last week but I did notice at one point some bits of wood managed to get between the two irons - separating them, straightening them & tightening them back up seemed to fix it. I will check where they join when I get round to "servicing" it.

I also found the blade depth is much easier to adjust than I expected. So I now park the blade up out of harms way when not in use (tip from video).

Might need to start a spoke shave thread though. :oops:
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Re: Planes

Postby red_beard » Mon May 21, 2012 7:55 pm

On my old Stanley planes, I was getting shavings stuck between the iron and cap iron like you mentioned. After making sure that the cap iron was straight so it could bed well against the iron, I used hand pressure to bend the cap iron just a little bit. Now, the screw that attaches the two together springs the edge of the cap iron against the iron more solidly. (like a sprung joint between to boards)

It looks like you have a decent little smoother there but are mostly interested in using it for coarser work. In that case, you don't need to fettle it nearly as far. You can leave it coarse for coarser work. Just make sure it's sharp!
God bless!*

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Re: Planes

Postby SeanHellman » Mon May 21, 2012 8:00 pm

Aaah planes, since properly fettling mine, they are a joy to use. I love wooden planes but they can be a little more hassle to get the depth just right. I do use mine on green wood and would also consider them a green wood tool.
There are people out there on the interenet who get so deep into plane blades and sharpening geometry it is a wonder that they get any work done. Recently came across an interesting video on cap iron angle and placement, the plane blade is filmed with a microscope as it cuts wood. You will probably want to fast forward during parts of this videohttp://giantcypress.net/post/23159548132/this-is-the-full-version-of-the-video-created-by
"Scarcely anything is original- it`s very hard to be totally inventive, so I am not terribly interested in originality. Vitality is all I care about" Clive James
Green wood courses, tools, demonstrations.
http://www.seanhellman.com/woodwork/
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Re: Planes

Postby ToneWood » Mon May 21, 2012 10:32 pm

Here is my plane, mostly stripped down (but frog still in place), as requested:
My Marples M4 plane - stripped down.jpg
My Marples M4 plane - stripped down.jpg (103.57 KiB) Viewed 9436 times
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New planes & spoke shaves, Spoke shave No 51

Postby ToneWood » Sat Jun 09, 2012 9:05 am

Came across several new English-style but presumably Asian made planes yesterday. A couple of observation: although they looked like English planes on first glance, on second glance they looked cheaply made - no brass fittings and a plastic handle (which I actually like, felt strong, warm and a bit thicker than my broken wooden handle :D). Some where quite cheap but this Stanley one (like Pa's) wasn't:
Image

I also came across a new Faithfull spoke shave (Asian?) which at £13 new looked similar but of better quality than mine:
Image
I bought mine cheaply of ebay, it was listed as old but unused, which appears true. I originally thought it was English but, although it has brass fittings, it has no markings and the front plate is cheaper, shiney, hollow, pressed steel rather than the solid steel featured on better tools*. I now think it is relatively new and likely Asian made:
Image
It works quite well at removing volume but that front plate tends to loosen rather quickly when it is used vigorously, it's hard to keep straight and it's often rather juddery but perhaps that is normal?

I have another spoke shave, simpler, without the brass adjuster screws - you just tap it to adjust. It appears old English (marked "Made in Eng." and "No 51") and is reassuringly solid (& just £2 + shipping):
Image
I gather some woodworkers prefer this simpler design. I like simple but the adjuster screws allowed you to disassemble & reassemble the tool (to clear out shavings), with the adjustment largely intact - that's not possible with the simpler design. I just tried it out again on my big bowl and it works quite nicely. It doesn't take of the volume that the other one did but it doesn't judder anywhere near as much either, which is just what I need at this point. It is also what I found when I tried comparing the shaves previously.

*I just tried swapping the front-plates over, which worked, more-or-less. The problem is not actually the pressed steel front plate but the main body casting. The stops for the front plate are too low - presumably to allow for the greater tolerances/adjustment of lower quality manufacture.

I may look at "investing" in a slightly better screw-adjuster shave. For now, I will stick with the simpler shave and see how that goes; I like it and it may grow on me more. The other shave is still very effective at removing bulk - probably shaved a few ounces off the big oak bowl with it.
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Re: Planes

Postby jrccaim » Fri Jun 15, 2012 5:46 am

Some time ago Mr Garret Hack (see previous posts) compared a bunch of planes in Fine Woodworking Magazine. All smoothers, #4 in Stanley terms. Cheapest was an Anand plane, made in India. Cost about $10 (ten dollars). Most expensive was a custom job made in the UK. Hand-dovetailed sides to sole, the works. Cost, as I recall, was several thousand UKP. (Gulp!) In the middle a Lie-Nielsen #4, about $300. I was astounded: the maestro found that after tuning the Anand it performed just as well as its much more expensive cousins. Needless to say he sharpened the Anand within an inch of its life, filed the cap iron, filed the bed flat, trued the sole... and so on (read the book!). So it is not, perhaps, the make or cost that matters. It is the tuning, or as Sean says, "fettling."
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Re: Planes

Postby ToneWood » Fri Jun 15, 2012 2:09 pm

Yes, I'm sure you are right. Somebody who knows how to sharpen and maintain a tool can probably make inexpensive tools perform better than a very expensive tool maintained by less experienced hands. I watched an excellent youtube video showing you how to prepare a plane. I used their sharpening techniques. I am constantly surprised by how well my little £5 Lidl/China axe is working out - complementary to but also comparable to the wonderful Gransfor Swedish carving axe. But the hours of sharpening, fettling and constant honing to maintain the edge costs time - the Granfors came razor sharp, with a fettled handle, axe book, 20 year warranty & leather blade guard, those things cost time/money. And time is valuable, as they say "because time is what life is made up of".

They say a similar thing about guitar equipment: if you give a cheap guitar & amplifier to, say, Eric Clapton - most likely it will sound pretty good and just like Eric Clapton. If you give, say, Eric Clapton's carefully selected and prepared (& v. expensive) equipment to somebody else (esp. a beginner) it is unlikely to sound like Eric Clapton. I guess the trick is to get something that is at least adequate.

Although I am thinking about replacing the handle on my plane, as glue hasn't worked out so far. I did come across an article on glueing plane handles. I think they recommended polyurethane/Gorilla glue (apparently activated by water) - but turns out there are lots of different types of gorilla glue and it costs as much or more than a new handle. I might carve one eventually.
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