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Advice needed on old Stanley plane blade retraction

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mikej460

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I've just bought an old 1930s Stanley plane in very good condition which, after a bit of fettling and sharpening, is cutting really well, however I can't totally retract the blade, leaving about 2mm exposed and I'd like to get thinner shavings. I've had to move the frog back away from the mouth edge to get to this point and I'm a bit concerned the frog might not be original. For reference it has the raised base around the front knob and one patent notice at the back of the frog. The lateral adjust lever has 'Stanley' stamped on it. Any advice or pointers would be most appreciated.
 

Bod

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How much blade is sticking out under the cap iron?
Should be 0.5-1.5mm.
If its 5mm+ then the blade will not retract completely.

Bod
 

David C

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I suspect that the C/B cap iron may be the wrong size for your plane.

Distance from front edge to slot is critical.

C/Bs often got switched around.

David Charlesworth
 

raffo

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Can you post a picture of your double iron assembly?

It's also possible you have a replacement cap iron, if the cutout for the depth adjuster is not in the right place, the iron won't sit at the right height.
 

raffo

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Going from the pictures in the posting, I would start by aligning the frog with the back of mouth of the plane.

From your initial posting it's not clear what you mean by the 2 mm of the blade being exposed. Do you mean sticking out 2mm through the mouth? In that case the plane wouldn't work at all, and from the pictures in the posting it looks fine.
 

mikej460

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That's exactly what I did and the blade was sticking out by 2mm or more at full retraction. I then adjusted the frog back a few mil away from the mouth (not good) but it did cut really well albeit slightly thick shavings. I'm now suspecting either the cap iron or frog is wrong for the sole.
 

IWW

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Moving the frog back shouldn't change blade exposure. The frog slides parallel to the sole, so it should make no difference to anything other than the mouth gap. I suspect pulling the frog back in your case simply opened the mouth enough to let the grossly thick shavings through. If it really did significantly change the amount of blade exposure at the same setting, something is definitely out of whack with the frog seating.

I'm with D.C., the cap-iron.would be my number one suspect The most common problem I come across is a short CI because it has been over-enthusiastically re-shaped to fix severe rusting or some other damage, but that causes the opposite problem to yours; the thumbwheel tends to run out of travel before the blade protrudes enough. I can't imagine how a CI could grow longer (you are setting it just a couple of hairs behind the cutting edge, I assume?), and it sounds like it's an original, which leads me to consider other less-likely scenarios like the adjuster yoke has been replaced & put in back-to-front.

If you have or know someone with a similar plane, the easy quick check is to switch cap-irons - that should either confirm or eliminate the CI as the culprit.

It's frustrating for you because the problem is probably very easily diagnosed & fixed by someone well-experienced with Bailey type planes, and the result could be a very good little user...
Cheers,
Ian
 

Ttrees

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It looks like the cap iron isn't original from what I can make out,
seemingly that rounded profile was used around the late 50's, give or take a decade to be safe, as I seem to mostly have bought planes around that age.

From looking at a few planes on google, it appears that those irons with rounded corners
on the ends have a matching profile, compared to what one might call the rounded end profile on your cap iron.

It also seems that they went back to making those square corners afterwards, on one's with plastic handles anyway's, although seemingly retained that rounded profile on the cap iron.

So I suppose its a case of finding a matching cap iron which I guess won't be an issue apart from coughing up for it, just a guess though.

Since you were bidding, you might have you're eye on another plane.
Might be worth just getting that likely for the same money, and swapping the arrangement, so you possibly have two users, but if its still a problem, then putting a wild camber on one of them, as you don't really need two smoothers.

Tom
 

Cabinetman

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It may be the wrong cap iron, but I can’t see that that is causing the blade to stick out 2 mm below the sole. All the cap iron does is hold the blade down onto the frog
As IWW said the position of the frog really won’t make any difference to the distance that the blade sticks out, just forward or backward in relation to the mouth.
I suggest you take the cap iron off and check that the top of the yolk engages properly in the slit on the chip breaker and then adjust in an out to see where the problem is, has the yolk been put on upside down/back to front – I can’t imagine it’s that as the difference would be too great, I believe. It’s possible that the chip breaker has been changed and the slot is in a different place to the original. Ian
 

Bod

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I suspected as much as when I was researching it's age I discovered this practice was commonplace. This is the original listing, Classic * STANLEY * No 4 Wood Working Jack Plane ~ Made in England | eBay

The cutting iron has the 25 degree stamping on it which you can't see in the listing.

Can you recommend a solution either what to watch out for on eBay or an aftermarket solution?
IF you received the photographed plane, then it should be all ok.
The photos show a normally adjusted tool.
When researching the age, did you use an American Time line?
Your plane is made in England, which does not follow the American time line for changes, English changes have not been recorded in such detail, and are open to guess work.

Bod
 

okeydokey

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Looking at the ebay pictures the cutting iron/blade appears to be in the correct position i.e. not overly protruding and maybe its your reassembly after fettling is the cause?
The following sounds basic (and sorry if its teaching how to suck eggs)----edit ----- more words below the photos
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DSCF6242.JPG
but worth checking - So I would move the frog so its just parallel/flush with the opening in the base, position the cap iron onto the. cutter so that its about 1 or 2mm from the flat side of the cutter then put the cutting assembly back into the frog with the bevel on the cutter facing down and all should be well.
If its not then perhaps the cutter is too worn i.e. there is not enough steel left between the actual sharp edge and the slot so that it cant be adjusted properly as there isn't enough steel left. If the above fails then I would see if you can borrow or buy another cutter or look at photos of one online. Here are some photos of what might be a similar vintage Stanley no 4 - hope it helps.
 

mikej460

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Thanks for the advice chaps. I've taken some more pictures that answer some of the above questions.
I dug out a scrapped but modern Record Cap Iron from my metal box (too rusty to bother renovating) and compared it to the Stanley Cap Iron and it is exactly the same, even the angle stamp, so I'm beginning to suspect the Cap Iron is relatively modern. Also note the distance from CI edge to base of adjuster slot is 95mm whereas @okeydokey 's picture looks more like 90mm?

20210806_120033.jpg


I reassembled the cap and cutter irons with the cap iron set back by less than 1mm
20210806_112103.jpg


I can now get it to retract but when I try to adjust it out the blade is constantly going out of alignment to the mouth, it's basically moving left or right and not planing well at all (planes to the left or right) so I'm suspecting this has something to do with it not seating correctly on the frog? The lever cap is tight down. I've also noticed that the top of the yoke appears shorter, and has much more play, than in the newer Record 4.

Just to answer some specific previous questions:
The blade was sticking out by 5mm when it arrived so unless the seller hurriedly reassembled it before despatching I can only assume it happened in transit. On unboxing I could only retract it to 2mm exposed blade. After the adjustments explained in my post I could get it to plane softwood well but couldn't get thin shavings.

I did align the cap iron and cutting iron correctly and also aligned the frog with the back of the mouth but the blade was too far out to plane so I had to back the frog away from the mouth for it to work.

I did ensure the top of the yolk engages properly in the slit on the chip breaker.

The yoke is the right way round

Yes I did use the American timeline not realising English made Stanleys follow a different timeline.


So, to me it looks as if the cap iron is wrong?

Thanks again for your help.
 

Inspector

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I'm not a plane expert by any means. I think your plane is a mix of old and modern parts. As far as I know Stanley didn't put sharpening angle stuff on the old planes, users then had that knowledge. It isn't on a couple other planes I have (looked quick at a #4 from the 50's and another from the 70s). There may be other mismatched parts on your plane too, I'm not sure. Whether the seller did it deliberately or was just passing on something they got without knowledge is hard to say. You will need to find some correct parts to compare to. Perhaps one of the members close to you will let you compare yours to theirs.

Pete
 

IWW

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.... It may be the wrong cap iron, but I can’t see that that is causing the blade to stick out 2 mm below the sole. All the cap iron does is hold the blade down onto the frog.....
It does a bit more than that, Ian. It's very much an integral part of the depth adjuster system, and its dimensions are calculated pretty closely to give the blade a useable range of movement. There isn't a lot of wriggle-room, if the distance from edge to cam slot is out by 2-3mm it can mean having to have the thumbwheel almost off the stud or hard against the frog in order to get the cutting edge in action (assuming the cap-iron is set at somewhere between 0.5-0.8mm from the edge). I learnt this the hard way when I made my first cap-iron & wasn't as careful with my setting-out as I should have been! :oops:

Mike, your blade problem gets curiouser & curiouser. If the blade assembly is flopping from side to side, there are several things I'd check immediately.
1. Lever cam - you say it's tightening , so that should be ok.
2. The cap-iron screw - is it tightening the CI against the blade firmly? Sometimes bodgy screws don't 'bottom out' & tighten the assembly sufficiently. This is more likely to affect depth adjustment (the cap-iron can't drag the blade along when you move it), it shouldn't affect lateral adjustment much because the lateral adjuster engages the blade itself.
3. Which brings us to the lateral adjuster - is it engaging in its slot in the blade & allowing the blade to sit properly on the frog? The size of the slot was changed on American Stanleys so that early adjusters don't fit in the narrower slots of later blades, but I think manufacturing started in England long after that happened, so you are unlikely to encounter the problem unless someone has done something very odd.

As I said, the 'solution' is likely to be quite simple, just work from basic principles & you should be able to figure out the source of your problem(s). I hope you haven't been unlucky & scored a "Frankenplane" - you can get some very incompatible mixes when folks who don't know what they are doing start mixing & matching parts from a bunch of different planes!

Cheers,
Ian
 

Ttrees

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Might as well mention, from looking at the photos of the listing again...
Did you regrind the primary bevel yet?, it looks a bit steep to me.

The heel of the bevel can bottom out on the work, and if it's an un-even ground bevel
it could be bottoming out somewhere giving the impression of a skewed frog.
 

Bod

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Bottom of the new cap iron, how much bend has it compared to the old rusty one?
Worth trying the rusty one with the new blade, just to see if the plane adjusts.

Bod
 

AESamuel

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Could you post pictures of your plane assembled, from sides, underneath etc. So we can see it sticking out and see the adjustment mechanism? A picture (or 5) can say a thousand words.
 

mikej460

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It does a bit more than that, Ian. It's very much an integral part of the depth adjuster system, and its dimensions are calculated pretty closely to give the blade a useable range of movement. There isn't a lot of wriggle-room, if the distance from edge to cam slot is out by 2-3mm it can mean having to have the thumbwheel almost off the stud or hard against the frog in order to get the cutting edge in action (assuming the cap-iron is set at somewhere between 0.5-0.8mm from the edge). I learnt this the hard way when I made my first cap-iron & wasn't as careful with my setting-out as I should have been! :oops:

Mike, your blade problem gets curiouser & curiouser. If the blade assembly is flopping from side to side, there are several things I'd check immediately.
1. Lever cam - you say it's tightening , so that should be ok.
2. The cap-iron screw - is it tightening the CI against the blade firmly? Sometimes bodgy screws don't 'bottom out' & tighten the assembly sufficiently. This is more likely to affect depth adjustment (the cap-iron can't drag the blade along when you move it), it shouldn't affect lateral adjustment much because the lateral adjuster engages the blade itself.
3. Which brings us to the lateral adjuster - is it engaging in its slot in the blade & allowing the blade to sit properly on the frog? The size of the slot was changed on American Stanleys so that early adjusters don't fit in the narrower slots of later blades, but I think manufacturing started in England long after that happened, so you are unlikely to encounter the problem unless someone has done something very odd.

As I said, the 'solution' is likely to be quite simple, just work from basic principles & you should be able to figure out the source of your problem(s). I hope you haven't been unlucky & scored a "Frankenplane" - you can get some very incompatible mixes when folks who don't know what they are doing start mixing & matching parts from a bunch of different planes!

Cheers,
Ian
2. Yes it is solid
3. The lateral adjuster works ok despite the adjuster being only just deep enough to engage with the slot. It looks a bit too small for the slot (see below) so I was expecting more slack but left and right movements appear to adjust ok.

I have a question, do I adjust the frog to the top or bottom of the mouth bevel, I've adjusted to the top so there is a continuous slope from frog to sole plate (see below).

20210806_111821.jpg



20210806_110812.jpg


Now, I've now had a more thorough look over and two other problems have emerged.

1. The sole frog seats have been painted over with thickish black paint, so this may be the cause of the movement. I started to remove the paint only find it has surface rust underneath! then I was called in for dinner so I will sort this tomorrow but already planning to strip all the paint off the sole, de-rust and repaint. I'm hoping, but not confident, this may also be causing the retraction problem. How far should a Stanley cutting iron fully retract to? I've also asked several eBay sellers to measure the distance between the edge of the cap iron and the bottom of the adjuster slot. One has come back and confirmed 95mm - the same as mine. If anyone has a vintage no.4 could they check and let me know please?

2. The blade edge isn't quite square (hence the query about the primary bevel looking too shallow but is 25 degrees but skewed) I've tried grinding it square in an Eclipse holder set to 25 degrees using a Trend digital level box, first on 120 grit sandpaper then 300 grit diamond stone and I have improved it but can't quite get it right - any suggestions greatly appreciated.

I'll post more pictures tomorrow.

Mike
 

Ttrees

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Your frog looks in the right place to me, (flush when a finger dragged across) and I wouldn't be concerned about having it adjustable. (as it's not a single iron plane)

You will be better off getting your iron sorted first, and seeing if the frog needs some tiny adjustment if it's skewed later on.
If you can get it where it needs to be without it moving when tightened, i.e no blob of paint or lump, then it's likely alright and you might not need touch it ever again,
I might have cleaned them once in a blue moon, say if it were really humid and I seen condensation.

I've never seen/read of a plane that honestly needed real work in regards to the frog being off.

Looks to me the old cap iron is good, keep that stuff, another double iron is handy to have around.

Probably best to see pics of your honing setup.
Does the blade lie flat on a bench, or could it need a tap flat.

The guide might be worth an inspection in regards to it being square when tightened.
This might explain things, cut to the part what I'm talking about.
 
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