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Badger plane

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Sheffield Tony

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I've just bought myself a wooden badger plane. Both plane and iron are stamped John Moseley and son. I've no idea of its age, but it looks in fair condition with a nice patina. I want to use it, not just look at it.

The only problem I see is the iron, which is rounded over and needs a good grind (as expected), has about 25mm of life left in it, but is quite badly pitted on the back (non-bevel, I mean) side. What to do ? do I grind the back flat until the worst of the pitting is gone (steady job, ant least 0.5mm to remove), or set the iron on one side as of antique interest only, and try to source a replacement ?

PS: yes, I know I am standing on the brink of a very slippery slope :D
 

Cheshirechappie

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Phew - no 'right' answer to that question, I think!

As a first step, it might be worth a careful regrind if the edge to see if you just miss the pitting, and try to get a bit more life out of the iron without having to fit a new one. Badgers tend not to be often-used planes, so that may be enough. If not, then in all honesty, only you can judge really - depends on how pitted, where the pits are etc. Flattening them all out would be, as you say in that wonderfully understated phrase, a 'steady' old job, and it may be worth a check that there is enough steel left in the thickness of the iron - if it's a laminated one - to allow it.

Not sure where you'd get a replacement badger iron; maybe Bristol Design could help, or one of the other good dealers. The downside with that route is that a replacement will almost certainly 'sit' differently on the bed, and need the bed to be adjusted accordingly. Also, the wedge will have to be refitted. That said, you'd end up with a tool having another hundred years of life in it, so the effort may well be worth it. The other snag is that as soon as you alter the plane in any way, it instantly loses all it's antique value.

The final, radical, solution would be to obtain a new iron/capiron pair, and then use the existing plane as a pattern to make a new one. The original could then stay in original condition, retaining it's full antique value, and you'd have a brand new, tuned tool that would do everything the old one could, but better.
 

bugbear

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Sheffield Tony":dbq9dfmo said:
I've just bought myself a wooden badger plane. Both plane and iron are stamped John Moseley and son. I've no idea of its age, but it looks in fair condition with a nice patina. I want to use it, not just look at it.

The only problem I see is the iron, which is rounded over and needs a good grind (as expected), has about 25mm of life left in it, but is quite badly pitted on the back (non-bevel, I mean) side. What to do ? do I grind the back flat until the worst of the pitting is gone (steady job, ant least 0.5mm to remove), or set the iron on one side as of antique interest only, and try to source a replacement ?

PS: yes, I know I am standing on the brink of a very slippery slope :D
The tools isn't old or rare enough to be of museum/collector interest, and you're unlikely to wear out the blade in a coupla' lifetimes.

I would grind away with a good conscience - oh, and go slowly to ensure that the new edge is parallel with the sole, at least within the lateral adjustment range.

BugBear
 

Modernist

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If the back is badly pitted I would grind a small back bevel, just enough to get back into clean steel then grind and sharpen in the normal way. This will give you a good edge and a slightly higher effective pitch which, generally, is no bad thing.
 

matthewwh

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If its skewed and the iron does prove to be unrecoverable and hard to replace, you might consider grinding the skew angle onto a standard iron and end up with a very good shooting plane.
 

Sheffield Tony

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Thanks for your help. I had not initially spotted it, but the iron looks like it is made of two metals; the bit below the slot is in two layers (it is clear now I've reground the bevel), but the hard bit is plenty thick.

I'm not really concerned with antique value, but I wanted to keep it as intact as I could. In the end I went for a lot of grinding and a small back bevel - there is still some pitting a bit further up the iron which might one day cause me a problem, but I'll worry about that when it happens. I made a small pile of shavings to test it, and it seems to work well enough both with and across the grain on some scrap KD oak I had to hand.

As for the radical solution of making my own copy - I have made myself a scrub plane along the Krenov style, and a woodie skewed rebate plane - the scrub was a success, but the rebate plane did my head in working out the angles, and in truth does not work all that well. So I think I have a bit to learn yet before trying to make a badger ...
 

arnoldmason8

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Hi Tony-----The best way to decide if the existing blade can be used is to use a sliding bevel gauge set to the angle of the edge and then starting at the edge pull it back slowly observing the pits in the face till hopefully yuo can find a clear area. You can then grind back to the clear area. Tip-- grind the edge square the face of the blade first whilst maintaining the correct angle to edge of the blade and trial fit if neccesary and then grind the bevel back on and sharpen. This helps keeping the metal cool because it is a much thicker edge.
If the existing blade is not worth saving you can grind the correct angle onto a standard jack plane blade of the right width. This is tedious work because there is a lot to grind off ( I have done it). Jack plane blades can usualy found at car boots or auto jumbles.

Best of luck-----Arnold
 

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