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JohnPW

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Kittyhawk, the block plane you show is a copy of a Stanley #102. To be quite blunt, it does not get much worse! There is hardly any support for the blade (which is the biggest factor causing your chatter). That lever cap needs to be cranked down. The blade must be sharp (of course). And you need to set it for fine shavings.

It can be done.

The plane is essentially the same as my "Orange Block Plane", about which I wrote this review many years ago. Read it. It's fun :)


Regards from Perth

Derek

I think it's more similar to a 120 block plane. Both 102 and 120 planes are "proper" planes with a cast body, whereas the orange one has thin folded sheet steel for the body, no cross pin and no bed
 

Jacob

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I think it's more similar to a 120 block plane. Both 102 and 120 planes are "proper" planes with a cast body, whereas the orange one has thin folded sheet steel for the body, no cross pin and no bed
Yes doesn't look too bad. It's about technique here, not about retail therapy or ever more frantic sharpening!
 

owen

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I would invest in a better cast block plane, I've had a few of the cheaper pressed steel ones and the difference between using them and a decent solid plane is night and day. See if you can borrow one from someone and have a go? Before you get frustrated spending hours trying to use an inferior plane.
 

Adam W.

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I can't see what the problem with the plane is, except that it's no where near as shiny as my Lie-Nielsen one.


Maybe that's the problem after all. It's just not shiny enough.
 

JohnPW

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IME manually adjusted block planes like the 102 and 120 are harder to adjust for depth of cut than wooden planes. This could be caused by the bed at the mouth and at the rear supporting "prongs/posts" not being flat with each other. And also, tightening the screw can move the iron which also could have dents from the screw which makes it even worse.
 
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D_W

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without using the plane, it's going to be hard for anyone to diagnose it. I have a few suggestions (these may work if the issue isn't tension or bedding problems - as in, that the plane can't get enough tension on the iron to keep it stable in a heavier cut)
1) work up from 30 degrees at 5 degree intervals, adjusting the steepness of the bevel only on the very tip so you can grind it off later
2) try the cut depth at various depths - see if the chatter happens only on heavier cuts or if it's an issue where too light of a shaving and it doesn't cut and then it chatters and skips right away
3) complete terminal sharpening with an additional step - if you're going to do work like that, you owe yourself another step of sharpness for effort, accuracy and keeping the plane in the cut. It's not more effort or prissy to do that, it's less. You can disregard advice that shapening to a fine level is "more effort", it's given out of lack of experience. Sharpening the entire bevel to a fine finish may be, though, but you only need to do it to the very tip.

If you have autosol or anything similar with strong cutting power but that will bring steel to a bright polish, it's an ideal inexpensive edge finisher. Extremely uniform and if used on a piece of scrap wood, very fine.
 

Jacob

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Just dug out my Stanley 120 for a quick fiddle. Very crudely made, the blade doesn't lie flat so you have to skew it to get a neat cut.
Sharpened it. 30º ish, freehand on a fine oil stone, less than a minute. All it ever needs - one fine stone, it's only a little thin blade. No need for dozens of modern sharpening procedures!
Cuts OK on a bit of sawn sycamore.
Adjusting - you get the blade back to zero cut by tapping the heel, and only adjust by tapping it forwards and adjusting trim side to side.
Cuts fine, full width shavings, but in the ordinary way I wouldn't use it for that, just for little trimmings and arrisses etc.
PS just occurred to me reading JohnPW's comment - sounds quite likely. A little filing called for? Should be possible to see if the post things align with the mouth, by sighting down the body, with the blade out
 
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D_W

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ahh, yes, jacob - he can use your standard of dull wavy irons as a matter role-playing billy big rigger ("we pros just do it simple - we know to much to do something better!!")

Or he can do something easier and better and learn how things actually work and build skills.
 

Kittyhawk

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Good morning gentlemen
7.00am here and I have been in my workshop for a good while already, even before coffee, keen to deal to the block plane.
To recap, I quite like my little block plane because it has a robust cast body (I've seen the folded sheet metal jobs), the sole is flat and true, the blade also and holds a good edge, and it only cost me two bucks.
For the rest, on closer inspection its a bit of a mess and needs work.
A couple of pictures, firstly the throat. Excuse me if my termination is not correct.
20210519_074018.jpg

As you can see, it is terribly rough and the blade only makes contact on a few high points. Secondly, the supporting pillar things at the back.
20210519_074228.jpg

A straight edge laid throat to pillars shows a gap.
So after my overdue coffee I am going to attack the tool with a file and see if I can improve things a bit.
 

D_W

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figure out where the point of the lever cap puts pressure above them and file them slightly rounded so the iron contacts right below the knob point on the lever cap.

If anything.

It looks like there's potentially four points of contact, but the iron probably flexes a little if the lever cap is tight enough.

In reality on all planes only contact at a few small places - all of the irons flex under a cap or with the lever cap applied and it's more about gaming where those points are.

Even LV doesn't fully machine the bedding surface the way you'd guess - it's biased hollow. I asked Rob Lee publicly at once how they don't accidentally high center and iron here or there without biasing the bed, and he confirmed that they bias the bed on things like the BU planes to make sure the contact points are in the right place.
 

Kittyhawk

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figure out where the point of the lever cap puts pressure above them and file them slightly rounded so the iron contacts right below the knob point on the lever cap.

If anything.

It looks like there's potentially four points of contact, but the iron probably flexes a little if the lever cap is tight enough.

In reality on all planes only contact at a few small places - all of the irons flex under a cap or with the lever cap applied and it's more about gaming where those points are.

Even LV doesn't fully machine the bedding surface the way you'd guess - it's biased hollow. I asked Rob Lee publicly at once how they don't accidentally high center and iron here or there without biasing the bed, and he confirmed that they bias the bed on things like the BU planes to make sure the contact points are in the right place.
Thank you for your advise.
I have already just now filed the throat flat which was a bit alarming - I know cast iron is soft but I didn't expect it to be that soft...
If I understand correctly you say that the throat should be slightly concave, the blade making contact on its edges and a tiny gap in the middle. Before I attacked it with a file the throat was slightly concave, touching in the middle of the blade and gaps at the edges. I can see that would contribute to chatter.
 

Ttrees

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I had two low angle block planes which the Aziumth error was evident.
(a twist or un-level bed) rendering one needing to grind the iron out of square for an even projection.
That might be worth knowing if you don't know, before you get too far.
I might have fixed that, but I ruined the two of them by lapping them in a numpty fashion before I had the chance. :cry:
 

D_W

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You're right on target. Nothing drastic in the center and the iron doesn't need to bed in the far corners as a bias when filing, just toward the corners on each side and then at the points below the lever cap screw at the top if possible.

You don't want a big hollow in the center of the bed because the iron can actually flex there - you're just imparting little biases in your favor.
 

D_W

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(soft cast in this case is kind of a blessing - on cheap planes, you can get some that are soft and some that are crazy hard - it's nice to have something that you can adjust easily).
 

Kittyhawk

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Gentlemen, after no more than 15 minutes work with a file I now have a block plane that glides across the timber without even a hint of a chatter and can be used on handed.
20210519_101711.jpg

Following D_W's excellent advice I checked across the throat and found the bearing surface to be slightly convex which I imagine would cause the blade to wobble fractionally. I reduced this to very slightly concave and it is now a totally different plane. An additional bonus is that the blade is hugely easier to adjust
20210519_101742.jpg

I realise the throat still looks a bit rumpty towards the edges but I was unwilling to file away too much as I was a bit concerned about mucking up the lip of the throat.
Thanks to all who took the time to help me resolve this problem. Very happy kiwi.
 

D_W

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good to go! I know my stuff about planes and plane performance - just ask jacob. hah!

Actually, getting most planes to perform well isn't that complicated, but it can be made complicated by doing more than is needed in places where it isn't, and not the right stuff in the few places where it is.

No need to go further in the mouth. objective one with a plane is to get it to perform well. Objective 2 is to get it to adjust well so that you'll be enticed to use it.

There's no reason that even the cheapest of chinese planes can't have good iron, btw, either, as the plain 100crV rod that makes an excellent iron (80crv would even do well) is something like $4 per kilogram wholesale. And just like the plane, it just needs moderate attention when being heat treated to prevent too much from being done to it or not the right stuff.
 

Jacob

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IME manually adjusted block planes like the 102 and 120 are harder to adjust for depth of cut than wooden planes. This could be caused by the bed at the mouth and at the rear supporting "prongs/posts" not being flat with each other. And also, tightening the screw can move the iron which also could have dents from the screw which makes it even worse.
So JohnPW was right then.
I thought my genuine Stanley was a bit rough but yours was even worse!
 

Kittyhawk

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So JohnPW was right then.
I thought my genuine Stanley was a bit rough but yours was even worse!
Yes, she's a bit rough, you don't get much for two bucks. But I'm a lot happier with it today than I was yesterday.
 
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