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Block planes on end grain

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Anonymous

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Folks, a question, if you can bear to read on...

This weekend I finally got round to fettling my block plane - a bog standard modern Record 60 1/2. Scaried the iron up to 1500 grit W&D, mirror like back, nice 25 degree primary bevel, 27 degree secondary (using Veritas honing jig). Took it to a scrap bit of pine, bout 6 inches wide, 3/4 inch thick, and tried to take shavings off the end grain. First of all, just got dust, but easing the iron out to take a deeper cut, eventually got a full width, full length shaving that was so gossamer that it looked like a breath of air would disintegrate it. So, you may be thinking, what's the problem? What's the question?

Well, quite simply, it's the amount of effort required to get that shaving - it surely shouldn't be that much. I had to put a huge amount of pressure on the front knob (actually bruised my thumb doing it). Had to skew the plane to get the shaving. Had to wiggle the plane from side to side as I moved it forward. Waxing the sole made a big difference, but still incredibly hard work. So - the question - is it that hard with a 'decent' plane - a L-N for example. Is it likely that replacing the iron with one of Ron Hocks would be better? Am I likely to be doing something wrong?

Thoughts?
Cheers,
~Esp
 
A

Anonymous

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HI Esp

No, it's not that hard with LN but then again not terribly easy. I tend to skew the plane a little but then it will simply take a cutting from all woods I have tried - Ash, Oak, Pine, Mahogany. No need to push really hard at front nor wobble it.

I find that the first couple of passes chatter a bit until the grain has been 'tidied' a little and then it is smooth shavings without too much effort. If I ever manage to get down to see your Rat, I'll bring along a LN low angle block, or if you are in the leciester area drop buy for a play.

In my opinion (contraversal) DC and the like do a lot of damage with their talk of 1/1000" shavings etc. and the level of 'fettling' they advocate.
One does not need to get 'lovely thin shavings', only a nice finish. This is wood after all and it will probably move more than a 1/1000" while your sip your tea between cuts!!

Cheers

Tony

PS all I have done to the LN is hone the blade
 
A

Anonymous

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Cheers Tony - I was actually going to ask if you owned a L-N that you could bring with when you're eventually free to play with the Rat.

I had the same trouble with the first couple of passes - a bit of chatter, then the surface started to look cleaner, then the decent shavings started. Must admit, the finish on the end grain was luvverly, but I certainly wasn't expecting it to be that hard work!

Been thinking of getting the L-N skew block plane (# 140) - maybe this is the excuse :D
 

Noel

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Esp St,

Got to agree with Tony, waaay too much importance is placed on "waste" when the actual finish, to my mind, is the desired result. Certainly in some cases the characteristics of the shavings can and do indicate quality of set up and variations in technique but when tool and method of application is satisfactory and the finished end grain surface is good does it really matter if the waste product is dust or shavings??

Rgds

Noel
 

Philly

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Hey All,
I've been giving this one a bit of thought. I used to have a hard time with my Record. Flattened the sole, top notch sharpening job on the blade, waxed, tweaked, etc. Result-not bad but not 100%.
I have both the little bronze L-N and the adjustable low angle L-N block planes-with the blade honed they effortlessly slice end grain leaving a shiny polished surface. Why?
I don't have a scientific answer for you but I think it boils down to this-the Record is made to a lower standard-the machining is rough, the bed is rubbish and the blade is low quality. You can fettle til the cows come home but if the product is low quality and badly produced to begin with you are fighting a losing battle. The L-N and other high quality planes are produced to work real wood and are spec'ed acordingly.
Bottom line-keep your Record for MDF and Chipboard. Sort yourself out a L-N and you wont regret it.(in fact, you will see for yourself the difference and hopefully this will explain what I am rambling on about! :D )
regards,
Philly :D
P.s.-this post is NOT sponsored by Lie-Nielsen :lol:
 
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Anonymous

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Philly

Could not agree with you more :wink:

Cheers

Tony
 
A

Anonymous

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Noely":1x2ggoch said:
Esp St,

Got to agree with Tony, waaay too much importance is placed on "waste" when the actual finish, to my mind, is the desired result. Certainly in some cases the characteristics of the shavings can and do indicate quality of set up and variations in technique but when tool and method of application is satisfactory and the finished end grain surface is good does it really matter if the waste product is dust or shavings??

Rgds

Noel
True, true - the thin shaving is nice, but not necessary. The concern was the amount of effort requiried! The iron is as sharp as any of my bench planes, which work perfectly; in fact, if I had a video camera, a shot of the #4 1/2 taking a full width curl would be good to show what a well tuned plane can do. Not to mention the sound it makes! (although I do have decent irons in the bench planes, just the original in the block)
 

Alf

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Hmm, gotta think about this a bit. Mind if I just ramble a little? I imagine the weight of the L-N is a factor in its ease of use. Almost certainly the amount of bedding area is, as is the length of lever cap. I can't quite recall, but I believe the lever cap (or is it called something else on a block? The brain cell's on holiday today) on the Record is the same for both the standard and low angle blocks. This means it's really too short to do the job adequately on the low angle. You're not, obviously, going to get a full width shaving straight away unless you're planing an already perfect surface - in which case, why the heck are you planing it? :wink: Skewing the plane always helps because you're lowering the angle the blade is planing at. I've experimented a little with a back bevel on my Stanley 60 1/2 in order to use a bevel angle as low as 20 degs, and this has improved performance a little. One aspect of planing end grain that's often overlooked is that there's a direction "with the grain" even going across the grain - unless you have one of those mythical perfect boards where the long grain is perfectly parallel... So sometimes worth trying that too. Finally (told you it was a ramble) don't splash out for an L-N just yet. Might be worth waiting for an upcoming review of the L-V Veritas blocks, amongst others... :wink:

Cheers, Alf
 

Philly

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Alf,
Yup, I was thinking about the weight issue-but I have the Lil L-N block plane. That weighs a bit less than the record but performs way better, leading me to believe that weight doesn't play a big part ( although the casting on the adjustable one is a lovely weight in the hand :lol: )
I think it boils down to decent build quality. Bottom line-once you have a tool that works you can get on with "Making Things"!
(Unless your a collector :twisted: )
Regards,
Philly :D
 

Alf

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Philly,

I have the li'l bronze block too, and I reckon as far as the size to weight goes, it must beat pretty much every alternative. So really I should have clarified it to weight to size ratio. :(

Cheers, Alf

Who has fun handy the small bronze block to unsuspecting visitors to the workshop and watching theit eyes pop in surprise. :twisted: (Do this while they're standing over the bench unless you want to check if bronze planes really bounce... :shock: )
 

Alf

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Philly,

Nope, not one. :( But I wasn't surprised. Pre-owned block planes are rare as hen's teeth round here, and decent ones can only be found under wild geese in mare's nests. :lol:

Cheers, Alf
 

Philly

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Hi Alf,
Stealth gloat alert! :lol: - My L-N 62 turned up yesterday. Well, it is a block plane (of sorts.......)
Yummy!
Philly :D
 
A

Anonymous

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Finally (told you it was a ramble) don't splash out for an L-N just yet. Might be worth waiting for an upcoming review of the L-V Veritas blocks, amongst others...
Would this be the review of the Veritas Low Angle Block in issue 121, or the Veritas Apron Plane in 137 of Good Woodworking? :D :D

Cheers,

Andy
 
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Anonymous

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Hi Philly,

Alf is absolutely spot on with the skewing of a plane lowering the angle, but it also helps as you are now slicing across the grain as well.
If you look at it like a chisel, use it square on to the work and it will cut, but the wider the blade, the effort needed to push it is increased far more than the increase in width. Skew the chisel so that it slices and it becomes a finely balanced tool that you can control perfectly.
The plane body is simply a device for trapping a honed edge, and the better the body does it's job (such as Lie Nielsen, Veritas) then the far easier it is to use. Mind you, the iron being thicker is also a vast improvement.
I agree also that the shaving it produces is irrelevant. As long as it is sharp and the finish it leaves is what you want, the tool is doing it's job. As to getting to that edge, well, there's a can of worms!
I've only used honing guides for testing in the mag, with the exception of spokeshave irons, but even then I usually have a wooden version kicking around somewhere to hold them. But the guides have plenty of worth though. Consitent sharp edges are paramount in woodworking, and how you get there is of little importance. Likewise, scary sharp, diamond, japanese, ceramic etc.
For 20 years I seldom used more than a fine Norton India stone for general work (although I have progressed to a Trend diamond plate for flatness and cleanliness) As long as I can get an edge that will shave hair off my arm, it's good enough for the majority of work. (I used to cut the hard pads on my hands, but now i've got a 'softies' job, my hands are likewise!) In my workshop I will strop with paste on leather, but I only go to a finer stone if the performance isn't good enough for the job I am doing.
As for who wins between L/N and Veritas, L/N bodies are fabulous, but the superb Norris type adjustments of the Veritas win every time for me.

Andy
 

Alf

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andy king":2e5p5l1j said:
Would this be the review of the Veritas Low Angle Block in issue 121, or the Veritas Apron Plane in 137 of Good Woodworking? :D :D
Err, no. 'Cos they've been, rather than upcoming... :roll: (I dunno, these editor types; hopeles with words! :lol: ) I was thinking of something a little closer to home, although slightly less upcoming due to unforseen delays. :(

Now then, forsaken the good ol' India for diamonds? I'm shocked :shock: Since when did progress reach Pill? :wink:

Cheers, Alf
 
A

Anonymous

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andy king (and others)":3c4svh7n said:
I agree also that the shaving it produces is irrelevant. As long as it is sharp and the finish it leaves is what you want, the tool is doing it's job.Andy
Good to hear that I am not the only one that feels this way.
When I originally posted the comment I expected to be flamed by all the DC fans and decried as a heretic :)

Cheers

Tony
 
A

Anonymous

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Now then, forsaken the good ol' India for diamonds? I'm shocked Since when did progress reach Pill?
Well it's not an overnight thing.... we had a bit of a storm and it looks like a few washed down from Abbots Leigh into the creek. It was only when a few of the locals went down to the creek to bash some clothes on the rocks that they spotted them....
 

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