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Handplane Issue - No.4

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bp122

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Hi there

I have an old ebay Bailey No.4 smoothing plane.
I have had this for over a year, but only used it properly for the last 6 months.

Having learnt a lot about setting up a plane and sharpening (I hear popping of corn from the regulars here :D :D :D) I used it on my first set of projects just before Christmas making presents and it felt great. I used this plane along with my No. 6

Now, one of those presents was an oak serving tray for my mother in law, which she loved, came back to me for completion (I had just made the board, but let her pick the handles out for it and now she has)

Anyway, while correcting the twist on it, I noticed my plane was misbehaving. While planing, the right side was digging in and no cutting from the left side. Quick sight down and lateral adjustments using the lever - squared it up across the width and started planing. Minutes later, same issue and the blade was poking out of the left side.

I sharpened the plane again to eliminate that as a culprit, put everything back and still same issue. Took it apart again and decided to check the blade thoroughly - found out the edge is not square to the sides.

I use a cheap honing guide for all my chisels and plane blades and it holds it pretty square (I know, there is no such thing, but still!)
I spent a long time on my diamond stones biasing my pressure to even out the blade edge to get it square and put a camber on it while I am at it (never done it, first time)
Put it all back together and the plane is still not cutting as it used to. Works reasonably well on a piece of pine and produced translucent shavings, but on oak it is still struggling and not working as it used to.

Any thoughts?

While we are on the subject of plane blades out of square, I bought a "factory seconds" Axminster Rider 3-in-1 plane from ebay (bull nose, shoulder and chisel plane in one) and the blade in it is also out of square (guess that is why it was factory seconds). I can use the help for two planes here.

Apologies for the long post and the unnecessary details, I use 10 words where 4 will do!
 

AndyT

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The most likely problem is that on the oak you could be planing against the grain. If you have any otfcuts of the same oak, try planing one way, then the other.

Plane like you're stroking a cat and you'll be fine.

Also, if the angle is changing in use, tighten the lever cap screw a little. It might only need an eighth of a turn to get that sweet spot where everything stays put but is still adjustable for depth of cut.
 

MikeG.

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Is the lateral adjusting lever moving in use? If it is, then you need to tighten down the screw holding the lever cap, as well as checking that the frog is truly flat. If the frog has a high spot the blade can more easily move when it comes against something hard like a knot.

A blade a little out of square isn't really an issue. The lateral lever adjustment takes care of that, within reason. After you have sharpened and re-assembled your plane, you should put a bit of thinnish scrap in your vice and plane it using each edge of the blade. They should take the same size shaving, and fine adjustments of the lateral adjusting lever will achieve this.
 

El Barto

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What Andy said.

It sounds like as you plane and the blade meets resistance, it's getting pushed to one side because it's not sitting snug enough.
 

Ttrees

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Sounds like it might be a good idea to check the frog is seated.

With your 3 in 1 plane is the iron ground square or does it need to be skewed to show an even iron projection?
If so...that error is referred to as the Azimuth error.

Tom
 

bp122

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MikeG.":169wkqsj said:
Is the lateral adjusting lever moving in use? If it is, then you need to tighten down the screw holding the lever cap, as well as checking that the frog is truly flat. If the frog has a high spot the blade can more easily move when it comes against something hard like a knot.

A blade a little out of square isn't really an issue. The lateral lever adjustment takes care of that, within reason. After you have sharpened and re-assembled your plane, you should put a bit of thinnish scrap in your vice and plane it using each edge of the blade. They should take the same size shaving, and fine adjustments of the lateral adjusting lever will achieve this.
Yes, the lateral adjuster has moved after a few strokes. I had loosened the screw because I couldn't flip the lever on the lever cap to lock position. I have seen on videos where this lever makes a clean "snap" sound when locked, mine has never done that, in fact my No. 6 doesn't do that either. But it was really tight, so I had loosened it in fear of breaking the lever. Will fiddle with it today at some point.

I'll also check the frog for unevenness.
The left / right shaving check seems to be a good idea, will try that too.

Thanks guys.
 

bp122

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Ttrees":l1yzketl said:
With your 3 in 1 plane is the iron ground square or does it need to be skewed to show an even iron projection?
If so...that error is referred to as the Azimuth error.

Tom
When I put the blade in the plane and put the lever cap on it (only here it is a screw type) whilst resting the plane on a flat surface on its side, so that the blade and the side wall of the plane are flush, retract the blade in and tighten the screw on the cap. Then I slowly get the blade to come out using the adjuster, when it does, the right side of the blade pokes out first when I sight down - all while remaining flush and square to the side of the plane.
That is when I took the blade off and checked whether the cutting edge was square to the sides, it wasn't.
 

AJB Temple

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Working "reasonably well" on pine.....aside from the above, have your sharpening and bevel efforts in resulted in a bad angle or a blade that is not sharp. A sharp blade should do translucent fine cuts with minimal effort. Check that as well.
 

Bod

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Your honing guide, Stanley or Eclipse?
My betting is on Stanley, very easy to get the blade out of square with those.
Eclipse type, difficult to correct any out of square, but not impossible. Just be aware where the pressure needs to be, to remove the high end.

Bod
 

D_W

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Make sure that the blade is resting on the frog and not on the adjuster pawl. Sometimes, the slot is too narrow for the cap iron to descend all the way to the frog and you'll have issues like you're describing.

Good practice on every new plane to go around and check that all of the screws are tight and nothing jiggles (the adjuster can be noisy or loose, but that doesn't matter).
 

Nigel Burden

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If the lever on the lever cap is difficult to snap down it could be that the cam on the lever is too square. This would lead you to slacken the screw which could cause blade movement. IIRC, Paul Sellers mentioned the lever cap cam being too square in one of his blogs.

The third blog down describes what I'm talking about.

https://paulsellers.com/?s=Lever+cap+%234+plane

Nigel.
 

Pete Maddex

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Flatten the face of the frog as mentioned above, and lap the frog so it fully contacts the bed. That should sort out most of your problems.

Pete
 

Nigel Burden

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Just a thought. You say that your no6 doesn't do this. Is the tote on the no4 closer to the lateral adjustment lever than on the no6? Do you have large hands? If so, is it possible that your hand is inadvertently nudging the lateral lever affecting the adjustment?

Nigel.
 

D_W

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Pete Maddex":33e8hu8p said:
Flatten the face of the frog as mentioned above, and lap the frog so it fully contacts the bed. That should sort out most of your problems.

Pete
Beware when doing this, you'll have a tendency to make a frog face convex. The presence of the cap iron should flex the iron a little bit so that a perfectly flat frog face isn't needed. The pressure on the iron on the bottom side (contacting the frog) will be about where the cap hump is (since the lever cap is influencing it) and just under the cam of the lever cap (or screw if it's screw type).

If there's a fault on a frog, it's more often slag or a point contaminant that may have gotten onto the face of the frog - if something like that is felt, file it off.

The iron and cap iron can never really be in a flat state - they're too thin and with too many forces involved if the cap iron is properly sprung. I think this troubles a lot of newbies, but this is a bias in favor of the plane user and maker. A good one.
 

MikeG.

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This thing of the lateral adjustment lever moving in use has a higher risk of happening on a shooting board, where generally the work is always hitting the lowest side of the blade, and it's (hard) end grain. It's more than a nuisance if it happens, because of course it takes the blade, and thus the workpiece, out of square.
 

bp122

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Bod":1a1brjqp said:
Your honing guide, Stanley or Eclipse?
My betting is on Stanley, very easy to get the blade out of square with those.
Eclipse type, difficult to correct any out of square, but not impossible. Just be aware where the pressure needs to be, to remove the high end.

Bod
It is the Eclipse knock-off from fleabay that I bought a few months ago. To be fair, it has been alright for most of my uses so far.

MikeG.":1a1brjqp said:
This thing of the lateral adjustment lever moving in use has a higher risk of happening on a shooting board, where generally the work is always hitting the lowest side of the blade, and it's (hard) end grain. It's more than a nuisance if it happens, because of course it takes the blade, and thus the workpiece, out of square.
I don't have a shooting board yet. I tried to put together a temporary one but it didnt work. Need to commit to making a simple and good one.

Nigel Burden":1a1brjqp said:
If the lever on the lever cap is difficult to snap down it could be that the cam on the lever is too square. This would lead you to slacken the screw which could cause blade movement. IIRC, Paul Sellers mentioned the lever cap cam being too square in one of his blogs.

The third blog down describes what I'm talking about.

https://paulsellers.com/?s=Lever+cap+%234+plane

Nigel.
I went home last night and took my No. 4 apart fully. Cleaned off the saw dust-oil mixture that was in some places. Cleaned and checked the frog - it is without any imperfections now and looked flat against a steel rule. Waxed the surfaces, oiled the screws and adjusters including the lever on the lever cap. Although it still doesn't snap down (I will look into the post you have shared) it works a lot better now.

Put it all back together and the plane feels better. Sharpened the blade freehand to even out the edge, now there is a 0.5mm camber on either side, still not as even as I'd like. Started doing the left and right side cut test on a 1/2" thick oak. The left side cuts smoother, right side cuts a bit rough - this may be due to my bad holding while sharpening freehand. But the blade didn't move back as it did before and pull it it of square, I felt.

Nigel Burden":1a1brjqp said:
Just a thought. You say that your no6 doesn't do this. Is the tote on the no4 closer to the lateral adjustment lever than on the no6? Do you have large hands? If so, is it possible that your hand is inadvertently nudging the lateral lever affecting the adjustment?

Nigel.
I forgot to check how far the tote is from the lateral adjustment lever, but I do have below average sized hands and I usually am mindful of not touching the lever. But it may well be a possibility.

D_W":1a1brjqp said:
The iron and cap iron can never really be in a flat state - they're too thin and with too many forces involved if the cap iron is properly sprung. I think this troubles a lot of newbies, but this is a bias in favor of the plane user and maker. A good one.
Can you please explain it? I didn't follow this very well (homer)
 

MikeG.

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bp122":19nsydt2 said:
......... Cleaned and checked the frog....... Waxed the surfaces......
That's a mistake. Un-wax them. You've just lubricated a surface aiding the movement between it and the blade, when your problem is too much movement. The only wax you need on a plane is on the sole.
 

bp122

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MikeG.":2nwr5toh said:
bp122":2nwr5toh said:
......... Cleaned and checked the frog....... Waxed the surfaces......
That's a mistake. Un-wax them. You've just lubricated a surface aiding the movement between it and the blade, when your problem is too much movement. The only wax you need on a plane is on the sole.
Sorry, I meant to say I waxed the surfaces on the knobs and underside. I didn't wax the frog. I put a tiny amount on the blade surface to prevent corrosion. Is that still bad?
 

ED65

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BP, the way I read it you have two separate issues that aren't related, and so need to be addressed separately.

Out-of-square edges first, depending on how bad this is you may have no choice but to do this with an iron outside of a honing guide. Biasing pressure to one side will remove more material there (particularly using a guide with a narrow wheel, or when honing freehand) and this can be used to square up an edge, but this is generally something that is intended to be accomplished over the course of multiple honings, not all at once. If you want to do it in one go save yourself a bucket of time and effort and square the edge directly.

If you have much more than about 0.5mm, and even half a mil I think is pushing it, the best way to approach it is to take off all or most of the projecting corner on a grinder, or by holding the iron upright and rubbing the edge on a diamond plate or something else resistant to dishing. Then re-establish the bevel, followed by honing as normal. Doing it this way can literally be around 10 times faster; I've done timed comparisons, this isn't a guess.
 
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