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Is a high angle blade really worth bothering with...

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Alf

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..in a shoulder plane?

Yep, thought that subject title might get your attention. :wink:

It's something I've been wondering about off and on since I got my medium shoulder plane and an additional blade for it turned up in the post not long after (Gracias, Brimarc). You see not in my lifetime am I likely to sharpen my way through the original iron, so I got to thinking, and thinking specifically about the HNT Gordon shoulder planes and their 60deg bedding angle. Now if we extoll the virtues of a higher angle bevel in a bevel up bench plane, why not in a shoulder plane? Evidently Terry Gordon and all his customers (Hi Philly, Derek - to name but two) feel there's use for the high angle, and here's me with this spare iron. What d'you think? Thoughts, musings and general cogitation on the subject welcomed from the experienced, well-read or just plane interested. :roll: Feel free to point out why it wouldn't work too, btw. I can't see any reason, but I'm all too well aware I'm not good at plane theory.

Cheers, Alf
 

MikeW

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Hi Alf,

Seeing how's I'm here in the forum I'll jump right in with my experience.

A few years ago I purchased one of these with an extra blade as is usual for me.

Once when I was sharpening plane blades I had inadvertanly set my honing gauge wrong and produced a rather step secondary bevel. Being the lazy person I am I didn't want to resharpen it.

But when I used it on some bubinga to thin out a rabbet it cut very well, better than the lower angle on the other blade. I now keep one of the blades with the higher angle.

All this low angle vs high angle vs bevel down has been, uh, interesting. I have jumped in at one point I think but not really said much. In a nutshell, I think that any plane properly tuned for the task at hand can perform as well as the other types.

The example above of the bubinga rabbet is one where due to its interlocking grain the bubinga simply has less tearout using a HA, but it doesn't matter which plane is tuned with a HA blade.

So, for instance, I have (2) 10 1/4 planes. One is left pretty much with a standard angle and one blade is sharpened with a back-bevel to have an included angle of about 55 deg. It (the 55 deg blade) is useful for larger work in interclocking or otherwise unruly woods where a rabbet is needing work.

Likewise, I have two blades for my moving fillester. One with and one without a secondary bevel. The examples could go on with extra blades for the #5s and #6s--as well as why I wont pay for the extra cost for the HA frog for my LN planes--you can accomplish the exact same performance by using a back-bevel of sufficient length. This length has to be about as long as the distance to the chip breaker so the chip breaks properly.

Here's an extra dose of heresy--in my not so honest opinion, I believe the issue of blade sharpening accounts for the many times fewer plane sales for stanley et al for the LA jacks and jointers. It's mainly unneccesary from a "getting the work done" perspective. A properly sharpened regular angle plane can and does cut end-grain just as well as a LA plane.

So you might be asking, why in the heck does this silly person even own some LA planes? I mean, aside from his unhealthy tool purchasing compulsion. Because I simply like how I can quickly change from a course cut with the mouth open and blade out to a finer cut by backing off the blade and closing the mouth (well on my LVs anyway).

So I own them but it isn't because a LA plane is inheritably a better plane because the blade is bedded lower. For my experience it is because of its adjustibility. All my LAs all have a steeper bevel.

See, this is what ya get when you ask such an open-ended question and I haven't been able to sleep :lol:.
 
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Alf

On the face of it, one would assume that the improvement (difference?) would be the same as any bevel up plane ground to a new angle.

However, I think that it depends how you use a shoulder plane :?

Typically, shoulder planes are usually used across the grain rather than with it to clean up tenon faces or on end grain on tenon shoulders where a low angle blade will generally be superior.
There would probably be an advantage in some woods if used along the grain, but I would have expected you to use a rebate plane for that task and not a shoulder plane
 

Philly

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Alf
Just to add my experiences with the Gordon shoulder planes (I have the 3/4 and 1 1/4 inch ones). They work very nicely on hardwoods. Very, very nicely. Never came across any problems in use, leaves a good finish.
With softwoods, not really any complaints there either. On really soft pine they dont leave a nice surface (but then with really soft pine your better off sanding the heck out of it anyway).
I do have a Stanley 92-that got me by for a couple of years but since the Gordons came along it only gets used for the chisel plane configuration.
So I definitely think the higher angle is worthwhile-indeed I don't miss a low/regular angle at all.
Cheers
Philly :D

p.s.-who said I don't do the gloat thing anymore??? :lol: :lol:
 

Alf

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Philly":5gb3i6mz said:
p.s.-who said I don't do the gloat thing anymore??? :lol: :lol:
'pologies, folks. I rather left the door open on that one, didn't I? #-o

So Philly, taking Tony's point, what d'you actually use your gloats, er, shoulder planes for? Cheeks? Shoulders? Rebates? I appreciate this opens up "oh no, I use my x, y and expensive z for cheeks" gloating opportunities and so forth, but I'm willing to take the risk... :wink:

Mike, s'good. Interesting stuff. Brings up a secondary question; how d'you keep track of all your blades? Which one's which, and which one's where. Just curious, as I see my blade library is likely to expand. :roll: :D

Cheers, Alf
 

Philly

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Alf
Couldn't resist! :wink: No more, I promise. Sort of.......
I use these babies for:
trimming shoulders (Duh! :lol: )
Cleaning up cheeks
Chamfering ends of tenons
Cleaning up/enlarging dado's, rabbets, whatever you want to call them
Any job where a plane won't complete the cut (due to it being close to a corner) and a chisel doesn't offer the control/precision required.
Once you have one you wonder how you ever managed without.
Hope this helps
Philly :D
 

MikeW

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Philly, I have always thought those were about the most appealing contemporary shoulder planes being made. Very nice indeed.

Alf, I feel slightly :oops: to say that I do not have a "good" or "respectful" practice as regards the blades. They are piled into the back top drawer of my bench as seen here.

As for remembering which are which and where? I just do. But there have been more than a few times that I realize I haven't sharpened the blade I was intending on grabbing out of the drawer.

I have always intended to make a little box much like a recipe card file box but I have just not got around to doing it yet. I even have a few scraps of walnut that would do...Maybe I'll make one this week now that I've gone and embaressed myself :wink: .
 

Alf

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MikeW":2elibg65 said:
<pause for drooling> =P~

MikeW":2elibg65 said:
I have always intended to make a little box much like a recipe card file box but I have just not got around to doing it yet. I even have a few scraps of walnut that would do...Maybe I'll make one this week now that I've gone and embaressed myself :wink: .
Mmm, I was thinking along similar lines; just hoped someone else had invented the wheel first. :D Trouble is I have a feeling a wallet of some sort would probably work better in my tool chest, but the only one I currently know of just doesn't appeal. (Edit: Whoops, forgot the LN one - but as it's even less appealing... ) Oh well, the situation's under control at the moment, but if you do get round to it, pics please! 8)

Cheers, Alf
 

MikeW

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Alf":1gzv8ftm said:
Mmm, I was thinking along similar lines; just hoped someone else had invented the wheel first...Oh well, the situation's under control at the moment, but if you do get round to it, pics please! 8)

Cheers, Alf
That's the little tale I've told myself that's kept mine in the back of the drawer. You know, there's gotta be a 12-step program for this...

The smallish recipe box idea came from my grandfather. He built a wonderful one from some vg spruce...which I also have. Maybe I'll use that. Hmm. Decisions, decisions.

I'll post a pic or two when I make it. As his was, it'll be handmade using riven boards. Kinda fitting considering its use.
 

Chris Knight

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Mike,
Pretty pictures! I'm glad to see you are a man who likes #39s. I do take issue however with your comment on the most appealing contemporary shoulder planes. How about these?
 

Alf

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waterhead37":9h7x1hkv said:
Pretty pictures! I'm glad to see you are a man who likes #39s. I do take issue however with your comment on the most appealing contemporary shoulder planes. How about these?
Another holiday bites the dust...? :lol:

Gosh, d'you know, they do nothing for me at all. I'm totally nonplussed. I think I'd better go and lie down for a bit. :shock:

Cheers, Alf
 

Derek Cohen (Perth Oz)

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here's me with this spare iron. What d'you think?
I was going to answer with just one word, but then I remembered that was another post... :lol:

Alf, I actually am still puzzled by this one. I own the HNT Gordon 3/4" shoulder plane with its 60 degree bed and, against every bit of logic I can muster (now don't be rude ..) it cuts amazingly well. I also own Stanleys #92 and #93, and these also cut extremely wel. With sharp blades there is nothing in it. But I am still puzzled why.

It is not as if the HNT gordon was just working with a scraping action. I built mostly in hardwoods, such as Jarrah, and this little plane is capable of slicing the end grain of the shoulder into fine ribbons.

On a side note, I recall Terry Gordon showing me how he used his Try Plane on a shooting board. It was awesome! 60 degree cutting angle slicing up end grain as easy as you please. Converted me, and I used my Try Plane this way until I received the LV LA Jack.

If you are looking for a sensible answer from me (that's asking much as I head for bed late on Sunday night), then I would point two aspects of the HNT Gordon plane: a very sharp blade that is very thick and bedded very securely, and thereby eliminates chatter; and secondly, a very fine mouth, not here necessary to eliminate tearout (not indicated when the bed is 60 degrees), but an aspect of the fine cut that it will take.

Now off to bed.

Regards from Perth

Derek
 

MikeW

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waterhead37":1fbfv1qx said:
Mike,
Pretty pictures! I'm glad to see you are a man who likes #39s.
Good eyes Chris! I do like using them. Fit my hands well. Those are a 1/2" and a 7/8". I had a 3/4" at one time but it hasn't been returned from the person who borrowed it (along with some other tools). They went bankrupt and it was seized to pay creditors. Guess who only allows tools to be used in-shop now days?

waterhead37":1fbfv1qx said:
I do take issue however with your comment on the most appealing contemporary shoulder planes. How about these?
I like them as well...as I have two infill shoulder planes. For an infill, I prefer oldies, even though the 1/2" infill I have is the little LN one. It was a concession as I couldn't find a little one at the time that was that size and old.

There's just something about the amount of viewable wood on Gordon's planes that appeals to me. That and the liking old things like this for half the cost...or this one for even less.

Ahh so many choices and so little money!
 

ydb1md

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Alf":2syrxz47 said:
Now if we extoll the virtues of a higher angle bevel in a bevel up bench plane, why not in a shoulder plane?
You could, but why would you? Shoulder planes are used primarily for trimming end grain. Ideally, you'd have the lowest angle possible angle on the blade without leaving the edge susceptible to being crushed or deformed during use.

If you use your shoulder plane for long grain work -- trimming dadoes or rabbets -- a higher angle blade would eliminate tear out. But, you've gotta ask yourself, is tear out in a dado or a rabbet all that bothersome? That blade that's been honed to elimate tearout would be a bear to push through end grain -- no nice curlies there. And swapping blades in a shoulder plane is a much bigger pain that swapping them in a jack or a smoother.

So, I guess the answer is, you could, but why? :-k
 

Derek Cohen (Perth Oz)

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OK, back in the world of the living...

There are two points to consider about the high anlges blades of HNT Gordon shoulder planes:

(1) The planes work. No ifs nor buts - they work extremely well, as good as the best. And we are talking about end grain here. I still associate end grain with low cutting angles, so remain confused why they work so well. I suspect that Terry does some form of Aboriginal chant over them. All we can say is that they work.

(2) The reason for the high cutting angle is very likely to do with the construction method, per se. The planes are wood and you cannot get the same degree of structural integrity here as you would with steel/iron. Keep in mind that these shoulder planes (like the bench planes) are bevel down. I guess one way of looking at this is that a 60 degree cutting angle is not so far off that of the bevel up Stanley #9X (and all other metal shoulder planes are bevel up as well), which is bedded at 20 degrees (from memory) and with a 25 degree bevel will have a cutting angle of 45 degrees.

Enough of the technical mumbo jumbo - HNT Gordon works. But best of all, they are spectacular to look at and hold!

Regards from Perth

Derek
 

Alf

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Okay, better make this quite clear; I'm not proposing to by an HNT Gordon shoulder plane. Nope. No way. Sorry, not gonna happen. =;

Just so's you know. :wink:

Sooo, based on that, Derek are you saying a high angle won't work unless I learn an aboriginal chant and stuff my Veritas with Gidgee...? :-k

Derek":2ckibprt said:
The reason for the high cutting angle is very likely to do with the construction method, per se. The planes are wood and you cannot get the same degree of structural integrity here as you would with steel/iron.
Erm... but they've got those brass channel soles, haven't they? Sort of, well, infilled...

Derek":2ckibprt said:
I guess one way of looking at this is that a 60 degree cutting angle is not so far off that of the bevel up Stanley #9X (and all other metal shoulder planes are bevel up as well), which is bedded at 20 degrees (from memory) and with a 25 degree bevel will have a cutting angle of 45 degrees.
Ha hum. So why not make the bedding angle 45 degs then?

ydb1md":2ckibprt said:
You could, but why would you?
Apart from having the spare blade, I wouldn't see the point either, ydb. But the Gordon planes seemed to suggest there might be something in it. But if I understand what Derek's driving at, he seems to think the good performance has less to do with the high cutting angle, and more to do with other factors.

Hmm, well I've got the iron and it can't hurt to try, can it? I think some testing is called for. If anyone remotely cares, I'll report back.

Cheers, Alf
 

Philly

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Alf
You know we read your every word and love it! :wink:
By the way, my big one is stuffed with Budgeroo. Is that a magic name or what? Or a character from the Magic Roundabout? Summut, anyway.... :lol:
Cheers
Philly :D
Because we care......
 
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