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Marples transitional planes

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M_Chavez

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We do have a LOT more things that we think we need to have now. I do, too - not excluded from that. Phone, internet, tools, guitars, vacations.
I can only assume that "guitars" was a predictive text typo and you were going to say something else.
Music is the only thing that separates us from monkeys, and guitars are the best way to make music.(y)

Back on the topic of transitional planes - how do these compare to, say, traditional "horn" planes and Krenovs?

I'm thinking of making myself a new plane in York pitch and I like the look of these transitional ones. Does anyone have a No3 frog they'll be happy to donate? ;)
 

D_W

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Well...it's nice to have one guitar or three. I won't say how many I have, but it's more than that.

I've noticed that it's not uncommon for people with relatively middling jobs to have 10 or 15 guitars and half a dozen amps (in one case, a guy I know who has an hourly job - a good one, but not six figures - has 75 of them. He is concerned about retirement and has complemented his guitar issues with staying out of the stock market for the last two years.....people are weird.

(I can't remember the context of this thread now, so I may be tangenting on something pointless).

As far as the planes go, if you want to make a plane and you have serious inclinations to use it (vs. either not using anything, or finding out that you will use either continental, english, or american (stanley) type planes almost all the time, it's good to build one of those types. Since making a stanley plane is probably *really difficult* , that leaves wooden english and continental euro styles). BTDT with the only exception being not having the marples plane discussed here. If it was a world beater, though, we'd know it.

It's a transitional type. On the forums in the US, there were a few folks who went on at length about how much they loved transitionals (which triggered me to buy three long ago). They weren't particularly good to use (maybe they would've been on paulownia). I proceeded to make a bunch of different wooden planes (from the krenov types to single iron coffin smoothers to japanese dais with cross pins and western irons and japanese irons.

I sold what I could of the bunch of those and threw away most of the rest. There's a something for nothing kind of draw with cross pin and krenov and transitional planes, but it doesn't turn out once you start using planes a lot of time each week.
 

M_Chavez

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Thanks.

I've been using 2 krenovs for most of my work for nearly 3 years now, but I have noticed that the wedges (or the iron beds?) have deteriorated quite a bit - the irons are not nearly as secure as they used to be. Prehaps that's why Krenov made his planes very rough and simple, so he could always build a new one.

Coffins I really don't like.
Traditional horn-handled ones are OK - I've got one I like to use on softwoods.

Never tried a transi one, so thought I'd give it a go.
 
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D_W

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I'm not a fan of coffin smoothers for hardwood, either, unless they're on the bigger side and set for relatively coarse work (like trying work).

Krenov style planes are easy to use, but not very productive compared to an english wooden jack and try plane and a metal stanley smoother.

Continental equivalents of the english wooden planes, same productivity as english - just a matter of what you like. Difference for the continental planes on the smoothers being that somehow two hands on a very light plane makes for good work without battering the user's hands and elbows in hardwoods or stuff with runout.

15 years or so ago when I started, I was not that amused by power tools (but mostly used them). It was widely held on a lot of forums at the time that both krenov and bevel up planes were superior to old standards. Same with big single iron infills (Which are pretty planes and pleasant to use for a little bit, but kind of boat anchors for actual work). Do you work mostly by hand, or after table saw and planer/thicknesser? If the latter, it really doesn't matter that much which planes you use.

Chris Schwarz is linked earlier in this thread. He planes a bunch with "secret tricks" to lessen effort, but seems to always demonstrate jointing and jack work with metal planes. I can only assume that's because he wants to make sure nobody in his classes shows up with old wooden planes that need fitting. It's hard to work for a couple of hours in rough wood with short saws, single iron planes (unless the wood is wet or straight pine) or long metal planes.

I usually assume (probably incorrectly) that if someone is getting a jack plane, they'll be using it on rough wood. In that context, the english and continental planes are unbeatable (though a stanley smoother is definitely a better plane than the newer continental planes with complicated adjusters, etc). I use the term English because in the US, by the 1890s, the only often sold wooden planes were ohio tool or maybe a few straggler makes that hadn't yet merged with them. The irons in those planes are pretty underwhelming. English planes of the same period are quite nice, but I would assume anything sold made of wood after about 1900 is on the decline in a hurry. I've gotten a hold of some early/mid 1900s marples wooden planes that were unused and fitted them - they generally don't work as delivered, and can need the planemaking/fitting part to be finished. A marples coffin smoother ( pretty) couldn't feed with the cap iron set - at all - it was opened, but never checked. The speed that the last marples guy works shows why. He was probably making 10 bench planes a day. I think I could increase speed and fit one out well one a day without starting to make compromises (machine made handles, etc).

But, I can tell you, if you want to do a lot of work by hand, improvement outside of what was done by hand when it counted (time and money-wise) is pretty hard to come by and a lot of the later writers (like krenov) were using planes as part of their process, but not without machines and often not making things for a living.
 

M_Chavez

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Thanks.

I mainly build guitars and there's no way I could possible afford to work entirely by hand, especially for initial wood processing. But I do like to use hand tools as often as I can, to keep practicing the skills & for the sake of a workout.
Also, I am quite lazy when it comes to sharpening, so often pick up the next best plane that's sharp if my best plane for the job needs to be sharpened, so I like having more planes than I "need".

Anyway, bought an old transitional Marples jobbie on ebay to try the design and see if I like it. Good news is that it took me about 40 minutes to tidy it up, sharpen and take a shaving.
Bad news is chatter. Lots of it.
Now I'm wondering if that is because I've misaligned the frog with the wooden base ramp (checked with a straight edge and all seems fine), or because of the marples iron that's about as thick as tinfoil.
Is there a trick to aligning the frog on these planes? If I can't get it to work semi-decently with a marples blade first I'm not sure I'll want to invest in a real blade for it.
 

Jacob

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Thanks.

I mainly build guitars and there's no way I could possible afford to work entirely by hand, especially for initial wood processing. But I do like to use hand tools as often as I can, to keep practicing the skills & for the sake of a workout.
Also, I am quite lazy when it comes to sharpening, so often pick up the next best plane that's sharp if my best plane for the job needs to be sharpened, so I like having more planes than I "need".

Anyway, bought an old transitional Marples jobbie on ebay to try the design and see if I like it. Good news is that it took me about 40 minutes to tidy it up, sharpen and take a shaving.
Bad news is chatter. Lots of it.
Now I'm wondering if that is because I've misaligned the frog with the wooden base ramp (checked with a straight edge and all seems fine), or because of the marples iron that's about as thick as tinfoil.
Is there a trick to aligning the frog on these planes? If I can't get it to work semi-decently with a marples blade first I'm not sure I'll want to invest in a real blade for it.
You have probably discovered why the transitional plane was not popular.
If you invest in a thicker blade you lose the rapid sharpening advantage and might as well go for a trad woody.
Maybe move the frog back from dead in line with the wooden sole? Just a bit, to make sure there is a tight fit between the back of the blade and the wooden sole.
How solidly is the frog attached to the body?
 

Phil Pascoe

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If you invest in a thicker blade you lose the rapid sharpening advantage ...

you don't if you grind the thing instead of doing the whole job by hand just to prove it can be done.
 

M_Chavez

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...Or you can just re-shape the edge instead of re-shaping the entire iron?o_O
 

Ttrees

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I can't see why it would be extra chattery, never used one though.
Is the frog identical to a regular Bailey, possibly an issue how it's attached in the first place.

Seems an unfairly discredited idea to me, since most that use a woodie claim heavier shavings (with a less cambered iron) can be taken, that's what it looks like to me anyway,
most likely due to the thicker double iron, I'm guessing.

Seems that having a thicker iron might be do-able, I doubt most of the folk who use those IBC double irons would like it, if that were the case...
trying to say the extra bits bolted onto the cap iron, to allow the adjuster to reach,
so likely it wouldn't add to the unknown.

I wonder how many types of these they are, the Stanley's seem more common, and equally as spoken about.
 

Jacob

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If you invest in a thicker blade you lose the rapid sharpening advantage ...

you don't if you grind the thing instead of doing the whole job by hand just to prove it can be done.
No - it's easier, faster and sharper to just hone the edge of a thin blade a little and often. Then you never need to use a power grind-stone so your blade will last much longer.
 
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Jacob

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I can't see why it would be extra chattery, never used one though.
Is the frog identical to a regular Bailey, possibly an issue how it's attached in the first place.
Basically not rigid enough I guess. In the all-metal plane a thin blade is very firmly attached and clamped down tight to a lot of metal
Seems an unfairly discredited idea to me, .....
Don't know, but the fact that they weren't popular makes you wonder.
 

Phil Pascoe

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No - it's easier, faster and sharper to just hone the edge of a thin blade a little and often and you never need to use a power grind stone so you blade will last much longer.
It'll make no difference whatsoever to the life expectancy of the blade if you grind it properly, just to the amount of work you need to do.
 

Ttrees

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From what I can see, the small bit of work on a grinder would be a non issue
as it seems from the utubes, it can take possibly twice the shaving thickness as comfortably.
A thicker iron in a light plane sounds interesting enough to ponder what went wrong
with these unloved tools.

Tom
 

M_Chavez

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Well, there's no issue with my krenovs and I've never had a chatter on them. I do have thick Hock blades & chipbreakers in them though.
And the blade rests entirely on a wooden bed, just like in traditional English or European woodies.
I have a thinner iron in my pinnie horn-handle and it does chatter a bit on hardwoods, but I only use it on soft stuff.

The frog is rock solid on the plane body, so it must be a bad contact of the blade with the wooden ramp. I'll try setting the frog back a bit, as per the previous advice.
The frog itself looks similar to a bedrock design, so does not have the extra long "legs" sticking out of it.

The plane feels quite good in the hand - I'd like a bigger handle for my paws though.
 

D_W

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Chatter isn't the performance issue, but rather literally measuring the weight of wood removed in a given amount of time. It's hard to notice differences in productivity without doing the same task in context and measuring, but that kind of productivity is only a real issue if there's a whole lot of plane use.

Transitionals, etc, shouldn't chatter if the iron is resting on wood just above the bevel and the cap iron is set. If the cap iron's not set, they can chatter in a less than continuous cut even if things are otherwise good (same is true of very thin irons on metal planes).
 

M_Chavez

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Well, time to come out of the closet.
I found out that I really like trannies :eek:

After fiddling the tranny in the workshop for a couple of hours, I got to the point where I'm not getting any chatter on medium hardwoods. The trick appears to be to set the frog with a slight overhang over the wooden ramp. Then the lever cap pushes the irons onto the wooden ramp and appears to reduce chatter. :unsure:Seems to have worked for me.
Denser hardwoods (tried curly bubinga, ebony, rosewood) are still chattering like there's no tomorrow, but I suspect that the thin iron might be part of the problem. I can flex the dang thing with medium finger pressure. Shame on you Mr Marples - can't even blame war effort steel shortages, as the plane is from the 60s.

I really like the overall feel of the plane though. On medium hardwoods (american mahogany, low density walnut & maple, cherry, korina) it seems to be equally at home rough planing thick shavings or taking fag-paper thin cuts. I definitely prefer this one over my horn handle woody - seems to be a better fit for my hands.
Is it better than my krenovs - I don't think so. But keeping one of these for general purpose work seems like a good idea.


Don't think I'll be bastardising the "collectable" :LOL: Marples plane to fit a Hock blade into it, but I'd definitely like to make my own at some point.
My wishlist would have a bigger handle and a longer sole in front of the blade, plus a sole made of denser wood. Planing ebony fretboards will rip up the beech sole in no time. Bubinga's a much better candidate imho.

Still looking for a donor Number 3 frog if anyone's got a spare.
 

D_W

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You've found the idea of bias with the overhang. You want the blade to contact the bed near the bevel, and you've found what it takes to make it happen.

This is why the idea of perfectly milled frogs is kind of goofy- the bias is your friend. Perfectly flat straight anything is for drawings and ideas. The world of planes is littered with these little biases (on a wooden plane, the older irons were biased so that they would touch top and bottom on a flat plane bed, or even one that's worn some and gotten a little high in the center.

As the need for substantive tools (economic need) went away, so, too, did a lot of these biases. Many of the later sheffield irons (including laminated) are milled in flat planes with no bias on the back side. They don't work as well, but nobody was making fine planes by then, anyway.
 

thetyreman

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Well, time to come out of the closet.
I found out that I really like trannies :eek:

After fiddling the tranny in the workshop for a couple of hours, I got to the point where I'm not getting any chatter on medium hardwoods. The trick appears to be to set the frog with a slight overhang over the wooden ramp. Then the lever cap pushes the irons onto the wooden ramp and appears to reduce chatter. :unsure:Seems to have worked for me.
Denser hardwoods (tried curly bubinga, ebony, rosewood) are still chattering like there's no tomorrow, but I suspect that the thin iron might be part of the problem. I can flex the dang thing with medium finger pressure. Shame on you Mr Marples - can't even blame war effort steel shortages, as the plane is from the 60s.

I really like the overall feel of the plane though. On medium hardwoods (american mahogany, low density walnut & maple, cherry, korina) it seems to be equally at home rough planing thick shavings or taking fag-paper thin cuts. I definitely prefer this one over my horn handle woody - seems to be a better fit for my hands.
Is it better than my krenovs - I don't think so. But keeping one of these for general purpose work seems like a good idea.


Don't think I'll be bastardising the "collectable" :LOL: Marples plane to fit a Hock blade into it, but I'd definitely like to make my own at some point.
My wishlist would have a bigger handle and a longer sole in front of the blade, plus a sole made of denser wood. Planing ebony fretboards will rip up the beech sole in no time. Bubinga's a much better candidate imho.

Still looking for a donor Number 3 frog if anyone's got a spare.
if you make another krenov one you can use ebony for the sole or lignum and it'll have no problem then dealing with ebony fretboards, I love my krenov style planes too and want to make more of them, I found purpleheart is good enough for almost all woods except ebony and extremely hard woods.
 

D_W

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if you make another krenov one you can use ebony for the sole or lignum and it'll have no problem then dealing with ebony fretboards, I love my krenov style planes too and want to make more of them, I found purpleheart is good enough for almost all woods except ebony and extremely hard woods.
All of my comments about productivity, etc, out the window if the context is fretboards. Definitely an operation that is higher on precision than speed and probably any style of plane that can work accurately would be good. As a relatively lowbrow fellow, I've generally planed them with a #4 and then sanded them to radius unless they're compound (which I don't do often, but if so, with radius gauges (they're always spring steel and cheap and a burr can just be rolled on them easily) and then sanded into transition with each other.
 
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