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Digizz

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I've had a read through some of the reviews on planes here (would be a great idea to put those in the 'reviews' section of the site as well Alf). I wanted some more advice (as it's free :) ) -

The only decent plane I have is a new Stanley No4. I've sharpened the blade well and got a nice flat mirror back to it. The trouble is, the cap iron is very poorly ground and has small chips at the edges, causing shavings to jam. Should I invest in a decent cap iron and high quality blade and if so, which ones?

I want to use it for general fine smoothing and some shooting. Should I be considering another type or something better (more expensive)?

If I went for a scraper, having no experience, which type would be best for me (and where can I learn how to sharpen them properly)?

So many questions again :)
 

DaveL

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Digizz,

Why not fettle the cap iron? It will not be as hard as the blade, carefully file and then lap on your sharpening stones to get a smooth edge back. I am sure Alf will have a link to someone who shows how to do this, just wait a while and she will be along soon :D
 

Shady

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The answer is 'almost certainly yes'.

You could just tune the supplied parts, but if you're unsure, you'll do better with a replacement blade and cap iron. For the type of plane and purpose, I'd recommend a hock blade and a clifton 'stayset' chip breaker.

The hock is thicker than the supplied blade, but not so thick that you'll have to alter screws/file the mouth etc. The stayset is a good cap iron that should mate properly.

Alternatively, buy a replacement blade from Lie Neilsen (check for compatibility though!), with one of their 'new' chip breakers, which are actually a return to the traditional style. This is an excellent matched pair. That said, the price will put you close to buying a Clifton Number 4, which is a very nice, good value smoother that is a pleasure to own.
 

Digizz

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Thanks.

Will this plane be sufficient for shooting - or should I look at something else as well?
 

Shady

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A number 4 will 'do' for shooting, but there are a couple of factors:

What're you planning to 'shoot'? Small stuff -no problems. Bigger lumps, and you may want a heavier plane (more mass helps with the smoothness when you hit end grain - I sometimes use my number 7 to shoot when I'm feeling really agressive). The other key for shooting is the 'squareness' of the overall setup. Specifically, is the blade at right angles to the stuff to be shot? While the plane may be 'ok', it may well not have the sides at exactly 90 degrees to the sole (because that doesn't matter for the intended role of a nuber 4). In this case, you will need to either 'cant' the blade fractionally, or shim your stock.. Not insurmountable, but all potential sources of error.

At the risk of being shot down in flames, all other things being equal, I'd recommend a number 5 as a better option for shooting, assuming you don't want to spend silly money. A cost effective multi-purpose variant is the new Lee Valley 'low angle jack', which is definitely good for this role.
 

Midnight

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Digizz...

My Stanley #4 is the oldest plane I have, handed down from dad, and though I love it dearly for that reason, it's still a Stanley i.e. room for improvement...

first thing I'd do with a new one (assuming their quality is similar to that of my "new" #5) is flatten the sole (keep the blade fitted, just retracted well out of the way) then strip the blade out and fine tune the mouth with a needle file (remove any swarf and burrs etc).

next... keep the supplied blade and use it to practice your sharpening; you need the edge perfectly flat, square to the sides, only clipping the tips of the corners to avoid tram lines.

once you get used to sharpening, consider improving the blade; anything with high carbon steel is an improvement... generally the thicker the better... but in this case there's a limit to the thickness that the adjuster yoke can cope with, upgrading the cap iron at the same time can't hurt at all..

For shooting, I prefer to use something more substantial; I couldn't get to grips with using bench planes to shoot with, hence why I use a #9...


as for scrapers... this link should help....
http://www.taunton.com/finewoodworking/pages/wvt088.asp
 
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Digizz

I would buy a new Hock blade and leave the cap iron as it is. I purchased a Hock blade and Clifton cap iron for my Stanley #5 a few years ago when I was at the point you are now.
I would not buy the new cap iron this time round as the advantges really came from the new blade.
Polish the front edge of your exisitng cap iron and make sure it sits firmly against the blade all the way across.

I used to use my Stanley for shooting, jointing and smoothing until I could afford a few more planes.

I would say your #4 with a Hock blade will work fine on a shooting board provided the edge is 90 degrees to the base and is flat along it's length

I got my Hock from here

http://www.fine-tools.com/eisen.htm

I recently tried a scraper for the first time and learnt how to use it from the web link that Midnight just posted. Easy. My review is here

https://www.ukworkshop.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?t=2421
 

Noel

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Well, Alf's mate (the one who needs a haircut...) has a few pages in this months FWW on the very subject and it's quite interesting, tuning an ordinary Record plane.

Rgds

Noel
 

Alf

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Now which Hollywood studio was it that had the slogan "more stars than there are in the heavens"? Definitely a question with almost as many right answers as the answer to "what's the best way to sharpen..." :lol:

First up, before I forget, welcome to the forum, Shady. :D

Now, Digizz. Yep, Charley is more than welcome to put them in the reviews section, but I don't think he's got a spare Tuit at the moment.

#4, a darn useful, and popular, size. I have, er, one or two... The cap iron is definitely worth some attention; I might even be moved to argue it's more important than the thickness of the blade. But you don't need to know that. You need to get a copy of Furniture & Cabinetmaking #84 and read David Charlesworth's article on tuning them up. Yep, he has, as always, taken to the Nth degree, but it's a darn good article and I heartily recommend it </DC shill> Unless money is not an issue with you, in which case do feel free to invest in an aftermarket cap iron of your choice. I have a tiny patriotic liking for the Clifton two-part one too (what an inelegant but numerate phrase...), but I am most impressed with the fit of the "old" style one on my L-N #4.5, so if the new style is even better... But then the Hock's are perhaps slightly easier to get hold of via Classic Handtools. Pays your money and take your choice. I'd still learn how to fettle one yourself though, 'cos you'll likely want to do it at some point.

The #4 can be tuned up to smooth, naturally, but again I concur with (possibly) my new best friend, Shady; the L-V low angle jack. You've read the review. 'Nuff said. (Shot down in flames? Tsk. We're a bloomin' fire hose of a group... :wink: )

Regarding scrapers, there's some good stuff to be found in the archive. Viz:
Here
Here
And here
I don't know if you were thinking of scraper planes and such, but the general feeling we boringly repeat is it's best to learn how to use a simple card scraper first. You'll know when you need to step up to a #80 or scraper plane. Getting a good burr is the absolute key with scrapers. You might want to invest in a clever burnisher device, or make something like the one shown in Bob Smalser's guide. I did the latter and used a defunct solid carbide router cutter shank, and oh boy, it's the biz. But again, depends on the tool budget. :D

Yep, more answers than there are stars in the heavens all right... :lol:

Cheers, Alf
 

Noel

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Just to rub it in, I don't even have it on sub, just through my little local newagents.

Rgds

Noel
 

Digizz

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I did read the atricle - gave some very good tips :)

Thanks again for the wealth of replies everyone :)

I was worried about messing with the cap iron too much as it'll need a good mm taking off it to get rid of the chipped edges (and this was brand new) - maybe I should take it back and get it changed (or are they all poor quality?).

I do like the idea of a nice new LN low angle - is that the 164?

Trouble is, I've MASSIVELY overspent on the whole workshop/machinery (must get some up to date pics sorted) combination - still need a few more basic hand tools though.

Was going to knock up a shooting board later - anyone got any hits/tip/dimensions for one? (yes I know they're simple but would be good to get it the right size to start with). Also, how do you stop cutting into the shooting board itself - does it have a clever rebate to stop this or is it just down to careful control of the plane?

Ta,

Paul.

Oh, also just noticed that Axminster do the Veritas Variable Burnisher - anyone used one? I thought it might be good for a newbie to burnishing???
 

Shady

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Alf - thanks for the welcome: delighted to have found a UK based board at last: spend all my time previously getting irritated at the price/choice advantage all our US cousins have for tools on their boards...

Digizz: A shooting board is normally pretty simple. If you have a decent bench vice, just put a block glued and screwed on the underside of the base (parallel to the rest that stock will press against) in the middle somewhere: then you can clamp the whole thing rock solid in the vice for use. Otherwise put the bottom block at the 'front edge', and use it like a bench hook on any flat surface. As to cutting in, they're normally 'self limiting' in this respect: run the plane along the surface a couple of time, and it 'll cut the edge/stop block to a depth equivalent to your iron's projection. At this point the little piece of sole between the blade's edge and the side of the plane acts as a depth stop, and however much you press, it won't cut in any further (don't use a rabbet plane :wink: ). In use, you just have to get a feel for how far 'out' to rest your stock before clamping/planing. Much easier to do than describe. Just make a quick and dirty board and have a play - best way to get a feel for it. Bodger's tip: get a pack of playing cards and normal paper for shimming stock. They give you a reproducible pair of steps that can be put under the stock, or 'in front' of it against the rest, to alter the exact angle of the work.
 

Digizz

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Sounds more like a step you'd find in ballroom dancing!

(..and no, I'm not old enough for that yet!)
 
A

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Alf":3gji8j4u said:
The cap iron is definitely worth some attention; I might even be moved to argue it's more important than the thickness of the blade. But you don't need to know that.

I have a tiny patriotic liking for the Clifton two-part one too (what an inelegant but numerate phrase...),
Alf

Surprised you rate it higher than the blade.

To qualify my post, I was concious of the need to keep costs down, hence the advice given which included polishing front edge and ensuring good contact with blade

Digizz

I fitted the 2 piece Clifton on the Stanley #5 and it is much better than the stanley but I would try Hock blade with Stanley cap first and only spend more if still unhappy as the cost of a Hock and a Clifton cap is getting a little close to the half the price of a new Clifton
 

Digizz

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I'm pretty keen to get a LN 164 - If I go for this, will I need to bother much with the Stanley?
 
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Digizz":17ns18sq said:
I'm pretty keen to get a LN 164 - If I go for this, will I need to bother much with the Stanley?
High Digizz

That is my latest LN investment of a month ago or so and it is a superb piece of kit.
I use it primarily for shooting and occasionally smoothing but to be honest when ground at the standard angle, I find it is not as good as my 4 1/2 for smoothing on many timbers - but better on others :)

With two blades, you could have one ground at a steeper angle for woods that don't behave with the low angle. (see Alf's review of Veritas for angles)

Beware. Once you have tasted LN, you'll want more and the Stanley will reveal itself for what it is, low quality.

My greatest problem with the 164 is my right index finger - I have nowhere to put it when smoothing as there is no frog to rest against :cry: and it feels 'wrong'

I considered the Veritas low angle but prefer the look and choice of materials in LN bench planes despite some interesting design ideas in the Veritas
 

Alf

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Ahhh, Tony's PM becomes clear...

Okay, the cap iron thing. Tony now knows my theory, but in case anyone else cares, here's what I wrote:

Ah, the old cap iron question... Well the iron makes a difference, of course it does. But a well fitted cap iron creates a tension in the iron itself. If you think about it, the pressure on the iron from the lever cap doesn't get nearly close enough to the business end (a bit like the truncated lever cap on modern Stanley block planes). The cap iron provides that. The greatest iron in the world is of no use if the cap iron isn't doing this vital job. Otherwise it's Chatter City, Arizona. Unless it's a monumentally thick iron, I suppose. But then you need a perfect bedding on the frog I think, which is a whole new problem. And good news; a cap iron is a lot cheaper to change than an iron... Someone suggested setting up iron and cap iron on the frog removed from the body of the plane to get an idea of what's actually going on. One day I may even get round to doing that... :oops:
Concerning the #164; it's a great plane, and I love it. But, if I was where you (Digizz) are now, I would really put the low angle jack higher up the list. The extra weight and width is a real boon for shooting, and it makes a great panel plane (just a bigger smoothing plane really). There's no reason why the Stanley can't be tuned up to do good work, and it seems daft to end up with two planes the same size (what am I saying...) when something a bit bigger would give you more flexibility. But let's face it, you can't go wrong with any of the better plane makers' wares so if you fancy the #164... :wink:

Cheers, Alf

Foxtrot, anyone?
 
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