Reducing backlash by dentistry.

Help Support

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


Established Member
1 Aug 2005
Reaction score
Shoot'n in sheds, Luton in Beds.
This is not so much a "how to" as a "one way to" reduce backlash after fitting a thicker blade to a bog-standard 1970's bench plane. There are other ways but this is the one I chose. I thought you may be interested.
I have recently fitted a Ron Hock blade and chipbreaker to my old Record No. 6 Fore plane. The depth adjuster backlash was already a full turn, but when adding the thicker blade it increased to almost two turns of the adjuster wheel. This is due to the modern two-piece pressed steel Y-lever's nose being tapered, (well actually shaped like a gear tooth). The mod involves Silver-Soldering a brass "crown" to increase the effective size of the lever's "Tooth".
NB. This is an expensive one to cock-up if you are not confident of your metal bashing abilities!
STEP 1.Drive out the 1/8 " pin holding the Y-Lever using a suitable 3mm drift, such as an old jewellers' screwdriver with a ground-off end. If it does not budge one way, try from the other end. It may be tapered or rivetted over. It may even be a roll-pin. If it will not budge - abort the repair!
Clean up the pin with emery if damaged to make it easier to replace.

Gently file off enough metal to remove any plating or rust where the shim will be soldered - i.e. round the end and flanks of the "tooth". Don't overdo it!

Clean up with abrasive a suitable piece of shim stock - in this case 0.4mm brass sheet. For good soldering it should be shiny and slightly rough. Cut with tinsnips or even old scissors. If I had any steel shim I would probably have used it instead.

Cut and shape a piece about 50% wider than the lever using needle nose pliers. It should fit closely on the flanks, but the nose can be slightly rounded and should fill with solder.

Place the lever in a vice with hardwood jaws to insulate from the vice, and fit the brass "crown" in place. Clear the bench and have your fire extinguisher ready!

I used SILVER SOLDER, which is harder than electricians solder, but softer than braze, and melts well below red-heat. Apply plumbers or similar acid resin flux. Heat the lever gently with a butane torch. The flux will bubble first. Keep touching the silver solder to the lever until it starts to run. Back off the flame. Apply to both sides of the lever.

Allow to cool, wash off any flux, place in the vice and file off the protruding brass and solder...

....down to the steel.

Carefully file off the upper and lower faces until a zero backlash fit is achieved with the chipbreaker slot.

Refit the lever using the drift in place of the pin to allow for removal and refitting whilst final fettling takes place.

Step 10.
When you are happy with the fit, replace the proper pin in the plane's frog.
After all this bashing about, the frog will need to be checked for alignment so that the blade fits squarely in the mouth.

P.S. this treatment is not available on the NHS.

That is a splendid how-to! Great photos too, thanks very much. I have a couple of old Records that would definitely benfit from this treatment.
Great step-by-step, Jarviser and a neat solution to the problem. I really need to get to grips with the more heat-orientated side of metalworking like soldering next year - it'd be so useful for things like this. :-k

Cheers, Alf
Thanks for your comments. Maybe I should include the finished article. (Record collectors please look away!)


The handles are Stanley in beech, stained with spirit red and repolished. The finish is satin black with polished edges and ends. The lever cap is an over-tight one that Tom Lie-Nielsen replaced, but kindly let me keep the old one. I had to drill out the pin (once I had found it - Tom does a lovely job of hiding it!) and having relieved the tight fit of the lever, replaced with a 4mm brass pin and filed smooth. Hock blade is A2 from Classic Hand Tools.
Better close now, SWMBO has the mince pies in the oven.
Wow! Great work. Expending all this effort on a low value, non collectible toolsis definitely my kinda' thing.

Memo to others. The stock advice from the OLDTOOLS experts is NOT to remove the pin that secures the "Yoke" or 'Y' piece, since it is difficult to extract and replace without risking damage to the thin cast iron frog.

Unless (of course) you're confident of your metal working skills, which "someone" has shown to be perfectly justfied.

And I second the praise for the photos; technically excellent, and well chosen to illustrate the various stages.

Alf":26q3a7rk said:
Coo, flash. :shock: Looks the biz; how's she run?

Cheers, Alf

Alf, Better with this blade, but the standard setup with the original Record blade was pretty good once the sole was flat. It came from the 'bay with 10 thou concave at the mouth. I tend to resaw and clean up a lot of recovered oak and beech from old domestic furniture and this is my main workhorse for thicknessing and jointing. The makeover was its Xmas pressy from me. It makes a nicer swishing noise with the new blade (but the shavings dont seem to go float upwards like Ron's :wink: )

Bugbear, you are right, and I hinted that if the pin does not move on the first tap in either direction, the attempt should be aborted. I have done more metal than wood in my lifetime, and you develop a feel for metal that I am still seeking with wood. The modern ones often have roll-pins (like little swiss rolls) which usually come out easily, but you need to countersink the hole rather than chamfering the pin to get them back. At least with these planes you can usually get a rough old no 4 1/2 for next to nothing and take spares off it, should the worst happen.
Just nicked your idea of the red spirit stain for plane totes, looks superb after 6 coats of shellac each one knocked back with 0000 wool, many thanks, so much nicer and richer looking.
Happy Xmas