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sharpening why a curved plane blade

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engineer one

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ok back doing some more woodworking, and discussing things in person with some other carpenters, i ask a question.
given that we have so much adjustment on metal planes now, why do we need to give the blade a curve?

i can understand when planes were all of wood, (except blade) then having a curve was useful for the average woodworker, since it meant that adjustments were easier.
now however, particularly with the new LV and even LN and Clifton planes, there are various devices for ensuring that the blade is square across the mouth, and if you have angled it that the blade is accurate across the face. so why the curve?

if you try the plane on the edges of a piece of wood, and you get even shavings,then surely that is all that matters.
the reason i ask is that we seem to be getting to a point where new people
are scared off hand work because the perceived wisdom is that your tools have to be perfect.

wood solid wood does not allow for real engineering standards, it moves, so why worry about accuracy of microns when taking off shavings, too little clearance and the draw won't open or the cabinet will distort due to bad design.

surely the important thing is for people, both pro and amateur to actually make things and complete them, not buy pretty tools to look at.

i think many people have taken the sharpening story too far, and are in danger of overemphasizing the value of it. if your plane is easy to push and you get a reasonably flat surface, should that not be enough.
the old cabinet makers would i think laugh at our over concern for
flatness.

my recent experience suggests that sharpening should work as follows,
use a powered wheel to get your bevel back quickly, i use a tormek,
then flatten the back on a stone, or diamond surface, and the work the bevel to get a good cutting edge with a honing guide and end up with a japanese stone, these moves don't take too long and allow you to be as sharp as you want.

maybe i am just being contentious but seems to me the prime objective is to make things of beauty which we use or sell. sometimes it is easy to teach too long, and then think that production work has to have the same time consuming input.

no slings no arrows, just a thought for honest comment.

paul :?
 

ydb1md

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Personally, the only reason that I camber the blade is to eliminate the possibility of "plane tracks" on my work.
 

trevtheturner

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Hi Paul,

I do the same as ydb1md for exactly the same reason, although in my case I am not sure I would go so far as to call it a 'camber'. I just slightly ease the outside corners of the plane iron and find that is sufficient. The may, of course, be some instances where a pronounced camber is required, for instance on a scrub plane.

Otherwise, with regard to your comments, I share your sentiments exactly. And I use a Tormek, which I find excellent.

Cheers,

Trev.
 

MikeW

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Good thing we all got in this conversation before the rounded blade society showed up :)

Paul, you know my preferences from past conversations. I mostly hand hone on those horrible Shapton stones that need...WATER...as nothing ever really is dulled.

On the off chance I purchase a new edge tool (well, truly new or just new to me) I too use a Tormek to shape the blade, eased corners on the smoothers, some sort of radius on the scrub (you know, that huge #5 1/4 I converted :roll: ) and on one of my jack planes and a LV #6, a small radius that is mostly flat towards the center.

The slight radius on those two planes is because I use them for waste removal following a scrub or in lieu of one. These are followed by planes with only the corners eased. And I use either the flat portion or a plane with a flat hone for shaping edges.

But, to be fair (me?) there are those who advocate differing cambers for all or nearly all planes. That's cool. Works for them. And it is always easier to instruct others--in person or not--how one does things in order to achieve desired results. And the thing is, that may be what works for the person in question.

My philosphy concerning sharpening or plane usage is, get ready, I don't really care. If one wishes to use stones be they oil water or river rocks, whatever. If it achieves what they want, great. I'll show them how to do it. If it is SS, a power machine, whatever. I don't care. That said, I do have my preferences and it is those I usually begin with because it is easier to communicate the known.

Plane use? Plane set up? If it works for the individual there isn't much I would be willing to argue except in the philosophical sense. I mean, what if someone says they use a #9 1/2 to joint 5 foot long boards. And that it works for them. What can one say, really, other than "Wow, I can't imagine it working, but it must for you." Because it is not my experience, though, I would not instruct another to do it--unless it is the only plane they had and there was not a way for them to get a "proper" plane. Then I would try my hardest to help the person.

Ok. three posts in less than 30 minutes. Time to lay off the dinner wine, eh?

Mike
 

ydb1md

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MikeW":2wo23qqx said:
Ok. three posts in less than 30 minutes. Time to lay off the dinner wine, eh?
Mike
Ok Mike, while you're good and sauced, you haven't heard any rumours of new Veritas tools, have you? :wink: :lol:

dave
 

MikeW

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ydb1md":2j0djo5c said:
MikeW":2j0djo5c said:
Ok. three posts in less than 30 minutes. Time to lay off the dinner wine, eh? Mike
Ok Mike, while you're good and sauced, you haven't heard any rumours of new Veritas tools, have you? :wink: :lol:
dave
Well Dave, I was just talking with Rob today and we =; [-X

Nah, I'm a mushroom too. You know, fed manure and kept in the dark :wink:

Mike
who isn't that tipsy...
 

Philly

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Hi Paul
engineer one":2mjmadam said:
we seem to be getting to a point where new people are scared off hand work because the perceived wisdom is that your tools have to be perfect
I wouldn't go that far-a big part of the enjoyment with tools is tweaking them to achieve better performance. As an engineer I assume you are not averse to that.... :wink:
engineer one":2mjmadam said:
surely the important thing is for people, both pro and amateur to actually make things and complete them, not buy pretty tools to look at.
Certainly making actual items is the the payoff but a lot of hobby WW'ers enjoy building their workshops, buying tweaking and playing with their tools and even-yes-just being proud of a selection of tools that they love. Some weirdos even enjoy building jigs! (no names :lol: )
As we woodworkers are a solitory bunch, it's nice to have a forum such as this where we can swap stories, tips and even just gloat over new purchases. We are all at different levels of skill and commitment and I think most people realize that only a minimum of tools are really needed to produce good work.
Hope these points make sense,
best regards
Philly :D
 

engineer one

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what is interesting so far is the reference to plane tracks, but since we are taught to plane as we paint, i.e overlap the track slightly why should you get tracks???

i an understand curves for fast and large stock removal, since you have the odd shape of the wood at the beginning, but when finishing, why??
surely the wood is as flat as you are going to get it, and you are only removing machining marks, so thin shavings. how will this give you tracks????

as for the rest of you i don't know i must be missing the best part of woodwork so far, the wine drinking!!!!!!!!!!!!

i agree that fettling tools at the beginning is a great thing, but eventually, you have to use the b***** things. if you delay the use by spending so long fettling, what are you achieving??
still waiting the technical answer, not the "i use it and it works for me", not that there is anything wrong with that but, is there any real science behind it??

paul :?
 

Alf

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engineer one":xdrg4i4y said:
there are various devices for ensuring that the blade is square across the mouth, and if you have angled it that the blade is accurate across the face. so why the curve?

if you try the plane on the edges of a piece of wood, and you get even shavings,then surely that is all that matters.
the reason i ask is that we seem to be getting to a point where new people
are scared off hand work because the perceived wisdom is that your tools have to be perfect.
Ironically, I'd always thought curving your blades takes away a good deal of the necessity for perfection - in both sharpening and planing.

You simply can't over-emphasise the importance of sharp edges on hand tools. But you can over-emphasise the means to achieve them, which is what I believe you're getting at, Paul. And I quite agree.

I don't know if I've become grouped into the sharpening fanatic catergory, but if so, it's all been a horrible mistake. Given the choice I'd be freehand honing on my oilstone just as I was before. Circumstances have meant I have the opportunity to try blades that don't like my oilstone much and a honing guide that doesn't like me much. I persevere because I believe there should be no such thing as a free lunch and that I should persevere in case I can help someone else with my experiences. As it happens, in so doing, I've learnt a bit more about what's sharp and what isn't, but I doubt the finished product is much better - or worse, I hope! :lol: For some folks the finished project simply isn't what they do it for; perhaps they like to focus on the science behind a sharp edge, or the comparision between plane types, or which parts of which combination planes are interchangable. Or maybe they like to do a bit of everything, and achieve pipper all in anything - like me. :oops:

'Course the biggest single problem is perception. Because of the medium in which we're discussing all this, I's get dotted and T's crossed to the Nth degree to avoid misunderstandings, and a simple description can turn into a newbie-scaring diatribe apparently describing the search for perfection. But be fair, it's be even less helpful to newbies if we all simply wrote "Sharpening? I just hone the blade and go back to work".

Cheers, Alf
 

Alf

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Paul, you're, quite rightly, keen to get on and actually use your planes. Excellent. Then try it for yourself and see. If you can do it, good for you. But I believe you'll need a perfectly straight blade, set perfectly square in your plane and working on a perfectly flat board. Sure as My Holtey makes pretty plane-shaped works of art, I couldn't do it.

Cheers, Alf
 
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take a board with the edge at an angle of say 80 degrees ot the face

Try to plane the edge of that board perpendicular to the sides with a flat blade - even with the lateral adjsuter

Now try with a curved blade.

That and a lack of plane tracks on flat boards is the reason.
 

MikeW

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Tony":3ir2qegm said:
take a board with the edge at an angle of say 80 degrees ot the face
Try to plane the edge of that board perpendicular to the sides with a flat blade - even with the lateral adjsuter
Now try with a curved blade.
Ok. Do it all the time. Maybe not 80*, never measured them. Rarely do I use the lateral adjuster--even on my planes that have them.

It's all summed up in: whatever works for you. For me, it is difficult to use a cambered iron on a board's edge. Can't do it. Call me "radially challenged."

But that's why there are different methods their proponents. What we shouldn't loose sight of is when we are giving advice to someone, we need to try and understand the problems they are having, the method they are using and alter our advice to suit the way they are working. Not to say we cannot and should not offer alternative methods, or even challenge their method altogether.

But should you, Tony, (speaking hypothetically here) tell me you are having difficulty using a cambered iron on a board's edge, I'll probably tell you I use a straight iron to do that task. If you aren't interested in even trying that method, I'll do my best to help with your chosen one. I do understand how to do it. It's the performance of it that gets me :roll: .

Hey, my two cent philosphy is worth what y'all just paid for it :lol:

Mike
 
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MikeW":13it1oiw said:
But should you, Tony, (speaking hypothetically here) tell me you are having difficulty using a cambered iron on a board's edge, I'll probably tell you I use a straight iron to do that task. If you aren't interested in even trying that method, I'll do my best to help with your chosen one. I do understand how to do it. It's the performance of it that gets me :roll: .

Mike
Hi Mike

It's not about being interested in using a straight blade, it's that the cambered blade works brilliantly for me and many others. I never tried it until I read DCs out porings, and he is right, it is easier for me.

I have tried to plane boards square without a cambered blade but it is much harder without a shooting board and I don't have an 8ft shooting board lying around :lol:

My post was a simple answer to the original question 'why use a cambered blade?' :wink:
 

MikeW

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Tony":3st7hu5x said:
MikeW":3st7hu5x said:
But should you, Tony, (speaking hypothetically here) tell me you are having difficulty using a cambered iron on a board's edge, I'll probably tell you I use a straight iron to do that task. If you aren't interested in even trying that method, I'll do my best to help with your chosen one. I do understand how to do it. It's the performance of it that gets me :roll: . Mike
Hi Mike
It's not about being interested in using a straight blade, it's that the cambered blade works brilliantly for me and many others. I never tried it until I read DCs out porings, and he is right, it is easier for me.
Oh I agree. I've seen it done. I was using you in a hypothetical situation. Didn't mean to imply you actually were not interested.
Tony":3st7hu5x said:
I have tried to plane boards square without a cambered blade but it is much harder without a shooting board and I don't have an 8ft shooting board lying around :lol:
You have found what works best for you despite trying a straight edge. I have found what works best for me, despite trying to use a cambered edge.
Tony":3st7hu5x said:
[My post was a simple answer to the original question 'why use a cambered blade?' :wink:
Well, and a challenge in a sense to try the method you find best. I in part was answering that challenge, as well as a feeble attempt at answering that part of Paul's post wherein he criticises (not improperly) the collective "we" when we advise others how to do something.

Too, it was an attempt to explain why I personally don't care how someone does something. I'll go with the flow, so to speak, and try to help them do what they want, the way they are attempting it. As I'm sure you do.
 

Midnight

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take a board with the edge at an angle of say 80 degrees ot the face
OK... wainey edge do...???

Try to plane the edge of that board perpendicular to the sides with a flat blade - even with the lateral adjsuter
Right...?? whas that it..???

Now try with a curved blade.
ummmm...... why..?? worked perfectly with the straight blade....

#9 and a long grain shooting board... gotta love whatchya can do with em...

:p :wink:


fwiw...

I use vairying degrees of curves but they're confined to my scrub, #5 and one blade for my #62... the rest are honed perfectly square with just the corners clipped; tram-lines for the prevention of...
 
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MikeW":11iemllr said:
Too, it was an attempt to explain why I personally don't care how someone does something. I'll go with the flow, so to speak, and try to help them do what they want, the way they are attempting it. As I'm sure you do.
Absolutely Mike, well said :wink:

ummmm...... why..?? worked perfectly with the straight blade....
Just try it and see :lol: I used to struggle along with a straight ground blade too :wink: :lol:
 

engineer one

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its nice to see i can start a small conflagration, but heres the real point.

when a guy starts up woodwork either for the first time, or resumes after some years, he/she(sorry) may not immediately move to hand tools, but eventually the pull will be too great, so they buy a plane, check the advice and discover they have to learn a whole other skill, sharpening, BEFORE they can properly use their plane, when all they want to do is make furniture, picture frames or whatever. Then comes the argument, about the best way to sharpen, and everybody and it would appear their dogs, have a viewpoint, and in many cases anyone elses view is wrong.

seems to me that when we have massive companies like stanley, and irwin, or american tool producing products for sale that then need a bunch of work doing to them to make them "fit for the purpose" there is either something wrong with us, or there is a major con going on.

if those branded products were cheap and cheerful, then you would not mind too much however they ain't. in fact they seem to be really not that much under LV, and LN when you look at the effort you have to put in to get them to work properly.

if you go to a metal work shop or even B&Q, and buy a hacksaw, or a cold chisel for metal work, you expect to go home and use it immediately without sharpening again, why has it become the norm (sorry) in woodwork to accept that you need to spend precious time sharpening a sharp tool????

surely the beginner should be able to walk into a tool store, buy a plane, and maybe a strop, take it home, hone the blade, strop it, and then use it?
but as of now they cannot. firstly the plane blade is not properly sharpened or shaped, second the body may not be flat. next they have to find a cheap and quick way to sharpen. remember if you are a trained woodworker, the first thing you do is learn sharpening. when i did my training at Vauxhall as a metalworker, my first job was filing a 1inch metal cube, hacksaw a bit of 1 1/4 square bar, and use a file and square to get it right. no playing around sharpening the file.

as for the curve, here we go again, if you are doing an edge that is less or more than 90 degrees, then freehand a curved blade might make it slightly easier to start, if you are experienced, but what if you are new to it???? that's why LV have their magic metal plate that fixes to your plane for edge work. if the plane is square to the front then either shape will work, but if your plane is not square to the face, then a curved blade will make life easier, but i feel that it is a blind, and a properly set straight blade with notched corners will do just as well.

why frighten off the newcomers by being so pedantic about what works, we each develop a skill level which makes us comfortable, but frightening people before they start is way too scary for me.

anyway so far no one has come up with the science, only "it works for me" which i do not knock, am just keen to see why, and help others not get paranoid about not following the latest fashion.

"sharpen your blade, plane the wood, make the joints, assemble the furniture, polish, and bathe in the reflected glow" unless of course you collect planes.

thanks for the input

paul :lol:
 

MikeW

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Ok Paul, question time.

Were you intimidated or scared away? Nah. I don't think so. Certainly when one asks a question in a public forum they can expect a variety of answers, eh? Best way, this way, my way and what not.

I can remember the first real edge tool I ever had. A pocket knife. I just bought it with yard work money. When it got dull, I asked my grandfather what to do. He said something to the effect, here's how to sharpen the blade and he showed me. My father had other ideas on how to sharpen. I made a choice, sharpened my blade and kept on whittling. Seems to me if a child can figure it out, so can an adult.

Now fast forward. I am (called) an adult. Things are more complicated, sort of. More choices, really. So I listen, try what I hear and decide.

Major companies build tools for construction when it comes to woodworking tools. That is the major market. Homeowner's tools may or may not be the same "quality," but they are certainly no better. That is the level of result one can expect in major companies' tools.

But even with a Record, Stanley tool, I can still build what I build. It may not be exactly as refined, but I can build it. More refined tools are just that: more refined. That does not mean they will not dull, wear out, or require something in order to experience it fullest performance. Big deal. Ultimately it is what one does with the tool that matters. When one's ability is able to out perform their tools, they are ready to either fettle the tools, buy better tools, or...whatever.

There isn't much science to most of this. If that's what you are looking for, you're gonna be dissapointed. What there is, and what is offered, are options. All roads do lead to Rome.
 

Derek Cohen (Perth Oz)

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Hi Paul

I think Mike's reply was a particularly apt one.

You wrote:
why frighten off the newcomers by being so pedantic about what works, we each develop a skill level which makes us comfortable, but frightening people before they start is way too scary for me.
I don't believe it is the tool companies that frighten off the would-be woodworkers. Rather, it is the forums (such as this one) that might do that job. Of course, these forums might equally motivate and encourage novices. It all comes down to the advice that is given, the stage the novice is at to deal with the advice, and the impatience that this person has to work in a world that requires patience to learn.

Cambering blades is not a novice issue. Some do it , some don't. There is not one way. That old chestnut, "many ways to skin the cat", is particularly appropriate in woodwork. So you end up with suggestions from many who are adament that their way is best. Very confusing. Do not confuse basic setting up with advanced tuning strategies. The former are necessary (get the blade reasonably sharp, make sure it is square in the plane, tighten down the screws so that it does not fall out. Extend blade a little until it cuts. Finished. Oh, learn to read grain direction. Have fun stuffing up. Learn from this and try again). The latter, the tuning tips, are for later when you appreciate what the potential difference might be(after you have stuffed up a few too many times). Actually, I am more a master of rescuing my stuff-ups, and have now come to believe that this is the art of woodworking :D

Regards from Perth

Derek
 

Alf

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engineer one":1uyfmacf said:
when a guy starts up woodwork either for the first time, or resumes after some years, he/she(sorry) may not immediately move to hand tools, but eventually the pull will be too great, so they buy a plane, check the advice and discover they have to learn a whole other skill, sharpening, BEFORE they can properly use their plane, when all they want to do is make furniture, picture frames or whatever. Then comes the argument, about the best way to sharpen, and everybody and it would appear their dogs, have a viewpoint, and in many cases anyone elses view is wrong.
Yep. That's woodworking. That's part of it and always has been. Woodworking is not engineering.

engineer one":1uyfmacf said:
seems to me that when we have massive companies like stanley, and irwin, or american tool producing products for sale that then need a bunch of work doing to them to make them "fit for the purpose" there is either something wrong with us, or there is a major con going on.
Not wanting to be sued, I won't comment. The majority of these tools are being bought by DIY-ers who might use the thing twice and probably will throw the thing away when it's blunt. :roll:

engineer one":1uyfmacf said:
if those branded products were cheap and cheerful, then you would not mind too much however they ain't. in fact they seem to be really not that much under LV, and LN when you look at the effort you have to put in to get them to work properly.
You're paying for the 70 years of brand name goodness that went before - everyone and his Aunt Lillian will recognise "Record" on a plane, and say "My grandfather/uncle/the odd job man down our street had one of those, so they must be good" and pay accordingly. It'll take a long, long time before the truth finally tarnishes the brand once and for all.

engineer one":1uyfmacf said:
if you go to a metal work shop or even B&Q, and buy a hacksaw, or a cold chisel for metal work, you expect to go home and use it immediately without sharpening again, why has it become the norm (sorry) in woodwork to accept that you need to spend precious time sharpening a sharp tool????
Who said anything about sharpening a sharp tool? Haven't you ever sharpened a cold chisel?

engineer one":1uyfmacf said:
surely the beginner should be able to walk into a tool store, buy a plane, and maybe a strop, take it home, hone the blade, strop it, and then use it? but as of now they cannot.
Who says they can't?

engineer one":1uyfmacf said:
firstly the plane blade is not properly sharpened
Hang on, haven't they just taken it home and honed it?

engineer one":1uyfmacf said:
or shaped
To be fair, how would the plane manufacturer know what shape you wanted?

engineer one":1uyfmacf said:
second the body may not be flat.
Ah, so you're not complaining about sharpening fetishists, but plane tuning ones?

engineer one":1uyfmacf said:
next they have to find a cheap and quick way to sharpen.
Scary Sharp f'rinstance?

engineer one":1uyfmacf said:
remember if you are a trained woodworker, the first thing you do is learn sharpening. when i did my training at Vauxhall as a metalworker, my first job was filing a 1inch metal cube, hacksaw a bit of 1 1/4 square bar, and use a file and square to get it right. no playing around sharpening the file.
Paul, it's not metalwork. The idea of filing a piece of metal into a cube fills me with a deep desire to yawn, so I wouldn't take up metalwork. If sharpening and setting up a plane in order to use it does the same for the newbie, perhaps hand planing isn't for them either?

engineer one":1uyfmacf said:
as for the curve, here we go again, if you are doing an edge that is less or more than 90 degrees, then freehand a curved blade might make it slightly easier to start, if you are experienced, but what if you are new to it????
It's probably very similar to learning how to file a piece of metal into a cube. :D

engineer one":1uyfmacf said:
that's why LV have their magic metal plate that fixes to your plane for edge work.
Which is often suggested to beginners, or alternatives to achieve the same thing.

engineer one":1uyfmacf said:
if the plane is square to the front then either shape will work
Sorry, don't follow which bit's square to what.

engineer one":1uyfmacf said:
but if your plane is not square to the face, then a curved blade will make life easier, but i feel that it is a blind, and a properly set straight blade with notched corners will do just as well.
Curved blades for edge jointing aren't to accommodate out-of-square plane sides, but rather a whole different approach to how you use the plane to remove wood where you want to.

engineer one":1uyfmacf said:
why frighten off the newcomers by being so pedantic about what works, we each develop a skill level which makes us comfortable, but frightening people before they start is way too scary for me.
Oh deary me, I do believe even new woodworkers have the ability to make choices on who to listen to and who not to.

engineer one":1uyfmacf said:
anyway so far no one has come up with the science, only "it works for me" which i do not knock, am just keen to see why, and help others not get paranoid about not following the latest fashion.
Which latest fashion? Cambered blades are as old as the hills. Start with this.

Actually, I am more a master of rescuing my stuff-ups, and have now come to believe that this is the art of woodworking :D
:lol:

Cheers, Alf
 
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