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Stanley #46 Tune Up

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Saint Simon

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I am attempting to get my #46 set up correctly for cutting dadoes and could do with a little help please. The plane seems in reasonable condition and I have recently bought a set of cutters from St James Bay Tools.

I have managed to cut a couple of dadoes but am not convinced that all is as it should be. The action of cutting is quite tight feeling and the dado I end up with is deeper on one side than the other. I can see that one of the skates is at a a slight angle front-to-back to the other, diverging about 2mm along the length. This looks as though it could be easy rectified with a little careful filing. It also looks as though the angle on the skewed cutter makes it cut deeper on one side than the other. I haven't managed to find what the angle on the cutter should be.

So, should I take a file to the skate, can anyone tell me what angle the cutters should be honed to and are there any other general tips you can give me on setting up the #46?
thanks
Simon
 

AndyT

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Ok, passing over the fact that you have a desirable and unusual plane and I don't...

I assume that when you say "skate" you mean the long thin bit that touches the bottom of the dado and is shaped like an ice skate. I am certain that they should be parallel. With any sort of plough plane, parallelism matters. So the bottom edges of the two skates (which are really narrow surfaces) should be straight and planar, and their outside surfaces should be parallel. I would have thought that the only likely source of trouble would be if the sliding skate is locked onto the rods in a slightly twisted position. If so, correct this by holding a suitably sized piece of wood between them, and locking onto the rods again. (Are the rods straight?)

It's possible that the set-up distorts when in use; at least one of the Record ploughs had a horizontal screw between the sliding section and the main body, to prevent this. One of the downsides of really old designs is that they could have inherent faults which were corrected on later models!

The other thing that really affects dados/housings and grooves is the amount by which the cutting blade peeps out beyond the body of the plane. It must protrude a little bit on either side. That could be the cause of the tightness.

(Bear in mind that this is a bit speculative as I don't have that model.)

I also assume that anyone owning one of these will have read the usage notes at Patrick Leach's site - http://www.supertool.com/StanleyBG/stan7.htm.
 

Alf

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Fair warning: I stink at diagnosing these sorts of things remotely. Also some egg sucking advice may be given, just 'cos sometimes it's the obvious things that get missed. No offence intended.

Saint Simon":2vahlwhe said:
I have managed to cut a couple of dadoes but am not convinced that all is as it should be. The action of cutting is quite tight feeling and the dado I end up with is deeper on one side than the other.
Okay. Well, I'd check that you're planing vertically first. Make sure the skates are the same depth so they aren't actually encouraging any tilt. Also the skates need to be on, or better still ever-so slightly within the width of the cutter all along their length, or things can get tight.

Saint Simon":2vahlwhe said:
I can see that one of the skates is at a a slight angle front-to-back to the other, diverging about 2mm along the length. This looks as though it could be easy rectified with a little careful filing.
Hold the file! Just gently forcing the sliding skate so its parallel before you tighten up the thumb screws can be enough. As Andy suggests, some set up blocks of the correct width can help in that respect. I've had a coupla combis that you need to actively force parallel, but once it's there, you're golden. Leave it to its own inclinations though, and you're in the poo.

Saint Simon":2vahlwhe said:
It also looks as though the angle on the skewed cutter makes it cut deeper on one side than the other. I haven't managed to find what the angle on the cutter should be.
Oo, you want to get that sorted before anything else. Lots of cunning tips on getting the angle just right to fit the plane (all of which currently elude me), but I tend to go with marker pen on the back of the cutter, set it up and then use a rule across the skates and scribe. Grind back at 90° to the line, then re-establish the bevel in the usual way.

Saint Simon":2vahlwhe said:
So, should I take a file to the skate, can anyone tell me what angle the cutters should be honed to and are there any other general tips you can give me on setting up the #46?
thanks
Simon
Not yet, see above, and general combination plane advice here.

It's a bit of a cracker, the #46, and well worth getting fettled up. I should use mine more often.
 

Vann

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Alf":1vgtpw39 said:
Saint Simon":1vgtpw39 said:
I can see that one of the skates is at a a slight angle front-to-back to the other, diverging about 2mm along the length. This looks as though it could be easy rectified with a little careful filing.
Hold the file! Just gently forcing the sliding skate so its parallel before you tighten up the thumb screws can be enough. As Andy suggests, some set up blocks of the correct width can help in that respect. I've had a coupla combis that you need to actively force parallel, but once it's there, you're golden. Leave it to its own inclinations though, and you're in the poo.
When I read that, I got the impression Simon was talking about 2mm vertical difference, whereas both Alf and Andy are talking about a horizontal misalignment resulting from the skate "crabbing" on the rods.

Can you clarify please Simon?

Cheers, Vann.
 

dunbarhamlin

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Yep, that was my impression too Vann. I had the same issue with my Stanley 43 - fixed with some very helpful advice from BB
 

Saint Simon

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Sorry, yes not a clear description. The 2mm difference is in the vertical. The skates are parallel when looked at in plan but the tip of one is about 2mm higher than the other at the front whereas they are level at the back when viewed from the side. I hope thats clear.
thanks
Simon
 

AndyT

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Saint Simon":2928sx4i said:
Sorry, yes not a clear description. The 2mm difference is in the vertical. The skates are parallel when looked at in plan but the tip of one is about 2mm higher than the other at the front whereas they are level at the back when viewed from the side. I hope thats clear.
thanks
Simon
I'm sure that's not good! It does sound like it needs filing, but I'd want to know how it came about before I started trying to correct it. But if everything is firmly fitted and straight, I'd work out how to mark it, and get filing. (Disclaimer - wait for some real 46 owners to check.)
 

Alf

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Ahhh. Stick, wrong end of grasped. Sorry 'bout that.

Popped down to the w'shop, reintroduced myself to the tools and dug out my #46. Wadda you know? The area of the fixed stake in front of the cutter is shy of the depth of the sliding skate by approx. 1mm. Oh. Now I've had no cause to notice that before, so I thought I'd better plane a housing or two and see what's what. Cue gratuitous shot of same, to a) Prove it to be so, and b) Annoy Andy. :mrgreen:

46housing.jpg


Firstly, I need to overcome my hatred of the things and do something about the spur cutters, which... aren't. Cutting that is. But did highlight one thing - if one spur cutter is digging deeper than t'other, that will tend to want to pull you off vertical. Watch out for kids. Anyway, first housing did have something of a sloped floor. Oh ho.

46housingdepth01.jpg


But once I was back in the groove of correct technique, the second one was fine and dandy. Even if my photography got worse...

46housingdepth02.jpg


Huh. This actually isn't as cock-eyed as it sounds, because you can plane a housing with a single skate plane if you fancy - as long as one skate is straight and bearing on the wood and you keep the plane vertical, you're dandy. So do you need to file it? Not really. But if it'll probably help you stay vertical, then do it. And get the cutter sorted out; if that's cutting too deep to one side, you can have perfect technique and you'll always get a sloped housing floor. The angle can vary from plane to plane, and St James' Bay can only provide the most commonly found one after all.

Now, hopefully I can post this version before I'm logged out again...
 

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AndyT

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Alf":1a0dvtm4 said:
. Cue gratuitous shot of same, to a) Prove it to be so, and b) Annoy Andy. :mrgreen:
You could never annoy me Alf - I've learnt loads from your freely shared knowledge, and am in your debt.

And besides, there are other ways to cut housings!





(Of course, if anyone is clearing out an old #46 and wanted it to go to a good home, where it would not be lonely, I'm open to offers...)
 

Alf

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I feel suitably countered. Sigh. It's funny how I've never ever come across any wooden dado planes. And when I say funny, I mean tragic, frustrating, infuriating... :roll: :lol:
 

Saint Simon

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So, I filed the skates flat to each other, did the marker pen trick to get the cutter angle correct, so obvious once you've been told, and away I went.



Wonderful! All of a sudden it works.

Thanks to everyone for their advice, it did the trick.

Simon
 

AndyT

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Nice to see it working in the end!

I couldn't help noticing that you have the guide piece to the right of the plane, which is what I would have expected, but Alf has it to the left.
I know that with the wooden planes it makes a big difference. (See this old post for my previous puzzled thoughts on the subject.)

Alf, did you cut your housings that way, or was it just set up that way for the camera?
 

Alf

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Excellent result.

As to the guide; honestly? I gave it zero thought and just set it up the way that would accommodate the guide on the short length of pine I had available while not having the fence rods foul the Emmert. It worked, but yeah, usually I'd have it to the right. My adapted guide clamp is actually set up expressly so that the spare length will end up over the bench when clamped there, instead of sticking out and jabbing my ribs like it was... It's my own fault for wanting to use the vice for a bit of novel work holding. :oops:
 
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