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D_W

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I didn't say it would be any good. It was a suggestion based on all the claptrap about needing super high angles and thin mouths and lots of weight to work gnarly woods in the various woodworking media at the turn of the century. To me basically to help sell all the new designer planes with foot thick irons etc because a Bailey design couldn't plane exotics even though the evidence sitting in museums said otherwise.
In fairness to those folks, I don't think most of them knew how a chipbreaker worked, anyway. If they're sizing veneers on a drum sander and wooden parts on power tools only, and then sanding to finish, it doesn't make much difference.

The era that the cap iron became popular makes sense - old growth wood was not universally found at some point in the 1700s and early 1800s, and a double iron makes a person wielding a plane far faster at completing work (even if tearout mitigation is neutral). It also makes a plane work better with minor seasonal movement.

I understand LN and LV's viewpoint (though only the former has mentioned it in demonstrations) to be that the cap iron works but it's difficult to learn. I have definitely seen a lot of unused LN planes, so it's fair to say if you're not going to use planes, it's difficult to learn how to use the cap iron. If you're using planes once every 3 weeks, it's probably still difficult - some concentration of effort has to occur where you need the efficiency and force yourself to learn it and do it several times over a week or so, and then it sticks forever.

Paperweighted my infill pretty quickly, and I'd thought at the time I'd just made the ideal plane for smoothing because it's really hard to get any tearout creation. On the internet, it sounds like pure laziness to say that taking bunches of 2 thousandths shavings is too slow, and on one test panel, it's not noticed. If you prepare 10 board feet in a shop session with planes, though, and you start feeling effort and time, it's instantly apparent. My infill was beaten by a $12 Millers Falls 9 :(
 

Jacob

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I didn't say it would be any good. It was a suggestion based on all the claptrap about needing super high angles and thin mouths and lots of weight to work gnarly woods in the various woodworking media at the turn of the century. To me basically to help sell all the new designer planes with foot thick irons etc because a Bailey design couldn't plane exotics even though the evidence sitting in museums said otherwise.
I agree about the retro planes just being a gimmick, largely copying long abandoned dud ideas like Norris adjusters, thick blades, brass knobs all over.
But have to say that fine adjustment of cap iron is effective with difficult grain for the simple reason that the closer the cap iron, the steeper the planing angle, the more it becomes a scraper rather than a planer.
But it's much easier to use (and sharpen) a scraper such as the cheap Stanley 80, so why waste your cash?
It works both ways - a fine set plane won't work on easy wood you have to set the cap back a bit to get good thick shavings.
 

Cheshirechappie

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Surely those fancy infill planes were for finishing not preparing sawn timber ?
That's how I understand it. There are infill smoothers, less common are infill panel planes (which are smoothers for panels), and even less common infill jointers - uncommon because they cost the earth when new and you need to be built like a prop forward to get them to the work. There are infill shoulder planes, chariot planes, mitre planes and thumb planes - but NO infill jack or try planes (unless someone built one by mistake).

Anyone preparing timber with an infill (unless it's very dense, hard, exotic timber, in which case you probably won't be preparing a lot of it) has missed the point.
 

D_W

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I agree about the retro planes just being a gimmick, largely copying long abandoned dud ideas like Norris adjusters, thick blades, brass knobs all over.
But have to say that fine adjustment of cap iron is effective with difficult grain for the simple reason that the closer the cap iron, the steeper the planing angle, the more it becomes a scraper rather than a planer.
But it's much easier to use (and sharpen) a scraper such as the cheap Stanley 80, so why waste your cash?
It works both ways - a fine set plane won't work on easy wood you have to set the cap back a bit to get good thick shavings.
it doesn't become a scraper - it always cuts at a 45 degree angle (or 47 ish in a norris). The closer the cap iron is, the harder it holds the chip down and at some point, it's pushing back so hard that it can push the chip back into the wood below the cut line. That's not great, or at least i perceive it as not great.

A stanley 80 is limited productivity compared to a stanley 4 unless someone doesn't know how to use the 4 (I have an 80 and have used it quite a bit - it works, but the surface isn't as good, it can be murder on edges - especially of veneers, and the edge is short lived compared to a smoothing plane before accounting for the fact that takes less at once).
 

Adam W.

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That's how I understand it. There are infill smoothers, less common are infill panel planes (which are smoothers for panels), and even less common infill jointers - uncommon because they cost the earth when new and you need to be built like a prop forward to get them to the work. There are infill shoulder planes, chariot planes, mitre planes and thumb planes - but NO infill jack or try planes (unless someone built one by mistake).

Anyone preparing timber with an infill (unless it's very dense, hard, exotic timber, in which case you probably won't be preparing a lot of it) has missed the point.
Imagine having to push one around all day long. Not only would it be hard work, but you'd have to look at the pig ugly thing as well.
 

D_W

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Surely those fancy infill planes were for finishing not preparing sawn timber ?
If you give them a go, you'll end up with two things:
* a double iron panel plane
* a double iron smoother that's not 6 pounds (e.g., a norris 2 or spiers or something of the sort).

The former, well, I've never really read about it, but it excels working in the 2-8 thousandth range on medium hardwood, and is easy on elbows in really hard wood. a closed mouth in that range isn't effective and it's not just a tearout problem, but also effort and accuracy. Tearout lowers volume removed in each pass probably to 1/2 or 1/3rd, even when it's small, and it causes an iron to enter and exit a cut over and over (shortens life a lot).

Wooden planes dominate all in rough lumber, including easy domination of stanley/record type planes.

Infill panels in my guesstimation work well on smaller work especially if the wood is harder, and better if all planing can be down grain or using the cap iron with a heavy shaving (trying to improve the balance of work done moving the plane vs. removing wood).

I'd guess the infill jointers would be punishing due to nose heaviness, and their cost would've obviously scared away the majority, but the nose heaviness would've caused long term injury to wrists and forearms.

Even a wooden jointer in the 28" range is nose heavy and punishing to use, and I gather from what I've heard that they were used only to true long edges. I made one as my first long plane and hate to say it, but I haven't used it in at least 3 or 4 years - the nose heaviness is really offputting in real work. Panel planes (infills) already have a serious nose heavy problem - jointers would probably be intolerable.
 

Adam W.

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An explainer on what the cap iron does and why it needs to be mated to the cutting iron.

The closer the cap iron is to the cutting edge, the steeper the shaving exits the mouth of the plane . This is because the cap iron bulges at the front which forces the shaving upwards.

Being forced up at a steep angle causes the fibers in the shaving to bend and break which stops the shaving being strong enough to cause it to breakout on the timber surface on any grain, the wilder the grain, the closer it needs to get. Both these irons are clamped firmly to the frog by the lever cap.

The frog angle on the plane in question is always the same regardless of where the cap iron is in relation to the cutting edge. The angle of the cutting iron to the work surface always remains the same because it is clamped to the frog by the lever cap. This will only change if you change the frog for one with a different angle.

You can change the bevel on the cutting iron but this won't affect the angle at which the cutting iron is held on the frog and is presented to the work.

When the cap iron is positioned close to the cutting edge it is important that there is no gap at the interface between the back of the cutting iron and edge of the cap iron, otherwise the plane will choke, as shavings will be forced between the two. The reluctance to pay attention to the importance of mating these two surfaces is why people mainly set the cap iron away from the cutting edge by an sixteenth of an inch or more.

To stop the shaving being forced between the cutting iron and cap iron and choking when it is close to the cutting edge, they have to be carefully lapped and George Ellis in Modern Practical Joinery talks about this at length and even raises a burr on the cap iron to make sure the gap is closed along its full width.

Sorry it's a bit long and brisk.
 
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ivan

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The trouble is, today's Bailey planes do not conform to the design Bailey submitted to the US patent office. The original had the lever cap pressing the blade via the cap iron, onto the frog at 3 points, not todays 2. I've not seen a cap iron like Bailey's original even in the 1950's, they are all bent far too much; this was the reason behind the stayset 2 piece cap iron, or the Millers Falls 2 piece lever cap.

The 2 piece cap iron is not a precision item and can't easily be set close enough to the cutting edge when this is needed for your smoother. A thin blade and a flat cap iron works well with the Millers falls lever cap (3 point pressure).

Of course, historically Stanleys may have been closer to the original patent, or maybe the apprentice was just given the scraper...
 

Adam W.

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The principals work with wooden planes. When the cap iron or "chip breaker" as my uncle used to call it is set correctly, wooden planes produce a straight shaving which comes out like a long ribbon of wood.
 

ivan

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I missed Adam's bit above. I confess to using a slightly thicker blade (for eg. 2x thicker = 4x stiffer in the plane) and a completely flat cap iron, sharpened to an appropriate angle, and finished with a gently rolled hook (as per scraper) at the final angle. A gentle dressing ensures the hook is flat and of definite, but minimal height. The cap iron is easily cambered in the same way as the blade itself. Clamped down by an old Millers Falls 2 piece lever cap the blade is perfectly stable and no shavings lodge where they shouldn't. Both mouth and cap iron can be set as close as you like with no problem. Set for troublesome stuff, the actual cutting geometry round the blade edge is rather like a scraper with the addition of a close mouth.
 

Jameshow

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You'll have me looking for another plane on eBay before long!

Cheers James
 

D_W

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The trouble is, today's Bailey planes do not conform to the design Bailey submitted to the US patent office. The original had the lever cap pressing the blade via the cap iron, onto the frog at 3 points, not todays 2. I've not seen a cap iron like Bailey's original even in the 1950's, they are all bent far too much; this was the reason behind the stayset 2 piece cap iron, or the Millers Falls 2 piece lever cap.

The 2 piece cap iron is not a precision item and can't easily be set close enough to the cutting edge when this is needed for your smoother. A thin blade and a flat cap iron works well with the Millers falls lever cap (3 point pressure).

Of course, historically Stanleys may have been closer to the original patent, or maybe the apprentice was just given the scraper...
The stayset actually has a harder time keeping shavings from getting under it. I wish that wasn't true. Bailey's design has the hump contacting front and back, but planes that don't generally also do better keeping shavings from getting under them. Fitness between the iron and cap iron eliminates the issue almost all of the time (unless the cap iron hump is too gradual).

The trouble with the cap iron bedding front and back is that you can't dictate where the bias in pressure will be. If it's toward the back of the hump, you're creating a problem.

I wanted to like the millers falls design better, too, but it doesn't work better (I've not seen a functional difference) and there are some issues with the plane that make it seem a bit cheaper - the lower quality adjuster, paint instead of japanning and from time to time, irons that have grain size problems.

Some of the stanley types without proper frog support from top to bottom also have problems, too.
 

jcassidy

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The reluctance to pay attention to the importance of mating these two surfaces is why people mainly set the cap iron away from the cutting edge by an sixteenth of an inch or more.
Guilty, yer honour. At least, on the cheap Bailey-copy I found at the bottom of a toolbox I bought. I just can't get that gap to close no matter how much I lap the cap iron. I really should have another go at it.
 

Jacob

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The principals work with wooden planes. When the cap iron or "chip breaker" as my uncle used to call it is set correctly, wooden planes produce a straight shaving which comes out like a long ribbon of wood.
Yes, in your dreams. It can happen if everything is freshly set up with the chip breaker back a bit to reduce the curl, but particularly if you have the right bit of wood to work on - you need to use what Rob Cosman uses, or as per those Japanese planing demos.
 

Jacob

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Guilty, yer honour. At least, on the cheap Bailey-copy I found at the bottom of a toolbox I bought. I just can't get that gap to close no matter how much I lap the cap iron. I really should have another go at it.
You need to bend it down a touch.
 

Jacob

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..... Set for troublesome stuff, the actual cutting geometry round the blade edge is rather like a scraper with the addition of a close mouth.
Exactly my point. Why go to the trouble and difficulty of adapting your plane to work like a scraper instead of simply using a scraper?
Though of course you can easily make your plane work normally by setting the cap iron back again.
 
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Jacob

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.... they are all bent far too much;
Bend it back.
this was the reason behind the stayset 2 piece cap iron, or the Millers Falls 2 piece lever cap.
Yes I agree, but with a bit of careful fiddling a normal cap iron will do just as well.
 

Ttrees

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Guilty, yer honour. At least, on the cheap Bailey-copy I found at the bottom of a toolbox I bought. I just can't get that gap to close no matter how much I lap the cap iron. I really should have another go at it.
If you are trying to get rid a belly when paired with your iron, get a small strip or square of abrasive narrower than the width of the cap iron and hollow the middle/bump away on the underside.
Much easier to get flat if there's a slight hollow in the middle, as you now have two registration points, compared to one equaling rocking in the middle and causing more problems since abrasion favours the ends.

Tom
 

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