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Tuning a combination plane

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JesseM

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I obtained a Sargent 1080 combo plane and just recently got around to trying it out in anticipation of cutting some 1/2 dados. I sharpened the 1/2 cutter, and the nickers. I used a DMT knife jig for sharpening the nickers which worked really well. My first attempt at using this did not go well. it seemed like the nickers preventing the blade from engaging. Looking for other things that might be wrong I noticed the skates were hollow around the mouth? (if you can call it that). I also noticed that when I had some depth that the skates were binding against the wall of the dado.

So I am just wondering if there is any advice for tuning this plane up. Are the skates supposed to be flat? The plane appears to rock front to back a bit. I had a hard time getting the blade to engage. I had read somewhere that the way to use these from end to start and start to end.

Thanks for any help!
 
A

Anonymous

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Hi Jesse.
1. The blade should extend just a hair beyond the skates. The skates should only hold the blade, not touch the dado sides. I sharpen the straight cutters slightly trapezoidal with the wider face facing front and set the skates even with the rear face. In a dado, the sides of the blade cut and should be honed. The blade should extend slightly below the nickers.

2. Start at the far end of the workpiece and tilt the plane up until only the nickers and not the blade are touching the wood. Pull the plane backwards a few times and let the nickers cut the outline. I guess this would be a good time to note that the nickers shold be a little proud of the body. If they aren't, you can adjust the skates until the nickers are aligned with the blade, cut the outline and then readjust the skates. Once the outline is cut, the nickers have done their work.

3. Step back a few inches from the far edge, tilt the plane up until the blade just touches and take a few passes. You cut the dado as a ramp, always working downhill. Keep stepping back and lenghtening the dado until it is complete.
 

Chris Knight

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Roger Nixon":3tg7udgz said:
In a dado, the sides of the blade cut and should be honed.
Roger,

I bow to your superior knowledge of handtools but are you sure about this? I never do it and my planes cut dados OK - ditto with rebate planes with are arguably half a dado. Of course it is more than possible I have had my head in the sand where this is concerned

I would have thought that (especially cross grain where the nickers have already done some work) that the wood removal is accomplished by the normal cutting edge of the blade - or do you reckon that the sides of the blade are cleaning up the nickers first efforts?

In a rebating situation along the grain, why wouldn't the sides of the blade have to be sharpened (perhaps you do?) - the grain very rarely runs perfectly parallel with the edge you are working on.
 
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Anonymous

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You may well be right about that, Chris. I don't remember where I picked that up but I read it somewhere in the past and I've always honed the edges of my straight cutters.

It might be a carry over from cutting rebates where the cut is started with the plane tilted to the right and leveled as the cut progresses. Popular Woodworking showed Don Weber using that technique with a #78 a couple of issues back. That forces the side of the blade to cut.
 

JesseM

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Thanks for the tips Roger. I will try them out tonight and see if it helps.

I know one tendency I had when using it the other night was to apply pressure to the front which compunded my problems. I am determined to figure this pipper out. It just seems so bloody useful.
 

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