Wearing in a new plane


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New member
13 Nov 2019
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I bought an entry-level plane for a carpentry course I was on (now cancelled because of CV19) and the instructor mentioned about having to "wear in a new plane" as the blade will be too sharp from the factory to be any use, and the little bit of planing I have done, it does just cut chunks rather than make a nice smooth cut. As the classes and cancelled for now, do you have any tips for setting up with a new plane?
I think the message may have got a bit garbled.
The iron won't be sharp and will require honing. You will probably also need to hone the cap iron so it sits tight to the iron.

The only other job you might need to do is to run some fine abrasive paper around the edges of the sole, if they are annoyingly sharp from grinding.

Anything else will depend on the quality of the plane.
In addition to what Andy said, I would disassemble it and check the frog position with a small straight-edge. I've seen these too far back, meaning the iron isn't fully seated on the frog, but sits on the mouth instead. That aside, there is no such thing as too sharp, although you might find a new blade is straight across the edge and a little relief at the outsides would be in order.

As to "cutting chunks", this is normally just a matter of adjustment, and of planing with the grain (and no, people, this isn't where we discuss cap irons.........we have a complete beginner).
There are quite a few videos on YouTube of people fettling new or even old planes and basically doing all the things you might want to do. Maybe rounding the edges off of the body, the blade, sorting the frog etc.

One thing you need to consider (and I shall now open a hellmouth) is how you are going to keep that blade sharp.

There are a huge array of options. The most important thing is that whatever works for you is fine. That might be sandpaper on a flat surface like a glass plate or marble chopping board, diamond plates, water stones, oil stones, the inner thighs of Cuban virgins, grinding wheel etc.

Sharpening is not difficult, it should not be laborious. With practice you should be able to just whip out whatever you use and have a blade sharp in a few moments (unless you've got a chunk out of the edge).

I use 3 diamond plates and a leather strop with green compound. I use that because it's what Paul Sellers recommended in a video and I'm more than happy with it. It means I don't have to keep buying new sanding medium or faffing sticking paper to a surface.
OP - you really need to learn to sharpen your edge tools, so research and experiment until you find the method that best suits you. When that time comes, your chosen method will of course be no better or worse than anybody else's chosen method, and you need feel under absolutely no obligation to tell the rest of us that it is. :D